Tag: Brad Lidge

Neck check

Day one of the Luis Castillo experiment is over and the best news is that Roy Oswalt lived through it. Oswalt was hit in the neck with a line drive off the bat of Manny Ramirez in yesterday’s game, but was able to walk off the field on his own and appears to be okay. Castillo, meanwhile, went 0-for-4, hitting the ball hard once but lining out and handling two defensive chances at second.

Yesterday the Phils fell to the Rays, losing 4-1.

Oswalt started the game for the Phillies and went three innings, allowing three runs on four hits. He started the fourth and gave up a leadoff home run to Evan Longoria before Manny smashed a ball back to the mound that hit Oswalt near the right ear. He left the game and was replaced by David Herndon.

Oswalt has now made four starts in which he’s thrown to a 4.61 ERA with a 1.17 ratio. In 13 2/3 innings, he’s walked just one batter and struck out 13.

Herndon threw two scoreless innings and was followed by Mathieson and Bastardo. Each threw a scoreless inning, but Mathieson walked the bases loaded in the sixth. Madson pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two singles and a double.

Mathieson now has a 2.00 ERA and a 1.00 ratio after seven appearances. In nine innings he’s struck out nine and allowed just three hits, but walked six.

The guys in the bullpen have been rather impressive at preventing the long ball this spring. Baez, Herndon, Madson, Mathieson, Zagurski, Contreras, Romero and Bastardo have combined to throw 67 1/3 innings without allowing a home run. Lidge has allowed one in his five innings. Were the bullpen to have that kind of success at preventing home runs over the course of the regular season, they would wind up with some impressive numbers. In 2010, Phillies relievers allowed 37 homers over 421 innings, which would be about 6.4 over 72 1/3 innings.

Martinez was the only Phillie with more than one hit. He went 2-for-4 with two singles. Rollins was 1-for-3 with a double and Orr 1-for-3 with a triple. Barfield again played center and was 0-for-3. Young 1-for-1 and Mayberry 0-for-1.

Hamels faces the Twins today.


On the range

All eyes on Luis Castillo this afternoon as the Phils face the Rays, giving fans a chance to see just how much speed and defensive range the 35-year-old Castillo has lost. We won’t know anything for sure from a single game, but one thing is for sure and that’s that there will be a whole lot more people who have an opinion on the matter before the day is done.

Yesterday the Phils beat the Blue Jays 5-4 to improve to 17-9 in official spring action.

Lee started the game for the Phils and went six innings, allowing a pair of runs on four hits and two walks. Rajai Davis led off the bottom of the first with a triple that led to the first run and Juan Rivera hit a solo homer off of him in the third. Lee has a 4.74 ERA and a 1.21 ERA through five spring starts.

Kendrick and Romero followed Lee and each threw a scoreless inning. Kendrick has allowed 15 hits in 13 innings this spring, but walked just one. Romero has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.43 ratio in seven innings.

Baez started the ninth with a 5-2 lead and allowed singles to the first three men he faced, making it 5-3 with men on first and third before getting Ryan Budde swinging for the first out. Corey Patterson followed that with another single and it was 5-4 with men on first and second. Baez got Jonathan Diaz to hit into a double-play to end the game. He has now thrown to a 2.53 ERA with a 1.22 ratio in 10 2/3 innings.

Ibanez hit a three-run homer in the first to give the Phils an early lead. It was the only extra-base hit of the day for the Phils. Francisco was 3-for-3 in the game.

Mayberry 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. 278/350/630 in 54 at-bats. Orr 0-for-1 to drop his line to 316/316/553 in 38 at-bats. Barfield played center field and went 1-for-4. 325/356/450 in 40 at-bats. He has seen recent action at both third and center, positions he doesn’t really play. Martinez was 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI. 278/298/444. Young was 0-for-1 and has seen his line fall all the way to 280/321/380 as his at-bats have dropped off significantly.

The Phillies didn’t draw a walk in the game.

Oswalt will start today’s game.

Lidge allowed a hit in a scoreless inning in a minor league game yesterday and may pitch in an official spring game tomorrow.


Sidelined report

Brad Lidge is the latest sidelined Phillie. Lidge has been shut down temporarily with tendinitis in his right bicep. This article says that Lidge was expected to throw in a B-game on Thursday, but that he’ll probably be sidelined longer than that.

The same article suggests that Rich Dubee thinks Lidge will be ready for the start of the season.

The Phils beat the Astros 7-6 yesterday to improve to 12-7 in spring action.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Four of the five runs that he allowed came on home runs, he gave up three in the game. He’s now made four spring starts and thrown to a 4.61 ERA with a 1.10 ratio. He hadn’t allowed a home run in his three previous starts.

Bill Hall took exception to an inside pitch in the second inning and took a few steps towards Hamels, but order was quickly restored. Hall seemed to be holding a bit of a grudge after the game.

After Hamels left, Mathieson, Herndon, Bastardo and Tyson Brummett all got a chance to pitch and combined to throw four shutout innings. Dan Meyer didn’t fare as well, he allowed a run on three hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings and has now allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings for the spring.

Mathieson has a 2.57 ERA and an 0.86 ERA after five appearances. He has struck out eight in seven innings. Bastardo has thrown four scoreless innings in three outings. Herndon has a 4.76 ERA and a 1.76 ratio in 5 2/3 innings.

Mayberry was 2-for-3 with a double. 350/422/750 in 40 at-bats. Michael Martinez was 1-for-2. In the ninth inning, he stole second then came from second on a wild pitch to put the Phils ahead 7-6. His line is up to 265/265/382 in 34 at-bats. Barfield was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a stolen base. 476/480/667 in 21 at-bats.

Blanton will start today against the Blue Jays.

Amaro says he has no payroll flexibility to make a trade.


Fans hopeful the Phils find a way to get Madson a break next year that doesn’t require him to kick any chairs

Most fans will remember that the bullpen in 2010 was nothing special for the Phils, and that they lost the NLCS after Juan Uribe broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning of game six with a home run off of Ryan Madson. I’m guessing that fewer remember that

  • Madson was pitching his second inning of the game after throwing a scoreless seventh
  • He threw 32 pitches in the game and Uribe’s homer came on his 28th pitch of the game
  • He had thrown in game four (32 pitches in 1 2/3 innings) and game five (one inning, 13 pitches) with an off-day between games five and six
  • He pitched in five of the six games in the NLCS, throwing 6 2/3 innings in five appearances over six games. The rest of team combined to throw 12 1/3 innings in relief in the NLCS, including Oswalt’s work in relief in game four.
  • In game two of the NLCS he started the ninth and pitched a scoreless inning with a five-run lead

So the Phils leaned hard on Madson in the NLCS. And he pitched well, allowing a run in the five appearances on the Uribe homer over 6 2/3 innings. They leaned hard on him at the end of the regular season as well. From July 15 through September 29, Madson made 43 appearances for the Phils in which he threw to a 1.54 ERA and an 0.88 ratio over 41 innings while striking out 49. From August 20 through September 15, the Phillies played 27 games and Madson appeared in 18 of them.

Only two pitchers threw more innings in relief for the Phils in 2010 than Madson did. Contreras threw 3 2/3 more innings and Durbin threw 15 2/3 more innings. But Madson missed more than two full months of the season — he didn’t pitch between April 28 and July 8.

If the question is whether the Phillies leaned too hard on Madson or not, I think the answer is yes. There’s no question that Madson was the best bullpen arm the Phillies had in 2010, but they did have four other guys that made at least 50 appearances with an ERA+ better than 100 for the year (Lidge, Durbin, Contreras and Romero).

Regardless of whether the Phillies asked too much of Madson last year or not, their NLCS loss had a lot more to do with their ability to produce runs than it did with their ability to prevent them. It did make me wonder, though, how the performance of the bullpen in the post-season over the past four years has compared to the performance of the bullpen in the regular season.

Here’s the ERA and ratio that the Phillies bullpen has thrown to over the past four years, both during the regular season and in the post-season. Also included is the team’s rank for the year in the NL in runs allowed per bullpen inning pitched.

Year Regular Season ERA Regular Season Ratio NL R Pen R/IP Post-season ERA Post-season ratio
2007 4.50 1.50 13 6.52 1.76
2008 3.22 1.38 1 1.79 1.21
2009 3.91 1.38 9 4.20 1.52
2010 4.02 1.39 8 1.89 1.21

Compared to the rest of the NL, the bullpen was really bad in 2007 during the regular season. It was terrible during the post-season as well as the Phils were swept by the Rockies. Matt Holliday homered off of Gordon in game one as they Phils fell 4-2. Game two was a nightmare in which Lohse, Mesa and Condrey combined to allow five runs in 3 1/3 innings after an early exit by Kendrick and the Phils were blown out. With two outs, nobody on and the game tied at 1-1 in the eighth inning of game three, JC Romero allowed three straight singles and a run that put Colorado on top to stay at 2-1.

By runs allowed per inning pitched, the Phillies were the best pen in the NL in 2008. They were fantastic in the post-season as well as Lidge, Madson and Romero combined to thrown 29 1/3 innings over 14 games and allowed four runs while throwing to a 1.23 ERA with an 0.85 ratio. The other guys in the pen combined to throw just 11 innings. After allowing four runs in four games against the Brewers, the bullpen would allow just five runs in the ten games they played against the Dodgers and Rays. One of those runs was unearned. In game one of the NLCS, Madson and Lidge combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief as the Phils beat the Dodgers 3-2. There were five games in the 2008 World Series and the Phillies won three of them by one run. In game one, Madson and Lidge combined to strike out three in two perfect innings as the Phils won 3-2. In game three, Madson surrendered a run to BJ Upton and the Rays in the eighth to tie the game at 4-4, but Romero followed him with 1 1/3 scoreless frames and the Phils won 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth when Ruiz’s dribbler scored Bruntlett. Madson, Lidge and Romero out-pitched the Tampa Bay pen in part two of game five as the Phils won 4-3.

The bullpen was nowhere near as good in the post-season in 2009. Blanton appeared in relief in games two and three, allowing runs in both appearances.

Madson allowed two runs on four hits in the eighth inning of game one of the NLCS with the Dodgers, but the Phils held on to win 8-6. Chan Ho Park started the eighth inning of game two with a 1-0 lead and allowed a pair of runs in game two and the Phils lost 2-1. After game two the pen was great, holding the Dodgers to a run (charged Park in the eighth inning of game five with the Phils up 9-3) over 8 2/3 innings.

The ’09 World Series started well for the pen. Lee threw a complete game to start the series as the Phils took a 1-0 lead. They lost game two 3-1, with all three runs charged to Pedro Martinez. They failed in game three, though. The Phils jumped out to a 3-0 lead before New York took a 5-3 lead off of Hamels with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Happ, Durbin and Myers followed Hamels — all three of them allowed runs and they combined to give up three runs over 3 2/3 innings. Lidge got hammered in game four after a regular season in which he had thrown to a 7.21 ERA. The ninth started tied at 4-4. Lidge got the first two. Damon singled, stole second, stole third. Lidge hit Teixeira. A-Rod doubled. 5-4 with men on second and third. Posada hit a two-run single to make it 7-4, which was how it ended. Madson allowed a run on three hits in the ninth inning of game five, but the Phils held on for an 8-6 win. Pedro had nothing in game six, but Durbin didn’t do much to put out the fire. With the Phils down 4-1, Durbin started the fifth and was charged with three runs (with an assist to Happ, who gave up a two-run double to Matsui with both runs charged to Durbin).

The one of these things that’s not like the others for the Phils was the 2010 post-season. The Phillie bullpen was far from fantastic in the 2010 regular season, but pitched very well in the post-season. The Phils got two complete games while sweeping the Reds in the NLDS, one from Halladay and one from Hamels. In the other, Oswalt went just five innings, but was backed up by Romero, Durbin, Contreras, Madson and Lidge, who combined to allow a hit and two walks over four scoreless frames.

The bullpen didn’t allow a run in the first three games of the NLCS, either, making it the first six games of the 2010 post-season that the bullpen had not been charged with a run. Madson and Lidge combined to throw two scoreless innings in game one, but the Phils lost by a run anyway. Madson allowed a walk and a hit in the only inning thrown by the pen in game two, but the Phils rolled to a 6-1 win behind Oswalt. Contreras threw two perfect innings behind Hamels in game three as the Phils managed just three hits and fell 3-0 to fall behind two games to one.

They lost game four, too. They started the bottom of the sixth up 4-3, but Durbin allowed a pair of runs on two doubles and two walks and the Giants pulled ahead 5-4. The Phils tied the game in the top of the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Howard and Werth. Oswalt started the ninth with the game still tied, but allowed back-to-back singles with one out to put men on first and third. Uribe hit a fly ball deep enough for Aubrey Huff to tag, score and win the game for the Giants.

In game five, Contreras, Romero, Madson and Lidge combined to throw three scoreless frames in relief of Halladay and the Phils took the game 4-2 to stay alive. Madson, for the record, looked fantastic as he struck out the side on 13 pitches in a perfect eighth.

Not so much in game six, though. In Madson’s second inning of work, Uribe homered off of him to put the Giants on top to stay at 3-2.


Much ado about how much there is to do

One thing to remember when you consider how many innings the new rotation might save the pen in 2011 is that in 2010 the bullpen threw less innings than any other team in the National League. Phillie relievers tossed just 421 innings last year, the fewest in the league by a fairly wide margin. The Arizona Diamondbacks were 15th in the NL in bullpen innings pitched with 439. The Giants were 14th, and they threw 461 innings in relief — 40 more than the Phillies. Only one team in the DH-loving AL threw fewer innings in relief. The Mariners called on their pen to throw 419 1/3 innings, which was 1 2/3 less than the Phillies.

So even before adding Cliff Lee to the rotation, and even without a full year of Oswalt, the Phillies were already calling on their bullpen to throw fewer innings than any team in their league and almost any other team in baseball.

For the last three seasons, the Phils have been in the bottom half in the NL in terms of innings pitched in relief. In two of the three years they have been among the three teams that threw the fewest innings in relief.

Here’s the number of innings the Phillies bullpen has thrown per season over the past five years and their rank in innings pitched in relief in the NL for that year:

Year IP in relief NL rank innings pitched in relief
2010 421 16
2009 492 9
2008 483 14
2007 520 8
2006 539 4

In 2006, the Phillies threw 539 innings in relief. Only three teams in the NL threw more innings in relief that year, the Mets, Nationals and Cubs. By 2008, only two NL teams (the Brewers and the Diamondbacks) threw fewer innings in relief than the Phils. In 2010, the Phils were 16th in the 16-team league in innings pitched by their relievers (no NL team threw fewer).

There is bad news, though, and that’s that the bullpens, with one notable exception, have generally not gotten better at preventing runs as the number of innings they throw relative to the rest of the league goes down. The table below has the same three columns as the table above, but adds the NL rank for runs allowed per inning in relief for each year.

Year IP in relief NL rank innings pitched in relief NL Rank R/IP in relief
2010 421 16 8
2009 492 9 9
2008 483 14 1
2007 520 8 13
2006 539 4 3

In 2006, the bullpen was throwing a ton of innings, but they were also allowing fewer runs per inning pitched in relief than every bullpen in the league except for the Mets and the Padres. Last year the bullpen threw fewer innings than any other team in the league, but their effectiveness in terms of runs allowed per innings pitched was in the middle of the pack. 2008 is the only year in the last four in which the bullpen excelled at preventing runs. In that year the Phils were near the bottom of the league in bullpen innings pitched and at the very top in terms of runs allowed per inning pitched. You may recall that things turned out well for the team that year.

JC Romero appears to be headed back to the Phils. Five guys in the pen at this point: Romero, Baez, Contreras, Madson and Lidge. Many articles, including this post, suggest that the addition of Romero makes it less likely the Phils would bring back Durbin.


And if Madson can just steer clear of any other chairs with malicious intent, the back of the pen might be okay

Just as long as he doesn’t have a problem with pitching like three innings a game.

The biggest worry for many Phillies fans as we head into the NLCS seems to be that the offense either just won’t show up or won’t be able to handle the San Francisco pitching. I sure hope that doesn’t happen, but there seems to be a whole lot of evidence that the Philly offense can hit just about anyone. Instead of worrying about the areas where we know the Phils are better than the Giants, I wonder if we should take some time to worry about the areas where we know San Francisco is better than the Phillies.

By that, of course, I mean the bullpens.

There is no argument to be made that the Phililes had a better bullpen that the Giants this year. The Phillies relief corps was in the middle of the pack in the NL while San Francisco was perhaps a tick less dominant that the Padres, but still at least the second-best bullpen in the league. Phillies relievers threw to a 4.02 ERA (tenth-best in the NL) and a 1.39 ratio (tenth-best), the Giants bullpen had a 2.99 ERA (second-best) and a 1.31 ratio (sixth).

It’s not really very close. There was one area where the Phillies had an advantage, though, and might still in the series. Here’s the NL rank for runs allowed per batter faced in innings six through nine for each team (the numbers include results for all pitchers for each team, not just relievers):

Inning SF PHI
6 1 4
7 1 12
8 9 1
9 3 12

So, you shouldn’t be hoping to put up a whole lot of runs against the Giants in the sixth, seventh or ninth, but you also shouldn’t be looking to do much against the Phils in the eighth.

If you’re a Phillies fan, you’re almost surely guessing that we have Ryan Madson to thank for his dominance in the eighth inning. And you’re right. But Madson wasn’t the only reliever who shined for the Phils in that role. Contreras was also fantastic in the eighth inning and got a lot of chances there, thanks to the toe incident that sidelined Madson early in the season. Madson wound up facing 114 batters in the eighth inning for the season and Contreras 111. As good as Madson was, Contreras pitched just about as much as Madson did in the eighth and was nearly as effective. Here’s what the duo did in the eighth for the season:

Player IP
ERA Ratio K
Madson 29 2/3 1.52 0.81 32
Contreras 27 1/3 1.65 1.17 24

While it’s nifty that Contreras threw so well in the eighth over the course of the year, you have to wonder a little about how relevant that is going to be in the series. Contreras threw to a 5.63 ERA over his last eight appearances in the season. He had an 0.56 ERA in his first 18 appearances of 2010, but since June 1 he’s thrown 40 2/3 innings with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.40 ratio. If you see him pitching in the eighth in the NLCS it’s probably going to mean that Madson is hurt or the Phils are up or down by a lot of runs.

If there’s not a ton of reasons to have confidence in what Contreras might do at the back of the pen in the series, it sure seems like there is a lot of reason for confidence in Madson. Madson threw to a 1.04 ERA and an 0.89 ratio over his last 36 appearances to end the regular season, striking out 44 in 34 2/3 innings.

There’s more, though. The Phillies haven’t just been dominant in the eighth inning. The Giants have oddly also been ineffective, slipping into the bottom half in the NL in runs allowed per batter faced. They also floundered in the eighth inning in the NLDS against the Braves. Here are the numbers for their three relievers who have faced the most batters in the eighth inning, righties Sergio Romo and Guillermo Mota and lefty Jeremy Affedlt:

Player IP
ERA Ratio K
S Romo 30 2/3 1.47 0.72 34
G Mota 22 1/3 6.45 1.30 15
J Affeldt 19 2/3 4.12 1.63 19

There’s not a lot of mystery about who was helping and hurting the Giants in the eighth during the regular season — Romo was really good and Mota and Affeldt, especially Mota, were less good. Romo didn’t have a good NLDS, allowing hits to both men he faced in game two and allowing a run while getting two outs in game three. He ended the set with a 40.50 ERA and a 4.50 ratio for the post-season. The Giants let righty Santiago Casilla and lefty Javier Lopez handle the eighth with a one-run lead in game four. Casilla threw to a 1.95 ERA with the Giants and struck out 56 in 55 1/3 innings, but he pitched more in both the sixth and seventh innings than he did the eighth this season.

The ninth inning has been a different story, of course. Brian Wilson has been perhaps the best closer in the league after Billy Wagner, leading the NL with 48 saves while throwing to a 1.81 ERA and an 1.18 ratio for the season.

Here’s what the two guys that faced the most batters in the ninth for each team did in the inning:

Player IP
ERA Ratio K
B Wilson 54 2/3 1.81 1.10 69
J Affeldt 15 2/3 3.45 1.47 15
B Lidge 37 2/3 3.58 1.27 43
R Madson 18 1/3 4.42 1.31 25

No contest there between Wilson and Lidge. Neither Madson or Affeldt impressed with their chances in the ninth, but Wilson and Lidge are going to be the guys looking to convert save opportunities in the series. Opponents hit for about the same average against Wilson and Lidge, .207 against Lidge and .210 for Wilson, but Wilson threw 17 more innings in the ninth and allowed fewer homer runs (three for Wilson and five for Lidge) and walked fewer hitters (17 for Wilson and 19 for Lidge).


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