Tag: Brett Myers

Non-starter

The Playoff Start Log is updated and I think it says a lot about what went wrong for the Phillies in the World Series. In 2008 the Phils won it all, getting five quality starts in five World Series games. After Lee allowed one run in nine innings in game one of the NLDS against the Rockies this year, the Phils had made seven quality starts in a row in playoff games. In the last four games of the World Series this year the Phillies didn’t have a quality start and their starters threw to a 7.59 ERA. They allowed 18 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.

That probably has a lot to do with how much better the Yankees are at scoring runs than the Rockies or Rays. Still, you aren’t going to win a lot of games when your starters throw to a 7.59 ERA.

The Yankees won the World Series this year. The Phillies didn’t. The Yankees had Andy Pettitte and the Phillies had Joe Blanton. The pair didn’t play in the same league in 2009, but they had pretty similar numbers during the regular season:

  GS IP ERA Ratio ERA+
Blanton 31 195.1 4.05 1.32 106
Pettitte 32 194.2 4.16 1.38 107

If the two players had a similar year in the regular season, they didn’t in the post-season. The Yankees put a whole lot of their playoff eggs in the Pettitte basket, but Blanton was not a big part of the Phillies rotation in the playoffs. You didn’t have to watch the Phillies play too many playoff games this year before that became apparent. He was pitching in relief in the sixth inning of game two of the NLDS with the Phils down 4-0.

The Phils and Yankees both played 15 post-season games in 2009. Pettitte threw almost twice as many innings as Blanton. He threw 30 2/3 while Blanton threw 15 2/3. Blanton made two starts and two appearances in relief while Pettitte’s post-season legend grew. Pettitte made five post-season starts in ’09 and went 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Why would the Phillies do such a thing? Well, it wasn’t because Blanton hadn’t been good in the post-season. He helped them win the World Series in 2008 as he started three playoff games. The Phils won all three as Blanton went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio.

The why, apparently, turned out to be that the Phils thought their chances were better with Pedro Martinez. The Phils signed the free agent Martinez in mid-July to a contract that would have the Phillies paying him about a million dollars. Martinez made nine starts for the Phils in 2009 and pitched better than a lot of people were expecting, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. There were some warning signs, too, though. Opponents slugged .472 against him and he allowed eight home runs in 44 2/3 innings. That home run rate would have had him allowing about 36 over 200 innings. Milwaukee’s Braden Looper was the only pitcher in either league that allowed 36 or more home runs this season. Two of his early starts with the Phils were cut short by rain, but he threw less than five innings per start in his nine outings with the Phils.

He didn’t exactly end the regular season on a high note. He made a fantastic start against the Mets on September 13 in which he threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings. His next start was against the Braves on September 19 and he allowed three runs over three innings before leaving the game with a neck problem. He made just one more start before the end of the year and he wasn’t very good. On September 30, he faced Houston and allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over four innings.

It didn’t scare off the Phillies. They let him start a game in the NLCS and two games in the World Series. They lost all three games. In the first he pitched great but had to be pulled before he had thrown 90 pitches. In each of the next two the Phils left him in the game too long. He started the game in which they were eliminated from the World Series and was awful.

So Blanton was a solid pitcher this year, the Phils gave at least some of his playoff starts to Pedro, who not a lot of other teams seemed to want, and then they lost every post-season game that Pedro started. That sounds pretty bad and I think it was. It’s a little more complicated than that, though.

The Phillies scored a total of five runs in the three games Martinez started. Pedro didn’t pitch as well as his numbers would indicate, but his numbers were great overall for the playoffs. In the three playoff starts with the Phils, Pedro threw to a 3.71 ERA with an 0.88 ERA. Blanton, meanwhile, did not pitch well in his post-season chances. He made two starts and two relief appearances overall for the post-season, throwing to a 5.17 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Still, the decision to go with Martinez instead of Blanton in the post-season was critical for the Phillies. And it didn’t work.

Cliff Lee will be back with the Phils in 2010 after the Phillies picked up his $9 million option.

Brett Myers will not be back.

Feliz may or may not be back, but it’s a little less likely now that the Phillies have declined his $5.5 million option.

I think the Phils went 3-for-3 in that flurry. I think it was the right decision not to pick up Feliz’s option, but I was surprised to see them do it. Beltre, Figgins and DeRosa seem to be the names that most people are talking about as improvements at third. If he’s healthy, I think Troy Glaus would be a huge help for the Phillies offensively as well. You might notice some defensive dropoff, though. The list of free agent third basemen that would help the Phils more than Feliz isn’t that long, so hopefully they have something in mind.

Ibanez (sports hernia) and Eyre (loose bodies in his elbow) were scheduled for surgeries yesterday and Lidge will have surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.

Park, Feliz, Bako, Stairs, Martinez, Myers and Cairo have all filed to become free agents.


Which switch?

Four switch-hitters seem likely to get a lot of at-bats for the Yankees in the World Series. Here’s a look at what Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher have done against left and right-handed pitching in 2009 and over their careers as switch-hitters:

 
Vs Right

Vs Left
  A O S OPS A O S OPS
Posada 09 282 365 544 909 290 360 476 836
Posada Career 268 378 474 852 299 381 496 877
                 
Teixeira 09 282 373 579 952 305 400 511 911
Teixeira
Career
281 371 547 918 309 394 537 931
                 
Cabrera 09 277 332 415 747 268 343 420 763
Cabrera
Career
275 333 397 730 255 325 355 680
                 
Swisher 09 250 357 509 866 244 393 475 868
Swisher
Career
242 341 468 809 251 395 439 834

Posada was much better against righties than lefties in 2009, but has been better against left-handed pitching over his career. It was the fourth straight year for Posada that he posted a better OPS against right-handed pitching than left, though. The difference was most dramatic in 2006, when he hit just 263/348/380 in 158 plate appearances against lefties and 284/385/540 against righties. It’s enough to convince me that you’re better off with a lefty against him if you can. He good against lefties, too, and has had monster years against left-handed pitching. In 2002, for example, he hit 326/420/556 against them while hitting just 247/351/436 against righties. I’d still go with lefty these days.

Your chances aren’t real good against Teixeira no matter who’s pitching. He’s put up an OPS of over .900 against both right and left-handed pitching for each of the past three seasons. In 2006 he was a lot better against lefties than righties, but in 2005 he was better against righties. I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

It’s really, really in the Phillies’ best interests to get Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina out as often as possible in this series. The .680 career OPS against left-handed pitching is a pretty compelling argument that a lefty is the way to do it. Cabrera was a little better against lefties in 2009, but it still looks like the way to go. I don’t think you’re going to see the Phils make a whole lot of moves to get the pitcher they want on Cabrera either way.

Swisher gets on base more against lefties and hits for more power against righties. That has been the story for his career and it was for 2009 as well. I’d go with a righty if I could, but I don’t think it matters much and I don’t think the Phils will go to a lot of trouble to try to get Swisher facing a righty, either.

Bottom line for me is I don’t think it matters a whole lot whether it’s a righty or a lefty pitching to Cabrera or Teixeira. Teixeira is just a real good hitter either way and Cabrera is just not. I think you’re a little better off with a lefty against Posada and a little better off with a righty against Swisher.

Miguel Cairo is off the roster for the World Series and Brett Myers has taken his spot. I think that’s a very good decision. Cairo and Bruntlett both was too much.

This suggests that left-handed batter Eric Hinske and right-handed pitcher Brian Bruney have been added to the Yankees roster, taking the places of Francisco Cervelli and Freddy Guzman. Cervelli was the third catcher and his removal leaves the Yankees with two and more questions about who will catch Burnett’s starts. Lidge struck Hinkse out to end the World Series in 2008.


Pitch account

Here’s the number of runs allowed by the Phils and Yankees for 2009 and how that compares with the other teams in the leagues they played in and with all 30 MLB teams combined:

  Runs allowed RA/G League
Rank
MLB Rank
NYY 753 4.65 6 14
PHI 709 4.38 6 7

Neither the Phillies or the Yankees were exceptionally good at preventing runs. Five of the 14 AL teams allowed fewer runs than the Yankees and five of the 16 teams in the NL allowed fewer runs than the Phillies.

By OPS, both teams fared better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters:

  R OPS against League MLB L OPS against League MLB
NYY .742 6 15 .724 1 3
PHI .769 12 23 .735 4 7

By OPS against by opposing batters, the Yankees were better against left-handed batters than every team in the AL and also better than every team in the NL except for the Dodgers and Giants. Left-handed batters didn’t do a lot against lefty CC Sabathia — they hit just 198/250/310 against him for the season. They fared better against his left-handed rotation-mate Andy Pettitte. Lefties hit 282/321/409 against Pettitte. The New York bullpen had a lot of luck against left-handed batters. Righties Mariano Rivera and Alfredo Aceves were both very good against lefties. They hit 182/328/273 against Rivera and 212/255/305 against Aceves. Lefties also didn’t do much against lefty relievers Phil Coke and Damaso Marte. They hit just 195/218/366 against Coke. Marte missed about a hundred games this season and faced just 28 left-handed batters. The 28 he did face, though, went 3-for-25 with two walks (120/214/280).

Coke did give up a bunch of home runs, though, ten for the year in just 60 innings. Lefties can hit under .200 against them all they want, but I refuse to fear Coke and Marte in this series. If you’re new to the Phillies, the middle of the Phillies order goes Utley-Howard-Werth-Ibanez 3-4-5-6, which is three good left-handed hitters split up by Werth, who was among the best hitters in baseball this season against left-handed pitching. Among the 132 players in the leagues combined who got at least 150 plate appearances against lefties, Werth’s 1.080 OPS was third best.

The Phillies pitchers, meanwhile, weren’t good at all against right-handed hitting while A-Rod, Teixeira and Posada all hammered righties.

Pitching in the National League, the starters for the Phillies pitched to a better ERA and ratio than the Yankees starters:

 
Starters
  ERA League MLB Ratio League MLB
NYY 4.48 5 13 1.41 5 19
PHI 4.29 7 9 1.34 6 8

For NL teams for the season, the average ERA was 4.30 and the average ratio was 1.37. So the Phils starters had an ERA that was almost the same as the starting pitchers in their league and a ratio that was a little better.

For AL teams for the season, the average ERA was 4.62 and the average ratio was 1.41. So the ERA for the Yankees starting pitchers was better than the league average while their ratio was about the same.

Neither team has outstanding pitching. Sabathia was clearly the best starter for the Yankees on the season and he went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.15 ratio. Cliff Lee went 14-13 between the Phillies and Indians, throwing to a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio.

The Yankees’ bullpen was much better than the bullpen for the Phillies:

 
Relievers
  ERA League MLB Ratio League MLB
NYY 3.91 5 13 1.25 1 1
PHI 3.91 9 14 1.38 8 15

Yankees’ relievers allowed 7.78 hits per nine innings. Of the 30 teams in MLB, that rate was second-best. They also walked just 3.48 batters per nine, which was third-best of 30. What they did do was give up a whole lot of home runs. They allowed 72 in 515 innings, which is 1.26 homers per nine or 30th of the 30 MLB teams for relief pitchers.

A big part of the problem for the Yankees this year in the bullpen home run department was that Sergio Mitre, Brett Tomko, Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Michael Dunn and Anthony Claggett combined to allow 27 homers in 117 innings. You don’t want to be holding your breath waiting to see those guys in this series. Chances are good you could see Phil Coke, Chad Gaudin and Damaso Marte, though — those guys combined to allow 16 home runs in 84 1/3 innings in relief.

Among the guys who look likely to be pitching out of the pen for the Yankees, Aceves (1.00), Coke (1.50), Gaudin (2.45) and Marte (2.03) all allowed at least one home run per nine innings while pitching in relief this season.

The Philadelphia pen, meanwhile, was worse overall but gave up a lot more hits and walks but fewer homers. 8.36 hits per nine innings was eleventh-best among the 30 teams and 4.08 walks per nine was just 22nd-best. They did a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, though, giving up just 46 homers in 492 relief innings for a rate of 0.84 per nine innings that was ninth-best among teams in either league.

Pedro will start game two for the Phillies with Hamels starting game three. The linked article also mentions the possibility that Lee will pitch game four. Hope that works, but I would have liked to have seen the Phillies go with a four-man rotation that went Lee, Blanton, Martinez, Hamels. This way does allow Blanton to pitch out of the pen and the Phils could sure use some help in the pen. If he doesn’t pitch in relief he could start game four. I would much rather they just put their relievers like Condrey or Walker on the roster and let the starters start, though. Happ makes a lot more sense out of the pen to me than Blanton.

This suggests that Bastardo and Myers could be on the roster for the World Series. Myers makes more sense to me than Bastardo to be the third lefty in the pen.


Only the names, and the fact that the Dodgers are much, much better now, have changed

If it seems like you’ve seen the NLCS between the Phils and Dodgers before it’s because you have. A lot has changed over the past year, though, and the most important among them is that the Dodgers have gotten a lot better. After going 84-78 in 2008, the Dodgers posted the best record in the NL in 2009 at 95-67.

The wins aren’t the only thing that improved for LA this year. Here’s a look at the runs scored by the Dodgers and Phils for this year and 2008:


Team

Runs Scored

NL Rank

’09 LA

780
4

’09 PHI

820
1
     

’08 LA

700

13

’08 PHI

799
3

The Phillies hit in both years compared to the other teams in the National League. The Dodgers were third in runs scored this year, but thirteenth in 2008.

LA was fantastic at preventing runs in both ’08 and ’09. The Phillies allowed 29 more runs in ’09 than they did in ’08 and their rank in the NL dropped from third to sixth:


Team

Runs Allowed

NL Rank

’09 LA

611

T-1

’09 PHI

709
6
     

’08 LA

648
1

’08 PHI

680
3

In 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs and allowed 680. So they scored 119 more runs than they allowed. In ’09 they scored 820 and allowed 709, which is the difference of a pretty similar 111.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, scored 700 and allowed 648 in 2008, for a difference of 52 runs. This year they scored 780 and allowed 611, which is the difference of a pretty dissimilar 169.

I don’t think there’s much of an argument to be made that the Phillies were better than the Dodgers in 2009. They weren’t. The Dodgers were better. What I’m not sure about is how much it matters. A big part of why the Dodgers were better for the year is that they went 35-17 in April and May. That’s pretty awesome, but it’s also a long time ago. The Phillies are World Champs and if you watched game four of the NLDS it’s a little hard to deny that their magic is alive and well.

At the same time, the Dodgers won more games than the Phillies this year. Their offense was a little worse than the Phillies, but still among the best in the league, while their pitching was much better. They come off an impressive sweep of the Cardinals. They went 4-3 against the Phillies this year without a single plate appearance from Manny Ramirez.

I do think the Phillies will win the series, but it is going to be a tight one.

Here’s a look back at the series from last year:

Hamels started game one last year against Derek Lowe. The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, but Victorino led off the bottom of the sixth and hit a ground ball to Furcal and Furcal threw it away. Utley followed with a home run to tie the game at 2-2 and Burrell hit a solo shot two batters later, putting the Phils on top to stay at 3-2.

Brett Myers and Chad Billingsley faced off in game two. Myers threw behind Manny in the first inning and a Loney double in the second helped put LA up 1-0. A Myers single helped the Phillies score four times in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 4-1. Loney had another big hit off of Myers in the third, an RBI-single that made it 4-2. The Phils extended their lead to 8-2 with four more runs in the bottom of the third, which featured Chan Ho Park striking out Rollins for the second out of the inning. That should have been it for the game, but LA got back into it in the top of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on, Furcal struck out for what should have been the third out of the inning. Ruiz didn’t block the ball, though, and Furcal was safe at first. Martin followed with a single before Manny hit a three-run homer to make it 8-5. The lead stood up for the Phils, thanks to Durbin, Romero, Lidge and Madson, who combined to throw four shutout innings.

Game three was the game the Phillies lost, falling 7-2 in LA. Moyer got the start and the Dodgers scored five times against him in the bottom of the first. Five of the first six Dodgers hitters to face Moyer reached base before he struck out Kemp for the second out of the inning with the bases loaded. He looked like he was going to get out of it down 2-0, but Blake DeWitt cleared the bases with a three-run triple that made it 5-0. A leadoff double by Howard helped the Phils cut the lead to 5-1 in the top of the second, but Moyer didn’t make it out of the bottom of the second. Furcal led off the bottom of the second with a homer that made it 6-1. Nomar Garciaparra extended the lead to 7-1 with an RBI-single off of Happ in the bottom of the fourth. Burrell drove in Utley with a single in the seventh for the Phillies other run.

Coming off of Myers throwing behind Ramirez in game one, LA starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a ball near the head of Shane Victorino in game three. It led to a bench-clearing incident after Victorino grounded out to end the inning.

Game four changed the series thanks to a late home run from Matt Stairs. Utley and Howard drove in runs off of Lowe in the top of the first, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. Blake homered off of Blanton in the bottom of the first, cutting the lead to 2-1. Blanton protected the one-run lead until LA hit in the bottom of the fifth. Furcal led off with a walk and moved to second when Ethier followed with a bloop single. Ramirez followed with an RBI-single (2-2) and a ground out by Martin brought in Ethier to make it 3-2. Howard led off the sixth with a walk and came in to score on a wild pitch by Park to tie the game at 3-3. Blake led off the bottom of the sixth with a homer off of Durbin, though, making it 4-3, and a throwing error by Howard on a bunt by Furcal helped the Dodgers score another run to extend the lead to 5-3. That score held till the top of the eighth, when Howard led off with a single. Victorino followed two batters later and lined a ball out to right off of Corey Wade, tying the game at 5-5. Feliz flew out for the second out, but Ruiz delivered a two-out single off of Jonathan Broxton and Stairs followed and connected for a mammoth homer to put the Phils up 7-5. Romero and Lidge kept LA off the board in the eighth and the ninth.

It was hard to imagine LA coming back from Stairs dagger. They didn’t. Hamels outpitched Billingsley in game five with the Phillies winning 5-1. Rollins was the first batter of the game and he put the Phils up 1-0 with a home run to center. Howard and Burrell had RBI-singles in the third, making it 3-0. Furcal had an inning to forget in the fifth, making three errors as the Phils extended the lead to 5-0. Manny Ramirez homered off of Hamels with two outs in the sixth to get LA their only run of the game.

Kendrick and Myers are off the Phillies roster for the NLCS and have been replaced by Chan Ho Park and Eric Bruntlett. Bruntlett and Cairo are a lot of similar guys to have on your roster, especially since it means going with 11 pitchers. I think that’s a bad decision — I would rather have seen them carry 12 pitchers and just one of Bruntlett and Cairo given the bullpen struggles and the fact that I would be pretty worried about Park since he hasn’t pitched for the Phils since September 16.

On the other hand, if they weren’t comfortable with letting Kendrick pitch they shouldn’t have him on the roster. You should try to have 12 pitchers in your organization you feel okay about putting into a game, though. Cairo and Bruntlett both is a lot of Cairos and Bruntletts. Condrey and Walker sure must be wondering what is going on.

My guess is that the thinking here may be to try to put another right-handed bat on the bench out of fear of the lefties in the bullpen for the Dodgers, Kuo and Sherrill. Those guys are scary, but if that’s the reasoning I think the Phils may have overthought this one. If it is about putting another righty on the bench, I wonder if they considered Mayberry instead of Bruntlett. It sure seems like he would provoke a bit more worry in the Dodgers since he can hit the ball out of the yard.

This article suggests Pedro Martinez may start game two. I am hoping for Blanton and Pedro in game four. Blanton was 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio in three post-season starts in the post-season in 2008. Manuel’s seeming reluctance to start him is curious to me. It no doubt has a lot to do with fear of his bullpen, but I’d just let him start.

There have been many technical problems with Philliesflow over the past few days. If the site goes down again for a long period of time, I may post at philliesflow.wordpress.com and would let people know where to find the site via the Philliesflow Twitter page.


I mean, what the hell?

My favorite Charlie Manuel quote is, and will probably always be, “We need to be more focused or something.” A strong second, though, is “I mean, what the hell?” That one finds its way into print regularly, and with it Manuel usually manages to perfectly capture his combination of anger and frustration with his team, a player or a situation.

Yesterday Charlie Manuel used his game three starter and his game four starter in game two of the five-game series with the Rockies. Only one of them got hurt, but it still wasn’t the way things are traditionally done. The Phillies lost the game, so Manuel owns that one now as the Phils head to Colorado needing to win at least one of two if they want to keep their season alive.

The Phils lost game two the NLDS yesterday, falling 5-4. Carlos Gonzalez and his speed helped create a run for Colorado in the first and Yorvit Torrealba blasted a two-run homer off of Hamels in the fourth to make it 3-0. A single by Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook sparked another rally in the fifth as the lead was extended to 4-0. The Phils came back with three runs in the sixth to get within one, but a leadoff double by Ryan Spilborghs led to another Colorado run to make it 5-3. The Phils got a late solo blast from Werth to cut the lead to 5-4, but that was how it ended.

Yesterday will also be remembered because Phillies starter Cole Hamels’ wife Heidi went into labor during the game. This article suggests that Hamels did not receive that news until he was done pitching for the day.

The Phillies and Rockies are tied at one game apiece in their five-game NLDS. Game three is Saturday night in Colorado.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Gonzalez (LF/L) (2) Fowler (CF/S) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Atkins (3B/R) (6) Torrealba (C/R) (7) Spilborghs (RF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). The righty Atkins stays in the lineup with the lefty Stewart on the bench. Gonzalez and Fowler switch places at the top of the order. The righty Spilborghs starts in right with the lefty Hawpe on the bench. Iannetta was on the bench again despite his 296/406/580 line against lefties on the season. Torrealba hit 220/288/322 against lefties for the year.

The Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi, Ian Stewart, Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith on the bench to start the game, along with righty and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young.

Gonzalez led off the game for the Rockies. Hamels didn’t get the call on a close 1-2 pitch that looked good to me. Gonzalez singled into right on a 3-2 pitch. Fowler was next and Hamels had Gonzalez picked off first as Gonzalez took off for second. Hamels threw to first and Howard had plenty of time, but double-clutched the throw and Gonzalez was safe at second. Fowler bunted an 0-1 pitch back to Hamels for the first out, moving Gonzalez to third. Helton hit a swinging bunt up the first base line on a 2-1 pitch. Hamels fielded and threw home, but Gonzalez was safe and Colorado led 1-0 with Helton safe at first. Hamels probably would have had Helton at first if he had gone there. Tulowitzki got behind 0-2 and then grounded into a double-play to end the inning, third to second to first.

More bad defense from Howard early in the game after he threw a ball away early in game one. Howard was fantastic defensively early in the season, but his fielding tailed off towards the end of the season. In game one he threw a ball away and yesterday the Phillies should have had Gonzalez at second, which would have saved them a run.

Sixteen pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

Atkins lined softly to Howard to start the second inning. Torrealba was next and he hit a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Rollins fielded, but Torrealba beat his throw to first for a single. Hamels struck Spilborghs out swinging 0-2 for the second out, and it brought Barmes to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Barmes struck out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Thirteen pitches in the inning for Hamels had him at 29 for the game.

Hamels struck Cook out on three pitches to start the top of the third. Gonzalez was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch past a diving Utley and into right field for his second single of the day. Fowler struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. With Hamels ahead of Helton 0-1, he again picked Gonzalez off as the runner took off for second. This time Howard delivered to second and Gonzalez was tagged out to set the Rockies down.

Thirteen pitches in the inning for Hamels. 42.

Helton was back at the dish to start the fourth and lined a 2-2 pitch into center. Tulowitzki popped a 1-2 pitch to Utley for the first out and Hamels struck out Atkins for the second. Torrealba was next, though, and he lined a 1-1 pitch out to left to put Colorado up 3-0. Spilborghs flew to left on an 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Long inning for Hamels. Twenty-four pitches had him at 66 for the game.

Barmes flew to center to for the first out of the fifth, but Cook was next and he blooped a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Gonzalez lined a double to right, sending Cook to third. It brought up Fowler with men on second and third and one down and Fowler hit a ball to the warning track in left. Ibanez took it for the second out, but it was deep enough for the runners to move up. 4-0 with two outs and Gonzalez on third. Helton popped to Rollins to leave Gonzalez stranded.

Seventeen pitches in the inning put Hamels at 83.

Blanton started the sixth after Dobbs hit for Hamels in the bottom of the fifth. He got Tulowitzki on a ground ball to third for the first out. Lefty Ian Stewart hit for the righty Atkins and Blanton struck him out swinging 2-2. Torrealba grounded to short for the third out.

Blanton was back to start the seventh, too, with the Phillies now down 4-3. Spilborghs was the first hitter to face him and he lofted a double to left that fell just in front of the sliding Ibanez. Barmes was next and he put down a bunt. Blanton fielded and tried to get Spilborghs at third, but Spilborghs was safe with Barmes safe at first. Lefty Seth Smith hit for the pitcher Jose Contreras and Happ came in to pitch to him. With the pitcher’s spot due to lead off the bottom of the inning, Cairo took over at third for Feliz as part of a double-switch. Happ wouldn’t be in the game long. Smith smashed a 2-1 pitch off his left leg, just below the knee. Spilborghs held third, but Barmes moved to second and Smith was safe at first with a single. Eyre came in to pitch to Gonzalez with the bases loaded and nobody out. He stuck out Gonzalez for the first out and stayed on to pitch to the switch-hitter Fowler. Fowler hit a fly ball to right deep enough to score Spilborghs and extend the Rockies lead to 5-3. Eyre then got Helton on a pop to shortstop to end the inning and leave two men stranded.

Fowler is much better against lefties, but Manuel leaves Eyre in to face him anyway and Fowler delivers the RBI that proves to be the game-winner. Lots of lefties left to face in the game, though, including Helton right behind Fowler. I think an interesting question is whether Manuel would have brought in a righty to pitch to Fowler if Happ had been able to stay in the game and got Gonzalez like Eyre did. He then could have brought Eyre in to face Helton. I think he probably wouldn’t have and kept Happ in to pitch to Fowler as well, given they still had more than two innings to play.

Second time in the game the Phillies pitcher tries to get an out at a base other than first and it doesn’t work. Hamels tried to get Gonzalez at home on Helton’s dribbler up the first base line and that didn’t work either.

Myers started the eighth with the Phils still down by two. He hit the leadoff man Tulowitzki and walked Stewart behind him. Torrealba bunted the runners to second and third for the first out before Myers walked Spilborghs intentionally to set up the double-play. Barmes hit an 0-1 pitch to third. It might have been a double-play, but Cairo had to come home and did. Tulowitzki was forced for the second out with the bases still loaded. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle. Bastardo came in to pitch to Giambi and struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave the bases loaded.

Huge out by Bastardo. Myers didn’t pitch well.

Madson came in to pitch the ninth with the Phils down 5-4. He got Gonzalez to pop to short and then struck out Fowler and Helton.

Madson looked fantastic, setting down two of the Rockies’ lefties.

The Phillies lineup against righty Aaron Cook went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with a five-man bench that included righties Francisco and Cairo and lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with the Phillies down 1-0. He grounded an 0-1 pitch to second for the first out. Victorino was next and he got behind 0-2 before he singled to left. Utley hit a 1-1 pitch to second and Colorado nearly turned two, but Utley just beat Tulowitzki’s relay to keep the inning alive. Howard struck out looking to end the inning.

Werth led off the second and got ahead 3-0 before he flew to left for the first out. Ibanez dumped a 2-2 pitch into center in front of Fowler for a single, putting a man aboard for Feliz. Feliz struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Cook struck Ruiz out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Hamels drew a five-pitch walk to start the third. Rollins hit an 0-1 pitch to first. Helton tagged the bag and threw to second where Hamels was tagged out to complete the double-play. Victorino was next and he reached on a single back up the middle off the glove of Barmes. Utley struck out looking 1-2 to leave Victorino stranded.

Cook had thrown 45 pitches through three innings.

Howard led off the fourth and singled to center on a 3-1 pitch to lead things off. Werth followed and hit into a double-play. Ibanez grounded softly to second for the third out. Down 4-0, Feliz grounded to short to start the fifth. Ruiz followed and drew a five-pitch walk and Dobbs hit for Hamels. Dobbs flew to right on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Rollins lined to short on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the inning.

Victorino led off the sixth and hit a ground ball back up the middle. Barmes got to it and fielded, but his throw to first was off the glove of Helton and Victorino took second on the throwing error by Barmes. Utley was next and lined a single to right, sending Victorino to third. Howard was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. The ball rolled to the wall, scoring Victorino to make it 4-1 and moving Utley to third. Righty Jose Contreras came on to pitch to Werth. With the infield back for the Rockies, Werth couldn’t put the ball in play and struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Colorado left the righty Contreras in to pitch to Ibanez and Ibanez smashed the first pitch he saw from Contreras into center for a two-run single. 4-3. Feliz got behind 0-2 and then blooped a ball behind second base that dropped for a hit, moving Ibanez to second. Ruiz again swung at the first pitch and grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Ruiz has had terrible results swinging at the first pitch in the series.

Righty Matt Belisle came in to protect the 5-3 Colorado lead in the seventh and set the Phils down in order. Cairo hit the ball well, but it was taken by Fowler for the first out. Rollins struck out swinging 1-2 and Victorino grounded to second.

Righty Rafael Betancourt started the eighth for Colorado. He got Utley and Howard on a pair of ground balls, but Werth connected on an 0-1 pitch and blasted it out to right-center to get the Phillies within one at 5-4. Lefty Franklin Morales came in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez hit his 1-1 pitch hard, but on the ground to Barmes to end the inning.

Betancourt gets through the lefties Utley and Howard and then gets hurt by the righty. Joe Beimel was presumably available after throwing just two pitches in game one, but doesn’t appear in the game for Colorado.

The lefty Morales was still on the mound to start the ninth, so Manuel announced the righty Francisco as his pinch-hitter. The Rockies called on their closer, righty Huston Street to pitch to Francisco. Francisco went down on a ground ball to third for the first out. Stairs hit for Ruiz next and drew a walk. Cliff Lee ran for him at first. Cairo came to the plate as the winning run, but flew to right for the second out. Rollins was next and he laced a 1-2 pitch into right for a single that moved Lee to second. Street got Victorino to line a 2-2 pitch to second to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game with a huge single in the ninth. 2-for-9 with two singles in the series.

Victorino was 3-for-5 in the game and is 4-for-9 with a double in the series.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a single in the game. 2-for-8 in the set.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 4-for-8 with two doubles in the first two games.

Werth 1-for-4 with a homer. 3-for-7 with a triple and a homer so far.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with two RBI. 4-for-8 with a double and four RBI.

Feliz 1-for-3 in the game and 3-for-7 in the series. Cairo was 0-for-2 in the game.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk. He hit into a critical double-play in the sixth. I implore him to stop swinging at the first pitch. He’s 1-for-5 with two walks in the series.

Stairs had a huge at-bat in the ninth and drew a walk to put the tying run on base.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the game.

Carlos Gonzalez is the guy who has done the most for the Rockies offensively. He’s 5-for-9 with a double in the series. Torrealba had a big home run in game two, he’s 3-for-6 with a double and a home run. Tulowitzki is the only other Rockie with more than one hit — he’s 2-for-7 with a double.

No game today. Game three is tomorrow night in Colorado and starts at 9:37. Game four is Sunday night and doesn’t start till 10:07. Fantastic.

One of Happ, Blanton or Martinez will start game three. Blanton threw 19 pitches in game two and Happ four. Happ says his leg will be okay. I think there’s close to no chance it’s Happ in game three.

In the article linked above, Manuel says that he used both Blanton and Happ in the game because he was trying to win. It didn’t happen, though, and it hurt the Phillies chances to win the series. I think it was a bad idea. I know he said he might do it for days before it happened. I didn’t believe him. I also don’t think there’s any chance that not knowing who is pitching game three is going to help Blanton or Martinez.

Happ had X-rays on his leg and says he’s okay. Probably a little less okay than he would have been if Seth Smith hadn’t smashed a line drive off his body, though, but I’m just guessing.

I think the Phillies should start Pedro tomorrow and Blanton in game four. My guess is they will, too, but I’m far from sure.

Martinez says he could throw 90 to 100 pitches in a start if he goes in game three. He threw 130 pitches against the Mets on September 13, really he did, and then threw 56 and 83 in his last two starts of the season.

This article considers the possibility that game three will be postponed due to weather.

Todd Zolecki’s Twitter page says that Heidi Hamels gave birth to a baby boy this morning at 9 AM.


First time, long time

Lot of stuff you can pick to worry about today as the Phils open the post-season against the Rockies. I’m going to go with how many innings Cliff Lee has thrown this year as he makes the first playoff start of his career. Here’s a look at some of the guys on the Phillies and Rockies who are in the top 40 in MLB for innings pitched this year:


MLB leaders, Innings pitched
Rank Player Team IP
5 C Lee CLE/PHI 231 2/3
13 U Jimenez COL 218
15 J Marquis COL 216
40 J Blanton PHI 195 1/3

On the plus side, thirteenth on the list with 218 innings might not be where you want your 25-year-old stud to be either.

Looking just at the NL now, here’s pitchers in the top forty for either team in innings pitched as a reliever:


NL Leaders, Innings pitched as reliever
Rank Player Team IP
4 R Madson PHI 77 1/3
19 C Durbin PHI 69 2/3
37 H Street COL 61 2/3

And here’s NL appearances as a reliever:


NL Leaders, appearances as reliever
Rank Player Team G
4 R Madson PHI 79
22 J Beimel COL 71
37 B Lidge PHI 67

While we’re worrying about stuff, it’s a good time to remember that Madson has thrown a ton over the past two seasons. He was fourth in the NL in both innings pitched as a reliever and appearances as a reliever in ’09 after being fifth in the league in innings pitched in relief and tied for ninth in appearances in 2008.

Lefty Cliff Lee faces righty Ubaldo Jimenez this afternoon in game one of the NLDS.

Jimenez made 33 starts with the Rockies this season, going 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.23 ratio over 218 innings. He was tough on righties, who hit just 206/276/309 against him. He doesn’t give up home runs to much of anyone, he allowed just 13 on the season, but will walk lefties. He faced 482 lefties and 432 righties on the season and walked 56 lefties and 29 righties. He comes into the series with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.15 ratio over his last three starts. In those three outings he struck out 25 in 20 innings.

He started game three of the 2007 NLDS and was brilliant as the Phillies were eliminated. He allowed a run on three hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings. Shane Victorino homered off of him in the seventh for the Phillies only run of the game. He didn’t face the Phillies this year.

Feliz is 3-for-4 with a double and a home run against Jimenez in the regular season for his career. Victorino 3-for-5. Howard 2-for-5 with a homer.

31-year-old lefty Cliff Lee will be making the first post-season start of his career. He went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. Lee doesn’t walk anyone, almost literally when it comes to lefties. He walked six left-handed batters all season. Lefties hit just 241/263/320 against Lee with eleven extra-base hits for the season. Righties had a lot more luck, hitting 283/321/414.

Lee was brilliant in July and August, making 11 starts between the Indians and Phils in which he threw to a 2.06 ERA with an 0.98 ratio. Opponents posted a .590 OPS against him over those 11 starts. Things have been ugly since the end of August. In his last six starts of the season Lee had a 5.45 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. Opponents hit .317 against him.

He made one start against the Rockies this year and pitched well. On August 6 in Philadelphia he allowed one run over seven innings on six hits and a walk while striking out nine. The Phillies won the game 3-1. The Rockies had righties Atkins, Spilborghs, Iannetta and Barmes in their lineup against Lee that day and they combined to go 1-for-15 with a single by Spilborghs.

Jason Giambi is the Rockie who has seen Lee the most over his career from their time in the American League. Giambi is 3-for-10 with a home run against Lee.

Here’s the Phillies NLDS roster. And the Rockies. Just two lefties on the roster for Colorado, so we may be seeing a lot of Joe Beimel and Franklin Morales against Utley, Howard and Ibanez in the short series.

Not a huge fan of the Phillies post-season roster. The relief pitchers on the team who would make me real nervous in a close game include Bastardo, Durbin, Kendrick, Lidge and Myers. That’s a lot. Madson in the ninth, too. I’d feel great about Madson in the eighth, but I don’t think that’s when we’re going to be seeing him pitch. I hope the Phils don’t wind up missing Condrey and Walker too much.

Still, overall I think there’s a lot of reasons to like the Phillies in the series. They won more games in the regular season. They scored more runs than the Rockies. They allowed fewer. They have home field advantage. They won four of the six games the teams played in the regular season. The Rockies weren’t very good on the road this season, especially offensively. The Phils have Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels starting games one and two.

Not much of that is going to matter much if they don’t come out and play well in a few hours, though.


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