Tag: Bullpen

Extra! Extra! Bases!

Yesterday I wrote that in 2008, Chad Durbin allowed extra-base hits at a rate far lower than many of the other pitchers on the team. He also allowed extra-base hits at a rate far lower than he has over his career.

  PA % H % BB % SO % XBH
Durbin ’08 365 22.2 9.6 17.3 4.7
Durbin rest
of career
2,099 25.5 9.2 12.6 8.9

Durbin had the best year of his career in ’08. He didn’t do it by cutting down his walks — he walked batters more regularly than he has over the rest of his career. He did allow fewer hits and strike out batters more regularly, but the most dramatic change in the four categories is the improvement in preventing extra-base hits in ’08.

Coming into 2008, Durbin had allowed 187 extra-base hits in 2,099 plate appearances — that’s one every 11.22 plate appearances. In 2008 he allowed 17 extra-base hits in 365 plate appearances, which is one every 21.47 plate appearances.

In his work as a reliever before 2008, Durbin had also allowed extra-base hits at a rate that was higher than what he did last year and that was very similar to his career numbers overall coming into ’08. Prior to last season, he had faced 299 hitters as a relief pitcher and allowed 26 extra-base hits, or one every 11.50 plate appearances.

The Phillies would have had a lot of trouble winning the division last year without Durbin’s contribution. And they’re counting on him to come up big again this season. I think there’s two things to worry about, though. One is that Durbin’s 2008 was just by far his best year and even including 2008 he still has a career 5.29 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. The other is that Durbin had two dramatically different halves in ’08, a great first half in which he threw to a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 ratio and a weaker second half in which he threw to a 4.33 ERA with a 1.50 ratio.

If you think the secret to Durbin’s success in the future could be preventing extra-base hits, it surely couldn’t hurt. There’s a lot more too it than that, though, as Durbin himself helped demonstrate with his second half last season. In the second half of 2008, when he was less effective, he still wasn’t being hurt by the extra-base hit. He gave up hits and walks at a higher rate than in the first half, and struck a lot fewer people out, but the rate at which he gave up extra-base hits stayed about the same:

  PA % H % BB % SO % XBH
1st half ’08 214 20.6 8.9 20.1 4.7
2nd half ’08 151 24.5 10.6 13.2 4.6

Opponents hit .282 against Durbin the second half (.234 in the first half) and on-based .367 (.310). So while the fact that they slugged just .382 (.314) against him in the second half helped avoid a complete disaster, it wasn’t enough to make his numbers after the break nearly as impressive as they had been before the break.

The Phils beat Team Canada yesterday, winning 9-2.

Hamels made his spring debut and went two scoreless innings, allowing two singles and a walk. Dave Borkowski threw a perfect inning, continuing his impressive performance in the early going. Andrew Carpenter allowed two runs on three hits and four walks over two innings. Eyre struck out two in a scoreless frame.

Offensively, Mayberry continued his tear, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. Jeremy Slayden, who has also been outstanding, hit a three-run homer in his only at-bat. Ibanez was 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Paulino 1-for-3. Donald 0-for-3. Stairs went 1-for-3 with a single for Team Canada.

The Phils play Team USA today. Kyle Kendrick is expected to pitch.

The Zo Zone has updates (a day old) on the medical conditions of Utley, Feliz, Werth, Coste and Durbin.

Ad: TicketCity has Phillies tickets for spring training and regular season games.


’08 Phils make their case for bullpens without eight guys with an ERA over five

The ’07 Phils actually had 13 guys pitch out of the pen who ended their year with the team with an ERA over 5.00: JD Durbin, Antonio Alfonseca, Clay Condrey, Jose Mesa, Francisco Rosario, Mike Zagurski, Yoel Hernandez, Brian Sanches, Fabio Castro, Kane Davis, John Ennis, Matt Smith and Anderson Garcia. They got it down to five in 2008: Eaton, Kendrick, Gordon, Swindle and Walrond — of that group only Gordon threw more than 11 innings in relief.

Here is the Phillies record by number of runs they scored in 2007:

2007

Runs

W-L

Cumulative W-L
0 0-3 0-3
1 0-8 0-11
2 0-14 0-25
3 4-16 4-41
4 11-12 15-53
5 13-9 28-62
6 15-9 43-71
7 6-0 49-71
8 13-2 62-73
9 10-0 72-73
10 4-0 76-73
>10 13-0 89-73

And here’s what they did in 2008:

2008

Runs

W-L

Cumulative W-L
0 0-8 0-8
1 2-6 2-14
2 3-17 5-31
3 7-16 12-47
4 12-10 24-57
5 17-3 41-60
6 14-5 55-65
7 9-2 64-67
8 16-2 80-69
9 2-1 82-70
10 3-0 85-70
>10 7-0 92-70

There were a lot of significant differences between the 2007 Phillies and the 2008 Phillies. Among the most important were that in 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs, nearly a hundred runs fewer than they had scored in 2007 when the led the NL with 892. A second was that in 2008 the Phillies had, by ERA, the best bullpen in the NL. This was coming off a year when the bullpen was miserable — in 2007, the Phils’ bullpen ERA of 4.50 was 13th best in the league.

As you would guess, the Phils played more games in 2007 where they scored a large number of runs. In 2007, the Phillies played 42 games in which they scored more than seven runs. In 2008, they played just 31.

In 2007, the Phils used their monster offense to pound their way to some wins. Here are the team’s record in games where they scored eight runs or less in the two seasons:


Record in games where they scored eight runs or less
Year W-L PCT
2007 62-73 .459
2008 80-69 .537

In ’07, the Phils were way under .500 in games where they scored eight runs or fewer. They made up for it with 27 games in which they scored nine or more runs, going 27-0 in those games. In 2008, the Phils played just 13 games where they scored more than eight runs and lost one of those (they went 12-1), but were hugely more successful in the games when they scored eight runs or fewer. They also played more of them — 149 games when they scored eight runs or fewer compared to 135 in 2007.

Finally, you can also see the impact of the improved pen when you look at their results in games where they scored either five or six runs in the game:


Record in games where they scored five or six runs
Year W-L PCT
2007 28-18 .609
2008 31-8 .795

Chris Coste knows he’s a far better defensive catcher than people think.

This says the Phillies are looking at lefty Will Ohman. The linked article also suggests that if Nomar Garciaparra decides to play this year he would be interested in playing for the Phils.


Relief in brief

Here’s a look at some of the guys we could be seeing out of the Dodgers bullpen in the NLCS, what they did this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Jonathan Broxton R 69.0 3.13 1.17 88 11.1 0.79 1.24 13
Takashi Saito R 47.0 2.49 1.19 60 5.2 4.76 1.76 7
Cory Wade R 71.1 2.27 0.93 51 16.2 1.08 0.54 13
James McDonald R 6.0 0.00 1.00 2 6.0 0.00 1.00 2
Greg Maddux R 194.0 4.22 1.21 98 29.2 4.25 0.94 14
Chan Ho Park R 95.1 3.40 1.40 79 9.2 6.52 1.55 11
Joe Beimel L 49.0 2.02 1.45 32 10.0 0.90 0.90 8
Hong-Chih Kuo L 80.0 2.14 1.01 96 3.2 2.45 1.91 5

In the NLDS, the LA pen threw eight innings. Wade threw 3 2/3 of them and allowed one run. Broxton threw 3 1/3 scoreless frames without allowing a hit (he walked two). Maddux threw one scoreless frame. Saito started the ninth inning of game two with a 10-1 lead and allowed two runs on three hits without getting an out.

I think it’s safe to say that Broxton and Wade are the guys they want to lean on in the NLCS as well.

Against the Phillies, the Dodgers look likely to start righties Lowe, Billingsley and Kuroda. If they go with a fourth starter, lefty Clayton Kershaw looks likely to get the call with another option being veteran righty Greg Maddux.

Who is going to get Utley and Howard out is always an issue for a team facing the Phils. Here’s what the guys who may be primarily tasked with that responsibility in the NLCS have done against lefties this season:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Beimel L 100 278 330 311 17
Kuo L 98 202 216 340 44

The strikeout numbers for Kuo are particularly impressive. Beimel has allowed just three extra-base hits to lefties this season, all doubles.

Kuo was not on the roster for LA in the NLDS. He last pitched on September 14 before being shut down with a sore elbow. He may be be added to the roster for the NLCS, which could cost McDonald his spot of the roster.

Righties Saito and Wade were both really good against lefties as well in ’08:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Saito R 94 244 298 314 24
Wade R 116 211 243 312 25

I don’t think we’ll see much of Saito against lefties given how bad he’s been of late. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his appearances after coming off the DL in mid-September before one miserable appearance in the NLDS. Wade is fantastic, though.

Broxton will probably close, but along with Park, his numbers against lefties this year are bad:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Broxton R 126 270 400 400 28
Park R 180 301 399 464 33

One thing I think is interesting is the notion that Kershaw may be the game four starter primarily to counter the lefties Utley and Howard. Despite the fact that he’s right-handed, Maddux seems like he may be better suited to handle lefties:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Kershaw L 92 250 337 475 30
Maddux R 371 272 310 391 42

Finally, the 23-year-old rookie James McDonald has faced just 18 left-handed hitters in his career, but he’s been good against them. They are 2-for-17 with two singles and a walk (118/167/118).

Update: Saito is off the LA roster for the NLCS. Kuo has taken his spot. The Phillies roster for the NLCS remains the same, with Happ active and Seanez inactive. Here is the Dodgers roster for the NLCS.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces righty Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24) tonight in game one of the NLCS. Lowe was ninth in the NL in ERA this season. His 1.13 ratio was fourth-best in the league. He allowed just 14 home runs in 211 innings. Opponents hit 246/285/352 against him and righties and lefties put up very similar numbers.

He started game one on the NLDS in Chicago and held the Cubs to two runs over six innings. He hasn’t been charged with more than two runs in a start in any of his last ten outings.

He has been better at home than he has away. In 17 starts at Dodger Stadium this season he went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA and an 0.93 ERA. In 17 starts away from LA he went 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.39 ratio.

He started against the Phillies on August 11 and allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Utley hit a pair of doubles against him in that game.

Burrell has hit him well over his career, 6-for-19 (.313) with two doubles. Feliz has seen him a lot without much success, 5-for-23 (.217) with two home runs. Dobbs is 0-for-9. Howard 2-for-16 (.125), Utley 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles.

Hamels was fantastic in game one of the NLDS, holding the Brewers to two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out nine. He showed no sign of being worn down by the 227 1/3 innings he threw in 2008, second-most in the NL.

Hamels made two starts against the Dodgers this season, throwing to a 2.57 ERA with an 0.86 ratio. He pitched well against them on August 12, leaving with a 3-2 lead after seven innings, but the Dodgers scored one in the eighth off of Durbin and one in the ninth off of Romero to win 4-3. He got the win on August 23, holding LA to two runs over seven innings while the Phils scored nine times. Russell Martin hit a two-run homer off of him in that game to account for both of the runs he allowed.

None of the current Dodgers have ten career at-bats against him. Ramirez 2-for-8 (.250), Martin 1-for-6 (.167), Blake 2-for-8 (.250), Loney 1-for-6 (.167), Ethier 0-for-4.


Nothing like a cold pitcher of Brewer

The post-season rosters haven’t been set yet, but here’s a look at what some of the guys that could be pitching out of the Milwaukee pen over the next few days have done this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Eric Gagne R 46.1 5.44 1.47 38 11.2 3.09 0.94 10
Salomon Torres R 80.0 3.49 1.45 51 12.2 8.53 2.05 7
Guillermo Mota R 57.0 4.11 1.40 50 10.1 2.61 1.06 8
C Villanueva R 108.1 4.07 1.31 93 15.1 2.35 1.17 16
Seth McClung R 105.1 4.02 1.41 87 16.1 1.10 1.04 17
Brian Shouse L 51.1 2.81 1.17 33 5.0 7.20 1.40 1
Mitch Stetter L 25.1 3.20 1.30 31 2.2 6.75 1.88 2

McClung actually made one start in September — along with Gagne, Villanueva and Mota, he has nice numbers this month.

Torres was hit hard twice in his last six appearances, both times by the Cubs, and has the numbers to prove it. On Saturday he gave up three runs on three hits without getting an out. On September 18 he was charged with four runs in an inning in Chicago.

The issue of who is going to get out Howard and Utley (and presumably Stairs and Jenkins off the bench) could be a big one this series. Both Shouse and Stetter at first glance appear to have pretty solid numbers for the season and miserable numbers for September. Not to be forgotten is how fragile those numbers for the month are given how few innings each of them has pitched. Settler has been charged with runs in just one of his seven appearances this month. Shouse was charged with a run or more in two of his seven appearances.

Opponents are hitting just .165 against Stetter, but he has walked 19 in 25 1/3 innings.

And here’s the Phillies:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Brad Lidge R 69.1 1.95 1.23 92 12.2 0.71 1.34 17
Ryan Madson R 82.2 3.05 1.23 67 14.0 0.64 0.93 17
Chad Durbin R 87.2 2.87 1.32 63 11.2 6.94 1.89 5
Clay Condrey R 69.0 3.26 1.51 34 8.2 1.04 1.15 4
Rudy Seanez R 43.1 3.53 1.45 30 7.0 2.57 0.86 5
JC Romero L 59.0 2.75 1.34 52 6.0 7.50 2.00 5
Scott Eyre L 25.2 4.21 1.17 32 6.1 4.26 1.11 8

Manuel will surely rely on Madson, Durbin, Romero and Lidge with the game on the line. The Phillies wouldn’t have won 92 games and probably wouldn’t be in the playoffs without the contributions they got from Durbin and Lidge this season. But Durbin has been terrible of late. It sure feels like Lidge has been shaky recently, too, but that may just be because we’ve never seen much of anything go wrong with him in a Phillies uniform. His numbers sure weren’t shaky in September.

Unbelievable month for Madson, which didn’t get the recognition it deserves. Seventeen strikeouts in 14 innings while yielding just a single earned run.

Seanez and Condrey probably won’t be on the mound if the outcome is in question and Manuel has any other choice. Both have pitched well, though.

As a Phillies fan, the guy I’m most scared of out of the pen these days is Durbin. Romero is 1A — another guy that had just an amazing year and helped get the Phillies where they are. Fifty-two strikeouts in 59 innings. He may be worn down a bit, though. Over his last ten appearances he’s gotten more than one out without being charged a run just twice.

Lidge, Madson and Durbin both pitched last on Saturday. Romero last pitched on Friday. Those guys are the core of the pen and that’s a lot of rest for some pitchers who needed a lot of rest. Hopefully it was enough.

It appears now that JA Happ will be on the roster to pitch out of the pen, perhaps costing Seanez his spot. Happ threw to a 3.69 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for the Phils this season. He appeared in eight games, making four starts. He struck out 26 with a 1.33 ratio. He was very good down the stretch, throwing 18 2/3 innings in September with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.07 ratio.

Burrell hurt his back in batting practice today. His status for tomorrow is unknown. That’s a big deal if he misses game one, but not quite as big a deal as it would be if Yovani Gallardo wasn’t right-handed.


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