Tag: Carlos Lee

Backwards night at the park not a big hit with the Phils

Everything was a little upside down last night in Houston. Former Astro Roy Oswalt pitched for the Phillies with former Astro Hunter Pence playing right field. Former Phil Brett Myers started for the Astros. Joe Blanton pitched in relief.

Oh, and the Phils looked awful. And lost. 5-1. They didn’t do much of anything with Myers, who dropped his ERA on the year to 4.52 by holding them to a run over eight innings. The Phils weren’t charged with an error in the game, but looked pretty bad in the field. During one three-batter stretch in the fourth, the Phils had a ball go off of Ibanez’s glove in left for a hit, Jimmy Rollins and Pete Orr knocked each other down trying to field a ground ball behind second and Oswalt couldn’t handle a relay from second on a would-be double-play. Again, no errors, but you want to make some of those plays if you’re only going to score one run.

Oswalt again didn’t pitch well for the Phils. In his last five starts he’s had two really good outings, but the other three times out he’s allowed 14 runs in 19 innings. Since the end of May, Oswalt has made 13 appearances with the Phils (12 starts) in which he has thrown to a 4.66 ERA and opponents have hit .314 against him.

The Phillies are 94-50 on the year after falling 5-1 to the Houston Astros last night. The Phils have lost two in a row, but won six of their last eight. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one. They lead the NL East by 12 games over the second-place Braves. The Braves have 14 games left to play and lead the Cardinals by 4 1/2 games in the Wild Card hunt.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out five.

He set the Astros down in order in the bottom of the first, getting Jordan Schafer on a fly ball to left, Angel Sanchez on a fly ball to center and striking JD Martinez out swinging.

Carlos Lee singled to left to start the second with the Phils up 1-0, but Oswalt got Brian Bogusevic to ground into a double-play behind him. Jimmy Paredes popped to Rollins for the third out.

Oswalt got Jose Altuve on a fly ball to center for the first out of the third. Humberto Quintero grounded to short for the second before pitcher Brett Myers singled to right. Schafer followed that with a walk, but Oswalt got Sanchez on a fly ball to right to leave both runners stranded.

Martinez doubled to right to start the fourth. Lee grounded to third for the first out with Martinez holding second. Bogusevic was next and he hit a ball to left that went off of Ibanez’s glove for a single that moved Martinez up to third. With men on first and third, Paredes hit a ground ball up the middle that Rollins and Orr both tried to field at the same time just to the right of second base. They ran into each other and both fell to the ground. Paredes was safe with a single, Martinez scored to tie the game at 1-1 and Bogusevic took second. Altuve was next and hit a ball to first. Howard went to second to force Paredes for the second out. Oswalt covered first but the relay from Rollins went off of Oswalt’s glove and Altuve was safe. Bogusevic moved up to third on the play. Quintero was the next batter, with two men down and men on first and third, and he doubled into the right field corner. Bogusevic scored to put Houston up 2-1 and Altuve took third. Myers grounded to second for the third out.

Oswalt got the first two to start the fifth before Martinez singled to right. Lee was next and he hammered an 0-2 pitch out to left for a two-run homer that put the Astros on top 4-1. Oswalt struck out Bogusevic for the third out.

Quintero and Myers singled back-to-back with two outs in the sixth, putting men on first and second for Schafer. Schafer lined to short for the third out.

Martinez singled yet again with one out in the seventh. Lee was next and Oswalt hit him on the hand with a pitch. Martinez moved up to third on a wild pitch before Bogusevic hit a ground ball to second. Lee was forced at second for the second out and Martinez scored from third to make it 5-1. Paredes followed with a walk, putting men on first and second, but Oswalt got Altuve on a fly ball to center to leave both runners stranded.

Martinez made a great play for the first out of the seventh. Sanchez chopped a ball to third and Martinez leaped high to snare it and made a strong throw to first in time for the first out.

Blanton, Joe Blanton, pitched the eighth, making his first appearance for the Phils since May 14. Quintero led off with a single to left. Righty Jason Michaels hit for Myers and popped to third for the first out. Blanton struck Schafer out swinging for the second out and got Sanchez to ground to Rollins for the third.

Blanton dropped his ERA on the year to 5.35 with the scoreless inning.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brett Myers went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Pence (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Orr (8) Martinez. Rollins returns to the starting lineup for the Phils with Polanco on the bench and Martinez at third. Orr plays second with Utley still sidelined.

Pence doubled to right with two outs in the first, but Howard struck out swinging 3-2 to leave him at second.

Ibanez doubled to left to start the second. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out before Orr singled into center, scoring Ibanez to put the Phils up 1-0. Orr stole second and moved up to third when Martinez grounded to first for the second out. Oswalt grounded to first as well, leaving Orr at third.

Pence singled with two outs in the third and stole second, but Howard flew to left to leave him stranded.

Ruiz singled to right with one out in the fourth. Orr flew to center for the second out and Martinez grounded back to the mound.

Down 2-1, the Phils went in order in the fifth.

They were down 4-1 when they hit in the sixth. Ibanez walked with two outs, but Ruiz flew to center behind him.

They went in order again in the seventh.

Down 5-1, Rollins singled to start the eighth. Victorino flew to left for the first out, Pence grounded to second with Rollins moving up to second for the second. Howard grounded out to Altuve to end the frame.

Righty Mark Melancon took over for Myers in the ninth. Ibanez led off with a walk. Ruiz flew to right for the first out and Orr flew to center for the second. Polanco hit for Martinez and walked, putting men on first and second. Gload hit for Blanton and grounded to second.

Interesting non-use of Bowker there against the righty. Manuel must have felt Polanco was the better bet to get on base, or maybe he’d be better off waiting to use Bowker if the Phils got men on base. Polanco is on-basing .313 against righties for the season.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a single in his return.

Victorino 0-for-4. 176/256/311 over his last 82 plate appearances. Really looks like a good candidate for a day off.

Pence 2-for-4 with a double. He’s hitting .408 (13-for-32 with four doubles, a triple and a home run) over his last eight games.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. He’s 3-for-his-last-16 with eight strikeouts.

Ibanez 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. 360/418/600 in his last 55 plate appearances.

Ruiz 1-for-4. 389/457/472 over his last 82 plate appearances.

Martinez was 0-for-3. He’s 2-for-his-last-19 with four walks. He has started nine of the 12 games the Phils have played in September, going 5-for-29 with a double and a home run (172/314/310).

Hamels (14-7, 2.60) faces lefty JA Happ (5-15, 5.77) tonight. Happ is having a miserable year — righties (273/362/473) and lefties (295/356/457) are both hitting him hard. Hamels been very good against righties this season, holding them to a 196/244/298 line for the season, but has allowed more home runs in his recent outings. From May 13 to July 27, Hamels made 15 starts in which he faced 411 batters and hit four home runs. Over his last two starts he has allowed four home runs to the 60 batters he has faced.


Effete sixteen

The Phils lost in sixteen innings last night in a wild affair in which they again struggled to score runs. After losing 4-2 last night the Phils have now scored two runs or less in five of their last six games.

Hamels provided yet another strong outing, but the Phillies found themselves losing 2-1 and down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth before Jimmy Rollins homered to tie the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the fourteenth, Howard had a chance with two outs and men on second and third. He twice tried to check his swing in the at-bat and twice didn’t get the call. The second check swing attempt was called strike three and Howard was out with the side retired. He threw his helmet and was ejected, setting up a situation where pitcher Roy Oswalt played left field for the Phils with Ibanez moved to first. In the top of the sixteenth, a mishandled grounder by Polanco helped the Astros plate a pair of runs charged to a weary David Herndon. The Phils couldn’t get anything done in the bottom of the inning and fell for the fourth time in their last six games.

For the Phils it was the second time in two games that a call by the ump hurt their chances. In Monday night’s game, Michael Bourn was called safe and Manuel ejected after Bourn looked like he may have left the basepaths or been tagged trying to avoid a lunge from Howard.

It’s hard not to feel like Howard’s struggles at the plate are a big part of the recent offensive woes for the Phillies. Last night he went 0-for-7 and struck out five times before being ejected. Since his return from the DL he’s gone 2-for-19 and struck out ten times.

The Phillies are 70-55 on the season after losing to the Houston Astros 4-2 in sixteen innings last night. They remain 2 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East. They are tied with the Giants atop the Wild Card race.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Four of the hits were singles and both runs he allowed scored on a two-run homer by Carlos Lee in the fourth inning. He struck out eight and walked one.

He retired the first four men he faced before Jason Michaels singled with one out in the fourth. Chris Johnson was next and he singled into center, moving Michaels to second. It brought Tommy Manzella to the plate and Hamels got him to hit into a double-play to third to end the frame.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 third.

Hunter Pence singled to center with one out in the fourth. It brought Lee to the plate and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Astros up 2-0. Hamels got the next to hitters to set the Astros down.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Pence walked with one out in the sixth and stole second. Hamels got Lee to ground to third to leave Pence stranded.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when Hamels pitched the seventh. He allowed a one-out single to Johnson, but struck out Manzella and Humberto Quintero to leave Johnson at first.

Hamels was due to lead off the bottom of the seventh, so the Phillies hit for him and Romero started the eighth. Bourn reached on a one-out single and Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Angel Sanchez. Durbin got Sanchez to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Durbin was back to start the ninth. He got the first two batters, with Lee hitting one nearly out that Ibanez caught on the warning track, before hitting Michaels. Durbin walked Johnson after that, but got Manzella on a ground ball to short for the third out.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 tenth with the score tied at 2-2.

Contreras pitched the eleventh. He allowed back-to-back singles to Pence and Brett Wallace with one out. It put men on first and second for Jason Michaels. The runners were on the move with the count 3-2 when Michaels popped to Utley. Pence was easily doubled off of second to end the frame.

Madson pitched the twelfth, throwing for the third straight day, and allowed a one-out single to Manzella. He struck Jason Castro out for the second out and Anderson Hernandez pinch-hit for the pitcher. Hernandez reached on an infield single, putting men on first and second for Bourn. Bourn grounded to Howard for the third out.

Baez set Houston down in order in the thirteenth.

Herndon pitched the fourteenth, with Schneider taking over behind the plate. He allowed a one-out single to Johnson, but got Manzella to hit into a double-play behind him.

Herndon was back for the fifteenth with Ibanez at first and Oswalt in left after Howard had been ejected. He set Houston down in order, with pitcher Wandy Rodriguez hitting for pitcher Mark Melancon and grounding to the mound for the second out.

He was back for the sixteenth, having thrown two innings and 19 pitches in the game. Pence reached on an infield single with one out and Herndon hit Wallace behind him. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third and Michaels was walked intentionally to load the bases. Johnson hit a ground ball to third that might not have been two but should have at least been one. Polanco didn’t handle the ball cleanly, then picked it up and threw to first. It wasn’t in time and Pence scored from third to put Houston up 3-2 with one out and the bases still loaded. Manzella was next and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins went to Utley to get the second out of the inning, but everyone else was safe and Wallace scored to make it 4-2. With men on first and third, Herndon walked Castro intentionally to load the bases and pitch to the pitcher Jeff Fulchino. Herndon struck Fulchino out swinging to end the frame.

Would have been nice to have a double-play on the ball that Polanco didn’t handle instead of not getting an out.

Long, long night for the bullpen as the Phils used all seven of their relievers. Madson was pitching for the third straight day and Lidge for the second straight day. Herndon threw 50 pitches in the game, which was a career-high. He has thrown at least 37 pitches in each of his last three appearances.

Madson threw 27 pitches, Durbin 21, Baez 16, Contreras 15, Lidge 14 and Romero seven. My guess would be that Madson and Herndon are the guys who would not be available tonight. That could be a lot worse and the Phils can thank their starting rotation that it’s not. Over the past three games, Oswalt, Blanton and Hamels have combined to throw 21 innings and allow three runs (1.29 ERA).

The Phillies lineup against righty Bud Norris went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. Look at that — it’s all eight of the Phillies regulars in the same lineup at the same time.

Polanco singled with one out in the first, but Utley and Howard struck out behind him.

Victorino walked with two outs in the second. He took second on a balk before Ruiz walked. Hamels grounded to short to leave both men stranded.

Utley singled with two outs in the third. Howard hit the ball hard, but Bourn handled it in center for the third out.

The Phils were down 2-0 when they hit in the fourth. Victorino drew another walk with two outs, but Ruiz flew to center for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Werth singled with one out in the sixth. Ibanez was next and he doubled into left. Werth stormed around the bases to score and cut the lead to 2-1. Victorino followed that and reached on an infield single that moved Ibanez to third. Ruiz flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

With Norris still on the mound, Brown hit for Hamels to start the seventh. The Astros called on lefty Tim Byrdak to pitch and Francisco hit for Brown. Francisco flew to center for the first out, but Rollins and Polanco both walked behind him. It put men on first and second for Utley. Rollins tried to steal third and was thrown out for the second out. Polanco took second. Utley flew to center to leave Polanco stranded at second.

Big caught stealing for Rollins crushes the threat. It was the only time he has been caught this year. The Phils burn Brown and Francisco making an out to start the inning.

Ibanez hit a ball to the gap in right center with two outs in the eighth. Bourn had a long run to get to the ball and didn’t pick it up cleanly when he did. The error allowed Ibanez to take third. Victorino flew to right to leave him stranded at third.

Wilton Lopez set down Ruiz and Sweeney, hitting for Durbin, for the first two outs in the ninth. Rollins got ahead in the count and then blasted a 3-1 pitch way out to right, tying the game at 2-2. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

Werth reached on an infield single with two outs in the tenth, but Ibanez grounded to second behind him.

The Phils went in order in the eleventh, with Valdez hitting for Contreras with two outs and flying out to center.

Utley singled to left with two outs in the twelfth. Howard was next and lined to Wallace at first in foul territory for the third out.

Ibanez walked with one out in the thirteenth. Victorino popped to second and Ruiz struck out swinging to leave him at first.

Polanco singled with two outs in the fourteenth and Utley walked behind him. They took second and third on a wild pitch with Howard at the plate. Howard tried to check his swing 0-1 and looked like he did, but didn’t get the call. He again tried to check his swing 1-2 and looked like he did but was called out swinging. He threw his helmet and was ejected by the third base umpire.

If you were sleeping by the time the fourteenth inning rolled around, the third base umpire had a memorable approach to the at-bat. You can watch it here.

Werth and Ibanez went down to start the fifteenth. The Phils were out of hitters. Victorino got ahead in the count 3-0 and then was put on intentionally ahead of David Herndon. Herndon struck out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

The Phils were down 4-2 when they hit in the sixteenth. Schneider and Rollins went down before Polanco drew a walk. Oswalt, the new left fielder, was in Howard’s spot in the order behind Utley. Utley was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second for Oswalt. Oswalt grounded to third to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-7 with a huge home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth and a walk. He was had a big caught stealing in the seventh. He’s 6-for-his-last-28 (.214).

Polanco 2-for-6 and walked twice. The ball was hit to him on a critical play in the sixteenth and the Phils didn’t get an out. He’s 5-for-his-last-14.

Utley was 2-for-6 and walked twice. 7-for-28 with a 250/364/286 line since coming off the DL.

Top three in the order did their part getting on base. They combined to go 5-for-19 with five walks in the game.

Howard. 0-for-7, five strikeouts, five men left on base. His ejection forced Oswalt into left and Ibanez to play first. He’s 2-for-19 with ten strikeouts since coming off the DL.

Werth 2-for-7 with two strikeouts.

Ibanez 2-for-6 with two doubles, a walk and an RBI. He made his first appearance at first base since 2005.

Victorino 1-for-4 with three walks.

Ruiz 0-for-5 with a walk and left four men on base.

Roy Halladay (16-8, 2.16) faces lefty JA Happ (8-8, 3.54) tonight. Halladay has allowed one run or less in five of his last six starts, throwing to a 1.37 ERA and an 0.93 ratio over those outings. The Phillies won all six of those games. Happ has gone 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA in five starts since being traded to the Astros. Overall he has walked 6.4 batters per nine innings for the season, which is way too many. Opponents are hitting just .215 against him with two home runs in 40 2/3 innings.


Phils unsure if they should be hoping for the umps to call people out at first or for Utley and Howard to go back on the DL

The Phillies got a tough break on a bad call last night, but it was their inability to do much offensively that cost them the game. The Phils have scored 12 runs in their last five games and lost three of them. In four of their last five they have scored two runs or less.

Blanton pitched very well in last night’s game and the Phils took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning. With nobody out and a man on first, Michael Bourn put down a pretty bunt. He looked like he was either tagged out or ran out of the basepath trying to avoid Ryan Howard’s tag, but was called safe. After the Astros bunted the runners to second and third, Carlos Lee broke his bat lining a single into left that plated two runs and put Houston on top to stay at 3-2.

The return of Chase Utley and his fellow monster slugger Ryan Howard to the lineup is sure to spur the offense for the Phils if we wait long enough. It hasn’t so far, though. Utley is 5-for-22 since his return and Howard 2-for-12 with five strikeouts.

The Phillies are 70-54 on the season after losing 3-2 to the Houston Astros last night. They are in second place in the NL East and trail the first place Braves by 2 1/2 games. They are in the lead for the Wild Card, a game ahead of both the Cardinals and Giants.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. Over his last eight starts he has thrown to a 3.63 ERA and a 1.31 ratio, lowering his ERA for the season from 6.41 to 5.32.

Bourn led the game off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on a single by Angel Sanchez and came in to score on a sac fly by Hunter Pence, putting the Astros up 1-0. It brought Carlos Lee to the plate with one out and Sanchez on first. Lee doubled to the gap in right center and the ball rolled to the warning track. Utley took the relay from Victorino and threw home, just in time for Ruiz to tag Sanchez out as he slid into the plate. Chris Johnson flew to right for the third out.

Could have been worse. Sanchez thrown out at the plate was a gift. Would have been better for the Astros to have runners on second and third with one out.

Blanton struck out Humberto Quintero and Anderson Hernandez in a 1-2-3 second.

He threw a 1-2-3 third and started the fourth with a 2-1 lead. He struck out Pence and Johnson as he set Houston down in order.

Quintero singled with one out in the fifth, but Blanton got Hernandez and the pitcher Brett Myers to leave Quintero stranded.

Bourn singled to start the sixth and stole second. Blanton struck Sanchez out for the first out before a fly out by Pence moved Bourn to third. Lee flew to right for the third out.

Quintero bunted for a single with two outs in the seventh. Blanton struck Hernandez out behind him to end the frame.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still leading 2-1. Jason Michaels led off with a single to right. Bourn was next and he put down a bunt between the mound and first base. Howard fielded the ball and lunged at Bourn as he ran for first. He was very close to tagging Bourn and maybe did. Bourn also looked like he went way out of the baseline in an effort to avoid the tag, but was called safe at first with a single that put men on first and second. Manuel was ejected for arguing. Sanchez bunted the runners to second and third for the first out and Madson struck out Pence for the second. Lee was next and he swung at the first pitch, breaking his bat as he softly lined a two-run single into left field to put Houston up 3-2. Madson got Johnson to ground to short for the third out.

Lidge pitched the ninth with the Phils down a run. Hernandez singled with two outs and stole second, but Lidge struck Michaels out looking for the third out.

I hear you can run on Lidge.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brett Myers went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez plays third against the righty with Polanco on the bench with a sore elbow.

Down 1-0, the Phillies went in order in the first.

Myers struck out Howard, Werth and Ibanez in the second.

Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, tying the game at 1-1. Valdez grounded out for the first out before Blanton singled into center. Rollins was next and singled into left. Lee bobbled the ball, allowing the runners to go to second and third. Victorino hit a ground ball to first. Brett Wallace fielded and threw home where Blanton was tagged out for the second out. Rollins went to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Utley singled into center, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 2-1. Howard struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded on first and second and signal the end of the offense for the game for the Phillies.

Ibanez singled with one out in the fourth. Ruiz was next and hit a ground ball to short. Ibanez was forced at second with Ruiz safe at first and two down. Valdez moved Ruiz to second with a single into center, but Blanton struck out to leave both men stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Bourn doubled to center with one out in the sixth. Ibanez struck out swinging behind him for the second out. Ruiz was next and the Astros walked him intentionally to pitch to Myers. Myers delivered ball four and Werth walked slowly back towards second base with his head down. Quintero took ball four and threw to second. Werth was tagged out to end the inning.

Miserable job by Werth. He’s still on pace to hit 55 doubles.

With one out in the seventh and Myers still pitching for Houston, Brown hit for Blanton and singled to right. Rollins moved Brown to second with a single, but Victorino hit into a double-play to end the inning with the Phils still up 2-1.

They were down 3-2 when they hit in the eighth. Werth singled to left with two outs, but Ibanez flew to center to leave him stranded.

Ruiz drew a walk against righty Brandon Lyon to start the ninth and Francisco ran for him. Valdez was next and tried to bunt Ruiz to second, but popped the bunt up to Wallace at first for the first out. Polanco hit for Lidge and flew to center. With Rollins at the place, Francisco stole second. Rollins lined to left for the third out.

Gutsy and important stolen base for Francisco, who was just safe. Huge no sacrifice for Valdez in the inning when he popped the bunt up for the second out. The Phils sure seemed to miss recently designated Greg Dobbs in the game, starting Valdez at third against the righty, letting Valdez hit for himself against a righty in the ninth. They also hit Polanco against a righty in the ninth, but they probably would have done that anyway even if Dobbs was on the team. Brown and Schneider are the only two lefties on the bench for the Phils these days, and you shouldn’t be looking for Schneider to pinch-hit pretty much ever as long as there are two catchers on the roster.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with two singles in the game. 284/356/395 over his last 90 plate appearances. He slugged .634 through May 21 and then hit the DL. Since returning from the DL at the end of June he has slugged .335 in 247 plate appearances.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-15 and on-basing .312 for the season.

Utley 1-for-4 with an RBI. He’s 5-for-22 with a double (227/320/273) since coming off the DL.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. He’s 2-for-his-last-25 with 13 strikeouts. He did get Bourn, though, if that makes you feel any better.

Werth 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. He also got picked off of second in a play that was hard to believe. He’s hitting 301/393/522 for the season. It might not seem like he’s having the best offensive year of his career, but he is. Look it up.

Ibanez 1-for-4 and struck out twice. He’s 6-for-his-last-43 with a .196 on-base percentage, which has dropped his line on the year from

4-5-6 in the order for the Phils were 3-for-12 with seven strikeouts and a picked off of second base on an intentional walk.

Ruiz was 1-for-2 with his sixth home run of the year and two walks. He’s hitting 297/389/443 for the season. 11-for-his-last-30 with five walks and four extra-base hits.

Valdez was 1-for-4. If he gets 13 more plate appearances for the Phillies this season he will have twice as many this year as he has had in any other season. 2-for-his-last-17.

Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.51) faces righty Bud Norris (6-7, 5.23) tonight. Hamels allowed five runs in five innings against the Giants in his last start. Three of his last five starts have been bad, but the other two were very good. Norris threw 123 pitches against the Mets in his last start, holding them to a pair of runs over seven innings. In the start before that he struck out 14 Pirates while holding them to two runs over seven innings. He had a 6.84 ERA for the season at the end of June and has gone 4-2 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.14 ratio over eight starts since the start of July.


Catch and throw guys

As I wrote earlier this week, Carlos Ruiz had a nice season with the bat in 2009 that put him on the list of the best hitting catchers in baseball. Prior to ’09, though, Ruiz hadn’t excelled offensively with the Phils. Despite the lack of offensive production, Ruiz had a reputation as a solid defender and as a guy who helped to get the most out of the Phillies pitchers.

Did Phillies pitchers really fare better when pitching to Ruiz than they did when pitching to other catchers on the team did? Well, some did and some didn’t. In today’s post I’ll look at the six Phillies who started the most games for the team in 2009 and compare their results when pitching to Ruiz and when pitching to somebody else.

The best cases for Ruiz among the ’09 starters from the Phils were for Happ and Hamels. The table below shows how Happ fared when pitching to Ruiz in ’09 compared to how he fared when pitching to other Phillies catchers:

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Happ to Ruiz .226 .292 .369 .661
Happ to Other .276 .343 .456 .799
         
% of Happ batters caught by Ruiz   % of Happ batters caught by others
63.5   36.5
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .069  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .096  
Runs allowed per PA total .079  
RA per PA other catching/RA per PA Ruiz catching 1.39  

So that table suggests that Ruiz was catching for 63.5% of the batters that Happ faced and other Phillies catchers was catching for the other 36.5% of hitters. With Ruiz catching, opponents hit 226/292/369 against Happ and with another Phillies catcher behind the plate they hit 276/343/456 against him.

Opposing teams scored about .079 runs per plate appearance against Happ for the year. .069 runs per PA against him with Ruiz behind the plate and .096 runs per PA against him with someone else behind the plate. .096 is about 1.39 times as much as .069.

Happ didn’t face the same batters with Ruiz behind the plate as with the other guys catching, so maybe it was a fluke and maybe it wasn’t. Either way, Happ clearly had better results in 2009 when pitching to Ruiz.

So did Hamels.

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Hamels to Ruiz .266 .308 .416 .724
Hamels to Other .297 .339 .520 .859
         
% of Hamels batters caught by Ruiz   % of Hamels batters caught by others
76.9   23.1
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .099  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .149  
Runs allowed per PA total .111  
RA per PA other catching/RA per PA Ruiz
catching
1.50  

The numbers for Hamels pitching to Ruiz improved a lot as well, even more than they did for Happ. The difference between what batters did with Ruiz catching and others catching is so dramatic it makes you wonder how much of a role the catcher he was throwing to played a role in the disappointing year for Hamels. Opponents hit 330/368/570 against Hamels when he was pitching to Bako, for example. Given how high the percentage of the batters that Hamels faced with Ruiz catching, though, I would guess that even if you were to pull out the ugly numbers with Bako behind the plate for Hamels his numbers were still a lot worse than they had been in 2008.

Anyhow, if you were trying to argue that the Phillies pitchers get better results with Ruiz behind the plate, the ’09 outcomes for Happ and Hamels would be a great place to start.

Things a little less sunny after that, though. Moyer and Myers had worse results throwing to Ruiz in 2009. Lee didn’t throw to him much, but his results were worse throwing to Ruiz as well compared to the other catchers for the Phils. Blanton was kind of in-between. Here’s Blanton:

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Blanton to Ruiz .263 .327 .438 .765
Blanton to Other .259 .308 .438 .746
         
% of Blanton batters caught by Ruiz   % of Blanton batters caught by others
67.1   32.9
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .101  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .109  
Runs allowed per PA total .104  
RA per PA other catching/RA per PA Ruiz
catching
1.08  

Blanton’s numbers for 2009 were very similar whether Ruiz was catching or wasn’t catching. The opponent OPS was a little better when someone other than Ruiz was behind the plate, but he allowed fewer runs per plate appearance with Ruiz behind the dish.

Moyer, Myers and Lee had worse results with Ruiz catching.

Moyer was much worse.

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Moyer to Ruiz .267 .326 .520 .846
Moyer to Other .292 .340 .400 .740
         
% of Moyer batters caught by Ruiz   % of Moyer batters caught by others
52.2   47.8
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .140  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .102  
Runs allowed per PA total .122  
RA per PA Ruiz catching/RA per PA other
catching
1.37  

The slugging percentage is the thing that sticks out for the Moyer table. By batters faced, Moyer pitched to Ruiz about half of the time. He faced 699 batters on the season. The 334 batters he faced with someone besides Ruiz catching combined to hit seven home runs. The 365 batters he faced with Ruiz catching hit 20 home runs.

Myers also threw to Ruiz and other catchers about equally and had better results pitching to other guys:

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Myers to Ruiz .290 .327 .586 .846
Myers to Other .252 .345 .480 .825
         
% of Myers batters caught by Ruiz   % of Myers batters caught by others
51.6   48.4
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .121  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .109  
Runs allowed per PA total .115  
RA per PA Ruiz catching/RA per PA other
catching
1.11  

Like Moyer, opponents posted a much higher slugging percentage against Myers when Ruiz was behind the plate.

Ruiz caught in just three of the 12 games that Cliff Lee started during the regular season. The numbers below include just his results throwing to Phillies catchers last year (not Cleveland catchers).

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Lee to Ruiz .320 .358 .460 .818
Lee to Other .250 .271 .395 .666
         
% of Lee batters caught by Ruiz   % of Lee batters caught by others
16.5   83.5
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .111  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .103  
Runs allowed per PA total .104  
RA per PA Ruiz catching/RA per PA other
catching
1.08  

Not sure what you want to make of that, if anything. Ruiz and Lee had a whole lot of success working together in the post-season.

Finally, here’s what the table looks like for all Phillies pitchers combined (not just the six mentioned above):

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
All PHI P to Ruiz .262 .328 .424 .752
All PHI P to Other .269 .332 .433 .764
         
% of All PHI P batters caught by Ruiz   % of All PHI P batters caught by others
60.5   39.5
         
Runs allowed per PA with Ruiz catching .109  
Runs allowed per PA with other catching .120  
Runs allowed per PA total .113  
RA per PA Ruiz catching/RA per PA other
catching
0.911  

With Ruiz behind the plate, opposing batters scored .109 runs per plate appearance compared to .120 runs per PA with someone else behind the plate. That’s about 91.1% of the runs allowed per plate appearance with Ruiz behind the plate as with someone else.

The Phillies also allowed fewer runs per plate appearance overall with Ruiz behind the plate in 2008 and in 2007. In 2008 they allowed about 95.5% of the runs per plate appearance with Ruiz behind the plate as with other catchers and in 2007 they allowed about 97.0%.

The Phillies signed pitcher Oscar Villarreal to a minor league deal and will invite him to Spring Training. The 28-year-old righty did not pitch in 2009 after having Tommy John surgery in April. He has thrown 336 career innings, all in the NL, pitching to a 3.86 ERA with a 1.37 ratio. The linked article says he will not be ready for Opening Day.

The Phillies also signed switch-”hitting” outfielder Freddy Guzman to a minor league deal. Guzman is 29 and has a career on-base percentage of .255 and a career slugging percentage of .274. The linked article says the deal does not include a Spring Training invite, so it’s not clear what his role will be. Just throwing things out here, but my guess would be that his role is to have someone athletic-looking to fill a uniform if everyone on the 40-man roster is killed in some kind of tragic blimp accident. In the good news department he stole 116 bases over the past two seasons in the minors so he may be able to help your Triple-A roto team. In his defense, his career line of 211/255/274 has come in just 102 plate appearances and he’s hit a more respectable 270/344/360 over more than 3,000 at-bats in the minors.


Investigation underway to determine who dropped the ball in allowing Pat Burrell to bat in the ninth inning

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
HOU 5-8 53 4.08 10 728 (9) 12 3
PHI 6-7 59 4.54 T-6 786 (4) 7 3

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
HOU 5-8 55 4.23 9 4.26 (11) 4.50 (11)
PHI 6-7 62 4.77 11 3.81 (8) 3.53 (5)

Do the rules even permit that? If the Astros want to protest the game on those grounds, or even the grounds that the Phils scored the winning run on a play where their base-runner was completely and totally out, I have no problem with that whatsoever. Who knew what and when did they know it?

Shawn Chacon dominated the Phillies last night, tossing eight shutout innings. Turned out it wasn’t enough. The Phils started the bottom of the ninth down 3-0 and Chris Snelling hit Jose Valverde’s first pitch out to right. Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and two batters later Burrell tied it up at 3-3 with an opposite field blast. Jenkins got on base and stormed around to score the winning run on a double into the left field corner by Pedro Feliz.

Brilliant comeback by the Phils to get a win after their hitters looked dead for the first eight innings of the game. Not to be lost in the excitement of the ninth is that their pitching kept them in the game. Adam Eaton gave the Phils a quality start for the third time in three tries. Durbin and Seanez combined to throw three shutout innings out of a bullpen that has been fantastic in the early going.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros last night, winning 4-3 to improve to 7-7 on the season.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. All seven of the hits were singles and he struck out three.

Eaton got the first two in the first before Lance Berkman drew a walk. Carlos Lee singled into center, moving Berkman to third, and Miguel Tejada followed with another single. Berkman scored to put the Astros up 1-0. Geoff Blum popped to first to end the frame with two runners stranded.

With two outs in the second, pitcher Shawn Chacon singled back through the middle. It brought up former Phil Michael Bourn, and Bourn grounded to Utley to set Houston down.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third, getting Berkman and Lee, the guys who hurt him in the first, on a couple of ground balls.

Tejada walked to start the fourth, but Eaton got the next three to leave him stranded at first.

Bourn singled with one out in the fifth. Mark Loretta was next and hit a ground ball to short. Bruntlett did a nice job with a quick throw to second to start the double-play that ended the frame.

Berkman started the sixth with a single. Lee was next and he singled into center. Werth dropped the ball for an error, allowing Berkman to go to third. The Phils came into the game having made 15 errors on the season, but just one by an outfielder (Taguchi). Tejada flew to left for the first out. Blum was next and singled past Howard and into right. Berkman scored to put Houston up 2-0 and Lee went to third. Hunter Pence followed hit a fly ball to deep center. Werth tracked it down, but Lee scored to make it 3-0 with two down and Berkman on first. Brad Ausmus popped to short for the third out.

Chad Durbin started the seventh. He got the first two before Loretta and Berkman singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Lee, but Lee grounded to third to end the frame.

Durbin came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth, dropping his ERA on the season to 0.75.

Seanez started the ninth. He got the first two before he walked Bourn. Bourn stole second and Seanez walked Loretta on a high 3-2 pitch. Berkman smashed a 1-1 pitch that looked ticketed for right, but Howard made a nice play on one hop to end the frame. The pick by Howard on Berkman’s ball looked like a nice play in a game the Phillies had lost at the time. After the bottom of the ninth it looks bigger.

Another fantastic appearance for Durbin. He has allowed eight hits over his first 12 innings with the Phils, all of them singles. He threw 30 pitches, so we won’t see him tonight. Seanez threw 22 pitches, so he’s a little more likely but my guess is the Phils would try to stay away from him if they can.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Shawn Chacon went (1) Werth (2) Ruiz (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Bruntlett. Wow is that ugly. The big surprise is Rollins is still not able to play after the off-day Monday. Many were expecting him to return for this game, but he remains on the bench. Werth plays center, Jenkins right and Bruntlett short. I was joking the other day when I suggested to look for Feliz hitting leadoff soon, but Ruiz hitting second isn’t a whole lot better. He came into the game with a .250 on-base percentage for the year. Werth does seem to make sense in the leadoff spot, given the options.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first and again in the second.

Feliz led off the third with a single. Bruntlett was next and got ahead 3-1. He swung at the 3-1 pitch and hit a double-play ball to third. Eaton grounded to third to end the inning. Swinging 3-1 didn’t work out for Bruntlett. On the plus side he at least had a good pitch to hit, he just didn’t hit it well.

Werth led off the fourth with a single, but Ruiz followed and hit into a double-play. Utley flew to right for the third out. Second inning in a row the Phils got a single from their leadoff man and hit into a double-play behind him.

Howard and Jenkins struck out in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Down 3-0, Feliz and Bruntlett started the sixth with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second with nobody out for the pitcher’s spot, and Dobbs hit for Eaton and struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch. Werth popped to second for the second out. Ruiz hit a ball in the hole between short and third, but Tejada made a nice play and a strong throw to end the inning. The strikeout by Dobbs is pretty bad, cause even a productive out can move a runner to third with one out. They wouldn’t have scored on Werth’s popup anyway, but not striking out might have been the way to go if they got to pick.

Howard walked with one out in the seventh, but Burrell struck out behind him and Jenkins flew to Bourn at the track in center.

Bruntlett walked with one out in the eighth and Rollins hit for Chad Durbin. Bruntlett stole second before Rollins grounded to third. The stolen base probably prevented a double-play that would have ended the inning, but it didn’t matter much when Werth followed and flew to right.

With righty Jose Valverde on to protect a 3-0 lead, Chris Snelling hit for Ruiz to start the ninth and hit the first pitch he saw just out to right. 3-1. Valverde hit Utley with his first pitch to him, bringing up Howard as the tying run. Howard got behind 0-2 looking at two pitches and then struck out swinging. Burrell got behind 0-1 before he hit a ball well out to the opposite field, tying the game at 3-3. Jenkins got behind 0-2 looking but battled all the way. The eleventh pitch of the at-bat was a fastball way inside. Jenkins swung and missed, but the ball went off of Ausmus’s glove and Jenkins took first with one out. Feliz was next and he hit a ball hard down the third base line and into the corner. Lee got to it and made a weak throw to Tejada, but Tejada made a strong throw to the plate. The ball beat Jenkins to home plate, but the throw was slightly on the first base side of the plate. Jenkins slid in and was called safe. Phils win. All fantastic. 1) Blum should have made the play at third 2) the relay from Lee to Tejada was terrible 3) Tejada’s throw to the plate was great 4) Jenkins should have, and may have, been held at third 5) fantastic hustle by Jenkins, who also showed more speed than I knew he had and 6) Jenkins was really out.

Werth was 1-for-4 to drop his average to .391.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 and left three men on base. His slugging percentage on the year is down to .244. He has two extra-base hits on the season, both doubles.

Utley was 0-for-3.

Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. 1-for-his-last-9 with five walks and four strikeouts.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and his fifth home run.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 and struck out twice but won the game with his ninth inning sprint around the bases. 2-for-his-last-15 with two singles.

Feliz was 3-for-4 with a game-winning double in the ninth.

Bruntlett was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 6.14) faces right Roy Oswalt (0-3, 9.00) tonight. Oswalt has been bombed in his first three starts. Opponents are hitting .400 against him and he’s allowed 30 hits in 16 innings, including five home runs. He curiously isn’t walking anyone, having allowed just two walks over his first three starts. He comes off of a nightmare start against the Marlins on Friday in which he went just four innings and was charged with eight earned runs. He made two starts against the Phils last season and was hit hard, charged with ten earned runs in 12 innings (7.50 ERA). He faced the Phils on April 13 and July 3. Kendrick gets an extra day of rest after Eaton skips ahead of him in the rotation to pitch last night’s game. Kendrick has made two stars on the season, neither of them good. His 6.14 ERA isn’t impressive, but it also doesn’t reflect how badly he’s struggled early. He has allowed 11 runs in his first 7 1/3 innings, only five of which have been earned. Lefties are hitting .381 against him. In his last start he walked six in 2 1/3 innings. He has never faced the Astros.


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