Tag: Chad Durbin

We want a pitcher (or maybe three)

Juan Castro or not, the Phillies are going to score a whole bunch of runs in 2010. The Phils have led the NL in runs scored in three of the last four seasons.

The season of the last four when they didn’t lead the league in runs scored, 2008, they won the World Series. So if you’re thinking what the Phils need to do to improve their team overall has a lot more to do with pitching than hitting (and exactly nothing to do with getting guys who on-base .270 to take up roster spots to firm up the defense), I agree with you.

The Phillies were worse at preventing runs in 2009 than they were in 2008. Here’s the rates at which they allowed runs per nine innings, the NL average and the Phillies’ rank for each of the last two years:

Year Runs per 9
2009 4.38 4.53 6
2008 4.22 4.66 3

On average, NL teams allowed fewer runs per game in 2009 than they did in 2008. The Phillies allowed more and also saw their rank in runs allowed per nine innings drop from third to sixth. In 2009 the Phils allowed about 96.7% of the runs per nine innings as the average NL team. In 2008 they had allowed about 90.6%.

So they got worse.

Their starters didn’t get worse, though. In 2009 their starters threw 963 2/3 innings and allowed 477 runs. That’s about 4.45 runs per nine innings pitched. In 2008 their starters threw 966 2/3 innings and were charged with 489 runs — about 4.55 runs per nine innings.

Here’s how the numbers looked for the relievers:

Year Runs per 9
2009 4.24 4.35 9
2008 3.56 4.47 1

Not so good. The Phillies rate of allowing runs per nine innings was better than the league average, but they were just ninth among the 16 NL teams and near the league average. A year before the Phils won the World Series with the league’s dominant bullpen, allowing nearly a run per nine innings less than the average NL team. The 3.56 runs allowed per nine innings for the Phils’ pen in ’08 was outstanding — the Brewers had the third-best rate for the NL in 2008 and their relievers allowed 4.27 runs per nine (Milwaukee allowed more than half a run more per nine innings and still had the pen that allowed the third-fewest runs per nine innings).

So what exactly went wrong for the Phillies pen in 2009? As tempting as it may be to say it was all Brad Lidge, there’s more to it than that. In 2008, opponents hit 251/333/371 against the Phillies relievers. In ’09 they hit a very similar 246/335/373. In 2009 you were less likely to reach base on a hit or a walk against the Phillies relievers than you were in 2008 (a little more likely to get a walk and less likely to get a hit for a combined total of less likely). You were also less likely to get an extra-base hit. They allowed a lot more runs, though, and were a lot worse compared to the other teams in their league. So something was going on. More on that soon.

This suggests that Scott Mathieson could help the Phillies next year.

Today is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their players who are eligible. For the Phillies, that includes Condrey, Durbin, Blanton, Ruiz, and Victorino.

It looks like Chris Coste will be a Met.

Third time’s the replica

Cliff Lee came into game three with the Dodgers having made two post-season starts for the year and for his career. In those starts he had thrown 16 1/3 innings with a 1.10 ERA and an 0.86 ratio. He improved on both of those impressive numbers last night, holding the Dodgers to three singles over eight innings as the Phils blew LA out 11-0.

The Phils were all over Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, who would only get four outs in the game. A two-run triple by Howard put the Phils up 2-0 after they had sent four batters to the plate. Werth followed with a two-run homer and it was 4-0. Ruiz started the second with a double as the Phils scored two more to make it 6-0. Chad Billingsley took over for Kuroda in the second and kept the Phils quiet until the fifth, when a two-out walk by Ibanez was followed by a triple by Feliz and another hit from Ruiz, this one a single that put the Phils up 8-0. Lee was masterful all the while, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing just two singles to Manny Ramirez and another to Ronnie Belliard while striking out ten. The Phils took an eight-run lead into the bottom of the eighth when Victorino pounded a three-run homer out to right to make it 11-0. Durbin finished off the Dodgers with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Over the last two games, Phillies starting pitchers have thrown 15 innings, allowing five singles without walking a batter. The last extra-base hit of the series for the Dodgers was the double that Ethier hit off of Bastardo to start the seventh inning of game one.

The Phillies won game three of the NLCS last night, topping the Dodgers 11-0. They lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Lee faced a lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Belliard (2B/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Kemp (CF/R) (6) Loney (1B/L) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) Martin (C/R). That was a change from the lineup Hamels faced in game one. Belliard is up to second in the lineup with everyone else moving down a spot. Loney and Blake are switched in the order after Blake hit fifth in game one. Blake came into the series 1-for-8 with a single.

The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.

Furcal led off the game for the Dodgers and got behind 0-2 before flying to left. Belliard was next and he lined a 2-1 pitch to left where a sliding Ibanez took it for the second out. Ethier struck out swinging 2-2 for the third out.

Lee threw 13 pitches in the inning.

He started the second with a 4-0 lead. Manny led off and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. Kemp was next and he lined softly to Utley for the first out. Loney grounded a 2-2 pitch to Howard and the Phillies turned the double-play nicely, with Howard going to Rollins and then back to Howard to set the Dodgers down.

Sixteen pitches had Lee at 29.

The Phils were up 6-0 when Lee started the third. He struck Blake out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Martin hit a ground ball back to the mound for the second. The pitcher Chad Billingsley was next and he swung out swinging 1-2.

Thanks to the double-play, Lee had faced the minimum through three innings. After throwing 14 pitches in the inning he had thrown 43 in the game.

Furcal started the fourth and worked the count full, then fouled off three pitches in a row before striking out looking for the first out. Belliard grounded to Howard and Howard tossed to Lee covering for the second out. Ethier hit a ground ball to Utley on a 2-2 pitch and Utley made another bad throw to first, but Howard dug it out to set the Dodgers down.

Lee threw 18 pitches in the inning and was up to 61 for the game.

Manny led off the fifth and swung at the first pitch, hitting a ball to right that dropped in front of Werth for a single. Lee struck Kemp out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Loney hit a 1-1 pitch to second. Utley fielded and made a nice throw to Rollins to force Ramirez for the second out with Loney safe at first. Blake grounded to short for the third out.

Just 11 pitches in the inning for Lee, who was up to 72.

Lee was up 8-0 when he started the sixth. Martin got ahead 2-0 but popped to Werth in short right for the first out. Orlando Hudson hit for Billingsley and he got ahead 2-0, too, but also flew to right. Werth took that one just in front of the track for the second out. Furcal struck out swinging 0-2 for the third out.

12 and 84.

Belliard started the seventh and singled to right on a 1-0 pitch. Ethier got behind 1-2 and hit a ground ball to second. Utley fielded and threw to first for the first out with Belliard safe at second. Manny struck out swinging 3-2. Kemp struck out swinging 3-2.

Nineteen pitches in the inning for Lee had him at 103 for the game.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Loney struck out looking. Blake flew to right on an 0-1 pitch. Martin struck out swinging 1-2.

114 pitches in the game for Lee.

Durbin started the ninth with an 11-0 lead and set the Dodgers down in order. Mark Loretta lined to left for the first out. Furcal grounded to second for the second. Belliard fouled out to Ruiz to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Hiroki Kuroda 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 six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first and flew to right on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Victorino was next and singled to right 1-0. He stole second as the count went 2-1 on Utley. Utley singled into right on a 3-1 pitch, sending Victorino to third. It brought up Howard with two men on and Howard lined a 3-1 pitch into right field for a bases clearing triple that put the Phils up 2-0. Werth was next and blasted a 2-1 pitch out to center. 4-0 with Chad Billingsley warming in the LA pen. Ibanez got ahead 3-0 but struck out swinging. Feliz grounded to third to end the inning.

Kuroda threw 29 pitches in the inning.

Ruiz started the second and hammered a 1-1 pitch from Kuroda into the gap in left-center for a double. Lee bunted him to third for the first out. Rollins was next and he grounded a 3-1 pitch past a diving Loney and down the first base line for a double. Ruiz scored and it was 5-0. That was it for Kuroda and lefty Scott Elbert came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second for Utley. Elbert’s 1-0 offering to Utley was in the dirt and Martin couldn’t handle it, allowing the runners to move to second and third. Utley went on to walk on a 3-1 pitch, loading the bases for Howard. Howard swung at the first pitch and hit a dribbler to first. Loney took it and tagged Howard out for the second out as Rollins scored to make it 6-0. Righty Chad Billingsley came in to pitch to Werth and struck Werth out swinging 0-2 to leave both men stranded.

Billingsley was back to pitch the third and set the Phillies down in order. Ibanez got ahead 2-0 and hit a ball hard, but on the ground to Belliard at second for the first out. Feliz grounded softly to short and Ruiz flew to right.

Lee flew to center to start the fourth. Rollins was next and he did the same, making it six in a row for Billingsley. Victorino was next and broke the string, walking on a 3-1 pitch that was outside. Utley laced a ball down the right field line but just foul before he grounded softly to second to end the inning.

Billingsley had thrown 30 pitches in the game.

Howard flew to right for the first out of the fifth. Werth got ahead 2-0 but went down swinging for the second out. Ibanez drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and Feliz followed with the first hit off of Billingsley for the Phils as he blasted a triple off of the right field scoreboard for a triple. Ibanez scored to put the Phils up 7-0. Ruiz was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch into right-center for a single. Feliz scored and it was 8-0. Lee struck out for the third out.

Righty Ramon Troncoso pitched the sixth for LA. He struck Rollins out looking 2-2 and then Victorino swinging 1-2. Utley crushed a 1-0 pitch to center, but Kemp took it at the wall to set the Phillies down.

Troncoso was back for the seventh. He walked Howard on four pitches. Werth was next and he draw a walk as well. Ibanez struck out swinging 3-2, though, and Feliz chopped a double-play ball to third to end the inning.

Righty Ronald Belisario started the eighth for LA with the Phils up 8-0. Ruiz led off with a walk and moved to second when Lee followed with a single to center. Rollins grounded out to first for the first out, moving the runners to second and third. Victorino was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch from Belisario way out to right, putting the Phils up 11-0. Utley followed with a single and went to second on a passed ball with Howard at the plate. Howard grounded to first for the second out, with Utley moving to third. Werth grounded out to third to end the inning.

Thanks to some nice work by Billingsley, the Dodgers pen didn’t suffer too terribly from Kuroda getting just four outs. Billingsley threw 57 pitches in the game, Troncoso 36 and Belisario 28. Billingsley seems sure not to pitch tonight, but that could help the Phils out if we see Troncoso or Belisario in game four.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the game. 2-for-14 in the series.

Victorino 2-for-3 with two walks and a three-run homer. 4-for-12 with two walks in the series.

Utley 2-for-4 with a walk and no throwing errors. 3-for-12 with two walks so far.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk, a triple and three RBI. 4-for-10 with a double, a triple, a home run, three walks and six RBI in the series.

Werth 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer. 1-for-10 with two walks and five strikeouts.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk in the game and 2-for-10 with a big home run in the series.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI last night and is 1-for-10 with a walk in the series.

Ruiz 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. 5-for-8 with a double, a home run and three walks in the series to put his line at 625/727/1.125. Howard’s amazing post-season may be blocking out what Ruiz has been doing with the bat, but Ruiz has been outstanding as well.

Rollins, Utley, Feliz and Werth are a combined 7-for-46 (.152) in the series with four RBI. Victorino, Howard, Ibanez and Ruiz are a combined 15-for-40 (.375) with 16 RBI.

Game four is tonight with Joe Blanton facing Randy Wolf.

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.

Tying ugly

The Phillies managed an ugly split in their four-game series against the Brewers, winning and losing ugly both in a series that saw the two teams combine to make nine errors.

The Phils look sloppy and tired — in the field but also at the plate. Victorino has been in a funk with the bat since the end of July. Utley has one RBI since September 15. Werth is 2-for-his-last-28 with 14 strikeouts.

None of those problems are as worrisome as what’s happening in the bullpen, especially in the ninth inning. The starters got bounced early in the series, none of the four got an out in the seventh inning, and that was a lot of innings to pitch for a defense that wasn’t playing well. Tyler Walker got his chance to pitch in the ninth inning of a game that was close in game three. Didn’t go so well as Walker failed to retire a batter before giving up a walkoff homer. If there was a bright spot it was in what happened yesterday. With a 6-5 lead, the pen gave the Phils three scoreless frames including a four-out save from Madson.

The Phillies are 90-65 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Brewers in Milwaukee. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by five games with seven left to play. If the Phillies went 0-7 to end the year the Braves would have to go 5-2 to tie them atop the division.

The Phillies won the first game 9-4. Howard drove in Utley to give them a 1-0 lead in the first, but a one-out triple by Jason Kendall in the bottom of the third off of Happ helped the Brewers tie up the game. Feliz doubled in Francisco in the fourth to put the Phils up 2-1 before they got six runs in a fifth inning that featured a three-run homer by Rollins to make it 8-1. Milwaukee scored another run charged to Happ in the sixth to make it 8-2. The Phils extended the lead to 9-2 in the top of the eighth before Milwaukee scored two off of Condrey in the bottom of the ninth.

Lee got hit hard in game two as the Brewers won 8-4. A three-run homer by Mike Cameron off of Lee helped put Milwaukee up 4-0 after one inning. The Phils managed just nine singles and a walk in the game, but put a pair of runs on the board in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2. Lee gave up another three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, this one to Prince Fielder, and the Brewers led 7-2. Milwaukee extended the lead to 8-2 with a run off of Lidge in the seventh. The Phils got RBIs from Howard and Werth in the top of the eighth to get within four.

Tyler Walker gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun in the ninth inning of game three, which the Brewers won 7-5. Bako put the Phils up 2-0 with a two-run shot in the second and RBIs from Feliz and Werth in the third made the lead 4-0. Milwaukee scored two off of Kendrick in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 4-2 and a walk, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt helped them score another in the fourth to make it 4-3. Howard put the Phillies up 5-3 with a solo homer in the fifth. Pitching in relief of Kendrick, Moyer got the first two hitters to start the sixth before giving up a walk and a ground-rule double that was followed by a two-run single Craig Counsell blooped into center field and off of Rollins’s glove that tied the game at 5-5. Walker came into the game to start the ninth and faced two batters, allowing a leadoff single to Counsell before Braun popped an 0-1 pitch out to right-center.

The Phils almost blew a five-run lead yesterday, but held on for a 6-5 win. Rollins led off the game with a home run and a one-out triple by Utley helped put the Phils up 2-0 after half an inning. Victorino delivered a two-run double in the second to make it 4-0 before Cameron hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning. A two-run single by Feliz in the sixth gave Blanton a 6-1 lead to work with, but Mat Gamel hit a three-run homer in the bottom of a four-run sixth and the Phils lead was cut to 6-5. Escalona got Fielder to end the sixth with the tying run on base. Durbin threw a scoreless seventh and got the first two outs of the eighth before Madson picked Corey Hart off of first to end the inning. Madson came back for the ninth and gave up a one-out double to Fielder, but got the next two to end the game and earn his ninth save.

The Phillies threw 34 innings overall in the series with a 5.56 ERA and a 1.65 ratio.

The starting pitching in the series wasn’t good. Happ made the best start of the four and he allowed two runs and went just 5 2/3 innings. None of the four starters went more than six innings. As a group they threw to a 5.51 ERA with a 1.78 ratio over 16 1/3 innings.

Happ got the start in game one and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Happ’s results of late haven’t been great, but he does have his walks down. Over his last five starts he’s walked just seven in 29 2/3 innings.

Lee got blasted in game two. Two three-run homers were the big blasts of the game as he allowed seven runs on nine hits over six innings. Lee hasn’t walked a batter in seven of his last eight starts.

Kendrick went four innings in game three, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Kendrick has allowed just one home run over 20 2/3 innings on the season after giving up 23 in 155 2/3 innings last year.

Blanton got the start yesterday and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks. Four of the five runs he allowed came on the two homers he gave up. Bad start for Blanton coming off of two in which he was fantastic.

The relievers were called on to throw a ton of innings in the series and didn’t fare well. They pitched more innings than the starters in the series, throwing 17 2/3 innings with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. Condrey gave up two unearned runs in game one. Walker surrendered a critical homer in game three.

Escalona started the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 8-4. He struck out the first two men he faced before allowing a single and a walk. He then struck out Corey Hart to leave both men stranded.

Escalona got a huge out yesterday, entering in the bottom of the sixth with one out, Fielder at the plate and the Phils up 6-5. Fielder grounded to second to end the inning.

Moyer took over for Kendrick in the fifth inning of game three with the Phils up 5-3. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. In the sixth he got the first two before allowing a walk and a ground rule double. It put men on second and third for Counsell and Counsell popped a ball into shallow center. Rollins had a long run to get to the ball, but got there in time and didn’t make the difficult catch. Both runners scored and the game was tied at 5-5. Moyer got Braun on a ground ball to end the inning. Moyer allowed a two-out single in the seventh that was followed with a ground out and threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Over his last 16 appearances Moyer has thrown 88 1/3 innings with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.22 ratio.

Durbin took over for Happ in the sixth inning of game two with two outs, men on first and second and the Phillies up 8-2. He got a ground out to end the inning. Durbin came back to pitch the seventh and got the first two before issuing back-to-back walks. He struck out Ryan Braun to end the inning.

Yesterday he started the seventh inning with the Phils up 6-5. He gave up a two-out double but kept the Brewers off the board. He came back to start the eighth and again got the first two before walking Hart. Madson came in to pitch to Braun.

Walker pitched the eighth inning of game one with an 8-2 lead. He hit a batter and gave up two singles, but kept Milwaukee off the board.

He also started the ninth inning in game three with the score tied at 5-5. Counsell led off with a single and Braun followed with a two-run homer to right-center that won the game for Milwaukee.

Condrey started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-2 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Felipe Lopez before Corey Hart reached on an error by Howard. The next two men grounded out, with the second ground out scoring Lopez to make it 9-3. Casey McGehee delivered an RBI-single to plate another unearned run before Condrey got Mike Cameron on a fly ball to right to end the game.

Condrey also pitched yesterday in game four. He took over for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Hart on first and Ryan Braun at the plate with the Phils up 6-4. Hart stole second before Braun singled, cutting the lead to one at 6-5. Escalona came in to pitch to Fielder.

Madson entered game four with two outs in the eighth and Hart on first with the Phils up 6-5. He picked Hart off of first to end the inning. He came back to pitch the ninth. Fielder doubled with one out, but Madson got Felipe Lopez on a ball chopped back to the mound and struck Cameron out looking to end the game.

Lidge started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 7-2. He gave up a leadoff single to Corey Hart, but got the next two hitters before Hart stole second. McGehee delivered an RBI-single before Lidge struck out Cameron to end the inning.

For Lidge it was his fifth outing in a row in which he had been charged with at least one run. Over his last five appearances he had been charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings on ten hits and two walks.

The Phillies scored 24 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins was 6-for-19 with a double, two walks and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 247/292/419 for the season.

Victorino was 4-for-19 with a double and two walks. 292/360/442 for the year. He came into yesterday’s game hitting 242/311/379 in 210 plate appearances since the end of July.

Utley was 3-for-18 with a triple in the series. 290/405/522. He has one RBI since September 15.

Howard was 8-for-18 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in the series. 277/355/569. Fielder was 5-for-16 with two doubles, a walk, a home run and six RBI in the series.

Werth was 1-for-15 with two walks in the series. 266/370/504 for the year. He’s 2-for-his-last-28 with 14 strikeouts, which could be a sign it’s time for a day off or four.

Ibanez started games one and two on the bench with Francisco in left. 1-for-6 with four walks in the series. He’s hitting 276/350/560 on the year.

Feliz was 7-for-17 in the series with a double. 267/311/384 on the year. He’s on-basing .257 in September after on-basing .257 in August.

Bako started games one, three and four of the series and went 6-for-14 with a double and a home run. He’s hitting 229/308/352.

Hoover caught game two of the series. 2-for-3 with two singles in the first action of the season for the 33-year-old.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner and still does not have an at-bat since August 25.

Francisco started the first two games of the series in left. 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 262/292/524 in 84 at-bats with the Phils. He walked 33 times in 308 at-bats this year with the Indians and has walked three times since joining the Phillies.

Mayberry was 0-for-1 in the series and is at 196/237/464 in 56 at-bats for the year.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 261/312/408.

Stairs 0-for-2. 202/363/394.

Tracy was 1-for-1 and is 2-for-4 on the season.

This says that Romero could be activated today.

Late, close and watching

Question of the day is why doesn’t Tyler Walker pitch to more batters when the game is close. Answer of the day is “I don’t know” — given that’s the answer at least I can demonstrate that he doesn’t pitch to a lot of batters when the game is close.

First things first: Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies this season. He came into yesterday’s games with a 2.35 ERA for the year and a 0.98 ratio. Opponents were hitting .204 against him for the season and on-basing .258.

Still, as the back of the bullpen implodes Walker virtually never is pitching in situations when the game is close. The chart below lists all of the Phillies pitchers who have faced at least one batter this year, how many total batters they have faced, how many batters they have faced when the score was tied or one of the teams was winning by one run and the percent of batters faced when the score was tied or with the Phils up or down one. It is divided into three sections — pitchers who have worked only as starters are at the top, pitchers who have worked only as relievers are at the bottom and pitchers who have pitched both as starters and as relievers are in a group in the middle (the chart does not include yesterday’s games).

  Total PA PA tie or
within one
% tie or
within one
171 115 67.3
Cole Hamels 740 483 65.3
Joe Blanton 753 488 64.8
Cliff Lee 275 128 46.5
102 46 45.1
Brett Myers 294 159 54.1
Kyle Kendrick 66 32 48.5
JA Happ 623 300 48.2
Jamie Moyer 648 277 42.7
Chan Ho Park 362 161 44.5
32 13 40.6
Rodrigo Lopez 137 52 38.0
JC Romero 68 40 58.8
Ryan Madson 298 126 42.3
Clay Condrey 156 64 41.0
Brad Lidge 263 107 40.7
Scott Eyre 119 39 32.8
Chad Durbin 285 93 32.6
Jack Taschner 138 24 17.4
34 4 11.8
Tyler Walker 125 14 11.2
11 0 0.0

So the only player who has pitched for the Phillies this season and thrown to a lower percentage of the batters he’s faced with the score tied or the Phils up or down one run is Steven Register, who appeared in one game and faced 11 hitters.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for the answer to why questions you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t know. If I had to guess my guess would be that Manuel is terrified of the prospect of Walker facing a left-handed hitter with the game close. Walker has been great against lefties in 2009 — they’ve hit 209/271/302 against him, which is actually better than the 200/250/343 that righties have hit against Walker. In 2008, however, lefties smoked Walker to the tune of 319/372/597. Over his career lefties have hit an ugly 281/352/459 against Walker.

Aside from Walker, I think that the chart shows some other interesting things. First and most obvious is that starting pitchers generally face more batters with the game close and a higher percentage of their batters than relief pitchers do.

I think the difference in the percentage of the hitters that Romero and Eyre faced in tight games is telling. Both would like be used primarily as situational lefties in the post-season if available, but Manuel has given Romero a lot more of his chances in tight games. Eyre has been better.

Condrey has faced a higher percentage of hitters in one run or closer games than Lidge. His percentage is also higher than Durbin. Durbin has a low percentage of hitters faced in tight games compared to other regulars in the group. It’s also down from last year. In 2008, Durbin faced 364 batters and faced 174 of them (47.8%) with the score tied or the Phils up or down a run. I don’t think any of that bodes well for Durbin.

Myers has a strained back. The Phillies hope he will return before the end of the regular season.

The article linked above says that Happ will start on Thursday, Lee on Friday and (hopefully) Pedro on Saturday.

It also says that Dobbs was not ready to play third yesterday with his calf. I still find starting Cairo to be very odd. Even if Dobbs does not go I don’t understand why it would be Cairo and not Bruntlett. I’ve been saying for a while that I think Bruntlett is on the post-season roster because he’s the only choice to back up the middle infield. That’s not literally true, of course. It’s also notable that Bruntlett does not have an at-bat this month. We’ll see.

The same article says that Eyre needs surgery but is cleared to pitch, pitched yesterday and felt good. It also says that Romero threw 50 pitches yesterday and will throw again tomorrow and that Park could pitch next week.

Durbin definitely either getting worse, improving or staying about the same

Chad Durbin was a huge part of the Phillies bullpen in 2008. In 2009 he has struggled, but a lot of his numbers make it look like ’09 has been a better year for Durbin than ’08. Opponents are hitting .230 against him this season after hitting .254 against him last year. He’s struck out a whole lot more hitters this year than he did in ’09 than he did in ’08, too, striking out about 8.2 batters per nine in ’09 after striking out about 6.5 batters per nine in ’08. He’s faring better against lefties this year as well — lefties have hit 240/370/394 against him in ’09 after hitting 311/401/394 against him in 2008.

Something’s wrong, though, maybe more than one something. Here’s the rates he has allowed runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs, walks and struck batters out per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
2008 9.1 22.3 3.3 1.4 9.6 17.3

The extra-base hits and the walks are both way up. He’s allowing home runs at about twice the rate he did last year and walks at about 1 1/2 times the ’08 pace.

As I mentioned above, Durbin has actually been a little better against lefties in ’09 than he was in ’08. Righties have been hitting him a little harder this year, connecting for more extra-base hits, but the bigger problem is that despite the fact that righties are hitting just .222 against Durbin in ’09 they are on-basing .355. A year ago he held them to a .214 average but they on-based just .284 for the year.

When you look at Durbin’s numbers for the year, the thing that’s more worrisome than comparing his numbers for the season to last year’s numbers is comparing his numbers for the season to his career numbers. Durbin has put up a 4.88 ERA and a 1.52 ratio for the season, but both of those numbers are better than his numbers for his career. Over his career Durbin has a 5.25 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. Even given that he spent most of his career in the American League that still shouldn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Here’s how his numbers for the year compare to his career numbers for the categories in the chart above:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
Career 14.4 24.4 4.8 3.3 9.8 14.0

Again, Durbin was in the AL for most of his career, but still in 2009 he has been better at preventing runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs and at striking batters out than he has been over his career. The only thing that’s worse for him is the walks.

This article suggests that Myers and Park may pitch again this season, that Romero may face hitters this week and that the Phils hope Romero and Eyre will both return soon.

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