Tag: Chan Ho Park

Division of labor

Trying to guess who the Phillies might have playing third base next year is kinda fun, but what kind of year the Phils have in 2010 is going to have a lot more to do with what they can do to improve their pitching this off-season.

In 2009 the Phillies used 22 pitchers. They combined to throw 1,455 2/3 innings and allow 709 runs.

Ten of the 22 pitchers that the Phillies used had a percentage of the team’s 1,455 2/3 innings that they threw that was higher than their percentage of the team’s 709 runs that they allowed.

They are in the chart below. For each of the ten there are columns for the percentage of the team’s innings that they pitched, the percentage of the team’s runs that they allowed, the percentage of the runs allowed over the percentage of the innings pitched and the rank of that column compared to the other players in this group. The list is ordered by the number of innings that the player threw for the Phils in 2009.

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
group
Blanton 13.4 12.6 0.94 10
Happ 11.4 7.8 0.68 2
Lee 5.5 4.9 0.90 9
Madson 5.3 4.1 0.77 5
Martinez 3.1 2.5 0.83 6
Condrey 2.9 2.4 0.83 7
Walker 2.4 1.7 0.70 3
Eyre 2.1 0.8 0.41 1
Kendrick 1.8 1.6 0.86 8
Romero 1.1 0.8 0.74 4

So, for example, Joe Blanton threw about 13.4% of the Phillies innings this season and allowed about 12.6% of the runs. 12.6 over 13.4 is 0.94, which is tenth best among the ten players who allowed a percentage of runs that was lower than the percentage of innings they pitched.

Please note that the rounding of the two percentage columns makes the math look wrong. For example, Eyre’s row shows 2.1 and 0.8, but .8 over 2.1 equals about 0.38 and not 0.41 — that’s cause the numbers are really 2.061 and 0.846 and not 2.1 and .8.

When you look at the difference between the percentage of the runs allowed and percentage of innings pitched it’s important to take into account the number of innings pitched. Eyre had the most dramatic difference between the two numbers, but Blanton was a lot more important to the team despite the worse difference since he threw more than six times as many innings as Eyre.

There were 12 pitchers for the Phils this year who allowed a percentage of the team’s runs that was higher than the percentage of the teams’ innings that pitcher threw. Here are the 12, using the same categories as above (the ranking continues from where the top list left off):

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
team
Hamels 13.3 13.4 1.01 11
Moyer 11.1 12.8 1.15 17
Park 5.7 6.1 1.06 14
Myers 4.9 5.4 1.10 15
Durbin 4.8 5.4 1.12 16
Lidge 4.0 7.2 1.78 21
Lopez 2.1 3.4 1.64 20
Taschner 2.0 2.5 1.26 18
Bastardo 1.6 2.5 1.56 19
Escalona 0.9 1.0 1.05 13
Carpenter 0.4 1.0 2.54 22
Register 0.1 0.1 1.03 12

Again, the number of innings that the pitcher threw is critical. Andrew Carpenter was miserable compared to the rest of the group, but he only threw 5 2/3 innings. Guys who threw more innings, like Lidge and Moyer especially, obviously hurt the Phils more.

Article here about what some Phillies prospects have been doing in the AFL and winter leagues. If you don’t know who Sebastian Valle is it might be time to find out.

It sure seems like there’s a big opportunity for Mayberry these days. He’s hitting 314/390/521 in Mexico with seven home runs in 121 at-bats. It wasn’t a great year from him at Triple-A, but it’s nice to see him taking more walks in 2009 than he did in ’08 or ’07 — take a look at his minor league numbers.


Non-starter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brett Myers will not be back.

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

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

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

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


Live at five

The Yankees went down fighting in game five and the Phillies lived to fight another day. Just barely, though. The Phils took an 8-2 lead into the top of the eighth, but things got real close real fast. The Yankees scored three in the top of the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate twice in the ninth inning. Ryan Madson came through both times, though, getting Derek Jeter to ground into a huge double-play the first time and striking out Mark Teixeira to end the game the second.

The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run off of Lee in the first on an RBI-double by A-Rod. The Phillies jumped ahead in the bottom of the first, though, as Rollins and Victorino both reached ahead of Utley and Utley blasted a three-run homer to put the Phils up 3-1. The Phils chased New York starter AJ Burnett in the bottom of the third. Utley and Howard started the inning with walks and the Phillies wound up scoring three times in the inning to extend their lead to 6-1. Lee walked pinch-hitter Eric Hinske with one out in the top of the fifth and Jeter followed with a single that moved him to third. Hinske would come in to score on a ground ball by Damon to cut the Phillies lead to 6-2. Utley and Ibanez both hit solo homers off of lefty Phil Coke in the seventh to extend the lead to 8-2. Lee came back to start the eighth and gave up single, double, two-run double to the first three men he faced. It made the score 8-4 with a man on second and Park took over. He set three in a row down, but the second was a sac fly that brought A-Rod in from third and made it 8-5. Lidge had thrown 30 pitches in a miserable outing in game four, so it was Madson on in the ninth to try to protect the three-run lead. A double and a single put men on first and third and brought Jeter to the plate as the tying run. Madson got Jeter to hit into a double-play as Posada scored to make it 8-6. Damon followed with a single that brought Teixeira to the plate as the tying run. Madson got him, though, striking him out swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the game.

It sure seems like the bullpen blew up in the game for the Phillies. But it wasn’t that bad, really. A lot of it was Lee and he has clearly done enough already. I think we just have game four stuck in our minds. Pitching for the second time in two days, Park faced three men and got three outs. Throwing a day after he threw 20 pitches, Madson gave up a run on three hits but got the huge double-play and the huge strikeout when he needed it.

They are still pretty scary. Especially given that we’re sure to see them a lot in game six. I think Manuel will still use Lidge in big situations in the series.

But the Phillies are still alive. They are going to need a ton of runs to keep winning, though. They are going to need everyone in the lineup — not just signs of life but a river of life. There were some signs last night. Ibanez and Howard came into last night’s game without a walk or a homer. Howard walked twice and Ibanez blasted a long homer. As miserable as the series has been for Howard, he still may be the single most explosive player in the series for either team. Let’s hope he doesn’t wait too much longer, though, cause the Phils have put themselves in a pretty big hole.

I’m pretty sure that Hamels starts game seven if there is one. Enough has been made of his misspeak. If you don’t think Hamels wants to compete and wants to win, I disagree. You don’t get this good and this far without wanting both. Saying what you mean isn’t a requirement.

The Phillies trail the Yankees three games to two in the World Series after winning game five last night 8-6.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out three. He pitched a lot better than his line, taking an 8-2 lead into an eighth inning that he started having thrown 103 pitches.

That may be the end of the ’09 post-season for Lee. It’s a shame that the eighth inning last night blew up his line, cause it’s going to mean that his numbers, while still amazing, won’t quite reflect just how much he contributed. We’ll just have to remember. In five post-season starts this year Lee has gone 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. In five starts he threw 40 1/3 innings. That’s more than eight runs per game. There’s a chance his efforts may still make him a champion. Whether they do or not, he may have to wait till he’s a free agent in 2011, but I think they made him a whole lot of money.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Swisher (RF/S) (6) Cano (2B/L) (7) Gardner (CF/L) (8) Molina (C/R). Molina in the lineup to catch Burnett with Posada on the bench. Gardner takes over in center for Cabrera, who has a hamstring injury and has been replaced by Ramiro Pena. To take Posada out of the lineup for Molina is a poor idea even if Burnett doesn’t allow six runs in two innings.

The Yankees had five players on their bench to start the game, righty Jerry Hairston, switch-hitters Posada and Pena and lefties Hideki Matsui and Eric Hinske.

Jeter led off the game and grounded to Utley on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Damon dumped a 1-1 pitch in front of Victorino for a single. Teixeira got ahead 3-0, but flew to right for the second out. Rodriguez hit a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner for a double that scored Damon and put New York up 1-0. Swisher walked on four pitches to put men on first and second. Cano flew to left on a 1-0 pitch to end the frame.

Didn’t look like the same Lee in the first. Jeter’s ball was up the middle and took a nice play by Utley to get an out. A-Rod smoked the ball. Swisher and Teixeira both got ahead 3-0. Lee threw 20 pitches in the inning.

He started the second up 3-1 and didn’t have much trouble with the bottom of the order. Gardner grounded to first 1-2 for the first out. Molina grounded to third on a 2-2 pitch. Burnett struck out looking 2-2 to set the Yankees down.

Lee threw 14 pitches in the inning and had thrown 34 for the game.

Jeter grounded to third 2-2 for the first out of the third. Damon walked on five pitches. Teixeira hit a ground ball to third and Feliz threw to second to force Damon for the second out, but the Phils could only get one. A-Rod flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Fifty pitches in the game for Lee after throwing 16 in the inning.

Swisher lined a 2-1 pitch to third for the first out of the fourth. Cano grounded to second and Gardner grounded to short.

Lee was up to 62 after throwing 12 pitches in the inning.

With Burnett out of the game, Posada hit for Molina to start the fifth and grounded to second 1-2 for the first out. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher David Robertson next and Hinske drew a walk on five pitches. Jeter followed with a single to right that moved Hinske to third. Damon was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch slowly to first. Howard took it and when he started towards the bag Hinske took off for homer and scored to make it 6-2 with two outs and Jeter on second. Teixeira flew to right for the third out.

14 and 76 for Lee. Nice base-running by Hinske, both to go first to third and to delay and then score on the ground out to first.

A-Rod flew to right to start the first out in the sixth. Swisher flew to center for the second. Cano singled to center 1-0, but was left stranded when Gardner struck out looking 1-2.

Lee was at 91 after 15 pitches in the inning.

Posada struck out looking 0-2 after trying to call time out but not getting it earlier in the count to start the seventh. Jerry Hairston hit for the pitcher Alfredo Aceves and he flew to center on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Jeter lined softly to Utley 1-2 to end the frame.

Twelve pitches in the inning had Lee at 103.

He was up 8-2 when he started the eighth. Francisco was playing center with Victorino on the bench. Damon led off and reached on an infield single. Teixeira was next and he blasted a double to left that moved Damon to third. A-Rod was next and he hit Lee’s first pitch hard into left-center. Ibanez made a diving effort but had the ball go off of his glove for a two-run double that made it 8-4. Park came in to pitch to Swisher having thrown 14 pitches the day before. Swisher grounded to second 2-2 for the first out, moving Rodriguez to third. Park stayed in to pitch to Cano. Cano hit a fly ball to shallow center 0-1 that Francisco took for the second out. Rodriguez tagged and scored to make it 8-5 with two outs. Francisco made a weak throw that wasn’t close to getting A-Rod on a ball that wasn’t hit deep. Gardner popped to Rollins on a 2-1 pitch to set the Yankees down.

Miserable inning for Manuel. Victorino was pleading to stay in the game. Francisco probably would have made the catch on A-Rod’s ball off the glove of Ibanez in left if he had taken over in left with Victorino in center. Francisco’s throw home was terrible. Victorino with a healthy hand would have made a much stronger throw — who knows after being hit. He also left Park in to face Cano as the batter that could have made the score 8-6. The Phillies didn’t use any of their three lefties in the pen in the game.

Madson started the ninth having thrown 20 pitches the day before. Posada led off and hit a 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in right for a double. Lefty Hideki Matsui hit for the pitcher Phil Hughes. Matsui singled to left on a 2-1 pitch, sending Posada to third. Jeter got ahead in the count 2-0, but grounded a 2-1 pitch to short and the Phillies turned a double-play. Posada scored to make it 8-6 and it brought up Damon with two outs and the bases empty. Madson got ahead of Damon 0-2, but Damon singled into center on a 2-2 pitch to bring the tying run to the plate again. The game was delayed briefly for a ceremony to honor Damon’s 2,000th hit in this World Series. He was presented with some tupperware and a $50 gift certificate to Home Depot. Damon took second as the count went 0-2 on Teixeira. Teixeira struck out swinging 1-2 to end the game.

Park threw 11 pitches in the game and Madson threw 24. Both have thrown two days in a row, but both seem like they will surely be available in game six after an off-day today. Lee threw 112 pitches in game five and there’s no way you will see him in game six.

The so-called “official” stats suggest that Damon is only 8-for-21 in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-9. Matsui is 5-for-9 in the series. Jeter 8-for-22. Posada 5-for-16. A-Rod just 4-for-18 but with six RBI to lead the team. Teixeira is just 2-for-19. Cano, Swisher and Cabrera are a combined 7-for-43.

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

The Phillies started the game with five players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco.

The Phils were down 1-0 when Rollins led off the bottom of the first. Rollins hit a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Victorino was bunting, but Burnett’s first pitch to him was right at him and drilled him hard on the right hand. Utley swung at the first pitch and blasted it way out to right to put the Phillies up 3-1. Howard drew a walk, but Werth struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ibanez was next and hit a ball hard, but Teixeira made a great diving play to take a hit away from him. Teixeira threw to first to force Howard for the second out, but Ibanez beat the relay to keep the inning alive. Feliz grounded to short 0-1 to end the inning.

Much different approach to Burnett in this game. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Feliz were all swinging first pitch. Utley hit a big home run on the first pitch of his at-bat. Howard drew his first walk of the series. Ibanez smoked the ball he hit. Burnett threw 23 pitches in the inning.

First home run of the series for the Phils with a runner on base.

Ruiz got ahead 3-0 to start the second but struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Lee swung at the first pitch and grounded to first. Rollins walked on five pitches. Victorino swung at the first pitch and popped out to short. He screamed and shook his right hand, the one that had been drilled in the first, after hitting the ball.

Second time Rollins had been on base in two at-bats.

After 13 pitches in the inning, Burnett was at 36 for the game.

Utley walked on a 3-1 pitch to start the third. He stole second as the count went 1-1 on Howard — Molina didn’t make a good throw, but Utley still would have been out if Jeter had been able to handle the short-hop on the throw. Howard walked to put men on first and second. Werth ripped a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Utley scored and it was 4-1 with men on first and second. Ibanez hit a 3-1 pitch into right for a single. Howard scored and it was 5-1 with men on first and third. That was it for Burnett. Righty David Robertson came in to pitch Feliz. Feliz got ahead 2-0, but fouled out to Teixeira for the first out. Ruiz got behind 0-2 but managed to make contact, hitting a ground ball to short. Jeter got an out at second, but Werth scored and it was 6-1. Lee singled into right, moving Ruiz to second. Rollins struck out looking 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Nice job by Ruiz to bring the runner in from third with one out after getting way behind in the count.

Robertson set the Phillies down 1-2-3 in the fourth. Victorino grounded to second. Utley grounded to short and Howard struck out swinging 2-2.

They were up 6-2 when they hit in the fifth. Righty Alfredo Aceves was on to pitch for New York and he set the Phils down in order. Werth smashed a ball to left-center field that Gardner caught as he crashed into the wall for the first out. Ibanez grounded to first for the second and Feliz grounded to short.

Aceves was back for the sixth. Ruiz flew to right and Lee struck out swinging before Rollins singled to center. He went to second on a wild pitch before Victorino grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Third time Rollins had been on base in the game.

Lefty Phil Coke started the seventh for the Yankees. Utley led off and homered to right on a 3-2 pitch to put the Phils up 7-2. Howard struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the first out. Coke stayed in to pitch to Werth and Werth flew to center 2-0 for the second out. Ibanez blasted a 2-1 pitch out to right. 8-2. Coke was done. Phil Hughes came in to pitch to Feliz. Feliz struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

Utley’s homer gave him five home runs for the series, which tied him for the record with Reggie Jackson. Jackson hit five in 1977. When Howard followed with a strikeout it was his twelfth of the series, which also tied him for the record. The Phils lefties fared pretty well against Coke.

Hughes was back to start the eighth with the Phillies lead cut to 8-5. Ruiz led off with a single and Stairs hit for Park. Stairs hit into a double-play on a 2-2 pitch to clear the bases. Rollins grounded to second.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game. The single to start the first after the Yankees pulled ahead in the top of the inning set the tone. He’s 5-for-19 with five walks and a .417 on-base percentage for the series.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a brutal hit by pitch when he tried to bunt in the first inning. He’s 3-for-18 with two walks in the series. He says his hand is okay and he expects to start in game six. I don’t know how okay he could be after that, but hopefully the effects are minimal by Tuesday. The thoughts of Victorino out of the game, especially in a DH game against a lefty are kind of scary. With the players on the roster right now I think it would have meant Francisco in center and Bruntlett as DH (although I think Mayberry may have taken Victorino’s roster spot if Victorino couldn’t play).

Utley went 2-for-3 in the game with two home runs, a walk and four RBI. In the last two games he’s 4-for-7 with three home runs, a double and six RBI. 6-for-16 with a double, five home runs and three walks so far.

Howard was 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. 3-for-19 with two doubles and 12 strikeouts. 1-for-his-last-10 with six strikeouts.

Werth was 1-for-4 with an RBI in the game. 5-for-17 with two homers in the series.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the game. Teixeira also took a hit away from him in the first on a ball he hit hard. He’s 5-for-20 with two doubles and a home run in the series.

Feliz 0-for-4 with a strikeout last night after a huge game in game four. 4-for-19 with a double and a home run in the series. Ibanez and Feliz have combined not to walk in 39 at-bats.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with an RBI last night. 4-for-16 with two doubles and a home run in the set. He’s also walked three times.

Despite the early exit by Burnett, Robertson was the only pitcher to throw more than 20 pitches out of the Yankees bullpen. He threw 27. I think who the Yankees didn’t use in the blowout, most noticeably Rivera and Marte, might say a lot about who they have confidence in. I don’t think you’re going to see much of Coke against the Phillies lefties in game six if things are close.

No game today. Pedro and Pettitte tomorrow night.


Over and out

The transmission from Citizens Bank Park was loud and clear and now it’s ended. The Phillies have made a compelling case that they are the class of the National League and are headed back to the World Series after topping the Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS.

Vicente Padilla simply didn’t bring his game two magic to game five and it didn’t take long to tell. He walked Utley in the first and then pitched around the big lefty Howard behind him. It brought Werth to the plate and Werth set the tone for the night, blasting a three-run homer out to right. Werth and Victorino would be the driving force for the Phils’ offense in the game. The pair combined to go 5-for-8 with three home runs and seven RBI last night while the other six regulars for the Phils went 3-for-20.

Charlie Manuel deserves his share of the credit for the win as well. Manuel managed like a man who thought he had a chance to go to the World Series, pulling his starting pitcher with one out in the fifth and a three-run lead. It meant he was going to have to walk a tightrope with his shaky pen the rest of the way. He did. LA put the tying run on deck in the bottom of the eighth, but the bullpen came through for Manuel and the Phils.

Andre Ethier put LA up 1-0 with a homer off of Hamels in the first. Werth put the Phils up 3-1 with his first homer of the day in the bottom of the inning. James Loney hit yet another homer off of Hamels in the second. 3-2. A homer from Feliz in the bottom of the second made it 4-2. An Ibanez double got the Phillies rolling in the fourth and they added two more to make it 6-2. A pinch-hit homer from Orlando Hudson off of Hamels to start the fifth made it 6-3 and Manuel went to his pen. Victorino hit a two-run homer off of Clayton Kershaw in the sixth. 8-3. Werth hit a solo shot off of Hong-Chih Kuo in the seventh. 9-3. The Dodgers made rallied in the eighth, putting their first four men on base to make it 9-4 with nobody out and the bases loaded. Madson snapped back to life just in time, though, getting the next three batters and leaving the runners stranded. A single by Rollins that was followed by a double by Victorino helped the Phils add another run in the bottom of the eighth and end the scoring at 10-4.

The Phillies have won the NLCS, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven NLCS. They will play either the Yankees or the Angels in the World Series, which starts on Wednesday.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and didn’t pitch well. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and three home runs. He struck out three. Hamels simply doesn’t have it these days, and it’s hard not to wonder what the Phils can do about that for the World Series. Over his last six starts he’s allowed 40 hits in 31 1/3 innings, throwing to a 6.89 ERA with a 1.50 ratio. He’s allowed six home runs in 14 2/3 innings in three starts this post-season.

The Dodger lineup facing Hamels 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) Martin (C/R) (8) Blake (3B/R That’s the same lineup they used the last time the Phillies started a lefty, which was Lee in game three, except that Blake and Martin are switched in the 7-8 spots at the bottom of the lineup. Blake was a miserable 2-for-15 in the series coming into the game, but I still think he should hit higher against a lefty. He was fifth in the order when Hamels started game one.

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 and got ahead 3-0 on a couple of close pitches, but struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Belliard flew to right on a 2-1 pitch. Hamels got ahead of Ethier 1-2, but couldn’t put him away. Ethier fouled off four pitches in a row and Ruiz came out to the mound. Whatever they talked about didn’t work, cause Ethier hit Hamels’ next pitch out to right to put LA up 1-0. Manny followed and singled to right on the first pitch of his at-bat. Kemp struck out looking 1-2 to leave him stranded.

Tiny strike zone in the first for Hamels. He threw 23 pitches in the inning. Another big hit against him for a lefty. Loney homered off of him in the opener.

He started the second up 3-1. Loney led off and hit a 1-2 pitch way out to right, cutting the lead to 3-2. Martin grounded to short on a 3-1 pitch. Blake grounded to third 0-2. Padilla flew softly to left 1-2 to set LA down.

Eighteen pitches in the inning had Hamels at 41 for the game. Again with the lefties. Third home run off of Hamels this year for Loney.

Phils were up 4-2 when Hamels started the third. Furcal got behind 0-2 and grounded to second. Belliard popped to Rollins 1-1 for the second out. Ethier struck out swinging 3-2 to set LA down.

Not a single homer off of Hamels in that inning. Thirteen pitches had him at 54.

Manny grounded to short 1-2 for the first out of the fourth. Kemp was next and he grounded to short too. Loney drew a two-out walk, but Martin popped to second to leave him stranded.

The walk to Loney broke a string of eight in a row set down by Hamels. Hamels had thrown 76 pitches after throwing 22 in the inning.

He started the fifth with a 6-2 lead after a bottom of the fourth that took about half an hour. Blake led off and popped to Utley 3-2 for the first out. The switch-hitter Hudson hit for pitcher George Sherrill and hit a long home run down the left field line. 6-3. Belliard was next and he lined a double to left, which was enough to chase Hamels. Happ came in to pitch to Belliard and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere near the plate. Happ did get the lefty Ethier, though. Ethier flew to left on the first pitch of his at-bat for the second out. It brought up Manny with two outs and two on and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to him. Durbin got ahead of Manny 0-2. Ramirez tried to check his swing 2-2, but hit a dribbler down the third base line. He was slow getting out of the box, giving Durbin plenty of time to throw him out and leave the runners stranded.

Third home run in the game allowed by Hamels. Hudson isn’t even left-handed. I was very surprised to see Happ gone after facing just two hitters — I was assuming he was in for a while after the early exit by Hamels. Great job by Durbin to get Manny in a big spot. It did leave me wondering what the plan was for the rest of the game. I was guessing it was Park-Madson-Lidge in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but had little clue what Manuel was thinking for the top of the sixth and had no idea what might be Plan B if Park, Madson or Lidge struggled. Not sure Manuel did, either.

Turns out he was thinking Durbin for the sixth and Durbin was fantastic. Kemp struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. The lefty Loney grounded to short 0-1 for the second. Martin swung at the first pitch and grounded back to the mound to set LA down.

Fantastic work from Durbin who has had an outstanding post-season. He made four appearances in the series, throwing three innings without allowing a hit or a walk.

Speaking of fantastic, Park pitched the seventh with an 8-3 lead. He struck Blake out looking 2-2. Juan Pierre hit for the pitcher Clayton Kershaw and he grounded to first 0-2 for the second out. Furcal flew to center 0-2 to set LA down.

Eleven pitches in the seventh for Park after Durbin threw just eight in the sixth.

Park came back to start the eighth with a 9-3 lead. Things got interesting quickly, as Belliard and Ethier started the inning with back-to-back singles that put men on first and third with nobody out for Ramirez. Madson came in to pitch to Ramirez and walked him on five pitches to load the bases. Kemp lined an 0-1 pitch into center that dropped in front of Victorino for a single and moved everyone up a base, brought in Belliard and made the score 9-4 with the bases still loaded and nobody out. Dubee came out to talk to Madson. Don’t know what he said, but whatever it was, things got better quick. Loney swung at the first pitch and fouled out to Feliz. Martin struck out swinging 2-2. Madson got ahead of Blake 1-2 and delivered what looked for sure like strike three. Madson walked off the mound towards the dugout, but didn’t get the call. Ruiz slammed his glove on the plate, but the at-bat continued. Blake grounded to second 2-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Park ends the series having thrown to an 8.10 ERA, charged with three runs in 3 1/3 innings. He pitched way better than that, though. He looked great in the first inning he pitched. Less great in game two pitching on back-to-back days and less great last night trying to come back for a second inning.

Madson allowed six hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings in the series. That’s a 2.70 ratio, which isn’t what you’re looking for.

Lidge started the ninth with a 10-4 lead. Mark Loretta hit for the pitcher Ronald Belisario and struck out swinging 2-2. Furcal fouled out to Ruiz on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Belliard hit a soft fly ball to center field on a 2-1 pitch. Victorino took it and the Phils had won the National League and were headed to the World Series.

Three appearances for Lidge in the series in which he threw 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three.

Still wonder what Manuel would have done if Park, Madson or Lidge hadn’t been able to get the job done in their inning. I assume Eyre was next in line, but things would have gotten pretty dicey after that.

Lefties Loney and Ethier were the two Dodgers with an OPS of .800 or better in the series. Loney was a monster, going 6-for-17 with two home runs to post a 353/421/706 line. Ethier was 5-for-19 with a double and a home run (263/333/474). Manny was 5-for-19 with a home run and two RBI. Kemp hit .250 and struck out eight times in 20 at-bats. Furcal, Blake and Martin combined to go 9-for-56 (.160).

Very good pitching for the Phils in the series. They held LA to 16 runs over five games. Overall the Phillies threw 44 innings with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.14 ratio.

Thanks to brilliant starts from Pedro and Lee in games two and three, the numbers for the starting rotation were very good. The starters threw 30 2/3 innings in the set, pitching to a 2.93 ERA and an 0.91 ratio.

Martinez and Lee were amazing in the middle of the series, combing to throw 15 shutout innings in games two and three in which they allowed five hits and did not walk a batter. Blanton allowed four runs in six innings in game four. Hamels started the other two games and didn’t pitch well in either. Over the two starts he threw 9 2/3 innings with a 6.52 ERA and a 1.55 ratio. The Phillies offense scored 18 runs in the two games he started and 17 in the three that he did not.

The starters threw 30 2/3 of the 44 innings the team pitched in the series. That’s 69.7%. They were charged with 11 of the 16 runs that LA scored — that’s 68.75%.

The rotation allowed six home runs in the series. Five off of Hamels and Kemp’s shot off of Blanton in game four.

The bullpen did not allow a home run in their 13 1/3 innings. What they did allow was a lot of walks, giving up eight to go with 14 hits. Overall the bullpen threw to a 3.38 ERA with a 1.65 ratio in the series.

Madson got hit hard in game one and was charged with two runs on four hits. Park struggled in game two, trying to pitch back-to-back days after a long time away, and was charged with two runs while getting just one out. Park was charged with another run last night in game five when he came back for a second inning and gave up back-to-back singles to start the eighth.

Happ managed to escape the series without being charged with a run, but he pitched terribly. He made three appearances, walking three batters and getting two outs. It seems like he surely would have been Manuel’s choice to give the Phils some innings in relief of Hamels last night if he had been pitching better.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla 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.

The Phillies hit in the bottom of the first down 1-0. Rollins flew to Manny just in front of the track for the first out. Victorino bounced back to the mound 0-1 for the second. Utley took a 3-1 pitch high for a walk. Howard was next and Padilla looked like pitched around him, walking him on four pitches. Werth got ahead 3-0 then took two strikes to run the count full. He blasted a ball down the third base line but just foul before he smoked a ball out right to put the Phils up 3-1. Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.

Padilla threw 23 pitches in the first inning. The pitch-around of Howard costs the Dodgers.

The lead was cut to 3-2 when they hit in the second. Feliz hit Padilla’s first pitch just out to right. 4-2. Ruiz grounded to second. Hamels struck out looking 1-2 for the second out. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2.

Fourteen pitches in the inning for Padilla, 37 for the game. The Dodgers had lots of action in their pen after Feliz led off with a homer, but Padilla got the next three hitters and got to stay in the game.

Victorino fouled out to Blake on an 0-1 pitch to start the third. Utley struck out looking 2-2. Howard grounded to Loney.

Padilla had retired six in a row since the Feliz homer. He needed just nine pitches to go through 2-3-4, which put him at 46 for the game.

Werth led off the fourth and singled into left on a 1-2 pitch. Ibanez ripped a 2-2 pitch into the right-center field gap. Ethier had a little trouble picking the ball up and Werth scored from first to put the Phils up 5-2. That was it for Padilla. Righty Ramon Troncoso came in to pitch to Feliz and Feliz grounded to third for the first out with Ibanez holding second. Ruiz was next and Troncoso walked him on four pitches to put men on first and second. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third. It brought up Rollins with two down and Troncoso nipped him with a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. Lefty George Sherrill came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino got ahead 3-0 before Sherrill hit him with a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez scored to make it 6-2. Sherrill struck Utley out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

Wasn’t expecting to see Sherrill in the fourth.

The Phils led 6-3 when they hit in the fifth. Lefty Clayton Kershaw was on the mound for LA and he walked Howard on a 3-2 pitch. Werth got ahead 2-0, but Kershaw came back to strike him out looking 3-2 for the first out. Ibanez hit a double-play ball to second, but Belliard had trouble getting the ball out of his glove for the flip to second and LA got just one out. Feliz struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded at first.

Kershaw snapped out of it after getting behind Werth 2-0.

He got the first two hitters to start the sixth. Ruiz flew to right on a 3-1 pitch for the first out. Cairo was next, hitting for Durbin, and he grounded to short 1-0 for the second. Rollins was next and Kershaw hit him in the foot with a 1-1 pitch, the third time in the game the Dodgers had hit a batter. Victorino was next and he blasted Kershaw’s first pitch to him well out to left, putting the Phils up 8-3. Utley struck out swinging to end the inning.

Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo pitched the seventh for LA. He struck Howard out looking 0-2, took a brief break for Werth to hit an 0-2 pitch out to center to make it 9-3, and then struck Ibanez and Feliz both out swinging.

Righty Ronald Belisario pitched the eighth with the Phils up 9-4. Ruiz led off and hit a ball to center, but Kemp made a nice diving catch for the first out. Stairs hit for Madson and popped to the catcher for the second out. Rollins was next and he singled back up the middle. Victorino followed and lined a 1-2 pitch that would have hit high off the wall in right if a fan had not reached over and tried to catch it. Victorino was given a double on fan interference and Rollins had to hold third. It cost the Phillies a run, but only for a minute. Belisario’s 1-0 pitch to Utley was inside and low and Martin couldn’t handle it. Rollins scored to make it 10-4 and Victorino took third. Utley grounded to second on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.

Rollins was 1-for-3 in the game and was hit by two pitches. 5-for-22 in the series with two doubles. His double to end game four was the biggest hit of the series. The difference between that single at-bat to end game four was the difference between the series being tied or the Dodgers needing to win the next two games to tie the series.

Victorino had a monster game last night, going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI. 7-for-19 in the series with a double, a triple and two home runs. 368/478/842 in the series and led the team in total bases with 16.

Utley was miserable last night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk. 4-for-19 with four singles and four walks in the series.

Howard was 0-for-2 with two walks and did not drive in a run for the first time in his last nine post-season games. He was 5-for-15 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the series. He led the Phils with eight RBI. He also walked six times, which was the most on the team. 333/524/933, which was good enough to get him named MVP of the series.

Werth was 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI. 4-for-18 with three home runs and a single in the series.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 3-for-18 with a double and a home run in the series. The home run was a huge one, though, a three-run shot off of Sherrill the Phils needed to win game one. 167/211/389.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a home run in the game and 2-for-17 with a triple and a home run in the series. 118/167/412.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk last night and 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and five walks in the set. 385/579/692.

Ruiz, Howard and Victorino all on-based .478 or better in the series. All three also hit .333 or better.

Howard, Victorino, Werth and Ruiz all slugged .692 or better.

Feliz, Ibanez and Utley combined to go 9-for-54 (.167).

Stairs was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-1 in the series with a big walk in game four.

Cairo was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-2 in the series.

Francisco seems sure to be a big part of the World Series. He did not play last night and was 0-for-3 in the series.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the series.

Bruntlett didn’t bat in the series but made an appearance as a pinch-runner for Stairs in game four and scored a critical run.

Bako did not play.

The pitching was terrible for LA in the set as they allowed 35 runs in five games. Overall, the Dodgers’ pitchers threw to a 7.38 ERA and a 1.38 ratio over 42 2/3 innings. They allowed ten home runs. In the regular season they pitched 1,473 1/3 innings and allowed 127 homers. If they had allowed home runs at their NLCS pace over the regular season and thrown the same number of innings they would have allowed 345. The Brewers were the only NL team to allow more than 200 home runs this season — they allowed 207.

Padilla made a great start for LA in game two. That was it for the starting pitching, though. Padilla was bad last night, Kershaw bad in game one and Kuroda awful in game three. Wolf allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in game four. Overall the starters pitched 21 2/3 innings in the series for the Dodgers, throwing to a 8.72 ERA and a 1.48 ratio. Excluding Padilla’s game two start they made four starts in which they threw a total of just 14 2/3 innings with a 12.56 ERA and a 1.88 ratio.

The starters threw just 50.7% of the team’s innings for the series and allowed 60% of the runs LA gave up.

Coming into the series a big question was whether the Phils would be able to do anything against the mighty pen of LA. They would. The LA relievers had to throw almost as many innings as their starters in the five games. In 21 innings they gave up just 14 hits, but walked 13, which is way too many, and gave up four home runs. Overall they threw to a 6.00 ERA with a 1.29 ratio in the series.

Ibanez hit a huge three-run homer off of Sherrill in game one. The LA pen pitched well in game three, but they had a lot of work to do after Kuroda didn’t make it out of the second. Belisario was charged with three runs in an inning in that game. Broxton allowed a huge two-run double to Rollins in game four. The Phils scored four runs off of Kershaw, Kuo and Belisario in the last four innings of last night’s game.

Kuo and Troncoso pitched pretty well in relief for the Dodgers in the series. Troncoso wasn’t charged with a run in three innings over three appearances. He didn’t give up a hit but walked three. Kuo struck out six in four innings and allowed one run on the homer by Werth.

No game today. The first game of the World Series is Wednesday.


Phils split with the Dodgers, ability to hit, pitch in relief and throw the ball from second base

Nobody had much of an idea what to expect from Pedro Martinez in game two of the NLCS. Pedro has always seemed like a bit of an outsider on this squad, a guy focused on proving to the baseball world he’s still got it on a team full of players with a history of putting the team first. Whether that’s fair or not, it was the Phillies who let Martinez down in this game, not the other way around. Martinez was brilliant, spinning a two-hit shutout over seven innings. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t hit Vicente Padilla, couldn’t get an out on a bunt, couldn’t turn a key double-play and walked in the winning run in a disastrous eighth inning that cost them the game.

Martinez exited after seven innings having thrown 87 pitches and allowing two singles and no walks. The Phils hit for him in the top of the eighth and things fell apart in the bottom of the inning. They hit for him cause the plan on the day was to limit Pedro to 90 pitches. If that was the plan they executed it brilliantly. What they didn’t do was win the game, which makes you wonder where the plan and the 90-pitch number came from in the first place.

Howard put the Phillies up 1-0 with a solo shot off of Padilla in the top of the fourth. Taking over for Pedro, Park started the eighth and gave up a single off the glove of Feliz. Ronnie Belliard bunted and the Phils couldn’t get an out. Russell Martin hit a throw-it-in-the-dugout ball and the Phils executed beautifully for the second straight day, getting one at second before Utley threw the ball into the first base dugout. Juan Pierre scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1. A single and a walk loaded the bases before JA Happ walked Andre Ethier, forcing in the run that put LA on top to stay at 2-1.

The Phils and Dodgers are tied at a game apiece after splitting the first two games of the NLCS. They head now to Philadelphia for game three on Sunday.

Pedro Martinez got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing two singles, no walks and striking out three. He also hit a batter.

Pedro faced a lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Kemp (CF/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Blake (3B/R) (7) Belliard (2B/R) (8) Martin (C/R). Kemp moves to two after hitting fourth against the lefty in game one. Ethier to three from two. Ramirez three to four. Blake and Loney switch spots in the order. Like Ruiz, Martin starts in the day game after a night game.

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.

Pedro threw a 1-2-3 first. Furcal flew to left on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Kemp hit a 2-2 pitch softly to Rollins. Ethier got ahead 2-0, but popped a 2-2 pitch to Utley in short center for the second out.

Ramirez, Loney and Blake went down in the second. Manny got ahead 2-0 before popping to Howard in foul territory 2-1. Loney grounded an 0-1 pitch to first with Martinez covering. Blake got ahead in the count and then flew softly to right 3-1.

Belliard led off the third and flew to Ibanez in right-center for the first out. Martin was next and he blooped a 2-2 pitch in center for a single, the first runner of the game for LA. Padilla tried to bunt and fouled two off before getting it down. It moved Martin to second with two outs. Furcal grounded to second on a 2-0 pitch to leave him stranded.

He started the fourth with a 1-0 lead. Kemp led off with an infield single on a ball that Martinez deflected, but Ruiz gunned Kemp down stealing with Ethier at the plate for the first out before Ethier flew to center on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Manny popped to Howard to end the inning.

Loney popped to third to start the fifth before Martinez struck Blake and Belliard both out swinging.

In the sixth, Martinez got ahead of the leadoff batter Martin 2-0 before hitting him with a 2-2 pitch. Padilla bunted Martin to second, but Furcal flew to center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out and Kemp flew to left to leave Martin stranded.

Ethier grounded to second 1-2 to start the seventh. Ramirez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Loney hit the ball well to center, but Victorino took it for the third out.

Exit Pedro, enter the bullpen and the nightmare.

Park started the eighth with the Phils still up 1-0. Blake led off with a ground ball deflected off the glove of Feliz and into left field for a single. Juan Pierre ran for Blake at first. Belliard was next and bunted on the first base side of the mound, but nobody could make the play and he was safe with a single that moved Martin to second. Martin was next and he got ahead 3-0 before hitting a double-play ball to third. Feliz threw to second for the first out, but Utley’s relay to first was way off target. Pierre scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1. Martin held first with one out and Jim Thome hit for the pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo. Thome singled to right, putting men on first and third. Juan Castro ran for Thome and Madson came in to pitch to Furcal. Furcal walked to load the bases. Madson got a big strikeout next, getting Kemp swinging 1-2 for the second out. Happ came in to pitch to the lefty Ethier. He got ahead 1-2 before delivering three straight balls to walk Ethier, forcing in Martin to make it 2-1. Ball four was very close and may have been a strike. Durbin replaced Happ and got Manny on a popup to third on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Awful inning for the Phils. Very close pitch by Happ 3-2. At least they had a righty pitching to Furcal in a big spot late this time. Good job again by Durbin, getting Ramirez for the last out with the bases still loaded.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla 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 game and took ball one before flying to left for the first out. Victorino flew to right on an 0-1 pitch, but Utley hit a 2-1 pitch into right for a single. Howard swung at the first pitch and popped to Furcal near the foul line in short left field.

He set the Phils down in order in the second. Werth went down looking 1-2. Ibanez grounded 1-2 pitch to first. Feliz struck out swinging 0-2.

Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Martinez was next and popped up the bunt for the first out. Loney tried dropping it on purpose, but the umps didn’t go for it. Rollins got behind 0-2 and Padilla came way up and in. Rollins hit the 1-2 pitch into right, which Ethier took running in for the second out. Ruiz stole second before Victorino popped to Furcal to end the frame.

Utley grounded a 1-1 pitch to first for the first out of the fourth. Howard was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phils up 1-0. Werth struck out swinging 1-2 and Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2.

In the fifth, Feliz grounded to short, Ruiz flew to right and Pedro lined to second.

Rollins struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out of the sixth. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit the ball hard, but Loney took it for the second out. Utley also swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Howard singled to right to start the seventh with the Phillies still up 1-0. Werth got behind in the count and hit into a double-play to short on a 1-2 pitch, clearing the bases. Ibanez swung and missed three straight pitches to set the Phillies down.

Feliz grounded to short to start the eighth. Ruiz was next and he got behind 1-2, but came back to work a walk. Pedro was due to hit next, having thrown a two-hit shutout through seven innings and needing on 87 pitches to do so, but the Phils called on Dobbs to hit for him. The lefty Kuo came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Kuo got Francisco to ground into a double-play on a 1-1 pitch.

The Phils started the ninth down 2-1 with righty Jonathan Broxton on the mound for the Dodgers. Rollins took the first pitch for a strike and then grounded to second. Victorino grounded a 2-2 pitch to short. Utley was the last hope and he flew to right on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and is 1-for-9 in the series.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game. 2-for-9 in the series.

Utley 1-for-4 in the game, 1-for-8 with a walk in the series. He’s having huge problems throwing the ball to first base.

Howard 2-for-3 with a home run in the game. 3-for-6 with a double, a home run and two walks.

Werth 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. In the at-bat when he didn’t strike out he hit into a double-play. 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts so far.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 and struck out twice, too. 2-for-7 with a home run.

Feliz has been just terrible with the bat. 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the game. 0-for-6 with a walk in the series.

Ruiz 1-for-2 with a walk in the game. 3-for-5 with a home run and two walks.

Francisco was 0-for-1 in the game.

Lefty Cliff Lee faces righty Hiroki Kuroda in game three.

The 34-year-old Kuroda threw 117 1/3 innings for the Dodgers this year, pitching to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. He was the Dodger’s opening day starter, but missed a lot of the early part of the season with an oblique problem and some time recently with a neck issue.

Kuroda doesn’t walk anyone. Just 24 in 117 1/3 innings for the season. He walked just six of the 250 right-handed batters he faced for the year. Overall, he was almost as good against lefties as he was righties this year. Lefties hit 233/294/419 against him and righties 253/272/371.

He made one start against the Phils this year, which came on June 6. He threw six shutouts innings that day, holding the Phils to two hits and three walks. Ethier homered off of Blanton in the fourth to put LA up 1-0. Stairs had a two-run single off of Belisario in the seventh to put the Phils up 2-1. Furcal homered off of Lidge with one out in the ninth. 2-2. Ethier homered off of Durbin with two outs in the twelfth. LA wins 3-2.

Kuroda started game three of the NLCS against the Phillies last year and pitched very well, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. Howard and Utley doubled against him in that game and LA won 7-2 as they lit up Moyer. Kuroda threw a ball near Victorino’s head in that game, setting of a bench-clearing incident.

None of the Phillies have big numbers of at-bats against him over their careers in the regular season. Howard 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. Rollins 0-for-6. Victorino 0-for-5. Utley’s had some luck, 2-for-7 with two walks. Werth 2-for-7 with a double.

Lee went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He 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 started games one and four against the Rockies in the NLDS and was fantastic twice. In 16 1/3 innings he pitched to a 1.10 ERA with an 0.86 ratio.

He didn’t face the Dodgers this year.

Manny has some scary career numbers against him: 6-for-14 with three doubles, two home runs and six walks (429/571/1.071). Kemp 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Furcal 2-for-3 with a homer. Ethier and Loney are both 0-for-3.


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

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

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


Team

Runs Scored

NL Rank

’09 LA

780
4

’09 PHI

820
1
     

’08 LA

700

13

’08 PHI

799
3

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

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


Team

Runs Allowed

NL Rank

’09 LA

611

T-1

’09 PHI

709
6
     

’08 LA

648
1

’08 PHI

680
3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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