Tag: Cliff Lee

Feels like the first time

We didn’t learn anything new last night, but seeing Cliff Lee pitch lights out one more time was more than enough for Phillie fans looking for signs of life. Lee was fantastic, allowing two singles over eight shutout innings, and Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth as the Phils topped Atlanta 2-0.

The pitching was outstanding last night, but the Phils have scored four runs over their last two games. More would be better, especially if 60% of the rotation is going to be Kendrick, Lannan and a version of Roy Halladay who can’t get people out. Michael Young and Ryan Howard were quiet in the opening set, combining to go 2-for-21 out of the four and five spots in the order.

The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0 last night. The Braves take the series two games to one.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles, no walks and striking out eight.

He set the Braves down in order in the bottom of the first.

He started the second up 2-0 and struck out Freddie Freeman and BJ Upton to start the frame before Dan Uggla singled to left. Chris Johnson grounded to first to end the inning.

Lee struck out Gerald Laird and pitcher Kris Medlen in 1-2-3 third.

Justin Upton singled to left with one out in the fourth. Lee got Freeman to ground into a double-play behind Upton.

Freeman 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a GDP through two at-bats after hammering the Phils in games one and two of the set.

Lee struck out Uggla in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Laird led off the sixth and reached on an error by Utley, but Lee got the next three. Righty Reed Johnson hit for the pitcher Cory Gearrin and flew to center for the first out.

Lee struck out both Uptons in a 1-2-3 seventh. Freeman absolutely crushed a ball in-between, but Nix took it on the warning track for the second out.

Lee got a little help from the weather on a cold night in Atlanta on Freeman’s ball. It was well struck.

Lee needed just eight pitches to set Uggla, Johnson and Laird down in order in the eighth.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Switch-hitter Ramiro Pena hit for the pitcher Anthony Varvaro and Palelbon struck him out swinging for the first out. Simmons grounded to Utley for the second out and Papelbon got Heyward swinging at a ball way outside to end the game.

Second appearance of the year for Papelbon after allowing two runs in an inning in game two of the set. He threw 11 pitches in the game and has pitched for two days in a row.

The season is only three days old, but last night was the first game of the three in which the pen has been non-terrible. The bullpen threw to a 6.23 ERA in the set and walked five in 8 2/3 innings.

The Phillie lineup against righty Kris Medlen went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Nix (8) Kratz. Nix in right against the lefty with Mayberry on the bench. Manuel did it the other way with righty Tim Hudson on the mound for Atlanta in game one of the series. Mayberry on the bench against a righty appeals a lot, though.

Rollins singled to center with one out in the top of the first. Utley flew out to left before Howard moved Rollins up to second with a single. Rollins stole third on a soft throw back to the mound by Laird before Young walked to load the bases for Brown. Brown grounded to second to leave them loaded.

Howard’s single was a ground ball to where the shortstop would be if the Braves weren’t in their Howard shift.

Nix started the second with a single and moved to third when Kratz followed with a double to left. Lee was next and walked to load the bases for Revere. Revere grounded to short with Lee forced at second for the first out. Nix scored and the Phils led 1-0 with one out and runners on the corner. Revere quickly stole second and Rollins went on to walk, loading the bases for Utley. Utley flew to right, deep enough for Kratz to tag and score from third, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard lined to Simmons to end the frame.

Glad to see Kratz deliver the double after an awful night at the plate in game two.

Brown singled with one out in the third, but Nix and Kratz went down behind him. Nix hit his ball well, but Heyward took it in right for the second out.

Rollins doubled to right with two outs in the fourth and Utley drew a walk behind him. It put men on first and second for Howard, but Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right field to set the Phillies down.

Young and Nix struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth. Brown smoked a line drive, but Uggla handled it for the second out.

Righty Cory Gearrin set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. Revere hit a ball well into the gap in right-center, but Heyward made a diving catch to take extra-bases away from him for the third out.

Righty Jordan Walden started the seventh. He got Rollins on a fly ball to left for the first out before Utley singled to left. Howard was next and he hammered a ball to center, but BJ Upton took it at the wall after a long run for the second out. Young flew to BJ Upton in right-center to set the Phils down.

Howard hit the ball really well. Not quite well enough on a cold night (41 degrees) in Atlanta.

Anthony Varvaro started the eighth for Atlanta and set Brown, Nix and Kratz down in order.

Varvaro was back for the ninth. Galvis hit for Lee and grounded out to start the inning. Revere singled into center, but was doubled off of first to set the Phillies down when Rollins lined to Uggla.

Revere was 1-for-5 with a stolen base in the game. 3-for-14 with a walk and two steals in the series. 0-for-4 against lefties. I don’t think he’s going to lead off against lefties for too long — not because he’s 0-for-4 against them, but because leading him off against lefties is a poor idea.

Rollins 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-14 with a walk, two doubles and two stolen bases in the set.

Utley 1-for-2 with a walk, an error and an RBI. 5-for-11 with a double, a triple, a home run and a walk in the series. He has six RBI for the year — the rest of the team has three (Kratz 1, Revere 1, Howard 1).

Howard was 1-for-4 and left five men on base. He got chances to hit with runners on base in the second, fourth and seventh. Pretty bad start to the season for Howard, he was 1-for-12 with a walk and an RBI. Just three strikeouts, but one came in game one with one out and runners on second and third.

Young 0-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-9 with three walks in the series. He’s obviously not going to walk in 25% of his plate appearances, but I would be thrilled to see him up his walk rate this season. Looked a little shaky defensively at third in game one of the series, but was largely unnoticed defensively after that, which is a good sign.

Brown 1-for-4 with a single and left three men on base. 4-for-11 with four singles and a walk in the series. No strikeouts yet, but no extra-base hits either. He went 2-for-4 in his chances against lefties in the series.

Nix 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 2-for-6 in the series. Mayberry took over for Nix defensively in right in the bottom of the eighth, but did not have an at-bat in the game. He was 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in the series. No quite sure I understand using Mayberry as a defensive replacement for Nix — Nix is a pretty good defensive outfielder and there’s not a lot of data on Mayberry in right (although his numbers are great in limited time).

Kratz 1-for-4 with a double, which was nice to see after a miserable day at the plate in game two of the set. 2-for-12 with a double and an RBI in the series. Curious comments from Halladay after game two in the set suggesting that he and Kratz may not have been on the same page should be monitored carefully. Quintero is going to get a chance to start a game soon anyway, given that the Phillies play in each of the next six days. Sunday afternoon against the Royals seems likely.

Kendrick gets the start late this afternoon in the home opener against the Royals and righty Wade Davis. Kendrick finished 2012 on a major roll pitching out of the rotation. He threw to a 3.20 ERA over 12 starts to end the year. Davis will be making his first start since 2011 after 54 appearances for the Rays last year, all in relief. He didn’t allow a home run to any of the 130 left-handed batters he faced in 2012 while throwing to a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 ratio.


Rodrig . . . ut oh

Rodrigo Lopez started yesterday’s game against the Braves and probably wishes he hadn’t after surrendering eight runs over two ugly innings. Lopez came into the game having thrown seven shutout innings in official spring action, but leaves with a 7.00 ERA and a 1.89 ratio.

The Phils made three errors in the game and lost 17-10.

Brown hit a two-run homer in the contest, his fifth of the spring. 3-for-4 on the day ups his line to 400/471/683. He leads the team in home runs and runs scored. He’s scored 20 run this spring, which leads all players across both leagues by a wide margin. San Diego’s Kyle Blanks is second and he has scored 14 runs.

Betancourt was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 450/455/525. If you had asked me what Yuniesky Betancourt was going to hit in spring training, I would have said under .450.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles to up his spring average to .321.

Revere also 2-for-4 with two RBI. 328/359/410.

Ruf continues to hit after a super slow start. 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a pair of strikeouts. He’s up to 224/309/388. He continues to struggle in left. In the second inning, Freddie Freeman hit a ball deep to left. Ruf almost picked the ball off to take the home run away, but it went off his glove and cleared the fence. It’s been that kind of a spring for him.

Quintero, Revere and Howard made errors for the Phillies in the game.

Lopez started the game for the Phillies and allowed eight runs over two innings on eight hits, including two home runs, and two walks. Only seven of the runs were earned. Justin Upton hit a two-run homer off of him in the first and Freddie Freeman hit a two-run shot in the second.

Lopez’s ERA goes from 0.00 for the spring to 7.00 with the outing. He came into the start having allowed six hits and a walk over seven shutout innings and leaves it with a 1.89 ratio.

Stutes pitched the fourth inning for the Phils, allowing a solo home run to Juan Francisco and a single.

4.50 ERA and a 1.50 ratio for Stutes over eight innings. He had not allowed a home run coming into yesterday’s outing. He’s walked four over his eight innings.

Bastardo followed Stutes and allowed the first three men he faced to reach on a walk and two singles on his way to allowing two earned runs in the frame.

Bastardo’s ERA is up to 5.40. Three of the seven runs that he’s allowed in official spring action are unearned.

Cook followed Bastardo and threw the last three innings of the game, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits and a walk. He set the Braves down in order in the sixth. In the seventh he allowed a run on a walk, a passed ball and a single. In the eighth the Braves scored two runs on two singles and a triple.

Cook is tied for Lannan for the team lead in official spring innings pitched at 14. 3.21 ERA with a 1.36 ratio. Just four strikeouts in 14 innings.

Colt Murray also pitched for the Phils and allowed three runs in an inning.

Kyle Kendrick is expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phillies play the Yankees.

Cliff Lee was fantastic pitching in a minor league game yesterday, striking out nine in six shutout innings. He threw 80 pitches and allowed four hits and no walks.

This suggests that Galvis, Betancourt and Frandsen are still battling for two spots on the bench. All three of them have hit very well this spring — between the three they are 47-for-142 (.331) with five walks, 13 doubles, two triples and four home runs. Betancourt has clearly been the best of the three with the bat after a huge day yesterday. Galvis is on-basing .298 and Frandsen .327. Not sure it’s going to matter.

It’s not clear when Halladay will pitch in a game again. Could be Friday or Saturday. Could be a lot of days, actually, but Friday or Saturday are some of them.

Rollins is back with the team after hitting .321 in the World Baseball Classic, but may not be in the lineup until Friday.

Lopez has been reassigned to minor league camp.


Peeee-ew

Another miserable game for the Phillies last night as they made five errors on their way to a 6-2 loss to the Yankees. Cliff Lee allowed five runs over 2 2/3 innings — only two of the runs were earned as the Phillies made four errors in the less than three innings he was in the game.

For the spring, Halladay and Lee have now combined to make eight starts in which they’ve thrown to 6.45 ERA and a 1.66 ratio and allowed six home runs in 22 1/3 innings.

The bullpen pitched well in the game as Stutes, De Fratus and Durbin combined to toss four scoreless frames.

Darin Ruf hit his first spring homer, a solo shot off of righty David Aardsma in the sixth. 1-for-3 on the day ups his line to 200/317/371.

Mayberry was 2-for-3 with two singles. He’s hitting 261/320/370.

Brown 1-for-3 with an RBI to drop his average to .395.

Revere 0-for-4. He’s hitting 340/367/426. Frandsen 0-for-4 to drop him to 324/359/649.

Quintero is hitting .231 after going 0-for-3.

Inciarte 0-for-1 with a strikeout. 4-for-14 with three walks and four singles has him at 286/444/286. Jermaine Mitchell walked in his only plate appearance and stole a base. 5-for-10 with two walks, three extra-base hits, three stolen bases and a 500/583/1.000 line.

Five errors in the game for the Phils. Josh Fields started at third and made one. Quintero, Utley, Lee and Stutes had the others.

Lee started the game for the Phillies and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks. Only two of the runs were earned.

Kevin Youklils doubled off of Lee with two outs in the first. The inning should have been over when the next batter, Juan Rivera, hit a ball to third, but an error by Josh Fields kept the frame alive for Ben Francisco to deliver a two-run double. Lee walked back-to-back hitters with two outs in the second before Ichiro singled home the third run (which was earned). Lee allowed a run on three singles in the third and another run scored on an error by Utley on a throw from Quintero that Utley didn’t handle. Lee left with two outs and runners on first and third. Miner took over and struck Jeter out looking to keep things from getting worse.

Lee has made four starts in which he’s thrown to a 5.56 ERA and a 1.68 ratio over 11 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit .294 against him.

Miner followed Lee, allowing a run over 1 1/3 innings to drop his ERA to 10.13.

Stutes was next and pitched well, tossing two shutout innings. He allowed a two-out single in the fifth and then threw a pickoff throw away for the fifth error of the game for the Phils, but got a fly ball to center for the third out to leave the runner stranded. He allowed a leadoff walk in the sixth, but got out of the frame with the help of a double-play.

4.50 ERA with a 1.50 ratio for Stutes. He’s walked four in six innings, but has not allowed a home run.

De Fratus threw a 1-2-3 seventh. His results are getting less terrible. He has his ERA down to 6.43 and his ratio at 1.43. He hasn’t allowed a home run, but has struck out just two in his seven innings.

Durbin struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth, dropping his ERA to 7.20. Opponents are hitting .368 against him in five innings.

Aaron Cook is expected to pitch against the Pirates this afternoon.

Delmon Young continues to rehab and hopes are he will be with the Phillies by the start of May.

Rich Dubee says that Halladay is fine physically. If that’s the case it sure seems like his non-physical problems are significant.


Hicks Aarons it out against the Phils

Aaron Hicks homered off of three different Phillie pitchers yesterday as the Twins topped the Phils 10-6. The Phils led 6-1 after three innings but couldn’t hold on. Valdes and Minor were charged with seven runs between them in the seventh and eighth innings combined.

Ruf hit a two-run double for the Phillies in the bottom of the second. A much needed 2-for-4 on the day with three RBI ups his line to 185/313/259 with just two walks and two extra-base hits, both doubles, in 32 plate appearances.

Galvis started at short and had the only other extra-base hit for the Phils, a triple. He was 1-for-5 in the game. Slugging .519 this spring.

Young and Mayberry both 2-for-3. Mayberry also drew a walk to raise his line to 281/343/438 after a slow start. Young’s continued hot hitting has his average up to .310.

Brown and Kratz 2-for-4. Kratz is hitting .200 without a walk in 15 at-bats. Brown is at 400/514/767. Leads the team in walks and runs scored and is tied for Howard with the home run lead at three. Brown has scored 13 runs this spring while no other Phillie has scored more than seven.

This article talks about nice defensive plays made by Young, Brown and Utley in the game.

Lee started the game for the Phillies. He gave up a leadoff homer to the first batter he faced before retiring the next three to end the first. He allowed two hits and a walk in a scoreless second and threw a 1-2-3 third. He started the fourth, allowing another solo home run, this time with one out. He got the second out and was replaced by Horst.

Overall, Lee went 3 2/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. Both of the runs scored on solo homers. 5.19 ERA with a 1.27 ratio over three starts. Ten strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings.

Horst allowed a walk before getting the final out of the fourth. He came back to pitch the fifth and allowed a run on a solo homer.

Again Horst doesn’t pitch well. The spring started out well for him and has fallen apart a little over his last couple outings. His numbers at this point are ugly — 14.40 ERA with a 2.60 ratio. In five innings he’s allowed four home runs.

Valdes allowed a single single before striking out the side in the sixth. He returned for the seventh and gave up a leadoff walk, which was followed by yet another homer by Aaron Hicks (his third of the day — Lee, Horst and Valdes). Valdes struck the next hitter out for the first out of the frame and was replaced by Kyle Simon.

Valdes’s numbers are better than Horst, but they’re still really bad. 7.36 ERA with a 1.23 ratio. Like Horst, he’s allowed four home runs. He’s struck out a team-high 11 in 7 1/3 innings.

Simon got the last two outs in the seventh. He has now allowed a run in 2 1/3 innings over four appearances.

Miner started the eighth and faced six batters, getting one out, walking two and allowing four singles before getting pulled. He wound up charged with five runs on three hits and two walks over a third of an inning. Fields made an error at first after Miner left that meant that one of his five runs was unearned.

Miner has a 12.71 ERA for the spring and opponents have hit .370 against him.

Savery got the last two outs in the eighth, allowing one runner to reach on Fields’s error. He came back and allowed two singles in a scoreless ninth.

Savery hasn’t been charged with a run in his three appearances, allowing four hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings while striking out four (0.00 ERA and a 1.15 ratio).

Kendrick is expected to start against the Rays this afternoon. Papelbon will not pitch as scheduled and may pitch Saturday.

USA plays Mexico today in the World Baseball Classic.


The best of the rest

Game Score is an enormously flawed stat, but looking at the Start Log data for 2012 does help demonstrate part of what was wrong for the Phillies last year.

The average Game Score for a start by a Phillies pitcher in ’12 was 54.2, which is the lowest it has been since 2009. There were only two starters for the Phils in 2012 who posted an average Game Score for the year better than the team’s average of 54.2 — Hamels averaged 59.74 in his 31 starts and Lee averaged 58.93 in his 30. Halladay, notably, joined Worley, Blanton, Kendrick, Valdes, Cloyd and Rosenberg in the group of starters under the team’s 54.2 average.

In 2011, Halladay, Hamels and Lee all averaged Game Scores above 60.

The Phils had six games in 2012 in which their starter threw to a Game Score better than 80. Here are the teams six best starts for 2012 by Game Score:

April 5, Halladay 83. Phillies beat the Pirates 1-0 on Opening Day as Halladay allows two hits and no walks over eight shutout innings.

April 18, Lee 85. By Game Score, this is the second-best start of the year for the Phillies in 2012. Lee strikes out seven in ten shutout innings. Bastardo started the bottom of the eleventh in a scoreless tie and the Giants got an unearned run on two singles and a Wigginton error.

May 3, Blanton 87. Best start of the year for the Phillies by Game Score. Blanton throws a complete-game, three hit shutout and the Phils top the Braves 4-0. He threw just 88 pitches in the game.

August 7, Hamels 83. Best start of the year for Hamels as he throws a complete game, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out six. Howard hits a two-run homer in the top of the first as the Phils score three runs on their way to a 3-0 win over Atlanta.

August 10, Halladay 82. The only pitcher to make two starts with Game Scores over 80, Halladay allowed a run on two hits and no walks while striking out eight as the Phils topped the Cardinals 3-1, breaking a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run shot by Utley.

August 19, Kendrick 82. The third Game Score of 80 plus in a 12-day period for the Phils. Kendrick makes his best start of the year, allowing three hits and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out seven. The Phillies score five runs charged to Randy Wolf in the first three innings and roll to an 8-0 win.

For the Phillies it was their first season since 2008 in which they didn’t get a start with a Game Score better than 90.

In 2011, Lee threw a complete-game shutout of the Nats on April 14, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 12 and posting a Game Score of 92.

Halladay threw a perfect game on May 29, 2010 with a Game Score of 98.

There were two starts with a Game Score above 90 in 2009. On August 19, Lee struck out 11, walked none and allowed two singles in a complete game against the Snakes. The Phils won 8-1 and Lee’s Game Score was 92. On September 1, Hamels allowed two hits and a walk while striking out nine in a complete game shutout as the Phils topped the Giants 1-0. 91 Game Score in that start for Hamels.

This Q&A from the Phillies web site speculates that Michael Young could play some first base against lefties this year if Howard continues to struggle against them. Mayberry and Ruf seem like good candidates as well. Mayberry seems like the one of that trio who would not be terrible defensively at the position he was playing (left field, presumably) if he was in the lineup and not at first, which presumably makes it less likely he would be there than Ruf or Young if Howard was on the bench against a lefty.

This suggests that the Phillies and Bastardo have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.4 million deal.

Article on 22-year-old lefty Adam Morgan here. Morgan threw to a 3.35 ERA in 158 2/3 innings over 27 appearances, 26 of which were starts, between Clearwater and Reading in 2012.

This article discusses the possibility that Michael Young will hit between Utley and Howard in 2013.

This article suggests the Phillies are seriously considering signing Delmon Young.

Update: The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 deal. I would have guessed he would get more money than that. At least on paper, that’s a really good deal for the Phils to land the MVP of last year’s ALCS. No word yet they plan to play on paper next year, though. So brace yourself for the possibility there might be a bump or two ahead.

This says Young could earn as much as $3.5 million if all incentives are reached.

Young earned $6.75 million in 2012.


Fans hold out hope that 2012 Halladay and maybe all of 2012 turn out not to have been real, either

And our outfield, too. Don’t forget that.

Moving down the blue band in the middle of the Start Log for 2012, you’ll find the section on quality starts. The biggest surprise from 2012 in that area is that Halladay made 25 starts for the Phillies in 2012 and only 15, 60%, were quality starts.

Here’s the percentage of starts that Halladay, Hamels, Lee and everybody else have made over the past three

2012 2011 2010
GS QS% GS QS% GS QS%
Halladay 25 60.0 32 78.1 25 75.8
Hamels 31 74.2 31 77.4 21 63.6
Lee 30 70.0 32 78.1 - -
Everyone else 76 52.6 67 50.7 96 50.1

So all three of Halladay, Hamels and Lee delivered quality starts in a lower percentage of outings in 2012 than they did in 2011. But Hamels and Lee were down a little and Halladay was down a lot. Over the last three seasons, the trio of Halladay, Hamels and Lee have combined to make a quality start in 72.5% of their outings. From 2012 to 2011, the percentage for that group dropped from 77.9% to 68.6%, thanks mostly to Halladay’s drop.

Notably, over the past three years, the percentage of quality starts delivered by pitchers other than Halladay, Hamels and Lee has had a very slender range, between 50.0% and 52.6%. Since 2010, the only pitcher to make quality starts in 60% or more of his starts in any year is Oswalt. Oswalt made quality starts in 60.9% of his 23 starts in 2011 and 75% (9 of 12) in 2010.

One final thought on quality starts and Vance Worley. Whether it was due to his enormously high BABIP or not, Worley was worse in 2012 than he was in 2011. His walk and home run rates stayed about the same while his hit rate skyrocketed and his ERA went from 3.01 in 2011 to 4.20 in 2012. In 2012, the Phillies went 9-14 in the games that Worley started. In 2011, they were 16-5. But for the two years, the percentage of Worley’s starts that were quality starts stayed the about the same — 56.5% in 2012 and 57.1% in 2011.

The Phillies and 33-year-old righty Aaron Cook apparently have a deal and Cook will try to make the team as a NRI. Cook has been awful over the last three years, throwing to a 5.54 ERA in 318 2/3 innings with the Rockies and Red Sox. Prior to 2010, Cook had had four straight years in which he threw at least 150 innings with an ERA+ better than 110.

This article reminds that Ryan Vogelsong was with the Phillies in spring training in 2010. He made two official spring training appearances, allowing six runs in three innings. Didn’t make the team. Went to Triple-A and threw to a 4.91 ERA in 25 appearances and was released in July. Was picked up by the Giants in time to make 61 appearances between 2011 and 2012, 59 starts, in which he threw to a 3.05 ERA with a 1.24 ratio. In 2011 he was an All-Star and finished eleventh in NL Cy Young voting.


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