Tag: Darin Ruf

Phillie pitchers don’t manage a lot of O’s against the Orioles

One, actually. You know who they might have asked about that? Baltimore pitchers. I’m sure they would be happy to help. Cause when we work together, everybody wins.

Everybody didn’t literally win today. Just the Orioles.

Baltimore 15, Phillies 4. Burnett allowed four in the third and Gonzalez followed that up by allowing four in the fourth. Those weren’t good moments, but to suggest they were all that went wrong might leave you with an incomplete picture.

A.J. Burnett started the game for the Phils and went three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk.

He allowed a one-out double to Nick Markakis in the top of the first, but got the next two. J.J. Hardy singled to left on a ball deflected by Asche at third with two outs in the second. Lefty Ryan Flaherty was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to center. Burnett got Jemile Weeks on a fly ball to center to end the inning. Baltimore scored four runs in the third, all earned. Burnett faced ten batters in the frame. He got three out, hit two, walked one and allowed singles to the other four.

Burnett gave up a home run in the second, but excelled at preventing home runs in 2013, allowing just 11 in 191 innings. That rate of 0.52 per nine innings was fourth best in the NL. His ’13 rate of allowing the long ball was much better than it had been over his career. In 2013, he allowed 11 home runs to 801 batters, which is about 1.37% of the batters he faced. Coming into 2013 he had allowed home runs to about 2.39% of the 9,230 batters he had faced (he also spent six full seasons pitching in the DH-loving AL).

12.60 ERA and 1.80 ratio for Burnett over his two starts. He allowed a run on one hit and no walks over two innings in his other start.

Miguel Gonzalez was next and got hammered. Markakis tripled to right on his first pitch of the frame and it went on from there. He wound up allowing four runs in the inning on four hits (three singles and the triple) and two walks. One of the runs scored on a wild pitch.

16.88 ERA and a 4.50 ratio for Gonzalez in his first two outings, both of which have been awful. He’s walked six and allowed six hits in 2 2/3 innings.

I’ve heard it suggested that Gonzalez needs mound time. I believe the people who think that are right. Not real sure he’s going to be getting a whole lot more mound time in settings where you and I can easily see him pitch, however. Long way to go, but he’s looked like a big, expensive mistake in the early going. If the results are going to be this ugly, the team might decide they’re better off being seen by fewer people. There seemed to be some pretty significant concerns before we saw him pitch in a game. Seeing him pitch in a game hasn’t helped.

Michael Stutes pitched the fifth and allowed two runs on a double, a single and a walk. Howard made an error in the frame. Stutes has been charged with seven runs in three innings in his three appearances.

David Buchanan was next, making his case for early starts after two solid innings in his first appearance. He allowed a leadoff double to Flaherty and Flaherty scored on a two-out single by David Lough.

3.00 ERA and an 0.67 ratio for Buchanan after two times out.

Ken Giles pitched the seventh. He had allowed one hit in a scoreless frame in his only official outing. He gave up a run on a hit and two walks in the frame. Steve Pearce and Quentin Berry were the first two batters he faced and they reached on a single and a walk. Pearce would score on a sac fly by Caleb Joseph. Giles retired former Phil Delmon Young in the frame — Young pinch-hit for
Nelson Cruz and flew to right for the first out.

4.50 ERA and a 2.00 ratio for Giles after two innings over two appearances.

Cesar Jimenez pitched the eighth. He allowed a leadoff homer to Jonathan Schoop, but retired the next three.

Third appearance for the 29-year-old lefty Jimenez. 3.86 ERA and a 1.50 ratio (six hits and a walk) over 4 2/3 innings.

The Phillies scored four runs in the game. Howard doubled Brown home in the fourth and scored when Byrd followed with a single. Cameron Rupp hit a solo homer in the seventh off of righty Alfredo Aceves. Ruf homered off of Aceves in the eighth.

Five home runs for the Phils in the last two games.

Rupp was the only Phillie with more than one hit. 2-for-3 with a solo homer. 3-for-10 with a home run so far. Homered 14 times in 355 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013.

Ruf hits his second spring homer in his only at-bat. 6-for-19 (.316) with three walks and two home runs.

Howard 1-for-3 and struck out twice, but raised his average to .188. 3-for-16 with three singles. Made one of two Phillie errors. Andres Blanco made the other, which was his second error in two days.

Byrd 1-for-3 with an RBI to drop his average to .368.

Asche 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Struck out twice. 1-for-15 so far and hitting .067. The lefty doubled off of righty Miguel Gonzalez, but not the one who pitched for the Phillies.

Domonic Brown was 0-for-2 with a walk. 2-for-19 (.105) with two singles and five walks.

Revere 0-for-3 (.278), Rollins 0-for-2 with a walk (.222), Abreu 0-for-3. Abreu is 2-for-15 (.133) with two singles and five walks.

Roberto Hernandez is expected to pitch against the Astros tomorrow.


Take two

Wasn’t a lot better than the first one.

The Phils fell to Toronto for the second straight day this afternoon, losing 7-5.

Cliff Lee started the game, coming off of a 2013 campaign in which he was the best Phillie by a wide margin. He went two innings in the game, allowing a run on two hits while striking out three.

He allowed a run on back-to-back doubles to righties Jose Bautista and Moises Sierra in the first and struck out two in a 1-2-3 second.

Brad Lincoln started the third and should have set Toronto down in order. Didn’t happen. With two outs and nobody on, Sierra hit a ball that Asche fielded at third. Asche threw to first, but Maikel Franco didn’t handle the throw at first and was charged with his second error in two days. Bautista followed that with an RBI-double before Lincoln got Edwin Encarnacion looking to leave Bautista at second.

Franco charged with a fielding error at first after making a throwing error fielding Chris Getz‘s bunt at third yesterday. He appeared at first eight times in 2013 at Double-A after not appearing there at all in any previous years.

Diekman pitched the fourth and faced seven batters, allowing two runs on four hits, all singles.

Not a good start for Diekman, but I’d guess he has a good shot to start the year with the team despite his 5.70 ERA in 30 innings at Triple-A last year. He fared much better while with the Phils, throwing to a 2.58 ERA with a less impressive 1.30 ratio.

Ethan Martin pitched the fifth and it wasn’t good. He faced four batters and all four reached on walk, single, double, double. Michael Stutes took over for him and faced four batters, three of which he retired and one of which reached on a throwing error by the catcher Nieves.

Awful for Martin, who left the game with discomfort in his right shoulder, but a nice showing for Stutes in his first appearance.

Mario Hollands pitched the sixth for the Phils and set Toronto down in order. The 25-year-old lefty made 27 appearances (20 starts) between Clearwater and Reading in 2013, throwing to a 2.86 ERA with a 1.23 ratio.

Rosenberg followed Hollands. He set Toronto down in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.

Great day for Rosenberg. Threw to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.09 ratio in his first 16 appearances before allowing six runs in five innings his last six times out for the Phils last year. May be older than you think — he turned 28 in September.

The Phillies scored five runs in the game. Ruf hit a two-run homer off of righty Esmil Rogers and Mayberry hit a solo shot off of lefty Aaron Loup. Revere scored on a passed ball in the first and Franco scored in the eighth on a play that featured a throwing error by Toronto first baseman Andy LaRoche on a might-have-been double-play.

Ruf was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer after drawing a walk in his only appearance yesterday. Was good (269/363/500) against righties last year and homered off of one today.

Mayberry 2-for-3 with a solo homer in his first action. Didn’t appear in center field even once today, which should be lauded.

Revere was 3-for-4 with three singles. 4-for-6 in the early going.

Abreu 0-for-2 with two more walks. 0-for-3 with four walks.

Franco, Nieves, Frandsen, Asche all went 0-for-3. Franco drew a walk. Galvis 0-for-4.

Franco made an error on a non-catch and Nieves a throwing error.

This from Ryne Sandberg on Ryan Howard: “You want to see if he can make [lefties] throw the ball over the plate. Be patient, be relaxed in those situations. Get a good ball to hit. Make the pitcher come to him. If it means being patient and taking walks, that’s for the betterment of the team. Spit on it, take the walk and be a baserunner. Will that result in some walks? Seventy-five to 100, 120? Probably.” I offer two related predictions: 1) Ryan Howard will walk less than 120 times in 2014 2) if Ryan Howard walks 120 times in 2014 the Phillies will win the World Series. Howard has averaged 24 walks a season over the past two years, walking 48 times in 609 plate appearances. He walked more than 100 times in a season twice — 108 in 2006 and 107 in 2007. Walking a hundred times in a season is hard. Across both leagues, three players did it in 2013. Joey Votto (135), Shin-Soo Choo (112) and Mike Trout (110).

I really don’t see a lot of reason for left-handed pitchers to walk Ryan Howard, either. Howard hit 173/218/321 against lefties in 2013 after hitting 173/226/378 against them in 2012. He’s walked eight times against left-handed pitching over the past two seasons (193 PA).

Tigers tomorrow with Kendrick expected to pitch.


Wait, what was it again that was just another word for nothing left to lose?

Phillie fans didn’t care much for Bobby Abreu when he was great, so it’s a little tough to see them getting too excited about the news the 39-year-old Abreu is coming to Spring Training to try to win a job with the team.

Does he have a chance? I think he does. Mostly because 1) the Phillies are terrible 2) Abreu still has a chance to hit right-handed pitching and 3) a lot of guys the Phillies have been giving chances lately really don’t.

The Phillies would love Abreu to do three things — play defense, hit left-handed pitching and hit right-handed pitching.

He’s a lock not to do two of those things.

He’s an atrocious defensive player and has been for a long time. Negative dWAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference in each of the last 14 years he’s played. dWAR of -1.5 or worse in five of those years. By comparison, Baseball-Reference had 18 players who appeared in the NL last year with a dWAR of -1.5 or worse (four of them, Delmon Young, Michael Young, Darin Ruf and John Mayberry, played for the Phils). FanGraphs gives him a negative UZR/150 in right for nine straight years and negative in left for three straight years.

He’s also not going to hit left-handed pitching. Here’s what he’s done over the last four years in which he appeared in MLB (he didn’t play in MLB 2013):

Year PA v L AVG OBP SLG ISO
2009 201 267 348 386 119
2010 206 228 296 342 114
2011 167 238 319 279 041
2012 50 267 340 378 111
Total 624 246 323 342 096

246/323/342 over his last 624 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. That’s not enough for a corner outfielder who can’t play defense.

The numbers against righties are a lot better, though:

Year PA v R AVG OBP SLG ISO
2009 466 305 408 457 152
2010 461 267 377 478 211
2011 418 259 366 400 141
2012 207 236 353 333 098
Total 1552 272 380 431 159

Abreu was great against righties in 2009 and 2010, hitting 286/393/468 against them over 927 plate appearances. Those numbers carry him to a 272/380/431 line for the four-year span.

In 2011 and 2012 combined he hit 251/362/378 against them. That’s a .362 on-base percentage with an isolated power of .127.

Here’s the complete list of 2013 Phillies who had both an on-base percentage of .362 or better against righties and an isolated power of .127 or better against righties:

Player

PA

OBP vs Right

ISO vs Right

D Ruf

212

363

261

That’s it.

Here’s the guys who made it for one of the two, but not the other (among the players with 50 PA vs righties for the Phils last year):

Player

PA

OBP vs Right

ISO vs Right

D Brown

381

336

235

C Utley

361

360

193

J Mayberry

276

283

143

R Howard

230

357

220

D Young

219

283

143

E Kratz

173

295

189

F Galvis

167

287

145

C Asche

145

310

162

C Hernandez

87

368

050

R Bernadina

67

242

161

Utley comes the closest to hitting the .362/.127 marks, falling short by just a couple of points of on-base percentage. Howard almost did it as well. Nobody else came real close. The Phillies only had two players on the team on-base better than .360 against righties — Ruf and Cesar Hernandez.

Important to remember is that not reaching those marks doesn’t mean those who didn’t were lesser offensive players. Utley, for example, was a way better hitter against righties than a player who on-based .362 with an isolated power of .127 despite not matching both categories. Ditto Howard. Brown’s on-base percentage was way below .362, but his isolated power against righties was a whole lot better than .127.

As a group, though, there’s some room for improvement. Of course, miserable offensive production by the 2013 Phillies doesn’t make Abreu good. It might, though, make him more likely to make the team.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.


What else can Brown do for you?

Field, maybe? Walk every now and again?

First, to be clear: I think the Phillies should start Domonic Brown in left field. This year, next year and the year after that. The reason I think that is I think he’s going to get better than he was in 2013. I also think Darin Ruf doesn’t belong in left field and the Phillies make a mistake when they play him there.

Whether or not we think Brown is going to get better is important, though, because if we don’t, and if you just look at the numbers for Brown and Ruf from 2013, it doesn’t seem clear that Brown is the better choice in left.

In fact, while it’s very close, I think both of these things were true in 2013:

  1. In fewer plate appearances, Ruf was better offensively than Brown, despite the fact that the righty Ruf didn’t hit lefties at all and Brown finished fourth in the NL in home runs.
  2. Ruf was better defensively in left than Brown. They were both terrible, but Ruf was a little less terrible.

So if Ruf was better at offense and defense and they’re about the same age (Ruf is 27 and Brown turned 26 two months ago), it seems odd the whole world, including me, would think it would be ridiculous to start Ruf over Brown in left.

But just about the whole world does.

First the defense. Both were really bad defensive players in left field. Brown was really bad in a lot of innings and Ruf was slightly worse in a lot fewer innings. Here are their 2013 UZR/150 numbers in left from FanGraphs:

Inn UZR/150
Brown 1123 2/3 -13.6
Ruf 144 2/3 -12.6

Ruf also played 44 innings of left for the Phils in 2012, posting an UZR/150 of -13.1, very similar to his -12.6 in more innings last year. Brown played 141 2/3 innings in left in 2012 with an UZR/150 of -5.6. Brown hasn’t been as hide-your-eyes awful in left as he was in right field in 2010 and 2011, but in 2013 he played his first full season in left and the defensive results were really bad. There were 26 players across both leagues who played at least 500 innings in left in 2013 and Brown’s UZR/150 at the position was 23rd-best.

The point here isn’t that Ruf can play left field. It’s that just because Ruf is terrible defensively in left doesn’t mean that Brown isn’t also. Ruf needs to play first base for the Phillies when he plays. Whichever outfield position he plays, Brown needs to get a whole lot better defensively. And if he doesn’t, it’s going to be close to impossible for him to become an elite player.

Here are some of the offensive numbers:

wOBA % 1B % BB/HBP % 2B % 3B % HR % H/BB/HBP
Ruf .354 12.6 13.7 3.8 0.0 4.8 34.8
Brown .351 15.4 7.4 3.9 0.7 5.0 32.4

Ruf has the slightly better wOBA. A lot more singles for Brown and the pair delivered home runs and doubles at about the same rate, but Ruf was way more likely, almost twice as likely, to reach on walk or a hit-by-pitch. Brown winds up with slightly more power, but a worse on-base percentage despite a better hit rate (the percentage of plate appearances that were hits, walks or hit-by-pitches is the same as the player’s on-base percentages with the decimal points moved. Ruf on-based .348 and Brown .324).

Brown and Ruf both reached base via a walk or a hit-by-pitch 40 times in 2013. Ruf got his 40 walks plus hit-by-pitches in 293 plate appearances and Brown got his in 540.

Other thoughts:

  • There were three hitters on the Phillies with a wOBA better than .335 last year: Utley (.356), Ruf (.354) and Brown (.351). The Phillies don’t have a lot of good hitters and should do what they can to get the ones they do have on the field. Marlon Byrd .364, by the way.
  • Ruf was one of the best hitters on the team despite the fact that the righty was terrible against left-handed pitching, posting a 188/309/348 against them. He seems likely to be better against left-handed pitching going forward.
  • On the down side for Ruf, he finished the season in miserable, worrying fashion. After hitting 303/410/551 over his first 105 plate appearances, he hit just 216/314/407 over his last 188 chances. Those last 188 plate appearances are about 57% of his career plate appearances.
  • Ruf’s walk rate in 2013 of 11.3% was very high, 44th of the 316 players across both leagues that had at least 250 plate appearances. Per the bullet point directly above, Ruf was miserable over his last 188 plate appearances, but still walked in about 10.6% of his plate appearances with good power. The bad news is his BABIP in the 105 plate appearances in which he was good before the 188 when he was terrible — it was .400 for the first 105 and .280 for the last 188.
  • Ruf also got hit by a lot of pitches in 2013, which helped his on-base percentage. He was hit seven times in 293 plate appearances, which is about 2.4% or about 2.7 times the league average of 0.9%.

It seems to me the best approach for the Phillies is to play Byrd in right, Brown in left and platoon Ruf and Howard at first base. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but it’s probably not that. Pretty sure they will play Byrd in right and Brown in left, but first base seems like a your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine kinda situation, especially if your guess involves the guy earning $25 million (whether he hits or plays defense or not) or Kevin Frandsen. I’d play Ruf at first a lot, against both righties and lefties, until he stops being one of the best hitters on the team. That might not take that long, but I’d give it a try anyway.


Less than zero

There were several players from the 2013 Phils that didn’t make the cut in the most recent post of non-pitchers with a WAR greater than zero as calculated by both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. A bunch of them seem to have a good chance to play on the 2014 Phils. Here are some of them:

bWAR fWAR
Frandsen 0.5 0.0
Kratz -0.3 0.7
Galvis -0.0 0.1
Ruf -0.1 0.1
Asche -0.2 0.0
Hernandez -0.4 -0.4
Mayberry -1.1 -0.4

Kevin Frandsen comes the closest to having a positive WAR as calculated by both sites. He only played 33 innings of defense at third base in 2013 and appeared at first in 40 games for the Phils. Frandsen at first in 40 games isn’t a good sign things are running smoothly for your squad, even if you don’t have a $20 million first baseman. 2012 was the best year of his career and his on-base percentage last year dropped from .383 to .296 as he posted a 202/243/292 line against righties. He’s hammered left-handed pitching in each of the last two years, but he’s really not the answer at first and if he’s not going to play third it’s hard to see what there is for him to do other than pinch hit against lefties. Regardless of what they should do, I think it’s likely we see some of Frandsen at first early in the year if Howard isn’t ready to start the season. It seems like Ruf would be better off getting those at-bats. Presumably the addition of Byrd makes it less likely Ruf will be spending time in the outfield. Of the 26 non-pitchers on the ’13 Phils, only two had a Baseball-Reference calculated dWAR greater than 0.1. Ruiz was 0.9 and Frandsen was 0.3.

Erik Kratz hit .213 and on-based .280, but with nice power. Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs seem to disagree about how much that was worth, but he seems like a lock to deliver low average and good power again in 2014. Baseball-Reference had him as a good defensive player in 2012 with a dWAR of 0.9, but that dropped to -0.1 in 2013.

Freddy Galvis is still just 24-years-old, but he has a career .269 on-base percentage in the majors to go with his .296 career on-base percentage in the minors. He excelled defensively in 2012, getting 45 starts at second base and tying with Utley for the team lead in Baseball-Reference calculated dWAR at 1.1. That dropped to -0.6 in 2013. He got about the same number of plate appearances in 2012 and 2013 and played about the same number of defensive innings. However, in 2012, he played about 92% of his defensive innings at second, where he was fantastic, posting a FanGraphs calculated UZR/150 at second of 16.3, which was fifth among the 42 players across both leagues that played at least 300 innings at second. In 2013, he played about 37% of his defensive innings at second, 30% at third, 17% in the outfield and 15% at short and his dWAR took a tumble. UZR/150 suggests he was good everywhere defensively in 2013 other than at second base. At second base his mark for UZR/150 in 2013 plunged to -20.2 in his 167 1/3 innings there. It’s a real bad sign for the Phillies when you see him at third or in the outfield as anything other than a defensive replacement.

Darin Ruf had the best isolated power on ’13 Phils for anyone other than Domonic Brown, hitting 14 home runs in 293 plate appearances. He also had the second-best wOBA on the team at .354, second only to Utley’s .356. Thanks to a much better walk rate, Ruf out on-based Brown by .024 despite an average twenty-five points lower. Ruf walked in 11.3% of his plate appearances in 2013, by far the best rate of any Phillie. It wasn’t close. Jimmy Rollins was the unlikely second-place finisher among those with 50 or more plate appearances. Rollins walked in just 8.9% of his chances. The slugging righty Ruf oddly didn’t hit lefties, though, posting a 188/309/348 line against left-handed pitching while pounding away at righties to the tune of 269/363/500. Not hitting lefties is a problem, but not as big a problem as being unusable defensively. Ruf put up a Baseball-Reference calculated dWAR of -1.8, which is remarkable for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he played far from a full season of defense. There were only seven NL players to tally a worse dWAR in 2013 (two of them, John Mayberry and Michael Young, played for the Phillies). Ruf appeared in just 47 games in the outfield and 37 at first base, but it’s pretty much unanimous he wasn’t good anywhere. FanGraphs has him bad at first (UZR/150 of -6.3), worse in left (-12.6) and terrible in right (-34.9). There were 59 players across both leagues who played at least 200 innings in right field in 2013 — Ruf’s -34.9 was 58th, better only than Scott Hairston. It seems likely that Ruf will hit lefties going forward. If he does and continues to hit righties like he has and draw walks like he has, he could be a very good offensive player. Just how bad he’s going to be defensively is the big question, though, and last year’s results weren’t good. The question may still be open, but part of the answer is that he doesn’t have much of a chance if he’s going to be both a butcher defensively and not hit lefties. If Howard is out to start the year and the choices at first for the Phillies are Frandsen, Mayberry and Ruf, I think the best choice for the Phils is to play Ruf everyday. When Howard is available, it may be the case that it’s in the best interests of the Phillies to platoon Ruf and Howard at first base. If you were to look solely at the numbers from the last two seasons, you might conclude that Frandsen is a better platoon partner for Howard. Frandsen is the better defensively of the two and has been way better against left-handed pitching, but I think that would be a mistake.

Not hitting lefties was a fluke, being terrible defensively wasn’t, but it’s too early to give up on Ruf. Second-best isolated power on the team, best walk rate on the team by a wide margin. Hit righties well enough and wound up with solid numbers overall despite not hitting lefties and hitting 216/314/407 over his last 188 plate appearances. He either needs to improve enormously defensively or the Phillies need to find a way to prevent him from hurting them with his glove. I think there are only two ways for the Phillies to prevent him from hurting them enormously with his glove — one is not playing him at all defensively and the other is playing him at first base.

Cody Asche arrived on the Phillie scene in 2013, hitting 235/302/389 in 179 plate appearances and 255/328/428 in his last 161 after going 1-for-17 to start his career. The Phillies seem likely to rely on him heavily at third this year — the other choices at this point look like Galvis, Cesar Hernandez or Frandsen. Frandsen can’t be both at third and at first against a lefty and the Phils sure seemed unwilling to use him defensively at third in 2013. Galvis isn’t a third baseman, although his offensive numbers have been a little better against lefties than righties early in his career. Hernandez on-based .292 against lefties in 2013 with one extra-base hit, a double, in 44 plate appearances. I think the Phils are better off giving Asche a chance if those are the choices. He didn’t overwhelm with the bat during 2013, but a lot of his negative bWAR and 0.0 fWAR can be chalked up to less than stellar defense at third. Baseball-Reference calculated his dWAR at -0.7 while FanGraphs had his UZR/150 at third at -10.6.

23-year-old Cesar Hernandez was used in an unexpected way in 2013, thrust into role of starting center fielder for 22 games, an odd choice for someone you’d think was trying to carve out a role as a backup infielder. Offensively it’s a little tough to feel like the switch-hitter Hernandez has a chance to be more of a high average guy who draws an average amount of walks given his 11 home runs in 2,385 career minor league plate appearances. He did fare well against righties in limited time, putting up a 308/372/372 line with the expected lack of power. dWAR killed his overall bWAR, though. -0.4 dWAR by Baseball-Reference despite just 257 1/3 innings for the year, about 74% of which were in center. FanGraphs has him miserable at both positions as well, although it was in limited time. -19.2 UZR/150 at second and -25.8 in center. Hernandez, Roger Bernadina, Michael Martinez and Mayberry all put up a UZR/150 worse than -25 in center for the Phils in 2013. That should be on the to-do list somewhere, even if all the list says is not to use Hernandez, Mayberry or Martinez in center.

Mayberry is the final name on the list, coming off of a year in which he was bad offensively and terrible defensively. He posted a 227/286/391 line overall and didn’t even hit lefties. He showed solid power against left-handed pitching, but without hits or walks and a 240/296/460 line. The Phillies continue to use him in center, he started 41 games there in 2013, despite the fact that he’s miserable there. Only four NL players had a dWAR worse than his -2.1 in 2013. FanGraphs gives him a negative UZR/150 in center for the fourth consecutive year. In 2013, he was at -28.8 in his 344 innings in center field, which is 42nd of the 43 NL players to play at least 300 innings at the position this season. He was good defensively in right and in left in 2013 and his best chance to be a positive contributor seems to be as a corner outfielder who hits primarily against left-handed pitching.

The Phillies signed 37-year-old right-handed reliever Shawn Camp to a minor league deal. It seems like he should have a chance to make the team out of spring training and pitch in middle relief. He was terrible for the Cubs in 26 appearances in 2013, throwing to a 7.04 ERA, but had been pretty solid in each of the five previous seasons. From 2008 to 2012, Camp threw to a 3.62 ERA and a 1.32 ratio over 335 1/3 innings in 316 appearances with the Cubs and Blue Jays.


Well, that was different

The Phillies and the Marlins run out ugly teams with ugly lineups these days. They did last night, too, playing after many of the Phils had shown off shirts bearing Cliff Lee‘s likeness and the caption, ” . . .but I’m different” in the clubhouse in the hours before the game. Lee was different, all right, dominating the game from the mound and excelling at the plate as he led the Phils to a 12-2 win. He held the Marlins to two runs on over eight innings, struck out 14 and didn’t walk a batter. He went 3-for-4 with the bat with a triple and four RBI.

For the Phils, it was the second time in five games they had scored ten or more runs. The Phillies have spent most of the past few weeks ahead of only Miami for runs scored per game in the NL. Thanks to their recent outbursts, they’ve caught up with some of the other weak offenses in the NL. They’re now even with the Cubs, who have also scored 575 runs in 150 games (3.83 runs per game), and past the Padres. San Diego has scored 569 runs in 149 games, which is about 3.82 runs per game.

The Phillies are 70-80 on the year after beating the Miami Marlins 12-2 last night. They’ve won four of their last six and remain in third place in the NL East, 19 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves and 9 1/2 behind the Nats.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out 14 and didn’t walk a batter.

Fourteen strikeouts in a game is the most for Lee since he struck out 16 Braves on May 6, 2011. The Phillies lost 5-0 that day. Lee has gone eight innings in each of his last three starts, throwing to a 1.87 ERA and an 0.67 ratio. The Phils are 3-0 in those games and Lee has struck out 33 in 24 innings while walking one.

He kept the Marlins off the board in each of the first four innings. In the top of the first, Ed Lucas doubled to center with one out, but Lee struck out the next two to end the frame. He didn’t allow a base-runner in the second, third or fourth, striking out four of the nine batters he faced.

He started the fifth up 7-0 and the Fish plated a run when Justin Ruggiano led off with a double to left and scored on a softly hit single to center by Adeiny Hechavarria. 7-1. Lee struck Donovan Solano out swinging with two outs and men on first and second to set the Marlins down.

He started the sixth up 9-1. Ed Lucas led off with a double to right. Lee struck out the next two hitters before Ruggiano ripped a 2-0 pitch down the third base line. 9-2. Lee got Logan Morrison looking to leave Ruggiano at second.

Second doubles of the game for both Lucas and Ruggiano. Five of the eight hits that Lee allowed in the game were doubles.

Lee kept the Marlins off the board in the seventh and the eighth. He allowed a two-out double in the seventh and a two-out single in the eighth.

Martin pitched the ninth with a 12-2 lead. He walked the leadoff man Morrison on a 3-2 pitch to start the frame, but retired the next three.

That’s the third appearance in relief for Martin. The walk to Morrison last night is the only base-runner he has allowed in three scoreless frames. Ten batters, nine outs, including three strikeouts, and a walk. You don’t want to walk the leadoff batter up by ten runs in the top of the ninth, but he has been very impressive.

One scoreless inning for the pen in which they walk one. Martin threw 15 pitches.

The Phillie lineup against 25-year-old righty Sam Dyson, who was making his first career start, went (1) Hernandez (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Brown (6) Ruf (7) Asche (8) Bernadina. Ruiz hits fourth, presumably to break up the lefties Utley and Brown. Hernandez in center with Bernadina in right. Always nice to see Mayberry not playing against a righty, but Bernadina in right field isn’t really the answer, either. What would it take for the Phillies to permanently drop Rollins from the top of their order? The world may never know. On-basing .315 over his last 1,310 plate appearances coming into the game apparently isn’t it. Hernandez comes into the game with a nifty 351/442/432 line against righties in 43 career plate appearances. I don’t know what Ruiz is hitting against righties lately, but it’s something good. He comes into the game with a 282/320/369 line. At the end of the day on July 11 he was hitting 238/278/262 against right-handed pitching.

Hernandez walked to start the bottom of the first and moved up to third when Rollins blooped a double down the third base line that dropped and flipped into the stands. Utley followed with a ground out to second for the first out. Everyone moved up a base and Hernandez scored to put the Phils up 1-0 with Rollins on third. Ruiz struck out for the second out and Brown grounded to short.

Hernandez starts the rally with a walk out of the leadoff spot. Utley gets the job done with a ground ball to the right side for the first out. Ruiz has been enormously hot, but can’t bring the runner home from third with less than two outs.

The Phils went in order in the second.

They scored six in the third. With one out, Hernandez singled and moved up to second when Rollins followed with walk. Utley was next and crushed a 2-0 pitch way out to right. 4-0. Ruiz flew to left for the second out before Brown singled and took second on a walk by Ruf. Asche singled to right and Brown scored. 5-0 with two outs and men on second and third as Asche took second on the throw. Bernadina walked to load the bases for Lee and Lee delivered a two-run single to right. 7-0 with two outs and runners on the corners for Hernandez. Hernandez grounded to second to end the inning.

Again Hernandez, Rollins and Utley start a rally at the top of the order. Utley just crushed his home run to right.

Brown just buried the Miami catcher Jeff Mathis scoring from second on Asche’s single to right. Stanton’s throw beat Brown to the plate, but Mathis didn’t handle it cleanly before Brown plowed him over.

Utley singled to center with one out in the fourth, but Ruiz and Brown went down behind him.

It was 7-1 when the Phils hit in the fifth. Ruf led off with a single to right. Asche and Bernadina both struck out behind him before Lee tripled to center. 8-1. Hernandez followed with a single to left that scored Lee. 9-1. Rollins flew to center to leave Hernandez at first.

Lee drives in his third run in three innings. Hernandez again delivers for the Phils. Walked to start a rally in the first, singled to start a rally in the third and delivers an RBI-single with two outs in the fifth.

It was 9-2 when they hit in the sixth. Brown walked off of righty Chris Hatcher with two outs. Ruf was next and hit the first pitch he saw from Hatcher out down the left field line. 11-2. Asche grounded to second on a ball hit hard for the third out.

Fourteenth homer of the year for Ruf. Second that came on the first pitch of his at-bat and his 11th off of a right-handed pitcher. The righty has an isolated power of .270 against righties and .164 against lefties. Very nice line against righties, 289/392/559, but oddly hitting just .164 against lefties.

Bernadina tripled to right off of left Dan Jennings to start the eighth and scored when Lee followed with a single to center. 12-2. Rollins moved Lee up to second with a one-out single to left, but Utley and Ruiz went down behind Rollins.

Second career triple for Bernadina off of a left-handed pitcher. He also tripled off of Andrew Miller on August 30, 2010. Bernadina ends the day 4-for-31 (.129) against lefties for the year.

Hernandez 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 8-for-his-last-17 with a double and three walks.

Rollins 2-for-4 with a walk and a double. 9-for-his-last-23 (.391) with four walks.

Utley 2-for-4 with a three-run homer off the righty Dyson and four RBI in the game. 302/361/510 against righties on the year and 219/303/401 against lefties.

Ruiz was 0-for-5, struck out twice and left four men on base. He struck out with one out in the first and Rollins on third. Came into the game 10-for-his-last-20 with ten RBI in those 23 plate appearances.

Brown was 1-for-4 with a walk. 2-for-10 with a walk since his return.

Ruf 2-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer. 10-for-his-last-33 (.303) with six walks, a double and two home runs.

Asche 1-for-5 with an RBI and struck out twice. He’s hitting .318 over his last 50 plate appearances with six walks and three home runs.

Bernadina 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple. He’s 3-for-his-last-6 with two walks, two doubles and a triple.

Halladay (3-4, 7.28) faces lefty Brian Flynn (0-1, 10.13) tonight. Halladay has thrown to a 5.06 ERA in his four starts since returning to the team — a little better than his 8.65 ERA over his first seven starts. He’s walked 31 in 55 2/3 innings for the season and opposing batters have an isolated power of .230 against him on the year. The 23-year-old Flynn threw to a 2.63 ERA in 27 minor league starts between Double and Triple-A, 23 of which came in the PCL. He’s made two starts for the Fish and both of them have been bad as he’s allowed nine runs on 12 hits and nine walks over eight innings. Opponents are 12-for-33 (.364) against him with eight extra-base hits, including three home runs, and nine walks.


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