Tag: Eric Bruntlett

Is it too late to get Eric Bruntlett back?

How about Chase Utley?

The Phils are on pace to go 85-77 this season and finish third in the NL East. If they continue to score and allow runs at the pace they have through the first 61 games of the season, they will score 722, almost a hundred runs fewer than they did in 2009, and allow 672, which is 37 fewer than they did in 2009.

So, as you know, their offense has been a lot worse while their pitching has been better. Overall, they’re worse off, on pace to cut the difference between the runs they allow and score more than in half. In 2009 they scored 111 more runs than they allowed. They are on pace to score 50 more runs than they allowed in 2010.

The Phils have been better in keeping up with their 2009 pace at home than they have on the road. Here’s the runs they have scored and allowed per plate appearance for each of the past two seasons:

 
2010

2009
 
  PA R R per PA PA R R per PA  
Home 1066 138 .12946 3096 408 .13178 101.8%
Away 1264 134 .10601 3242 412 .12708 119.9%

So, in 2009, the Phillies scored about 120% of the runs per plate appearance on the road than they have scored in 2010, but just about 102% of the runs per plate appearance at home compared to 2010.

In ’09, the Phils scored almost the same number of runs per game at home and on the road, scoring 5.09 runs per game away and 5.04 per game at home. The difference is much bigger this year as they’ve scored 4.76 runs per game at home and 4.19 away.

In the same way, they are much closer to their 2009 pace against righties than they are against lefties:

 
2010

2009
 
  PA R R per PA PA R R per PA  
Left 582 64 .10997 1745 244 .13983 127.2%
Right 1748 208 .11899 4593 576 .12541 105.4%

In 2009 they scored about 127% of the runs per plate appearance against lefties they have scored in 2010. Against righties it was about 105%.

So, overall, the Phils are way off their ’09 pace and especially having problems against lefties and on the road when you compare their offense in 2010 to their offense in 2009. The worst news of all, though, is that things aren’t getting better. Here’s the runs per game that the Phillies have scored by month so far this season:

Month Runs
scored per game
April/March 5.23
May 4.25
June 3.45

It’s really tough to win when you score three and a half runs per game. It sure seems like there’s no place to go but up, but if you’ve been watching the Phils recently you’ve probably been thinking that for a while now.

Halladay (8-4, 1.96) faces lefty CC Sabathia (6-3, 4.01) tonight. The Phillies have lost four of the last six games that Halladay has started. Over those six games he has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.11 ratio and has allowed two earned runs or less in his start five times. Sabathia had a rough May but has pitched better in his two outings to start June, going 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA and striking out 15 in 14 innings. Lefties have hit him well this year, posting a 284/360/493 line, which is a lot better than the 237/296/360 they have put up against Sabathia for his career.


Amaro and the front office leave Phillies fans thankful they’re presumably about to take a little break

This says that the Phillies have agreed to terms with Juan Castro and suggests it may be a one-year deal worth $750,000 with a club option for 2011.

Wow.

Casto turns 38 in June and has a career .601 OPS. He can play short, third and second.

What he can’t do is hit well enough to be allowed on the field. Over the last four season’s he has on-based .281, .211, .246 and .311. He has a career .230 average and a .332 slugging percentage.

He’s a right-handed batter who doesn’t hit either righties or lefties. Last year he played for the Dodgers and hit 287/323/322 against righties, but in 2008 he hit 196/228/271 against righties for the Reds and Orioles.

Here’s how Castro’s career rates for getting hits, walks, doubles and triples, home runs and extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances compare to Bruntlett’s:

  H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Bruntlett 20.3 8.5 4.7 1.2 5.9
Castro 21.2 5.2 4.9 1.3 6.2

Castro has been a little more likely to get a hit, less likely to walk and a little more likely to deliver and extra-base hit over his career.

Bruntlett doesn’t turn 38 in half a year, though.

That’s a pretty disappointing move by the Phillies. Yes, you have to have a backup shortstop. Maybe he can do something else, I hear you cry? You really, really don’t want him to. It’s a bad use of a roster spot for a team that has had big problems on the bench for a while now.


Singles function

Continuing with the numbers from the last post, for the eight Phillies regulars, here’s how often they got hits or walks, singles or walks or extra-base hits or walks per 100 plate appearances in 2009:

  H or BB 1B or BB XBH or BB
Howard 35.1 22.9 22.9
Utley 36.2 27.1 22.0
Feliz 30.2 23.2 12.6
Rollins 29.2 19.7 15.6
Ibanez 34.0 21.8 22.1
Victorino 34.7 25.8 17.6
Werth 36.1 26.8 22.8
Ruiz 34.0 24.5 21.9

If you order them by their chance to get any kind of hit or a walk, the list looks like this:

  1. Utley
  2. Werth
  3. Howard
  4. Victorino
  5. Ruiz
  6. Ibanez
  7. Feliz
  8. Rollins

That order is the same as it would be if you ordered the players by their ’09 on-base percentage.

Leadoff man Jimmy Rollins didn’t have much of a chance to get a hit or a walk compared to the other players on his team last year. Victorino would clearly have been the better choice to lead off, but arguably any player, including Feliz, would have done a better job of getting on base.

The list changes if you order the players by their chances to get a single or a walk — the group below is order by the numbers of singles plus walks per 100 plate appearances:

  1. Utley
  2. Werth
  3. Victorino
  4. Ruiz
  5. Feliz
  6. Howard
  7. Ibanez
  8. Rollins

Victorino, Ruiz and Feliz bounce up in that group while Howard and Ibanez fall and Rollins stays at the bottom.

You know who hit a lot of singles last year? Pedro Feliz. Feliz had 110 of his 154 hits this season go for singles. That’s 71.4%, which is the highest percentage of singles for this group of Phillies. Of the 103 NL players who got at least 400 plate appearances last season, just 28 of them had more than 71.4% go as singles. Highest percentage of singles goes to the Mets’ Luis Castillo, who had 89.1% of his 147 hits go for singles.

You know who didn’t hit a lot of singles last year? Raul Ibanez. Just 49.3% of his hits went for singles, which was second-fewest of the 103 NLers with 400 plate appearances. The Diamondbacks’ Chris Young was the only player of that group with a lower percentage of hits going for singles (48.9%).

If you order the list by the player’s chance to walk or deliver an extra-base hit last year, the list goes like this:

  1. Howard
  2. Werth
  3. Ibanez
  4. Utley
  5. Ruiz
  6. Victorino
  7. Rollins
  8. Feliz

Rollins finally gets out of the basement, passing up Feliz. Feliz really isn’t going to do well in any categories you can think of that have a lot to do with walks or extra-base hits. Feliz got 246 more plate appearances than Carlos Ruiz this year and had eight more extra-base hits.

While we’re on the subject of guys who hit lots of singles, JA Happ finished second in the voting for NL Rookie of the Year behind Chris Coghlan. Coghlan hit .321 this year for the Fish, but was one of the 28 NLers with more than 400 plate appearances who had a higher percentage of their hits go for singles than Feliz. 71.6% of Coghlan’s hits went for singles this season.

Bruntlett, Walker, Hoover, Ennis and Tracy are all off of the Phillies 40-man roster. The linked article suggests that this means it’s likely that Bruntlett and Walker will not be back in 2010. It says the other three could return.

I don’t quite understand what it is with the Phillies and Tyler Walker. He pitched well in 2009 for a team that had a lot of problems in the pen at the end of the year and made under a million dollars. He wasn’t part of the Phillies post-season plans and it looks like he isn’t part of their plans for 2010.

The Phillies added outfielder Quintin Berry, left-handed pitcher Yohan Flande and right-handed pitcher Jesus Sanchez to their 40-man roster.

Free agent Chan Ho Park is looking for a team that would give him a chance to start. 7.29 ERA and a 1.74 ratio in seven starts in 2009 and a 2.52 ERA and a 1.18 ratio as a reliever.

The Phillies apparently see keeping a guy who can’t play defense and hits 194/357/379 on your team all year as not in the best interests of the team.

The Manager of the Year will be announced today.


Which switch?

Four switch-hitters seem likely to get a lot of at-bats for the Yankees in the World Series. Here’s a look at what Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher have done against left and right-handed pitching in 2009 and over their careers as switch-hitters:

 
Vs Right

Vs Left
  A O S OPS A O S OPS
Posada 09 282 365 544 909 290 360 476 836
Posada Career 268 378 474 852 299 381 496 877
                 
Teixeira 09 282 373 579 952 305 400 511 911
Teixeira
Career
281 371 547 918 309 394 537 931
                 
Cabrera 09 277 332 415 747 268 343 420 763
Cabrera
Career
275 333 397 730 255 325 355 680
                 
Swisher 09 250 357 509 866 244 393 475 868
Swisher
Career
242 341 468 809 251 395 439 834

Posada was much better against righties than lefties in 2009, but has been better against left-handed pitching over his career. It was the fourth straight year for Posada that he posted a better OPS against right-handed pitching than left, though. The difference was most dramatic in 2006, when he hit just 263/348/380 in 158 plate appearances against lefties and 284/385/540 against righties. It’s enough to convince me that you’re better off with a lefty against him if you can. He good against lefties, too, and has had monster years against left-handed pitching. In 2002, for example, he hit 326/420/556 against them while hitting just 247/351/436 against righties. I’d still go with lefty these days.

Your chances aren’t real good against Teixeira no matter who’s pitching. He’s put up an OPS of over .900 against both right and left-handed pitching for each of the past three seasons. In 2006 he was a lot better against lefties than righties, but in 2005 he was better against righties. I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

It’s really, really in the Phillies’ best interests to get Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina out as often as possible in this series. The .680 career OPS against left-handed pitching is a pretty compelling argument that a lefty is the way to do it. Cabrera was a little better against lefties in 2009, but it still looks like the way to go. I don’t think you’re going to see the Phils make a whole lot of moves to get the pitcher they want on Cabrera either way.

Swisher gets on base more against lefties and hits for more power against righties. That has been the story for his career and it was for 2009 as well. I’d go with a righty if I could, but I don’t think it matters much and I don’t think the Phils will go to a lot of trouble to try to get Swisher facing a righty, either.

Bottom line for me is I don’t think it matters a whole lot whether it’s a righty or a lefty pitching to Cabrera or Teixeira. Teixeira is just a real good hitter either way and Cabrera is just not. I think you’re a little better off with a lefty against Posada and a little better off with a righty against Swisher.

Miguel Cairo is off the roster for the World Series and Brett Myers has taken his spot. I think that’s a very good decision. Cairo and Bruntlett both was too much.

This suggests that left-handed batter Eric Hinske and right-handed pitcher Brian Bruney have been added to the Yankees roster, taking the places of Francisco Cervelli and Freddy Guzman. Cervelli was the third catcher and his removal leaves the Yankees with two and more questions about who will catch Burnett’s starts. Lidge struck Hinkse out to end the World Series in 2008.


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.


That’s not hot

Not a whole lot of Phillies hitting the ball especially well as the regular season comes to a close. Here’s a look at the eight regulars, what they did in the regular season and in their last handful of at-bats:

 

Season

 

HOT

AVG

OBP

SLG
 

Rollins

250

296

423
Miserable year
for Rollins, but it ends with a six-game hitting streak; He’s
10-for-his-last-25 (400/464/725)
         

Howard

279

360

571
Another monster
year for Howard, who has driven in more than 140 runs for the third time
in four seasons.  He comes into the post-season on a tear, hitting
365/437/762 over his last 71 plate appearances and 7-for-his-last-17 with
two home runs. 
         

Ruiz

255

355

425
Ruiz blasted
left-handed pitching this season to the tune of 293/370/524.  After
hitting just 235/335/367 in the first half of the season, he hit
276/375/487 in the second half.  He missed about a week in late
September with a problem with his left wrist, but came back in time to go
3-for-10 with a pair of walks to end the season.
         
  Season  

NOT

AVG

OBP

SLG
 

Feliz

266

308

386
Feliz’s .386
slugging percentage for the year is the worst for his career in any season
where he had 250 at-bats.  He hit just 12 home runs on the season,
the fewest he has hit since 2002 when he got 146 at-bats.  He was
terrible in the second-half, hitting 236/274/351.  5-for-his-last-22. 
Hasn’t drawn a walk in his last 58 plate appearances.
         

Werth

268

373

506
In his first
season with more than 420 plate appearances, Werth had a fantastic year
and set career-highs in home runs (36), RBI (99) and slugging percentage
(.506).  He’s still way better against lefties than righties
(302/436/644 vs lefties this year and 256/348/457 against righties), but
he didn’t break down in the second half, putting up a .873 OPS in the
second-half after posting an .884 OPS in the first half.  He’s
5-for-his-last-20 but hit 189/343/302 in his last 67 plate appearances to
end the regular season.
         

Ibanez

272

347

552
A .552 slugging
percentage was a career high for Ibanez.  He hit 34 home runs, which
is also a career high.  309/367/649 in the first half and 232/326/448
in the second half.  Hit lefties better than righties, posting a
285/359/639 line against lefties and 267/342/517 against righties. 
Hit a miserable 196/277/327 in 119 plate appearances from August 1 to
September 7.  He picked it up some after that, hitting 259/358/543 in
his last 95 plate appearances to end the season.  Comes in the
playoffs 3-for-his-last-18.
         

Victorino

295

358

445
His .358
on-base percentage is a career-high, but Victorino has struggled badly
after July.   He hit 245/309/394 since the end of July and comes
into the post-season 7-for-his-last-35, hitting 200/243/371 in his last 38
plate appearances.
         

Utley

282

397

508
Utley hit
313/430/573 with 20 home runs in the first half and 246/358/432 with 11
homers in the second.  He enters the post-season 0-for-his-last-15. 
He hit two home runs in 108 at-bats in September.

Rollins, Howard and Ruiz finished strong. Hopefully the rest of the guys pick things up with the help of some extra time off.

Among other players who may see time in the post-season for the Phillies, Miguel Cairo finished well. He went 5-for-13 with a triple and a home run to end the season.

Cairo’s fellow backup infielder Eric Bruntlett had a hide-your-eyes ugly season, but was 2-for-9 to end the year with two singles. That might not sound like much, but he hit 171/224/238 on the year.

Dobbs 1-for-his-last-11.

Stairs 0-for-his-last-4 with three strikeouts. He hasn’t singled since the end of June — he’s 4-for-his-last-49 (.082) with two doubles and two homers.

Ben Francisco seems like the guy on the bench likely to see the most time. He finished the year by going 5-for-12 with two doubles and two walks.

Bako was 2-for-9 with a pair of singles to end the season.


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