Tag: Eric Hinske

Middle in absentia

The Phils managed to win one of three against the Braves this weekend, which was something of a remarkable feat given that they scored just five runs in the three games. The resurgent Ibanez went back into hiding, going 2-for-10 with a pair of singles in the three-game set. Howard, Francisco and Ibanez combined to go 4-for-29 in the series in the middle of the order for the Phils.

Cliff Lee struck out 16 in the first game, but the Phils lost 5-0 because Derek Lowe was even better. Lowe took a no-hitter into the seventh, where the Phils managed their only hits of the game, a single by Victorino and a double by Polanco. That put men on second and third for the Phils with nobody out, but Howard, Francisco and Ibanez all struck out in a row to keep the Phils off the board and down 3-0. Baez allowed a pair of runs in the top of the ninth as Atlanta extended their lead to 5-0.

Kendrick made his first start of the year in game two of the series and pitched well, going five shutout innings as the Phils won 3-0. Kendrick was backed up by four scoreless innings for the pen and Howard connected for a long home run in the fourth inning.

Hamels allowed three runs on a pair of home runs through seven innings last night before a pinch-hit home run by Eric Hinske off of Stutes extended the Atlanta lead to 5-1 in the eighth. Stutes and Mathieson were miserable in the game — they combined to allow two runs on three hits and four walks. The whole thing could have been a whole lot worse, but Baez bailed Mathieson out by getting a big double-play to end the eighth. The Phils managed a run in the bottom of the eighth, but lost the game 5-2.

The Phillies are 22-11 on the year after losing two of three to the Atlanta Braves this weekend.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Two of the five hits he allowed went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out nine. All three of the runs he allowed in the game came on home runs — after not allowing a home run in his first four starts of the year, he has allowed four in his last four starts.

Martin Prado led off the game with a single to right, but Sardinha threw him out trying to steal second as Jason Heyward struck out swinging to clear the bases. Chipper Jones grounded to third for the third out.

Hamels struck out Brian McCann for the first out of the second and got Dan Uggla on a ball hit to Victorino for the second. Freddie Freeman singled to right and then Alex Gonzalez hit a 2-1 pitch out to left to put Atlanta on top 2-0. Hamels struck Nate McLouth out for the third out.

He struck out pitcher Jair Jurrjens to start the third and got Prado and Heyward on ground balls behind him.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when he set the Braves down in order in the fourth, striking out Chipper and McCann before getting Uggla to pop to Rollins.

Hamels had thrown 53 pitches and struck out six through four innings.

Freeman led off the fifth with a home run to right that put Atlanta up 3-1. Hamels got Gonzalez on a ground out before McLouth reached on an infield single. Jurrjens tried to bunt him to second, but Hamels fielded the bunt and threw to second to start the double-play that set Atlanta down.

Hamels walked Prado to start the sixth, but struck out Heyward and Chipper behind him. McCann popped to Rollins for the third out.

He set Atlanta down in order in the seventh, striking out Uggla for the first out.

Stutes started the eighth and walked McLouth to start the inning. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Eric O’Flaherty and hit a 2-0 pitch out to right, putting Atlanta on top 5-1. Stutes got Prado for the first out, but then walked Heyward. Righty Scott Mathieson, called up when Oswalt hit the DL, came on to pitch to Chipper. Chipper hit a ground ball to third with Heyward forced at second for the second out. McCann moved Jones to second with a single, but Mathieson got Uggla to ground to third to end the frame.

Mathieson was back to start the ninth with the Phils down 5-2. Freeman led off with a single to left and Diory Hernandez bunted him to second with the first out. Mathieson walked McLouth behind him and switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Jonny Venters. Mathieson walked him, too, and the bases were loaded. Baez took over for Mathieson and got Prado to hit into a double-play to turn Atlanta away.

Mathieson was terrible in the game and not charged with a run. He allowed two hits and two walks in an inning and was bailed out when Baez induced the double-play. Mathieson threw 24 pitches in the game, Stutes 15 and Baez six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Valdez starts at second with the lefty Orr on the bench. Sardinha catches with the lefty Schneider on the bench.

Victorino doubled with one out in the first. Polanco was next and flew to center for the second out with Victorino tagging and moving up to third. Howard grounded to first to leave Victorino at third.

Down 2-0, Valdez doubled to left with two outs in the second, but Sardinha grounded to short behind him.

Rollins singled to right with one out in the third and moved to second when Victorino grounded out behind him. Polanco delivered a two-out hit, singling into center. Rollins scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Howard followed with a walk, but Francisco flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

With two outs in the fourth, Sardinha hit a ball well to left that landed on the track and hit the wall on a hop. Prado played it well to hold Sardinha to a long single. Hamels struck out on three pitches to leave him at first.

Two-out hit by Sardinha keeps Hamels from leading off the fifth. Jurrjens was at 61 pitches through four innings.

Down 3-1, the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Howard started the sixth with a single and Francisco bunted him to second. Ibanez lined a single into center, which moved Howard to third. Valdez hit into a double-play to end the inning.

The sacrifice by Francisco not enough for Howard to score from second on a single after it works.

Schneider hit for Sardinha to start the seventh and flew to right. Orr hit for Hamels and singled to left, but Eric O’Flaherty got Rollins to hit into a double-play behind Orr to end the inning.

The Phils were down 5-1 when they hit in the eighth. Victorino led off with a triple and came into score when Polanco followed with a single that was deflected by the pitcher Venters. 5-2 with nobody out and Polanco on first. Howard grounded to Uggla with Polanco forced at second for the first out. Francisco flew to center for the second before Ibanez moved Howard to second with a single. It brought Valdez to the plate as the tying run and with the lefty Venters on the mound, Mayberry hit for Valdez. Mayberry flew to center to leave the runners stranded.

Gload hit for Baez and singled with one out in the ninth. Rollins moved him to second with a walk, which brought Victorino to the plate as the tying run. Victorino struck out looking 1-2 for the second out. Polanco flew to center to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game and 2-for-10 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 285/380/362 on the season. 333/455/444 on the year.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a double and a triple yesterday. 4-for-13 with a double and two triples in the series. He has three walks in his last 66 plate appearances, but is hitting 293/356/511 for the year. His .511 slugging percentage leads the team.

Polanco was 2-for-5 with two RBI last night. 3-for-11 with a walk, a double and two RBI in the series. 366/411/473.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk in the game and 2-for-11 with a walk and a home run in the set. 5-for-his-last-31 with a home run, four singles, four walks and ten strikeouts. 268/338/504 for the season.

Francisco went 0-for-3 to drop his average on the year to .232. 0-for-8 with two walks in the series. 1-for-his-last-20 with seven walks. 232/341/384.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 last night and 2-for-10 with three strikeouts in the series. 212/276/336. Mayberry was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-2 in the set.

Valdez was 1-for-3 with a double and hit into a double-play last night. 1-for-5 with a double in the series. 159/196/182 in his last 47 plate appearances. 247/282/296 for the year.

Orr was 1-for-1 last night, 1-for-5 with an RBI in the series and hitting 268/333/293 on the year.

Sardinha was 1-for-2 in the game and in the series. He’s 2-for-9 with the Phillies. Schneider 0-for-2 in the game and 1-for-8 in the series. He’s hitting 174/224/326 in 41 plate appearances for the season.

Joe Blanton (0-1, 5.92) faces righty Javier Vazquez (2-2, 6.39) tonight. Vazquez has allowed ten runs in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts and hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning in six starts this year. He faced the Phils on April 15 and allowed three runs in five innings. Blanton allowed four runs in 14 innings in his two starts before hitting the DL.


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.


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