Tag: Greg Dobbs

Halfway display

The Phils hit the halfway mark of what has been a mostly disappointing season last night. Coming off an ugly series in which they lost three of four to the Pirates, the Phils relied on a two-run shot from Greg Dobbs and another fantastic start from Roy Halladay to get a 3-1 win over the first place Braves.

The Phillies are 43-38 on the year and in third place in the NL East, four games behind the Braves and two behind the Mets.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.33.

He got the first two in the first before Chipper Jones homered to left center, putting Atlanta on top 1-0. Brian McCann followed that with a single before Eric Hinske popped to short for the third out.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.

McCann doubled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Hinske hit a ball that Victorino caught deep in center. Halladay struck out Melky Cabrera looking to leave McCann stranded at third.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Chipper doubled to right with two outs in the sixth, but Halladay struck McCann out looking 2-2 to end the frame.

Halladay had a 2-1 lead when he started the seventh. Hinske led off and walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Halladay got Cabrera to hit into a double-play behind him. Yunel Escobar flew to center for the third out.

Gregor Blanco started the eighth with a bunt single. Switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Derek Lowe and Sardinha made a very nice throw to nail Blanco trying to steal before Conrad struck out for the second out. Martin Prado struck out behind him for the third out.

Halladay set Atlanta down in order in the ninth. He threw 93 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Ransom on the bench. Ibanez hits third with Rollins back leading off and Utley on the DL. Valdez plays second base. Sardinha catches with Ruiz on the DL. The five guys the Phillies need to hit right now go 1-2-3-4-5 in the order.

Ibanez singled with two outs in the first and the Phils down 1-0. Howard grounded to short for the third out.

Werth and Dobbs singled back-to-back to start the second. It put men on first and second with nobody for Valdez and Valdez hit a slow ground ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw Valdez out at first as the runners moved to second and third. Sardinha struck out swinging for the second out and Halladay struck out to leave both men stranded.

No RBI for Sardinha with one out and a man on third

The Phils went in order in the third.

Howard started the fourth with a single, but Werth lined to center behind him for the first out. Dobbs was next and hit a ground ball to second. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Dobbs safe at first. Valdez hit a ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw to second, but Prado didn’t handle the throw for an error. Sardinha walked to load the bases for Halladay, but Halladay struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Five runners stranded by Halladay in the first four innings.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

They started the sixth still down a run. Werth singled with one out. Dobbs was next and he popped the first pitch he saw out to right center to put the Phils up 2-1. Valdez and Sardinha both struck out behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Ibanez and Howard singled back-to-back to start the eighth. Werth was next and hit a ball back to the pitcher. Howard was forced at second for the first out with the runners safe at first and third. With Castro at the plate the Phils tried to execute the squeeze, but Castro missed the bunt completely. Ibanez was tagged out after a brief rundown and Werth went to second with two outs. Werth was running when Castro chopped a ball to third, but Chipper had moved to cover the bag and ball dribbled through to left for an RBI-single. 3-1. Valdez flew to right for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 0-for-his-last-8 and 4-for-19 in July. 10-for-49 (.204) since coming off the DL.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game. He was 5-for-15 with a triple in the series with the Pirates, making him 5-for-his-last-19.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. He’s 5-for-his-last-16. No walks in his last 29 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-4. After hitting 320/373/650 in June he’s started July by going 6-for-19 with six singles.

Werth 2-for-4 yesterday. He’s 3-for-16 with a double and seven strikeouts to start the month.

Dobbs 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He’s 6-for-his-last-18.

Valdez 0-for-4 and 1-for-his-last-11.

Sardinha caught the full game for the fourth day in a row yesterday. He was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 4-for-14 with a walk, a double and a home run in those four games (286/333/571).

Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.07) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (1-3, 5.59) tonight. Hamels has allowed more than three earned runs in a start once in his last 11 outings. Jurrjens struggled to start the season and hit the DL with a hamstring issue. Since his return he’s made one start, which came on June 30 against the Nats. In that game he allowed a run on six hits and two walks over five innings. He had a terrible start against the Padres on April 12 in which he allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings — excluding that outing he has a 3.51 ERA and a 1.21 ratio for the season.

This suggests that Schneider could play today and that Madson could be back this week. It also says that Happ thinks he’s ready to return but may not be back till after the break.


Imperfect, and looking more imperfecter every day, team throws perfect game

The Phillies miserable skid may not be over, but at least May finally is. The Phils went 2-7 to end the month and scored ten runs in those nine games while being shut out five times.

The nosedive has now cost them the lead in the division to good Atlanta team. Not as good as the Phillies, but good and more than good enough to take the division if the Phils continue to play like they don’t belong.

What does it take for the Phillies to win these days? Well, Roy Halladay showed us all Saturday as he threw the 20th perfect game in major league history. The Phils won 1-0 with a lot of help from a three-base error by Cameron Maybin. The Phils somehow managed to win that three-game set with the Marlins despite scoring four runs in the series. They jumped right back into the swing of things after that, though, getting shut out on Sunday before Tommy Hanson took a shutout into the seventh inning against them yesterday.

Charlie Manuel has tried just about everything now. Meetings, benchings, changing the lineup and getting ejected. None of it is working and slump isn’t the right word for what’s happening to the Phillies anymore.

The Phillies are 28-22 on the year after a 9-3 loss to Atlanta yesterday afternoon. They are in second place in the NL East, a half game behind the Braves.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk. Only four of the runs were earned. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run by Chipper Jones. He struck out two. Blanton has been awful this year. He has now thrown to the same 1.32 ratio in 2010 as he did in 2009, but with a 5.68 ERA in ’10 compared to a 4.05 for 2009. He’s giving up more hits and more home runs and his strikeouts are way down — in 2009 he struck out 7.5 batters per nine innings and so far in 2010 he’s struck out 4.5 batters per nine innings.

Martin Prado singled to center to start the bottom of the first. Jason Heyward flew to Victorino for the first out before Chipper hit a 3-2 pitch out to right to put Atlanta up 2-0. Brain McCann flew to center for the second out before Troy Glaus hit a ball to right that Gload butchered for a two-base error. Eric Hinske singled to right and Glaus scored to make it 3-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right to end the inning.

Gload’s error proves costly to the Phils.

The pitcher Tommy Hanson singled to right with one out in the second, but Blanton got Prado on a ball hit out in front of the plate that Ruiz handled and struck Heyward out looking to leave him stranded.

McCann walked with one out in the third and moved to third when Glaus followed with a single. Hinske hit a ball to first that Howard didn’t handle for another Phillies error. McCann scored, 4-0, and Glaus went to third with Hinske safe at second. Escobar singled into center and both runners scored, but Victorino threw Escobar out trying to stretch it into a double. Blanton got Nate McLouth to pop to short to end the inning with the Phils down 6-0.

Two errors in three innings lead to two unearned runs for Atlanta.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.

Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Blanton got McLouth to pop to short for the second out before a Hanson single sent Escobar to third. Prado grounded to second to leave both men stranded.

The Atlanta lead was cut to 6-3 when Bastardo started the seventh. Chipper singled with one out and Omar Infante ran for him at first. A walk to McCann put men on first and second and Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Glaus. Glaus hit his first pitch out to center to extend the lead to 9-3. Gregor Blanco followed that with a double, but Durbin got the next two to leave him at second.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 eighth, getting a strikeout and two ground balls to lower his ERA to 2.08 on the year.

Bastardo threw 22 pitches in the game. Lidge 13 and Durbin seven.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Gload (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Well that’s different. Gload in right. Dobbs at third. Victorino dropped to fifth. The Phils go four lefties, switch, lefty at the top of their order.

Dobbs walked with one out in the first and moved to third when Utley followed with a single. Howard hit into a double-play to turn them away.

Down 3-0, Victorino walked to start the second. He stole second before Ibanez walked. Ruiz flew to center and Valdez hit into a double-play.

Blanton started the third with a single. Gload popped to third before Blanton took second on a passed ball. Dobbs flew to left and Utley flew to left. Manuel was ejected during the Dobbs at-bat. The home plate ump ruled Dobbs had been hit by a pitch. Bobby Cox argued that he hadn’t and the call was overturned with Dobbs not getting to take his base. Manuel argued that decision and got tossed. Dobbs wasn’t hit by the pitch.

Third straight inning the Phils put a runner on second without scoring.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

They were down 6-0 when they faced Hanson in the seventh. Ibanez doubled with two outs and righty Peter Moylan came in to pitch to Ruiz. Ruiz doubled to right and Ibanez scored. 6-1. Valdez doubled to left and Ruiz scored. 6-2. Francisco hit for Blanton and he doubled to left-center. 6-3. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Gload and hit him, putting men on first and second with two down. The righty Castro hit for the lefty Dobbs and grounded to second for the third out.

Down 9-3, the Phils went in order in the eighth.

Ruiz walked with one out in the ninth. Valdez struck out and Francisco flew to right to end the game.

Gload was 0-for-3 in the game and has proved not to be the magic bullet that pulls the Phils out of their slump. He’s 1-for-his-last-7 and hitting 222/243/389 on the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 2-for-27 in May and hitting 125/208/250 for the year. That’s really bad.

Utley was 1-for-4 yesterday. He’s 3-for-his-last-27 with three singles.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-his-last-20.

Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk hitting out of the five-hole. He’s been really good this month, hitting 284/357/509 in 116 at-bats.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a double. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-10 with a double and two walks.

Valdez was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-15 with two doubles and hitting 250/260/375 for the year. Castro was 0-for-1 yesterday. He’s 2-for-his-last-9 and hitting 250/277/307 for the year. Castro and Valdez have combined to get 160 at-bats for the Phils this season.

Werth didn’t play yesterday and is 0-for-his-last-19 with 11 strikeouts.

Polanco has not played since Thursday due to problems with his left elbow. This says the Phillies should know when he will be able to return today.

The linked article also says that Nelson Figueroa was designated for assignment when Lidge was activated.

Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.82) faces righty Tim Hudson (5-1, 2.24) tonight. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last five starts. Hudson has allowed more than two runs in a start just once in ten outings this year. Opponents are hitting 212/299/301 against him for the year.


Rolling old school

The fantastic run of starting pitching continued for the Phils last night. This time it was Jamie Moyer making his first good start of the season. Moyer held the Braves to two unearned runs on four hits and two walks over six strong innings to earn his second win of the season and the 260th of his career. The Phillies have five quality starts in their last six games.

What they also got last night was some runs. Eight, to be exact. They came into last night’s game having scored six runs over their past four games. The battered left side of the infield proved not to be the problem, but a big part of the solution. With Rollins and Polanco both out of the lineup, their replacements, Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs, combined to go 5-for-8 and scored four of the team’s eight runs.

The Phillies are 10-5 on the season after beating the Braves 8-3 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Both of the runs were unearned, thanks for some defensive floundering by Utley in the fifth. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four and dropped his ERA for the season to 5.00.

Matt Diaz lined to right for the first out of the first with the Phillies up 2-0. Martin Prado was next and he hit it hard, too, but Dobbs snared his line drive for the second out. Chipper Jones followed with a single to left, but Moyer got Brian McCann on a soft ground ball to first to end the inning.

He struck out Troy Glaus and Yunel Escobar to start the second before he hit Jason Heyward with a pitch. Melky Cabrera lined to short to end the inning.

That’s a lot of line outs in two innings.

He was up 5-0 when he started the third. The pitcher Derek Lowe and Diaz both grounded out to start the inning, but Prado doubled to left. Chipper grounded to third to leave him stranded.

He set the Braves down in order in the fourth.

Cabrera walked with one out in the fifth. Righty Omar Infante hit for Lowe and walked, putting men on first and second with one down. Diaz was next and hit a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw to second, but Utley didn’t handle his throw. Cabrera scored to make it 5-1. Utley was charged with an error and it was still first and second with one out. Prado was next and he hit a ball to Castro as well. This time Utley caught the throw at second for the second out, but then threw the ball away from another error. Infante scored and it was 5-2 with two outs and a man on first. Jones hit yet another line drive, but Dobbs caught it at third for the third out.

Miserable inning defensively for Utley. Two walks issued by Moyer made it possible.

The Phillies were up 6-2 when Moyer started the sixth. McCann led off with a single. Moyer struck out Glaus for the first out before Escobar doubled to center, sending McCann to third. Moyer struck out Heyward for the second out and got Cabrera on a pop up to short to end the inning.

Huge strikeout by Moyer to get Heyward with one out and men on second and third.

Durbin started the seventh with an 8-2 lead. McLouth led off and doubled to right. Durbin struck Diaz out for the first out, but Prado singled to right. It put men on first and third with one out for Chipper and Chipper walked on four pitches to load the bases. McCann got ahead 3-0 and then hit a fly ball deep to left that Ibanez took in front of the warning track for the second out. McLouth tagged and scored. 8-3 with men on first and second. Durbin struck Glaus out swinging at a 3-2 slider.

Nice job to come back by Durbin and hold them to one run. Things looked a little worrisome when he walked Chipper on four pitches and then got way behind McCann.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 eighth with an 8-3 lead.

Herndon entered in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Hinske led off with a single, but Diaz grounded into a double-play behind him to clear the bases. Prado reached on an infield single and moved to third when Chipper followed that with a double. Herndon got McCann to fly to left to end the game.

Herndon keeps Atlanta off the board, but has allowed eight hits over 1 1/3 innings in his last two appearances.

Durbin threw 33 pitches in the game and seems unlikely for tonight. Herndon 12 and Baez nine.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Dobbs plays third with Polanco on the bench after getting hit on the elbow with a pitch on Wednesday. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Second is a little high for Dobbs. Seven is a little high for Castro. Three lefties in a row 2-3-4 for the Phils.

Dobbs and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and third for Howard and Howard singled to center. 1-0 with men on first and third. Werth flew to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Moyer bunted him to second. Victorino grounded to second to leave him stranded.

Dobbs banged a double off the wall in right to start the third. Utley walked. Howard flew to left for the first out before Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez hit a double-play ball, but the Braves didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play. Prado fielded, but his throw wasn’t handled by Escobar. Dobbs and Utley both scored with Werth moving to third with the Phils up 4-0. Castro singled to right. Werth scored and Ibanez went to second. 5-0. Ruiz struck out and Moyer grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.

Not turning the double-play to end the inning costs the Braves three runs.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and the fifth.

Castro started the sixth with a single off of righty Kris Medlan. Ruiz moved him to second with a single. Moyer would have bunted, but Medlan couldn’t find the strike zone and Moyer walked to load the bases with nobody out. Victorino flew to left for the first out. Castro tagged and scored to put the Phils up 6-2. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty came in to pitch to Dobbs and Wilson Valdez hit for Dobbs. Valdez hit a ground ball to short and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. Utley walked and the bases were loaded for Howard. Howard struck out.

So the Phillies get one run after loading the bases with nobody out. The righty Valdez hits for Dobbs against the lefty. I think you have to let Francisco hit there because there are two men on base even though Valdez is going to come into the game and play third. Assuming Francisco isn’t hurt I think Manuel thinks the sixth is too early to use the best hitter on your bench. I don’t agree.

The single by Castro got the sixth started after he delivered a big two-out hit in the third.

Ibanez walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Castro followed with another single. Ruiz flew to right for the second out, sending Ibanez to third. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound, Gload hit for Moyer and singled to center. Ibanez scored to make it 7-2 and Castro went to third. Victorino was next and he singled to right. 8-2 with men on first and second. Valdez struck out swinging to leave them stranded.

Utley, Howard and Werth went in order in the eighth.

Ibanez singled to start the ninth, but Castro struck out behind him for the first out. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out with Ibanez moving to second. With righty Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Braves, Francisco hit for Baez and flew to center.

Francisco winds up getting an at-bat in the game, but against a righty with one man on base instead of two.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI in the game. He was 2-for-14 with two singles and no walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 212/254/379 for the season. He’s 3-for-his-last-21 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit in the last six games.

Polanco started games one and two and did not play yesterday after being hit on the elbow with a pitch in game two. 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 383/400/567 for the season. He’s walked once for the year, putting him on pace to walk 11 times. That’s not going to matter if he hits .383, but he’s not. On the other hand, he’s not going to walk 11 times either.

Utley was 1-for-3 with two walks and two errors last night. 4-for-12 with two doubles and two walks in the series. 339/479/739 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-5 with an RBI and five men left on base. 3-for-13 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 294/324/529. He hasn’t homered in ten games and isn’t walking either. He’s on pace to walk 32 times this season.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-11 with three doubles and a walk. 327/413/558.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 3-for-9 with a double and four walks in the series. 200/344/280 for the year.

Castro was 3-for-5 with an RBI yesterday and 5-for-13 in the set. He’s hitting 353/361/382 in 34 at-bats for the year.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 and left five men on base yesterday. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 275/420/325.

Dobbs started at third last night. He was 2-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-4 in the series. His double last night was the only extra-base hit for the Phils in the game. He’s 3-for-12 with two walks for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-2 last night and 0-for-3 in the series.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86) faces righty Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00) tonight in Arizona as the Phils play the first of three against the 6-9 Snakes. Hamels was brilliant against the Marlins in his last start after a rocky start to the season. Benson has made one start for Arizona, allowing two runs over six innings against the Padres last Saturday.

JA Happ was put on the DL. JC Romero took his spot on the roster. Nelson Figueroa will start on Saturday against Ian Kennedy.

The article linked above says Polanco thinks he should be back in the lineup tonight.


Exchange ratio

Just wanted to start by saying that there was a point about the Phillies coming. I mean, not today, but it’s coming.

Whether you call it ratio or WHIP, thanks to fantasy baseball, most fans are familiar with the idea of hits plus walks over innings pitched.

There’s a big limitation to that stat, of course, and that’s that not all hits are the same. The context in which an inning is pitched or a walk is given might make it more important than another inning pitched or walk, but what an inning pitched or a walk means doesn’t change. That’s not that case with hits — a hit can be a single, a double, a triple or a home run. That’s part of why pitchers with the same ratio (or WHIP) can have dramatically different results.

For example, take the case of two NL pitchers from the 2009 season, San Diego righty Josh Geer and the Nats lefty hand breaker John Lannan. Both had threw to the same 1.35 ratio in 2009, but with hugely different results:

  IP ERA H BB Ratio
Geer 102 2/3
5.96 116 23 1.35
Lannan 206 1/3
3.88 210 68 1.35

Same ratio, but Lannan’s ERA is more than two runs lower than Geer’s despite the fact that Geer was much better at preventing walks. Was Geer unlucky? Maybe he was, but the bigger deal was that the hits that Geer gave up were way worse than the hits that Lannan gave up. And ratio (or WHIP) doesn’t care because it treats all hits the same.

I think ratio is a nifty stat mostly because lots of people understand what it means and can quickly interpret that a 1.18 ratio is really good and a 1.58 ratio is pretty bad. Counting all hits the same is pretty limiting, though. They aren’t the same. Let’s look at Geer and Lannan again, and instead of using ratio ((hits + walks)/IP), let’s look at their total bases allowed plus walks over innings pitched in ’09:

  IP 2B 3B HR TB BB (TB+BB)/IP
Geer 102 2/3 23 3 27 226 23 2.43
Lannan 206 1/3 50 3 22 332 68 1.94

The point here isn’t that Lannan didn’t give up a lot of extra-base hits. He did. Only one player in the NL allowed more doubles than the 50 he gave up. The point is that Geer gave up more (53 in 102 2/3 or about .516 XBH per inning for Geer compared to 75 in 206 1/3 innings or about .363 per inning for Lannan) and that the extra-base hits that Geer gave up were worse than the extra-base hits that Lannan gave up. You can tell that by seeing that Geer allowed five more homers than Lannan in 103 2/3 fewer innings. The average extra-base hit yielded by Geer went for 3.08 bases while the average extra-base hit yielded by Lannan went for 2.63 bases. The difference between the severity of the hit that was allowed isn’t reflected by ratio, but it is if you replace it hits with total bases in the formula.

Jamie Moyer had a fantastic outing on Friday at the Phils topped the Yankees 3-0. Moyer allowed one hit and didn’t walk a batter over 6 2/3 innings, dropping his official spring ERA to 0.77. Victorino was 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs for the Phils.

I’m going to be very surprised if Moyer isn’t in the rotation at the start of the season.

Hamels didn’t fare as well on Saturday as the Phils fell to the Twins 8-4. Hamels allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA for the spring is up to 5.57. Contreras had a rough outing in the game as well, allowing three runs in 2/3 of an inning. Jim Thome connected for a two-run homer off of Contreras. Dobbs homered for the Phils and Francisco, Schneider and Castro all had two hits.

The Phillies and Pirates were rained out yesterday.

The Phillies sent John Mayberry to minor league camp yesterday. Mayberry hit 289/349/447 this spring and will be presumably be back the first time the Phillies need an outfielder or bench player. The linked article also says that Ibanez would not have played in yesterday’s game if it had not been rained out due to a bruise on his right arm.

Jayson Werth and Reggie Jackson had lunch on Friday. Werth suggests it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s a free agent after the 2010 season.

Madson will be the Phillies closer to start the season.


Rotation consideration

I don’t think there’s much question that the Phillies starting pitchers in 2010 are going to be better than their starting pitchers in 2009. The question is just how much better. Here’s what the five guys in the starting rotation for 2010, Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ and Moyer, combined to do as starting pitchers in 2009 and how it compares to the overall line for Phillies starters in ’09:

  IP H BB SO ERA Ratio
5 SP 915.7 940 224 719 3.81 1.27
PHI SP ’09 963.7 1022 266 736 4.29 1.34

Phillies starting pitchers overall combined to allow about .495 runs per inning in 2009. Those five pitchers combined to allow about .439 runs per inning, which is about 88.7% of .495.

Halladay threw 239 innings last year, which would have been about 25% of the total innings thrown by starting pitchers if he had thrown them for the Phillies and the Phillies starters had still thrown their 963 2/3 innings. He had a 2.79 ERA and a 1.13 ratio in ’09 and it seems like he may be able to reproduce those fantastic numbers with the move to the NL.

Blanton seems like a good candidate to be about as good in 2010 as he was in 2009.

Hamels seems like a good candidate to be better. Maybe a lot better. He also seems like a good candidate to eat up more innings than the 193 2/3 he pitched in 2009.

Happ seems like he will drop off a little. Moyer will be better or pitch less.

It seems reasonable to assume that the improvement by Hamels and the Moyer spot in the rotation will outweigh the drop off for Happ. As starters, Hamels and Moyer combined to throw 337 innings with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.35 ratio in 2009. Hamels and Moyer, or whoever takes over for Moyer, are going to combine to be a lot better than that in 2010.

If those five did exactly what they did in 2009 again in 2010, here’s what the other Phillies starting pitchers would have to do in 2010 for the Phillies to match their 2009 totals in these categories:

IP H BB SO ERA Ratio
48 82 42 17 13.31 2.58

Insert your own Jose Contreras joke here, but someone in the starting rotation is going to be a lot worse in 2010 than they were in 2009 or the numbers for the rotation are going to get better overall.

The Phillies beat the Blue Jays 4-2 yesterday. Hamels sat down the first nine men he faced before allowing a solo homer to Jose Bautista to start the fourth. Ryan Vogelsong followed Hamels and allowed a run over 2 1/3 innings. JC Ramirez pitched the last three innings and held Toronto to a pair of singles while striking out three. Cody Ransom hit a solo home run for the Phils. Dobbs doubled twice. Mayberry was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles to raise his average for the spring to .368.

Kyle Drabek started the game for Toronto and pitched two scoreless innings.

This says Brad Lidge will pitch in a game on Monday.


Fall from ridiculous pace

About a year ago I was writing that between 2007 and 2008, Ryan Howard’s batting average dropped from .268 to .251 despite the fact that he got hits in a very similar number of plate appearances in both seasons.

He improved his rate of getting hits in 2009 over ’08 and ’07, posting a .279 average. His strikeouts were down as well — for the second straight season the percentage of plate appearances in which he fanned went down. That’s where the good news ends, though, as for the third straight year his home run rate fell and for the second straight year his walks fell.

Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which Howard has homered, walked, struck out or got a hit over the past four years:

Year % HR % BB % K % H
2006 8.2 15.3 25.7 25.9
2007 7.3 16.5 30.7 21.9
2008 6.9 11.6 28.4 21.9
2009 6.4 10.7 26.5 24.5

Again, the good news is more hits and fewer strikeouts. The bad news is that the walks are way down since 2007 and the home runs are falling to. In defense of the declining walk rate it’s important to notice how dramatically intentional walks have fallen off for Howard in the past two years. In 2006 and 2007 he was walked intentionally 72 times. In 2008 and 2009 he was walked intentionally just 25 times. Also, even if his home run and walk rates are down since 2006, it’s important to remember 1) that he was absurdly good in 2006 (he hit 313/425/659 with 58 homers and was MVP of the league) and 2) in 2009 he was fifth in the league in runs created, third in homers and first in RBI. So he’s still rather productive.

Roy Halladay threw three scoreless innings last night as the Phils topped the Braves 7-4. Madson allowed four runs in the fourth inning, only two of which were earned (Dobbs made an error at third in the frame). Drew Carpenter threw three scoreless innings in the game. Baez allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless inning and Escalona threw a perfect sixth. Werth hit a two-run homer and Mayberry and Francisco each drove in a pair of runs.

Victorino saw his first spring action and went 1-for-3 with a single.

This article suggests Moyer is the heavy favorite to be the fifth starter. In the article, Rich Dubee suggests that the fifth starter likely won’t be decided by which player pitches best in spring training. I think chances are good it will be decided by which player has a name that rhymes best with Ramey Hoyer.


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