Tag: home runs

The soloists

The Phillies went 16-11 in August and are a nifty 36-18 since the end of June. August wasn’t their best month with the bats, though. It was actually their worst:

Month Runs per
game
April 5.95
May 5.29
June 4.77
July 5.67
August 4.48

Part of what’s curious about that is that the Phillies hit home runs at their highest rate of the season in August:

Month HR per 100
PA
April 3.64
May 3.62
June 3.64
July 3.24
August 4.19

The Phillies hit 43 home runs in August. Howard hit eleven, Rollins and Werth each hit seven and Utley hit six.

Forty-three is a lot of home runs for a month. The last time that the Phillies hit 43 or more home runs in a single month was June, 2004. Jim Thome hit 15 home runs for the Phils in June of 2004, which is silly. When Bonds hit 73 in 2001 he had just one month in which he hit 15 or more (Bonds hit 17 in May, 2001).

Compared to the other months of 2009, they also got a lot of hits:

Month H per 100
PA
April 23.37
May 22.62
June 21.91
July 22.89
August 22.90

The Phillies didn’t get hits at their best rate of the season during August, but they did get them at their second-best rate. Their hit rate was about the same as it was in May and July, months in which they scored more runs.

Oh whatever could it be? Well, I pretty sure you know and, if you’ve been watching the Phillies, you probably knew before you started reading this post:

Month BB per 100
PA
April 10.05
May 9.86
June 8.90
July 10.75
August 7.99

The Phillies may have gotten a lot of hits and hit a lot of homers in August, but they didn’t score a lot of runs compared to the rest of the season. A big part of the reason is that their walk rate was miserable, the worst it has been for any month this season.

The Phillies designated Brad Harman for assignment, added John Ennis to the 40-man roster and put Ennis on the DL. Ennis has gotten one out this season for the IronPigs and allowed five runs. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and you won’t see him pitching any time soon. The linked article points out that “his presence on the DL allows the Phillies to add any player that is in the organization on Aug. 31 to the postseason roster.”


And not just that but you should see how good their numbers are when they don’t allow any runs

Today’s point is that you have better results as a starting pitcher in games when you don’t allow a home run. Really it is.

You probably would have guessed that’s the case. What you might not have guessed is how dramatic the difference can be. Here, for example, are the differences in results for the three Phillies pitchers who have made more than 10 starts this season in games when they have and have not allowed at least one home run in a game:

 
Starts where he allowed at least 1 HR in game

Starts where he allowed 0 HR in game
  Team
record
ERA Ratio Team
Record
ERA Ratio
Hamels 3-5 5.73 1.50 4-2 2.92 1.30
Blanton 4-7 5.76 1.45 3-0 2.50 1.33
Moyer 5-6 7.56 1.68 3-1 2.52 1.12

The Phils are 22-21 in the games started by the trio — 10-3 in the 13 games where they didn’t allow a home run and 12-18 in the 30 where they did.

Here are the numbers for the three combined when they have and have not allowed at least one home run in a start for the season:


IP

ER

H

BB

SO

ERA

Ratio

Allowed HR

175.3

119

216

43

137

6.11

1.48

Didn’t allow HR

80

24

78

22

66

2.70

1.25

In the case of those three so far this year, they’ve struck hitters out at a better rate and prevented hits at a much better rate in the starts where they’ve allowed a home run. What’s a little curious to me is that they’ve walked hitters at a higher rate as a group in the starts where they did not allow a home run than the starts where they did. In the starts where they didn’t allow a home run they walked 22 in 80 innings or 2.47 per nine innings. In the starts where they did allow at least one homer they walked 2.21 per nine. Both Hamels and Blanton walked have walked more batters in their games this season when they didn’t allow a home run than in their games where they did.

It’s obviously a tiny amount of data, but, also curiously, Hamels also issued more walks in his starts in 2008 when he didn’t allow a home run. Here:


Hamels ’08
  IP ERA Ratio BB/9
Starts
allowed HR
123.7 4.37 1.18 1.75
No HR 103.7 1.56 0.96 2.52

The numbers are way better overall in the non-home run starts, but he walked more batters per nine innings. Since his ratio was so much lower in the non-home run starts you can probably guess that he allowed a lot fewer hits. He did — 6.16 hits per nine in starts when he didn’t allow a home run and 8.88 hits per nine in starts he did.

Blanton is the other guy of the trio who is walking more guys this season in his starts when he doesn’t allow a home run. He’s had kind of a brutal transition from Oakland. In 2008, between his starts for Oakland and Philly he allowed 22 home runs in 197 2/3 innings. So far in ’09 he’s allowed 17 in 83 2/3 innings. His numbers weren’t as dramatic as Hamels’ for last year, but he did walk batters at a slightly higher rate in his starts when he did not allow a home run:


Blanton ’08
  IP ERA Ratio BB/9
Starts
allowed HR
112 5.06 1.38 2.97
No HR 85.7 4.20 1.42 3.05

This says that Happ will start tomorrow, Ibanez and Eyre are rehabbing and that Lopez, Carrasco or Carpenter could start on Friday against the Mets.


Um, could we have another baseball please?

Allowing home runs has been a huge problem for the Phillies this season.

As a team the Phillies allowed 160 home runs in 2008 — that’s .99 per game. They’ve allowed 107 already in 2009, which is about 1.46 per game. They’re on pace to allow 237 in 2009, which is 77 more than they allowed last year.

The 107 home runs they have allowed overall is the most for the league by a lot (nothing in this post includes results from yesterday). The Brewers and the Astros are tied for second in the NL in home runs allowed and they have both allowed just 91. The Phillies have also allowed more home runs than any team in the DH-loving American League.

The Phillies aren’t going to allow 237 home runs this year. If they did, though, it would be the most home runs allowed by a team in either league since the Rockies allowed 239 in 2001.

To allow that many home runs it helps to be bad in a lot of different areas and not just really bad in one. Compared to the other teams in the NL, the Phillies allow lots of homers by their starters, their relievers, at home and away.

Here’s the number of home runs per inning the Phillies starting pitchers have allowed this season compared to the other teams in the NL:

Team IP HR HR per IP Rank
LAD 422.3 35 .083 2
STL 460 39 .085 3
SF 444 46 .104 6
CHI 434.7 58 .133 11
ATL 439 35 .080 1
ARI 449.7 58 .129 10
COL 442 43 .097 4
PIT 442 45 .102 5
HOU 408 58 .142 13
CIN 437 67 .153 14
NYM 428 48 .112 7
FLA 432.7 50 .116 8
MIL 417 69 .165 15
WAS 411.3 50 .122 9
SD 405 56 .138 12
PHI 411.3 80 .194 16

So the starters are allowing .194 home runs per inning this season. The team whose starting pitchers have the second-worst rate of allowing home runs this season are the Brewers, but even Milwaukee’s starters have allowed just .165 home runs per inning.

And here are the relievers:

Team IP HR HR per IP Rank
MIL 238.3 22 .092 8
ATL 230 14 .061 1
CHI 207.3 22 .106 12
CIN 229 17 .074 2
HOU 248.7 33 .133 16
LAD 257 24 .093 9
WAS 237 20 .084 5
NYM 226.7 19 .084 4
PHI 245.3 27 .110 13
PIT 209.3 22 .105 11
STL 215.3 27 .125 15
SD 252 26 .103 10
SF 206 16 .078 3
COL 210 25 .119 14
FLA 253 22 .087 6
ARI 239.7 22 .092 7

A little better for the Phils, but still very bad. The relievers for Colorado, St Louis and Houston are the only ones who have allowed home runs at a higher rate than the Phillies.

They’re awful at preventing home runs at home:

Team IP HR HR per IP Rank
MIL 334 41 .123 11
ATL 363 21 .058 1
CHI 309 38 .123 12
CIN 316 41 .130 14
HOU 372 47 .126 13
LAD 354 24 .068 2
WAS 364.7 35 .096 7
NYM 360 36 .100 9
PHI 322 59 .183 16
PIT 315 25 .079 4
STL 360 33 .092 6
SD 345 31 .090 5
SF 328 25 .076 3
COL 288 29 .101 10
FLA 375 36 .096 8
ARI 397 56 .141 15

Worst in the league. A little better on the road, but not much:

Team IP HR HR per IP Rank
MIL 327 50 .153 15
ATL 312 28 .090 2
CHI 338.3 42 .124 12
CIN 356 43 .121 10
HOU 292 44 .151 14
LAD 331.7 35 .106 6
WAS 291 35 .120 9
NYM 301.7 31 .103 4
PHI 339.7 48 .141 13
PIT 341.3 42 .123 11
STL 322 33 .102 3
SD 320 51 .159 16
SF 328 37 .113 7
COL 372 39 .105 5
FLA 317 36 .114 8
ARI 296.7 24 .081 1

Houston, Milwaukee and San Diego have all allowed home runs at a higher rate on the road than the Phils.

The Phillies are bad at preventing home runs compared to the rest of the league in all four categories, but worse in some than others. The table below compares the home runs per inning the Phillies have allowed for the season to the average home runs per inning for the other 15 NL teams:

  Avg HR per
IP for other 15 NL Teams
HR per IP
for PHI
PHI/AVG
SP .117 .194 1.66
RP .096 .110 1.15
Home .100 .183 1.83
Away .118 .141 1.20

So, for example, the starting pitchers for the 15 NL teams that aren’t the Phillies have allowed .117 home runs per inning on the season. The Phillies starters have allowed .194. .194 over .117 is 1.66, so the Phillies starters have allowed home runs at 1.66 times the rate of the average of the other 15 teams in the league combined.

So they’re allowing a lot of home runs in all four situations, but especially when their starters are pitching and at home.

Bastardo to the DL and Escalona up.

This says Ibanez is unlikely to come back from the DL on Friday. It also says that Mayberry has played really well for the Phillies. He’s hitting .216 and on-basing .256.


Early but not often

The Phillies didn’t allow a lot of home runs last year — only five NL teams gave up fewer than the 160 they surrendered. They did give up a lot of home runs on the first pitch, though, only three NL teams gave up more. The percentage of the home runs that they did allow that came on the first pitch of plate appearances was also high compared to the rest of the league.

For the 16 NL teams, the chart below shows how many batters they faced last year, how many homers they allowed and how many of the those plate appearances and home runs took just one pitch:

Team Total PA Total HR 1-pitch PA % 1st-pitch
HR
%
CHI 6194 160 706 11.4 39 24.4
PHI 6229 160 778 12.5 35 21.9
SFG 6341 147 675 10.6 31 21.1
SDP 6286 165 740 11.8 34 20.6
HOU 6125 197 770 12.6 39 19.8
STL 6264 163 743 11.9 32 19.6
NYM 6338 163 721 11.4 32 19.6
WSN 6310 190 709 11.2 34 17.9
ARI 6119 147 749 12.2 26 17.7
LAD 6127 123 698 11.4 21 17.1
COL 6338 148 754 11.9 23 15.5
PIT 6528 176 801 12.3 27 15.3
MIL 6209 175 749 12.1 26 14.9
CIN 6352 201 661 10.4 28 13.9
FLA 6271 161 703 11.2 20 12.4
ATL 6244 156 685 11.0 17 10.9

The Phillies had the second-highest percentage of the home runs they allowed last year come on the first pitch, behind only the Cubs.

With the exception of the Braves, who had 11.0% of their plate appearances end in one pitch in 2008 but gave up just 10.9% of their homers on the first pitch, every NL gave up a higher percentage of their homers for the year on the first pitch than percentage of plate appearances that ended on the first pitch.

Of the 16 teams, only the Cubs and the Giants had a bigger difference between the percentage of home runs they allowed on the first pitch and the percentage of their plate appearances that ended on the first pitch than the Phillies.

By sheer numbers of home runs given up on the first pitch, the Cubs and Astros were the two teams that allowed more than the Phillies. They each surrendered 39 compared to 35 for the Phillies.

There’s a wide range between how frequently the teams allowed home runs on the year. The Braves allowed a home run on the first pitch least frequently — they faced 6,244 hitters and allowed 17 first pitch home runs. That’s one per 367.3 plate appearances. The Astros allowed them at the highest rate — 39 first pitch home runs surrendered to 6,125 batters or one per 157.1 batters. The Phillies rate of one per 178 plate appearances was third worst in the league behind Houston and Chicago (158.8).

I still don’t think any of this answers the question of whether or not this is a problem. The best pitch in baseball is strike one, as they say, and throwing strike one means throwing the ball over the plate one the first pitch. It’s easy to prevent first pitch home runs if you want — just never throw the ball near the plate. I think it could be the case that the benefit gained by consistently throwing strike one is more significant that negative consequences of giving up more first pitch home runs. Later this week a post will look at how often the Phils got ahead in the count on the first pitch instead of behind compared to the rest of the league.

The Phillies have played three games since the last post. They lost two and played the Cardinals to a tie on Friday, putting their spring record at 8-12.

Not a big couple of days for the bats. The Phils scored three runs in the three games.

Today the Red Sox beat them 3-0.

Myers got the start and allowed two runs on five hits and five walks over five innings. Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer off of him in the first to account for both runs he allowed. Durbin kept his spring ERA at 0.00 with a scoreless seventh.

Mayberry was 1-for-4 and left five men on base. He’s hitting .279 in spring training. Cairo was 0-for-3 to drop his average to .268. Ozuna is hitting .364 after a 1-for-3 day. Paulino down to .174 after an 0-for-1. Donald drew a walk but didn’t have an official at-bat in the game. He’s hitting .314.

On Saturday, Kendrick finally had a good outing but the Phils lost to the Twins 2-1.

Kendrick went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double by Michael Cuddyer. Condrey followed with two scoreless innings to drop his spring ERA to 1.23.

Chan Ho Park was expected to start the game, but did not due to the problems with his strained left hamstring. This says he will start Tuesday against Toronto.

Bruntlett hit a home run with two outs in the ninth for the Phillies’ only run. Cairo was 0-for-3 with a walk. Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.

Friday the Phillies tied the Cardinals 2-2 in ten innings.

Carrasco got the start and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. Both runs came on a two-run homer by Rick Ankiel in the third. Koplove threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing a single and a walk, keeping his ERA at 0.00. Durbin allowed two walks over 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

Paulino was 0-for-2 and struck out twice. Giles, Mayberry and Donald were all 0-for-1.

The Phillies play the Yankees tomorrow.

Jimmy Rollins is in the lineup as the DH tonight as the Phils play Japan in the World Baseball Classic. The winner of the game will play Korea in the finals. Korea beat Venezuela 10-2 to advance to the finals.

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