Tag: Hunter Pence

Second time’s the charm

Vance Worley gave the Phils their second fantastic start in two games last night and this time the Phils got the win, beating the Padres 2-0 in the first game of their set in San Diego. Worley struck out 11 in seven innings and was backed by scoreless frames from Qualls and Papelbon.

Over their last two games, the Phillies have gotten 17 scoreless innings from their starting pitchers in which they have struck out 18. Phillies starting pitchers for the year have combined to throw to a 2.32 ERA with a 1.00 ratio and averaged 6.87 innings per start.

Juan Pierre did his very best to jump start the offense for the Phils in the game, walking, singling and tripling in his first three plate appearances, but the Phillies still had a whole bunch of problems scoring runs. They got one in the first on a walk, three hits and an error. The other run came in the ninth and wouldn’t have scored without the help of a passed ball, thanks to back-to-back strikeouts followed by a ground out after the Phils put a runner on third with nobody out.

Six wins on the year for the Phillies, who still haven’t won a game in which they’ve allowed more than two runs. They’ve allowed a total of six runs in the games that they’ve won (zero twice, one twice and two twice). In the seven games they’ve lost, they’ve allowed a total of 28 runs, or four runs per game.

The Phillies are 6-7 on the season after beating the San Diego Padres 2-0 last night. They lead the series one game to none.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out 11.

His game score for the start was 77, a mark he equaled in two of his starts in 2011. July 4 against the Marlins and July 26 against the Giants.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead and struck out the side. Will Venable went down swinging. Cameron Maybin and Chase Headley both struck out looking.

Lefty Jeremy Hermida led off the second with a triple to center. Lefty Yonder Alonso lined to third for the first out. Worley struck lefty John Baker out looking 1-2 for the second. Righty Jason Bartlett grounded to second to end the inning.

No run for the Padres despite the leadoff triple.

Worley struck out pitcher Joe Wieland in a 1-2-3 third.

He struck Maybin out to start the fourth before walking Headley on five pitches. Hermida was next and he grounded to third, with Headley forced at second for the second out. Alonso was next and he walked on five pitches as well, but Worley got Baker on a ground ball to second to set the Padres down.

Two walks in the inning for Worley, but he works around them. It’s obviously very early, but Worley’s walk rate is up for the year so far. Through three starts he’s walked 12% of the left-handed hitters he’s faced compared to 8.7% in 2011.

Worley struck out Bartlett and Hudson in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Venable lined a single to center to start the sixth. Maybin bunted him to second with the first out before Headley singled in to left, moving Venable up to third. Hermida struck out swinging 3-2 as Headley took off for second. Ruiz threw to second. Rollins took the throw with Venable coming home. Rollins made a strong throw home and Ruiz applied the tag to get Venable and end the inning.

No run for the Padres after putting men on first and third with one out.

Worley got the first two to start the seventh before walking Bartlett on a 3-2 pitch. Hudson moved Bartlett to third with a single to center. Kotsay struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch and was infuriated because the ball was so far outside.

Worley got a call on the 3-2 pitch to Kotsay, but it’s still a great job and a huge at-bat for him after the Padres put the go-ahead run on base.

Qualls pitched the eighth with the Phils still up a run. He walked Headley on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and Headley stole second with Hermida at the plate. Hermida grounded to second to leave Headley stranded.

Fifth outing of the year for Qualls, who still has not been charged with a run in five scoreless innings. Opponents are hitting .167 against him.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 2-0 lead and walked Alonso on a 3-2 pitch. Baker was next, though, and Papelbon got him to ground into a double-play that cleared the bases. He struck Bartlett out looking 2-2 to end the game.

Sixth outing and fourth save for Papelbon. He’s allowed one run over six innings on the homer he allowed to Kearns.

Qualls threw 19 pitches in the game and Papelbon 14. They combined to throw two scoreless innings, allowing two walks and no hits.

The Phillies lineup against righty Joe Wieland went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Victorino (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Polanco and Mayberry back in the lineup against the righty. Lefties Nix and Thome on the bench as well as the righty Wigginton. Polanco continues to hit second, even against the righty. Too high.

Pierre was the first hitter of the game and walked on five pitches. Polanco was next and he singled to left with Pierre moving up to third on an error by Venable. It put runners on the corners for Rollins and Rollins hit a ball well to right for the first out. Pierre tagged and scored from third, putting the Phils on top 1-0. Pence was next and he singled into center, moving Polanco up to second. Victorino followed that with another hit, also a single to center, which loaded the bases for Mayberry with one out. Mayberry popped to second on a 3-2 pitch for the second out with all of the runners holding. Ruiz grounded to short to set the Phillies down.

First things first: Pierre walked, number one on the season, so my official guess of April 27 for his first walk proves to be a bust. Mayberry is the other thing there, popping out with the bases loaded and one out to continue a miserable start to the season for him.

The Phillies score in the frame. Given the recent history, that’s something. Still, on a walk, three hits and an error they can only come up with one run.

Pierre and Polanco get it done at the top of the order, coming through with a walk and a single to start the rally.

Galvis and Worley both struck out to start the second before Pierre reached on an infield single. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

Pierre on base again for the second time in two innings.

Rollins and Pence struck out as the Phils went in order in the third.

They went 1-2-3 in the fourth as well.

Pierre lined a triple down the left field line with one out in the fifth. Polanco was next and he grounded hard to third for the first out, with Pierre holding third. Rollins struck out swinging to leave Pierre at third.

Pierre triples, so my official guess of the 14th of Never-everness for his first extra-base hit also proves to be a bust.

No run for the Phillies after the one-out triple by Pierre. Polanco hit the ball hard right at Headley, so Pierre had no chance to score. Kind of a tough break for Polanco, who could just a couple of breaks at this point. Three plate appearances for Pierre at this point in the game and he has a walk, a single and a triple.

Mayberry struck out as the Phils went in order in the sixth.

Righty Luke Gregerson set the Phils down in order in the seventh, striking out Ruiz for the first out.

Righty Andrew Cashner got Pierre, Polanco and Rollins in order in the eighth.

Righty Ernesto Frieri started the ninth. Pence led off the inning and walked on four pitches. Victorino moved him to third with a single to left. Victorino stole second with Mayberry at the plate, putting men on second and third. The 0-2 pitch to Mayberry was outside and off the catcher’s foot. It rolled way away, allowing Pence to score from third (2-0) and Victorino to move up to third. Mayberry struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ruiz struck out looking 0-2 for the second. Galvis flew to left to set the Phillies down.

The Phils manage a run, but again Mayberry comes up empty, striking out with a runner on third for the first out. Ruiz couldn’t get it done, either, striking out with a runner on third for the second out.

Pierre had a monster game, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a triple to up his line to 333/353/394.

Polanco 1-for-4 to up his average to .186. 186/222/209 on the year.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a big sac fly and two strikeouts. He’s 1-for-his-last-15.

Pence 1-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino 2-for-4 with two singles and a stolen base. He has stolen six bases without being caught.

Mayberry was miserable, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base. In the first he popped to second with the bases loaded and one out. In the ninth he struck out with nobody out and a runner on third. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.

Ruiz 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He’s hitting .206 since going 4-for-6 to start the year.

Galvis 0-for-4 to drop his average to .216.

Hamels (1-1, 3.65) faces righty Edinson Volquez (0-1, 4.24) tonight. Hamels was better in his most recent start than his first, holding the Mets to two runs over seven innings. He has 19 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings for the season. Volquez struggled in his most recent start, which came against the Dodgers, allowing four runs over five innings. He has walked 12 in 17 innings for the year.


Phils overcome Halladay’s worst start of the season to top Giants

The Phillies have won five games this year and Roy Halladay has started three of them. Last night the Phils got four early runs and cruised behind Halladay’s arm after that as they topped the Giants 5-2.

In 23 innings for the season, Halladay has allowed 14 hits and four walks (that’s an 0.78 ratio). Last night he allowed more than one run in a start for the first time in three outings.

As a group, the starting pitchers for the Phillies this season have thrown to a 2.54 ERA and an 0.95 ratio.

The Phillies are 5-5 on the year after beating the San Francisco Giants 5-2 yesterday.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out six and his ERA for the year rose to 1.17 with the outing.

He started the bottom of the first up 4-0. Switch-hitter Angel Pagan led off with a single and moved to second when switch-hitter Melky Cabrera walked behind him. Switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval was next and he lined to second for the first out. Righty Buster Posey moved everyone up a base with an infield single, loading the bases for lefty Aubrey Huff. Huff hit a fly ball to right that Pence took for the second out, but it was deep enough for Pagan to score from third (4-1) and Cabrera to move up to third. Halladay got ahead of Belt 0-2, but then threw four straight balls to walk him and load the bases up again, this time for lefty Brandon Crawford. Halladay got Crawford swinging 0-2 to leave them loaded.

Again Halladay has some problems in the first inning. Through three starts, opponents are hitting .462 against him in the first inning and under .200 in every other inning.

Switch-hitter Emmanuel Burriss flew to left for the first out of the second. Pitcher Tim Lincecum grounded to third for the second out before Pagan struck out looking.

Posey singled with two outs in the third, but Halladay got Huff on a softly hit ball to Galvis to end the inning.

The Phillies were up 5-1 when Belt led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left. Crawford was next and doubled to left, sending Belt to third. Burriss struck out swinging for the first out, but Lincecum followed and grounded out to third, bringing Belt home to cut the lead to 5-2. Pagan flew to right for the third out.

Sandoval hit a ball up the first base line that hit the bag for a single with one out in the fifth. Halladay struck Posey out looking for the second out before Huff walked on five pitches, putting runners on first and second for Belt. Belt struck out looking 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Halladay got the first two in the sixth before lefty Nate Schierholtz hit for Lincecum. Halladay got Schierholtz on a fly ball to center for the third out.

He set Pagan, Cabrera and Sandoval down in order in the seventh.

Posey started the eighth with a single to left on a ball deflected by Polanco at third. Halladay set down Huff, Belt and Crawford behind him.

Papelbon started the ninth. He was pitching for the second straight day after throwing 26 pitches with a six-run lead on Sunday against the Mets. Really.

Went well, though. Burriss flew to center for the first out. Lefty Gregor Blanco hit for the pitcher Jeremy Affeldt and grounded to first for the second. Pagan singled to right and took second on defensive indifference, but Cabrera grounded to second to end the game.

Papelbon has now thrown for two straight days, including Sunday night’s absurd outing. He has allowed a run in five innings for the year, but opponents are hitting .300 against him.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Lincecum went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Victorino (6) Nix (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Pierre leads off and plays left against the righty. The lefty Nix at first with righties Mayberry and Wigginton on the bench. Polanco shouldn’t be hitting second and especially not against righties.

On cue, Polanco doubled to right with one out in the first and Rollins walked behind him. Pence was next and lined a single into center, scoring Polanco (1-0) and moving Rollins up to second. Victorino followed that with a single into center, scoring Rollins (2-0) and sending Pence to second for Nix. Nix doubled into right and the ball rolled to the wall, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 4-0. Ruiz moved Nix up to third with a ground out, but Galvis struck out to leave him there.

First extra-base hit of the year for Polanco. Second big double for Nix in two games.

The lead was cut to 4-1 when the Phils went in order in the second.

Rollins, Pence and Victorino went in order in the third.

Galvis lined a double to right with two outs in the fourth. Halladay followed that with a single into right, scoring Galvis to make it 5-1. Pierre grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Galvis went 0-for-10 to start the season. Since then he has hit 333/333/619 in 21 plate appearances with three doubles and a home run.

It was 5-2 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. Pence and Victorino singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Nix. Nix grounded to first to leave them stranded.

Lincecum set the Phillies down in order in the sixth.

Righty Dan Otero started the seventh. He hit Polanco with one out, but got Rollins and Pence behind him.

Otero was back for the eighth. With one out, Nix reached on a fielding error by Crawford at short. Ruiz moved Nix up to second with a single. Galvis hit a ball to second with Ruiz forced at second for the second out and runners safe at the corners. Halladay hit for himself and grounded to the pitcher to end the game.

Halladay hits for himself having thrown 100 pitches in the game with two outs, men on the corners and the Phils up 5-2. Phillies have lefties Thome, Schneider and Orr on the bench. Halladay already has an RBI-single in the game. Think I would have hit Thome for him, but it all worked out fine. I think I might have tried harder to keep Papelbon out of the game coming off of 26 pitches on Sunday.

Lefty Jeremy Affeldt pitched the ninth, setting the Phillies down in order. Mayberry hit for Pierre and struck out for the first out of the inning.

Pierre was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 7-for-24 with seven singles and no walks for the year (292/292/292).

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a double, his first extra-base hit of the year, to raise his average to .200. He has one walk on the season, so the top two in the Phillies order in the game end the day having walked once in 61 plate appearances.

Rollins 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. He came into the game 11-for-25 with a six-game hitting streak.

Pence was 2-for-4 with an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-8.

Victorino 2-for-4 with an RBI as well. He’s hitting .316, but still just has one extra-base hit on the year (a home run off of Mark Buehrle).

Nix 1-for-4 with two RBI. 2-for-his-last-7 with a walk, two doubles and three RBI.

Ruiz was 1-for-4. He’s hitting .208 over his last 25 plate appearances after going 4-for-6 to start the season.

Galvis 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout. He leads the team with four extra-base hits (three doubles and a home run).

Joe Blanton (1-1, 2.35) faces lefty Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 3.97) tonight in game two of the set. Blanton was great in his only start of the season, holding the Marlins to a run over seven innings. Bumgarner has made two starts, allowing four runs against the Diamondback over four innings in the first and holding the Rockies to a run over 7 1/3 innings his most recent time out.


Nervousness grows as some fans wonder if the Phils can find a way to bunt themselves to a better bullpen

The Phils lost the last two games of the three-game set with Pittsbugh on a pair of walkoffs, losing game two 2-1 when their offense came up small. Yesterday the offense put up four runs, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead, allowing four runs over 2 2/3 innings as the Phils fell 5-4.

The starting pitching has been fantastic for the Phils over the first three games. Vance Worley allowed a run over six innings in yesterday’s game. Over three starts, Halladay, Lee and Worley have combined to allow two runs in 20 innings.

With the exception of Hunter Pence, just about everything else has been pretty miserable. The Phils scored one run in the first game and one in the second, before getting four in an odd third game made memorable when righty James McDonald walked Pence intentionally to get to the lefty Jim Thome and struck Thome out to end the top of the sixth.

Most fans expected the offense to struggle in the early going. Fewer thought we were going to see them bunt and bunt and bunt the way they have in the early going.

Yesterday’s late game breakdown had a lot to do with the bullpen, but also a big defensive misplay when an error by Wigginton on a would-be strikeout led to a pair of unearned runs. It’s the kind of thing you want to avoid if you have an offense built around bunting with your three-hitter.

The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after losing 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday afternoon. The Pirates take the series two games to one.

Worley started the game for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-base hits, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

He started the bottom of the first up 1-0. Jose Tabata singled to right with one out and stole second. Worley walked Andrew McCutchen, putting men on first and second for switch-hitter Neil Walker. Walker hit the ball hard to third, but Wigginton took it for the second out. Garrett Jones grounded to Galvis to leave the runners stranded.

Michael McKendry singled with two outs in the second, but Worley struck the pitcher James McDonald out looking behind him for the third out.

Worley set the Pirates down in order in the third.

Walker led off the fourth and lined a single into center, but Jones was next and hit a ball to first. Thome fielded, threw nicely to second and took the relay from Rollins to complete the double-play and clear the bases. Clint Barmes grounded to third for the third out.

If Thome really wants us to forget Howard at first, he needs to figure out a way to throw that ball into left field.

The Phils were up 2-0 when Worley started the fifth. Lefty Pedro Alvarez led off Pittsburgh and hit a 2-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 2-1. Worley retired the next three Pirates behind Alvarez.

McCutchen doubled to center with one out in the sixth. Walker was next and this time he lined to Rollins for the second out. Worley got ahead of Jones 0-2 and struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave McCutchen at second.

The Phillies hit for Worley in the top of the seventh and Stutes, pitching for the second straight day, started the bottom of the inning. Things started well enough. Stutes struck Barmes out for the first out. Alvarez was next and Stutes struck him out too, swinging at a 1-2 pitch that Schneider didn’t handle. Wigginton had taken over at first for Thome and couldn’t handle the throw from Schneider. Alvarez wound up on second with one out and Wigginton charged with an error. Stutes got McKendry to fly to right for the second out, but righty Casey McGehee was next and he doubled to center, scoring Alvarez to cut the lead to 4-2. Lefty Alex Presley was next and he lined a single to right. McGehee scored from second. 4-3. Presley stole second before Tabata flew to center to leave him there.

Would have been a great time to get an out on the Alvarez strikeout. Wigginton just didn’t catch the ball and it went off his glove. The righty Stutes stays in to pitch to the lefty Presley with two lefties available in the pen for the Phils and Presley drives in a run. Not saying a have a whole lot of confidence in Savery, either, but I’m just saying.

Stutes threw 27 pitches in the game.

Kendrick started the eighth, also pitching for the second straight day. McCutchen led off and singled to left. The switch-hitter Walker was next and he flew to left for the first out. Lefty Nate McLouth hit for the pitcher Evan Meek and Bastardo, also pitching for the second straight day, came in to pitch to him. Righty Yamaico Navarro hit for McLouth and McCutchen stole second before Bastardo walked Navarro on a 3-2 pitch. It put men on first and second for Barmes and Bastardo struck him out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Righty Matt Hague hit for the lefty Alvarez and singled into left, scoring McCutchen to tie the game at 4-4 and moving Navarro up to second. Bastardo struck McKendry out swinging 2-2 to leave the runners at first and second.

Both Kendrick and Bastardo had thrown a small number of pitches in game two of the series, 13 for Kendrick and six for Bastardo, but still Manuel lets Kendrick start the eighth inning against a righty when many assumed the eighth would belong to Bastardo. Kendrick also stays in to face the switchy Walker after McCutchen singled, despite the fact that Walker has been better against righties for his career (282/342/437 vs right and 274/327/388 against lefties).

Herndon started the ninth, making his first appearance of the year. McGehee led off with a double to left and Josh Harrison ran for him at second. Presley bunted Harrison to third with the first out. Herndon struck Tabata out swinging 3-2, which looked huge at the time, but McCutchen followed Tabata and hit a ball over Victorino’s head in center, bringing home Harrison and ending the game.

Herndon got ahead of McCutchen 0-2, but couldn’t put him away. With a runner on third and two down, Herndon had a base open and space to pitch around McCutchen and allow the Phils to try and get Walker. Didn’t happen.

Not a great start to the year for Herndon, who faced four men and allowed two hits, both which would have been for extra-bases if the second hadn’t ended the game. The strikeout of Tabata was big, but the other out he got was given to the Phils by Pittsburgh.

Bastardo, Stutes and Kendrick have all pitched two days in a row. Bastardo threw 20 pitches in the game and Stutes 27. Kendrick eight and Herndon 20.

Overall the pen went 2 2/3 innings in the game, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned.

Qualls was not available to pitch in the game because of a problem with his right heel.

The Phillies lineup against righty James McDonald went (1) Pierre (2) Victorino (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Thome (6) Wigginton (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Pierre in left, Thome at first and Schneider catching, all making their first starts of the season. Wigginton starts at third, although he’s not a great hitter against righties and can’t offer the defense that Polanco does. Victorino drops to second in the order with Pierre leading off. Galvis hits ahead of Schneider, which seems odd to me given that Galvis doesn’t seem to have much chance to get on base.

Victorino singled with one out in the top of the first and moved to second on a ground out by Rollins. Pence was next and he doubled into the left field corner, scoring Victorino easily to put the Phils up 1-0. Thome flew to left to leave Pence at second.

Just the second extra-base hit of the year for the Phils.

Galvis walked with one out in the second, but Schneider hit into a double-play behind him.

The Phils went in order in the third.

With one out in the fourth, Pence hit a 2-1 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phillies on top 2-0. Thome and Wigginton both grounded out behind him.

Third extra-base hit of the year for the Phils and the first home run.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

The lead had been cut to 2-1 when they hit in the sixth. Pierre led off with a bunt single and took second on a throwing error by Alvarez. Victorino bunted him to third with the first out. Rollins struck out swinging for the second out. The righty McDonald walked the righty Pence intentionally, putting men on first and third with two down. McDonald then struck Thome out looking 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Wow. Pence was 2-for-2 in the game with a double, a home run and seemingly the only hitter in the game with a pulse for the Phils, but still that was rather gutsy. It worked out pretty well for the Pirates, though.

Please, please, please it’s enough with bunting with the good hitters. The number of hitters in the lineup who can hit a double, much less a home run, is pretty limited. If you want to bunt all the time, what say you do it with Galvis, Polanco and Pierre and not Rollins, Victorino and Nix.

With a runner in scoring position and nobody out, Victorino bunts the runner to third. Then the Phillies fail to score with one out and a man on third. Rollins strikes out and Thome strikes out with a nutty IBB in-between.

Righty Jared Hughes started the seventh for Pittsburgh and walked Wigginton to start the inning. Galvis bunted. Hughes fielded and threw to first, where Walker, covering first, didn’t come up with the ball for an error. Wigginton wound up at third and Galvis at second with nobody out. Schneider lined hard to first for the first out. Nix hit for Worley and grounded to second for the second out with the runners holding. Pierre was next, though, and he lined a two-run single to right, putting the Phils on top 4-1. Victorino walked and the Phils pulled off a double-steal before Rollins struck out to leave the runners stranded at second and third.

That’s a bunt I can get behind — not because it worked out so great, but because Galvis isn’t Shane Victorino. Or Jimmy Rollins or Laynce Nix.

Speaking of Nix, that’s the second time in two games Nix came up empty in a big situation with a runner on third and less than two outs. In the top of the first in Saturday’s game, the Phils put men on first and third with one out for Nix and Nix struck out swinging for the second out before Mayberry flew to center to set the Phillies down.

Huge hit for Pierre, who had a fantastic game in his first start of the year.

Righty Evan Meek set Pence, Polanco and Wigginton down in order in the eighth with the lead cut to 4-3.

Righty Joel Hanrahan struck out Mayberry and Schneider in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Pierre was great in his first start of the year. 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBI. 2-for-5 in the three-game set. Mayberry was 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the game. 2-for-8 with a double and three strikeouts in the set.

Victorino was 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. 3-for-10 with two walks and two stolen bases in the series.

Rollins was miserable. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base. Huge strikeout in the sixth with one out and Pierre on third. 2-for-12 with two strikeouts in the set. Needs to stop bunting out of the three-hole really, really soon.

Pence 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a home run. 3-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Thome 0-for-3 with a strikeout and three men left on base. Pence was memorably walked intentionally in front of him in the game. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the series. Started a nice double-play defensively in the fourth. Nix was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the game and 0-for-4 with a walk in the set.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk. Playing him at third against a lefty makes a lot more sense to me than playing him at third against a righty, just cause he’s gotta have a big offensive advantage over Polanco to make up for Polanco’s defense. He made a big error in the seventh on Alvarez’s strikeout that led to two unearned runs the Phillies couldn’t afford to allow. 1-for-8 with a walk in the series. Polanco 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-9 in the series.

Galvis 0-for-2 with a walk in the game. 0-for-10 with a walk in the series.

Schneider was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left three men on base. He also hit into a double-play in the second. Big at-bat in the seventh with nobody out and men on second and third, but Schneider lined to first. Ruiz was 4-for-6 with a walk in the series.

Cole Hamels faces righty Anibal Sanchez today in the home opener.


Chase scene

One more time: From the start of the season through the end of June, the Phillies were eighth in the NL in runs scored. From the start of July to end the of the year the Phils led the league in runs scored. They also led the NL in runs scored from May 23 (the day that Utley returned) to the end of the year, despite a weak month with the bats in June.

The fact that the Phils had the highest-scoring offense in the league from May 23 to the end of the year sure makes it look like Utley turned things around single-handedly. And while he may have been the single biggest factor, he wasn’t the only one. As I mentioned in a recent post, Utley hammered the ball in June, hitting 297/387/470, but the Phils were still just eleventh in the league in runs scored for that month. Other factors in the resurgence included the addition of Pence to the lineup, a monster end of the season for Mayberry and improved offensive performances from Rollins and Ruiz during the second half of the year.

I think most would agree that either Pence or Utley was the key player in the offensive rebirth for the Phils. But which helped the Phillies more in 2011 — the return of Utley or the addition on Pence?

Overall for the year, Pence was way better with the bat, hitting an eye-popping 324/394/560 for the season with the Phils while Utley hit a much less impressive 259/344/425. But Utley’s return, despite an un-Utleylike performance with the bat, still helped the Phils more for several reasons, including:

  • The guys Utley replaced at second were a lot worse offensively than the guys Pence replaced in right
  • Utley came back much sooner. He was back on May 23 while Pence didn’t get his first plate appearance with the Phillies until July 30.

First point is that the Phillie 2B other than Utley were a lot worse than the right fielders other than Pence offensively compared to the average production for their positions in the NL. Here’s what the right fielders other than Pence did with the bat in ’11 and the second basemen other than Utley did, as well as the NL-averages for each of those positions:

AVG OBP SLG
PHI RF other than Pence 240 335 393
NL Average RF 271 345 449
PHI 2B other than Utley 234 283 294
NL Average 2B 257 319 380

The guys who played right for the Phils other than Pence, Brown and Francisco got about the same amount of plate appearances and combined for about about 91% of the non-Pence plate appearances at the position, hit just .240 for the season while the NL-average for right fielders was .271. What they did do, though, is walk a lot, drawing walks in about 11.5% of their plate appearances (NL players walked in about 8.1% of their plate appearances overall). All those walks helped the non-Pence right fielders for the Phillies up their on-base percentage almost to the level of the NL-average right fielder despite hitting for an average that was 31 points lower.

The non-Pence right fielders for the Phils didn’t hit for NL-average power at the position, but they weren’t off the mark by too much. The isolated power for the average NL right fielder was .178. For the Phillies other than Pence it was .153.

At second base, the Phillies other than Utley on-based just .283, which was bad even compared to the NL-average of .319 for the position. NL second basemen walked in just 7.2% of their plate appearances, but the non-Utley second basemen for the Phillies walked just 5.4% of the time.

The non-Utleys at second base also hit for very little power, combining not to hit a home run on the year. They flashed an isolated power of .060 for the season. The NL average for the position was .123. How bad is an isolated power of .060? Well, it’s not good. There were 188 NL players who got at least 200 plate appearances in 2011. Of those, seven put up isolated power numbers that were worse than .060. Among the 248 NL players who got at least 100 plate appearances, Pete Orr, who started 22 games at second for the Phils in 2011, posted an isolated power of .031 for the year, which was 247th among those 248 players.

When Utley did play for the Phils, he showed above-average power for an NL second baseman, delivering 38 extra-base hits in just 454 plate appearances with an isolated power mark of .166. That’s the worst mark of his career in any season where he got at least 200 plate appearances — but that’s less the point than that it was way, way better than the guys he replaced.

Overall, the Phillies other than Pence who played right field for the team came a lot closer to matching league average for the position than the second basemen other than Utley did. Compared to league averages for the position, they were closer to getting on-base at a league average clip and hit for almost as much power, while their second base counterparts got on base at a worse clip and hit for a lot less power.

There’s no question that Pence was a far more effective offensive player than Utley in 2011, but the combination of the fact that Utley simply got many more chances to hit and was replacing a group of players much worse offensively than Pence was means that the Phils benefited more from the addition of Utley.

And Utley got a lot more chances because he was back so much sooner. Here’s the percentage of the plate appearances at second that went to Utley and anyone other than Utley in 2011 and the same numbers for Pence and right field:

Plate Appearances % of plate appearances
Pence as RF 235 34.2
Others as RF 453 65.8
Total 688 100
Utley as 2B 451 65.4
Others as 2B 239 34.6
Total 690 100

As a percentage, Utley got nearly twice as many of the plate appearances at second base than Pence got at right field. So Pence would have to be enormously better than Utley to have the same impact. He was enormously better in Utley in the chances he got — he just didn’t have nearly enough plate appearances to catch him.

The table below looks at each of the position and what they actually did in terms of the three slash categories plus wOBA and wRAA. It also looks at what the Phillies would have done at those positions without Pence or Utley — if they had simply continued to give the non-Utley and Pence players plate appearances distributed the way they were actually distributed and got the same number of plate appearances at the position.

PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRAA
Actual RF 688 269 356 452 .354 20.0
No Pence 688 240 335 393 .324 3.0
Actual 2B 690 249 321 377 .305 -8.1
No Utley 690 234 283 294 .251 -38.5

As you can see, it’s not very close. The difference in the actual wRAA the Phillies RF put up compared to what they would have without Pence is 17.0 (20.0-3.0), which is just more than half of the difference for Utley (30.4).

Again, the issue is that the non-Pence right fielders for the Phils weren’t nearly as terrible as the non-Utley second basemen. The actual right fielders, including Pence, put up 29 doubles, four triples and 24 home runs over 688 plate appearances. Without Pence, had everyone continued to produce at their same levels, they would have hit 26 doubles, three triples and 20 home runs over the same number of plate appearances. They would have walked more (79 times to 78) over the 688 plate appearances, cause the walk rate for the non-Pences was better than it was for Pence. Pence did give the position a huge boost by adding a lot of power and a huge number of hits overall (again, Pence hit .325 while playing right while the non-Pence options combined to hit .240).

The non-Utley second basemen were atrocious. At their ’11 rates, they would have gotten 690 plate appearances without a home run. Utley hit 11 while playing second base last year. In addition to the power, despite hitting just .257, Utley also offered more hits than they had gotten without him and walked at a better rate. But mostly, compared to Pence, he just played a whole lot more and displaced offensive players who were a lot worse.

If you’re interested in calculating wOBA, wRAA, wRC or wRC+ for yourself, you may find this page at The Hardball Times and the link to the spreadsheet provided by the author very helpful.

This article says that Ryan Howard should be able to start baseball activities around mid-February. If you were expecting to see him in the lineup on Opening Day, I’d consider resetting your expectations.

In this article, Amaro says he hopes that Conteras will be ready close to Opening Day.

Non-roster invitees to Spring Training for the Phils this year look like they will include pitchers Austin Hyatt, B.J. Rosenberg, Dave Bush, Scott Elarton, Brian Sanches, David Purcey, Pat Misch and Raul Valdes, catchers Steven Lerud and Tuffy Gosewisch, infielders Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna and outfielders Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez. Bush was a pretty solid starter for the Brewers in 2006 and 2008. Former Phil Brian Sanches was great for the Fish in 2009 and 2010, throwing to a 2.40 ERA with a 1.22 ratio and 105 strikeouts in 120 innings, before falling off last year. Raul Valdes is left-handed and pitched well in very limited action (12 innings) last year. Dave Purcey is left-handed and was pretty good in 2010. Pat Misch is left-handed.

This suggests the Phils are interested in reliever Kerry Wood.

This article on relievers in the system that could help the Phils in 2012 includes commentary on Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Austin Hyatt and Tyler Cloyd.


Half and better half

The Phillies played 82 games from the start of the season to the end of June, going 51-31. In those 82 games, they were eighth in the NL in runs scored. After June, the Phils played 80 games, going 51-29. They led the league in runs scored in those 80 games.

Here’s a look back at what the offense did by position, breaking the season down into two halves — the 82 games through the end of June and the 80 games after the start of July.

Catcher:

Ruiz served as the primary catcher for the Phils in both the first and second half of the season. He was simply much better during the second half (after the end of June) than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 221 3 16 243 348 333
July to End 251 3 24 317 391 425

Ruiz played a little more in the second half and showed more power, but mostly just got a lot more hits, hitting .317 in the second half after hitting .243 in the first. He actually walked a little less regularly in the second half, about 9.2% of his plate appearances compared to about 11.3% in the first half, but his on-base percentage was a whole lot better thanks to the much better batting average.

First base:

At first, Howard fared about as well after the end of June as he had in the first 82 games of the year:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 353 17 64 254 354 488
July to End 291 16 52 252 337 488

Very similar numbers for Howard in both halves. He walked more regularly in the first half, but hit for nearly the same average with about the same power.

The Phils did see a benefit at the position in the second half of the year thanks to John Mayberry. Mayberry started just ten games at first the whole year, but nine of those starts came after the end of June. Mayberry crushed the ball in 2011 while playing first for the Phillies — in his 45 plate appearances while playing first he put up a monster 409/422/682 line.

Second:

Second base was an offensive disaster for the Phils in the early part of the season. Chase Utley returned at the end of May and hit .222 in 27 May at-bats, but followed that up with a fantastic June in which he hit 297/387/470. He was even better in July as he hit 293/369/550. From August 1 to the end of the regular season he hit a meager 227/305/343. Here’s what his numbers first and second half look like:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 140 3 16 280 381 449
July to End 314 8 28 250 328 414

Utley was simply not good after the end of June, hitting just .250 and on-basing .328. As uninspired as those numbers are, they still were a significant improvement for a team that struggled to find offense from the position while Utley was out.

Here’s the numbers of games started at second base for the Phils in the first and second halves of the year:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Utley 31 (37.8%) 69 (86.3%)
Valdez 31 (37.8%) 2 (2.5%)
Orr 16 (19.5%) 4 (7.5%)
Martinez 4 (4.9%) 3 (3.7%)

So Utley started about 38% of the games at second through the end of June and about 86% of the games after June. And even though he wasn’t hitting particularly Utley-like, that’s still important. Cause even a sluggish Utley is a whole lot better offensively than those other guys. Here’s what the four guys who started games for the Phillies at second did offensively while playing that position in 2011:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Utley 451 257 340 423
Valdez 126 246 289 307
Orr 82 213 280 240
Martinez 30 241 267 379

Even an Utley way off his game was way better than the rest of those guys, most notably out on-basing the second-best on-base percentage in the group (Valdez) by more than fifty points.

After Utley returned to the Phillies on May 23, the Phils led the NL in runs scored the rest of the way. That was despite the fact that the offense wasn’t good at all in June, though, as the Phils finished eleventh in the NL that month. Because the offense was so terrible in June (despite a monster 297/387/470 line for Utley for the month) it’s hard for me to see his return as the turnaround point for the offense. The offense was best in the NL after that date because 1) they were fantastic in July, better than any other NL team, and very strong in August and September and 2) in the nine games from May 23 to the end of May, the Phils played nine games and scored 51 runs or 5.67 runs per game.

Third base:

Polanco, you may have noticed, was atrocious in 2011. He didn’t start out that way, though. He hit nearly .400 in April, putting up a 398/447/524 line over 114 plate appearances. After that he hit 243/304/287 the rest of the way.

He played a lot less in the second half of the season, and without the huge April his numbers were a lot worse:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 340 4 39 288 339 363
July to End 183 1 11 258 328 294

When he did play in the second half, Polanco’s walk rate rose a little (8.7% of plate appearances compared to 7.6% in the first half), but his average was way off and his power nearly gone altogether. He had four extra-base hits from July 1 to the end of the year.

Here’s who started at third for the Phils through the end of June and after the start of July:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Polanco 76 (92.7%) 39 (48.8%)
Valdez 6 (7.3%) 15 (18.7%)
Martinez 0 (0%) 24 (30.0%)
Orr 0 (0%) 2 (2.5%)

Polanco got more than 90% of the starts in the first 82 games of the year for the Phils. After the start of July, Valdez, Martinez and Orr combined to start more often at third than he did.

Here’s what the guys did offensively while playing third for the Phils this year:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Polanco 513 280 337 343
Martinez 104 231 304 352
Valdez 84 253 286 354
Orr 7 000 000 000

Unlike second base, there was not a huge improvement at the position when the Phils got their starter on the field. For the year, Valdez and Martinez both offered significantly more power from the position while getting on base a little less. Not to be forgotten is that Polanco hit 243/304/287 for the year after the end of April — both Martinez and Valdez gave the Phils more offense at third when they played than Polanco did after his strong April.

Short:

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins was a much better offensive player in the second half of the year than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 352 7 31 254 327 368
July to End 279 9 32 286 351 437

More hits and more power for Rollins in the second half of the season than the first. His walk rate was down, but just a tiny bit, and thanks to all the hits his on-base percentage was up to .351. From June 26 through August 20, Rollins hit 298/372/461 over 215 plate appearances.

He didn’t play nearly as much in the second half as he did the first. Valdez made 20 starts at short on the season and 15 of them came after the start of July. Valdez had solid numbers while playing short for the Phils in 2011, though, posting a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. That’s very similar to the 272/340/417 line that Rollins put up while playing short in 2011.

While playing short for the Phils in 2011, Valdez posted a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. He got 219 plate appearances as something other than a shortstop. In those plate appearances he hit 239/277/313.

Left field:

Ibanez didn’t play as much in left field in the second half of the season, but when he did he was a little better:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 309 9 34 235 285 393
July to End 266 11 50 256 293 448

He was still terrible at getting on base, but Ibanez did show a bit more power in the second half of the year.

Ibanez started in left in 72 of the first 82 (87.8%) games of the season for the Phils. After the start of July the Phils played 80 games and he started just 59 (73.7%). The other 21 second-half starts were made by Mayberry (12) and Francisco (nine).

Both of those guys were fantastic in the second half. Here’s what the two did after the start of July (at all positions, not just left field):

PA AVG OBP SLG
Mayberry 179 301 358 607
Francisco 65 322 354 407

Mayberry was absolutely fantastic in the second half, hitting 12 home runs in 179 plate appearances while on-basing .358. That’s a lot of home runs — at that pace he would hit about 37 over a season of 550 plate appearances. For the season, he actually hit 15 over 296 plate appearances, which would have him at about 25 over 550 plate appearances.

Francisco hardly played at all after the start of July, but when he did he hit .322. That’s more than a hundred points higher than the .220 he hit in 228 plate appearances in the first 82 games of the season when he had a chance to cement his status as an everyday player. Just a tiny number of chances for Francisco in the second half, but I do think it’s curious that he seemingly forgot all about try to walk and hit .322. In the first 82 games of the season he walked in 12.7% of his plate appearances and in the last 80 he got just 65 plate appearances but walked in only 6.2% of them.

As bad as Francisco was with the Phils in 2011, he on-based .340 for the season, which was a career high. I think there’s a good chance that the Phils are going to regret having given him away.

Center Field:

Victorino played about as much in center the first and second halves of the season with about the same results.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 288 9 31 289 359 504
July to End 298 8 30 270 351 479

More hits in the first half, more walks in the second with about the same power all season long. Victorino started 63 of the 82 first half games (76.8%) and 63 of the 80 second-half games (78.5%). He really only had one month of the season where he wasn’t an outstanding offensive player in 2011 and that was September. After going 2-for-4 with a walk against the Fish on September 2, Victorino was hitting a silly 308/384/542 for the season. He would hit 163/237/288 in 115 plate appearances the rest of the way. Curiously the Phils kept playing him and playing him down the stretch, even after they clinched and he continued to slump. Victorino got 125 plate appearances in September, which led the team and was also the most he had in any month in 2011.

There were 34 games for the Phils in 2011 when Victorino didn’t start at center. Mayberry started 26 of them and Martinez eight. Martinez was predictably terrible, going 5-for-39 with five singles and no walks (128/128/128).

Overall for the year, Mayberry didn’t get on base a whole lot in his 115 plate appearances as a center fielder, but he did show a ton of power. He posted a 236/296/472 line in center for the season.

In his 13 starts in center field in the first half of the year, Mayberry was wretched. In those 13 games he hit 191/255/277. In the second half he started 13 games as well, but with much different results, posting a 291/328/673. In 13 second-half starts in center, Mayberry went 16-for-55 with 12 of the 16 hits going for extra-bases — seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. Four home over 13 starts is impressive, but so is seven doubles. At that pace, over 162 starts you would tally about 50 home runs and 87 doubles.

Right field:

Hunter Pence was traded from the Astros in late July and played his first game with the Phils on July 30. He was great in August (340/413/600) and almost as great in September (317/385/550).

For the 2011 season, Pence hit 325/396/563 in 235 plate appearances as the right field fielder for the Phillies.

This is what the guys for the Phils other than Pence who played right field for the Phils did in 2011 while playing right field:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Francisco 208 232 335 367
Brown 205 240 332 391
Mayberry 26 318 423 727
Gload 10 300 300 300
Bowker 2 000 000 000
Moss 2 000 000 000

Mayberry had some nifty numbers in 26 plate appearances and Gload went 3-for-10, but those guys were bad overall. Most notably, Brown and Francisco combined to get 413 plate appearances in which they hit a meager 236/333/379 combined.

To summarize:

  • In right, Pence arrived at the end of July and was not just good but great, hitting 324/394/560 over 236 plate appearances with the Phils.
  • At second, the first half production was miserable. Utley returned on May 23 and gave the Phils an enormous boost, replacing at-bats by Valdez, Orr and Martinez with Utley at-bats. He didn’t have a Chase Utley-like performance after the start of July, hitting just 250/328/414 from the start July to the end of the season, but it was still enough to give the Phils a huge boost at the position.
  • At catcher, Ruiz was a better hitter after the start of July. Getting about the same playing time in both halves, Ruiz hit 243/348/333 before the start of July and 317/391/425 from the start of July to the end of the regular season.
  • At short, Rollins, like Ruiz, was just better at offensively during the second half, hitting 286/351/437 after the start of July having ended June with a 254/327/368 line.
  • In left, Ibanez was bad both halves, but did get better in the second half and showed more power. He also played less in the second half as Francisco and Mayberry combined to make 21 starts in left. Francisco was good in limited time in the second half and Mayberry was great, hitting 301/358/607.
  • In center, Victorino had similar numbers both halves with a little drop off after July. Mayberry started the same number of games in center in the first and second halves (13), but had much better numbers in his 13 starts in center after July than before it. In 13 starts in center before the end of June he hit 191/255/277. In his 13 starts in center after the start of July he hit 291/328/673.
  • At first base, Ryan Howard had similar numbers in both halves. The Phils got a small bump at the position from Mayberry at the second half when Mayberry started nine of the ten games he started at first for the season. For the year, Mayberry hit a silly 409/422/682 as a 1B.
  • At third, Polanco, awful with the bat in 2011, did see less time at third during the second half of the year, but his fantastic April plus the fact that the guys who replaced him at third when he didn’t play in the second half didn’t do much of anything to help the Phillies.

Again, the Phils got a huge boost from Mayberry in the last 80 games, helping out in left, center and at first base.

A big question about the second-half surge seems to be whether Utley’s return or Pence’s arrival was a bigger factor. My thinking is that Pence was a bigger factor from July to the end of the year, but Utley’s return was likely a bigger factor for the year. More on that soon.

The comments close two weeks after a post is published, which is why we could not continue the discussion from the previous about whether or not David Wright is coming to the Phils. He’s not. Or at least a lot of people are going to be real surprised if he is.


May and June bug

Overall in 2011, the Phillies finished a disappointing seventh in the NL in runs scored. Things picked up a lot towards the end of the year, though — from the start of July to the end of the regular season, the Phils led the NL in runs score.

When you think about how things went month-to-month for the Phils in 2011, it’s important to remember that the offense had two terrible months early in the year that dragged the numbers down for the season. After a solid start to the year in April, the offense dropped like a stone for the Phils in May as the team finished twelfth in the NL in runs scored for the month. They followed that up with a June in which they were eleventh in the NL in runs scored. After the first three full months of the season, the Phils were eighth in the league in runs scored. But things got better in a hurry.

The table below shows, for each month of the 2011 season, the Phillies rank in run scored for the league for that month, their rank in runs scored from the beginning of the season through the end of that month and their rank in runs scored in the league from the end of that month to the end of the regular season.

Month NL Rank RS for Month Rank RS start of season thru month Rank RS after month to end of season
April 4 4 6
May 12 8 4
June 11 8 1
July 1 6 4
August 3 6 6
Sept 6 7 -

So, for example, in May of 2011, the Phils were twelfth in the NL in runs scored. From the start of the season through the end of May, they were eighth in the NL in runs scored and from the end of May to the end of the regular season they were fourth.

Through end of June July to end of season May and June April, July, August and September
PHI NL Rank Runs Scored 8 1 12 2

Again, two bad months. Start of the season through June they were eighth in the NL in runs scored. Start of July to the end of the season they were first. In May and June combined they were twelfth. In all of the months except May and June combined they were second.

Here’s a look back at some of the monthly performances that helped contribute to the numbers above:

The offense was solid in April, fourth in the NL in runs scored.

Howard led the team in home runs (six) and RBI (27), hitting 291/351/560. Polanco was a monster, too, hitting 398/447/524 in the only month of the season in which he would put up an OPS of .700 or better. After going 2-for-3 with a double against the Mets on April 30, Polanco would hit 243/304/287 in 409 plate appearances for the rest of the season.

Ibanez was atrocious for the Phils in April, posting a 161/247/218 line over 97 plate appearances. Valdez started 19 games and hit 239/282/284.

It wouldn’t last, but Francisco put up solid numbers for April, hitting 266/347/447 for the month and starting 24 games. Things were already looking a little less than fabulous for Francisco, though. After hitting 308/386/513 over 44 plate appearances to start the season, Francisco hit 236/317/400 over the last 16 games of the month.

In May the offense tanked. Eleven NL teams scored more runs than the Phillies in May.

The good news for May was that Ibanez bounced back dramatically, hitting a team-high seven homers and also leading the team in RBI with 19 as he posted a 315/339/602 line.

The bad news was pretty much everything else. Howard hit .208. Rollins on-based .306. Polanco on-based .289 with three extra-base hits in 27 starts. Utley was back at the end of the month, but not helping much. He hit 222/364/370 in 33 May plate appearances.

Francisco couldn’t hit enough to keep the right field job and was out of the lineup regularly during the second half of the month after hitting .103 (really! .103) in his first 50 plate appearances in May (4-for-39 with four singles). It created some openings in the outfield. Mayberry couldn’t capitalize, hitting 194/275/319 in his 80 May plate appearances, but Brown looked a little better. Brown appeared in just ten games in May (seven starts), but hit 333/378/545 in limited action (37 PA).

June was almost as bad as May. The Phils were eleventh in runs scored in the league in June. The team hit .229 for the month and slugged .317 — both would be lows for the season.

Howard was solid enough, leading the team with five homers and 22 RBI. He walked 18 times, putting up a .397 on-base percentage despite hitting just .269. Victorino pounded the ball to the tune of 297/383/505. So did Utley, who would hit 295/378/511 from the start of June to the end of July over 218 plate appearances. In June he posted a 297/387/473 line.

There was more than enough bad news to make up for it, though. Brown became nearly an everyday player in June, starting 22 games and hitting a meager 165/258/354 for the month. Mayberry went 0-for-3 in his four plate appearances for the month. Rollins on-based .314. Ruiz hit .221 and Polanco .213 — that duo combined for five extra-base hits in 194 June plate appearances. Ibanez’s May magic was gone as he hit a paltry 211/258/311 in his second atrocious month with the bat on the year.

The Phillies had their best offense month of the year in July, plating an NL-best 138 runs.

Ibanez was back, hitting seven home runs and driving in 25 with a 284/320/558 line. The 25 RBI he would post in July was the most of any Phillie for any month in 2011 other than Howard’s 27 in April.

Rollins found his power stroke as well, socking six home runs of his own with a 312/375/523 line. Utley had his best month of the year: 293/369/545 with five bombs. Victorino missed a lot of the month with a thumb injury, but was awesome when he played to the tune of 364/462/600 in 66 plate appearances for the month.

Victorino’s injury opened up a lot of time for Mayberry in center and Mayberry delivered with the bat. He came into July having hit 231/316/365 in 117 plate appearances for the year, but blasted a pair of home runs against the Fish on July 6 and hit 300/327/640 for the month in 52 plate appearances. Brown, meanwhile, continued to get chances, starting 20 games. He bounced back from a miserable June in which he hit .165, hitting 296/398/366, but without a home run in 83 plate appearances. Pence would arrive at the end of the month, securing right field for the rest of the season as he hit and hit and hit.

Ruiz, who would hit 317/391/425 in 251 plate appearances from the start of July to the end of the year, started his tear with what would be his best month of the season, hitting 324/432/485 in July.

Howard didn’t join the July party for the Phils, hitting .250 with a .306 on-base percentage, walking just eight times, which was his lowest mark for any month of the season. Martinez started 17 games for the Phils in July, primarily at third, and put up what were by far his best numbers for any month with a 247/300/384 line in 81 plate appearances. Those numbers for Martinez don’t sound great, but it’s important to remember that the Phils primary third baseman, Polanco, on-based .335 and slugged just .339 for the season.

In August the Phils were still hitting, if off the July pace a little. They were third in the NL in runs scored in August.

It was Pence’s first full month with the Phils and he was hitting everything. He hit seven home runs in August, posting a 340/413/596 line over 109 plate appearances.

Victorino was back, playing regularly and still hitting. 316/393/600 in August. Between June 17 and September 2, Victorino got 233 plate appearances in which he posted a stupid 325/409/611 line.

Ruiz continued to hit, too, 329/365/429 in August.

Valdez started 15 games, filling in primarily for Rollins and Polanco, and put up an unexpected 278/322/481 line over 59 plate appearances.

Off were Utley, 245/315/347, and Ibanez, 225/254/323. Mayberry started to see some more time in left — he got just 59 plate appearances in August, but made them memorable by homering six times as he put up a 296/356/685 line. Howard blasted eight homers and drove in 22 runs, but hit just .225 while doing so.

The Phillies were sixth in the NL in runs scored in September.

Pence continued to pound the ball, hitting 317/385/548 and leading the team with 18 RBI for the month. Howard hit 290/417/522. Mayberry got 13 more starts and hit 305/382/508 for the month. In his last 177 plate appearances on the year, Mayberry had hit 302/356/611. Polanco was back and at least got on base, hitting 280/349/344 in September. He ended the season having slugged .287 over his last 477 plate appearances.

Victorino and Utley both ended the year on a downswing. Victorino hit 186/258/319 in 125 plate appearances in September. Utley hit just 205/295/337. Martinez started 13 games and hit .136. After on-basing .368 in July and August combined, Rollins on-based just .308 in September.

The Phillies signed righty Dave Bush and lefty David Purcey to minor league deals and invited them to spring training. Bush is still just 32 and had pretty good years with the Brewers as a starter in 2006 and again in 2008. The lefty Purcey was good for the Blue Jays in a relief role in 2010, throwing to a 3.71 ERA with a 1.21 ratio, before getting hit hard with three teams in 2011.

Rafael Furcal agreed to a deal with the Cardinals, meaning Jimmy Rollins is running out of teams other than the Phils to play for.

Update: The Phillies have traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays for left-handed pitcher Frank Gailey. Gailey turned 26 last month and has never appeared in the majors. In 304 1/3 innings in the minors he has thrown to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.03 ratio. He has never pitched above Double-A.


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