Tag: Jack Taschner

Drop off location

Earlier this week I wrote that after leading the NL in runs allowed per nine innings by relievers in 2008, the Phils dropped to ninth in that category in 2009. Despite the big drop in 2009, opponents posted very similar batting lines against the Phillies relief pitchers in 2009 and 2008:


Year

AVG

OBP

SLG

2009

246

335

373

2008

251

333

371

Again, the ’08 pen was a lot better than the ’09 pen, but those numbers look very similar.

Curiously, you were more likely to get a hit or a walk against the ’08 guys than you were the ’09 guys.

In 2009, the Phillies pen faced 2,143 batters and allowed 457 hits (21.3% of batters) and 223 walks (10.4%). So about 31.7% of hitters got a hit or a walk. In 2008 the pen faced 2,071 hitters and allowed 456 hits (22.0%) and 211 walks (10.2%). About 32.2% of hitters got a hit or a walk against the ’08 pen.

That’s a little perplexing because opponents posted a better on-base percentage in 2009 than they did in 2008. A big part of the explanation is that Phillies relievers hit a lot more batters in 2009 than they did in 2008 — they plunked 32 in ’09 after hitting just 16 in ’08.

You were also more likely to get an extra-base hit against the ’08 pen than you were against the ’09 pen.

The ’09 pen allowed 134 extra-base hits to 2,143 hitters (6.25%) and the ’08 pen allowed 136 extra-base hits to 2,071 hitters (6.57%).

It sure seems like you should get better if you improve the rate at which you allow hits or walks while you improve the rate at which you allow extra-bases. But the Phillies bullpen got worse.

A big part of this was how bad the extra-base hits that the Phillies gave up were in 2009. Despite the fact that they allowed fewer extra-base hits overall in 2009, the extra-base hits they allowed in 2009 did more damage.

In 2008, the Phillies pen allowed 136 extra-base hits — 92 doubles, seven triples and 37 home runs. That’s 353 total bases or 2.6 bases per extra-base hit.

In 2009 they allowed 134 extra-base hits — just 79 doubles, nine triples and 46 home runs. That’s a total of 369 total bases or 2.75 bases per extra-base hit. So a better rate of preventing extra-base hits in 2009, but the extra-base hits they allowed were worse.

The most important difference between the bullpen of 2008 and the bullpen of ’09 was that the ’08 pen was outstanding at preventing home runs compared to the rest of the league while the ’09 pen was not. The ’08 pen allowed 37 home runs, which was the fewest in the NL. In ’09, only six NL teams allowed more home runs than the 46 that the Phils’ relievers gave up.

In ’08, the Phillies had seven relief pitchers who threw 20 or more innings for the team. Of those seven, Tom Gordon allowed the most home runs per nine innings. He allowed three in 29 2/3 innings or about 0.91 per nine innings.

In 2009 there were nine Phillies pitchers who threw 20 or more innings in relief. Of those nine, four, Walker, Durbin, Taschner and Lidge, all allowed more than 0.91 home runs per nine innings while pitching in relief. Eyre was almost a fifth — he allowed 0.90 homers per nine innings.

The home run problem would have been a whole lot worse for the relievers were it not for Chan Ho Park. Park pitched 50 innings in relief for the Phillies in 2009 without allowing a home run. In 33 1/3 innings as a starter he gave up five. The Braves’ Peter Moylan was the only reliever in either league besides Park to throw 35 or more innings in relief in ’09 without allowing a home run.

The charts below show the four Phillies pitchers that threw at least 20 innings in relief in each of the last two seasons and had the worst rates of allowing runs per nine innings pitched as a reliever on the team. For each of the pitchers it shows the number of innings the player threw in relief that year, the runs they allowed per nine innings and the home runs they allowed per nine innings:


2008
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Durbin 87 2/3 3.4 0.51
Condrey 69 3.4 0.78
Seanez 43 1/3 5.0 0.42
Gordon 29 2/3 5.8 0.91
       

2009
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Condrey 42 3.6 0.86
Durbin 69 2/3 4.9 1.03
Taschner 29 1/3 5.5 0.92
Lidge 58 2/3 7.8 1.69

The biggest thing about that list is that the guys at the top who were the worst among the 2008 pen in terms of runs allowed per nine innings were pretty good. Durbin was great in ’08, throwing to 2.87 ERA with a 1.32 ratio and allowing just five home runs in nearly 90 innings. Condrey wasn’t quite as good, but threw to a 3.26 ERA with a 1.51 ratio. He also was pretty good at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 0.78 homers per nine in a season when the average NL reliever allowed about 0.96.

In 2008, the Phillies had just two relievers who threw more than 20 innings for the season and allowed more than 3.4 runs per nine innings for the season. Those two, Seanez and Gordon, combined to throw 73 innings. In 2009 the Phils had four relievers who threw more than 20 innings and allowed more than 3.4 runs per inning and those four combined to throw 199 2/3 innings.

This says that the Phillies talks with Polanco are getting serious. I think it would be pretty bad news if the Phillies signed Polanco to be their third baseman.

This suggests the Phillies could have interest in John Smoltz. Please no.

The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Park or Eyre. I think both of those guys still have a chance to be back next year.

Billy Wagner is a Brave.

The Phillies signed Brian Schneider to be Ruiz’s backup.


Late, close and watching

Question of the day is why doesn’t Tyler Walker pitch to more batters when the game is close. Answer of the day is “I don’t know” — given that’s the answer at least I can demonstrate that he doesn’t pitch to a lot of batters when the game is close.

First things first: Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies this season. He came into yesterday’s games with a 2.35 ERA for the year and a 0.98 ratio. Opponents were hitting .204 against him for the season and on-basing .258.

Still, as the back of the bullpen implodes Walker virtually never is pitching in situations when the game is close. The chart below lists all of the Phillies pitchers who have faced at least one batter this year, how many total batters they have faced, how many batters they have faced when the score was tied or one of the teams was winning by one run and the percent of batters faced when the score was tied or with the Phils up or down one. It is divided into three sections — pitchers who have worked only as starters are at the top, pitchers who have worked only as relievers are at the bottom and pitchers who have pitched both as starters and as relievers are in a group in the middle (the chart does not include yesterday’s games).

  Total PA PA tie or
within one
% tie or
within one
Pedro
Martinez
171 115 67.3
Cole Hamels 740 483 65.3
Joe Blanton 753 488 64.8
Cliff Lee 275 128 46.5
Antonio
Bastardo
102 46 45.1
       
Brett Myers 294 159 54.1
Kyle Kendrick 66 32 48.5
JA Happ 623 300 48.2
Jamie Moyer 648 277 42.7
Chan Ho Park 362 161 44.5
Andrew
Carpenter
32 13 40.6
Rodrigo Lopez 137 52 38.0
       
JC Romero 68 40 58.8
Ryan Madson 298 126 42.3
Clay Condrey 156 64 41.0
Brad Lidge 263 107 40.7
Scott Eyre 119 39 32.8
Chad Durbin 285 93 32.6
Jack Taschner 138 24 17.4
Sergio
Escalona
34 4 11.8
Tyler Walker 125 14 11.2
Steven
Register
11 0 0.0

So the only player who has pitched for the Phillies this season and thrown to a lower percentage of the batters he’s faced with the score tied or the Phils up or down one run is Steven Register, who appeared in one game and faced 11 hitters.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for the answer to why questions you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t know. If I had to guess my guess would be that Manuel is terrified of the prospect of Walker facing a left-handed hitter with the game close. Walker has been great against lefties in 2009 — they’ve hit 209/271/302 against him, which is actually better than the 200/250/343 that righties have hit against Walker. In 2008, however, lefties smoked Walker to the tune of 319/372/597. Over his career lefties have hit an ugly 281/352/459 against Walker.

Aside from Walker, I think that the chart shows some other interesting things. First and most obvious is that starting pitchers generally face more batters with the game close and a higher percentage of their batters than relief pitchers do.

I think the difference in the percentage of the hitters that Romero and Eyre faced in tight games is telling. Both would like be used primarily as situational lefties in the post-season if available, but Manuel has given Romero a lot more of his chances in tight games. Eyre has been better.

Condrey has faced a higher percentage of hitters in one run or closer games than Lidge. His percentage is also higher than Durbin. Durbin has a low percentage of hitters faced in tight games compared to other regulars in the group. It’s also down from last year. In 2008, Durbin faced 364 batters and faced 174 of them (47.8%) with the score tied or the Phils up or down a run. I don’t think any of that bodes well for Durbin.

Myers has a strained back. The Phillies hope he will return before the end of the regular season.

The article linked above says that Happ will start on Thursday, Lee on Friday and (hopefully) Pedro on Saturday.

It also says that Dobbs was not ready to play third yesterday with his calf. I still find starting Cairo to be very odd. Even if Dobbs does not go I don’t understand why it would be Cairo and not Bruntlett. I’ve been saying for a while that I think Bruntlett is on the post-season roster because he’s the only choice to back up the middle infield. That’s not literally true, of course. It’s also notable that Bruntlett does not have an at-bat this month. We’ll see.

The same article says that Eyre needs surgery but is cleared to pitch, pitched yesterday and felt good. It also says that Romero threw 50 pitches yesterday and will throw again tomorrow and that Park could pitch next week.


Swept, away

The Phillies still can’t score and now they can’t win. It was bound to happen sooner or later. They’ve scored 31 runs in their last 13 games and scored ten times in four games against the Astros. They lost all four, dropping each of the last three by a single run.

The Phils have scored 13 runs in September, which is 30th of the 30 teams in baseball.

If you’re looking for a bright spot in the series it’s that Brett Myers returned and looks like he’s going to be able to contribute at the back of the Phillies pen. We’ll have to wait and see exactly how that plays out, but it sure looks like the Phillies will be able to use the help. Madson was one of a large group of Phillies regulars that missed at least part of the Astros series with an injury — Victorino, Utley, Happ and Madson all have been battling what we’ll have to hope are minor injuries. Lidge continues to be a huge problem, he allowed a pair of runs to blow the save in game two and has a 7.15 ERA for the season.

The Phillies are 77-58 on the year after being swept by the Astros in a four-game set in Houston. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by six games. The Phils have lost five of six.

Cliff Lee got hit hard for the second straight outing and the Phils lost game one 7-0. Coming off a start where he allowed six runs over five innings to the Braves, the Astros scored four runs off of Lee in the second and two more in the third. Moyer relieved Lee in the fourth and allowed a run on three innings on a solo homer by Carlos Lee. Again the Phillies offense did almost nothing. They had seven singles and a double by Victorino in the game. They didn’t draw a walk.

The Phillies dropped game two 5-4 as Houston scored two runs off of Lidge in the bottom of the ninth. The Astros scored got three early runs off of Blanton and took a 3-0 lead into the seventh, but the Phils pulled ahead with two runs in the seventh and another two in the eighth. Lidge got the leadoff man to start the bottom of the ninth before Houston loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Michael Bourn chopped a ball to first with the infield in and Howard forced the runner at home for the second out, but Kaz Matsui delivered a two-run single that gave Houston the win.

The Phillies lost game three 4-3. Rollins started the game with a home run that put the Phillies up 1-0. Bourn led off the third with a single off of Hamels and came around to score and tie the game at 1-1. A solo shot from Francisco in the fourth put the Phillies up 2-1, but the Astros scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to go back on top at 4-2. Werth hit a solo homer in the eighth to get the Phillies within one, but that was how it ended.

Houston completed the sweep with a 4-3 win yesterday. Moyer got the start despite throwing 38 pitches in game one after Happ was scratched with an oblique strain. Again the Phillies went up with a run in the first inning, this time when Howard knocked in Victorino with an RBI-single. Pence connected for a two-run homer off of Moyer in the bottom of the second to put Houston up 2-1. Howard and Ibanez went back-to-back in the top of the fourth and the Phillies led 3-2. Park took over for Moyer in the seventh and things did not go well. The Astros greeted him with back-to-back doubles that tied the game at 3-3. After getting a fly ball for the first out of the inning, Park walked the lefty Darin Erstad to set up the double play, but then walked the next two batters. The second walk forced in a run to put Houston ahead to stay.

The pitching was terrible for the Phillies in the series. Overall the pitchers threw 32 2/3 innings with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starters were worse than the relievers. Moyer allowed two runs over six innings yesterday, but that was the best start for the group. Lee lasted just three innings in game one. Overall they pitched to a 6.43 ERA and a 1.43 ratio in 21 innings, allowing 26 hits including three home runs. They walked just four and none of the four walked more than two in a start.

Lee got hammered in game one. He went three innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks. He’s allowed 12 runs in eight innings over his last two starts.

Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He’s been charged with more than three runs in a start once in 17 outings since the end of May.

Hamels took the loss in game three, allowing four runs over six innings on eight hits and two walks. He has thrown at least 114 pitches in each of his last three starts.

Moyer started game four, making the start for Happ. He went six innings and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four. He has a 3.58 ERA and a 1.24 ratio over his last 70 1/3 innings.

The bullpen threw 11 2/3 innings in the series with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.54 ratio. Lidge struggled badly in game two and Park in game four. The pen issued nine walks in 11 2/3 innings overall, which is too many.

Eyre entered in the bottom of the seventh yesterday with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 4-3. He struck out Kaz Matsui and then got Berkman on a fly ball to leave the bases loaded.

Moyer took over for Lee in the fourth inning of game one, entering with the Phils down 6-0. He threw a 1-2-3 fourth, allowed a solo homer to Lee and a walk in the fifth and hit a batter in a scoreless sixth. In three appearances in long relief he had allowed two runs in 13 1/3 innings on seven hits and one walk. That’s a 1.35 ERA and an 0.60 ratio.

Nice outing in game one for Moyer helped to save the bullpen.

Taschner entered game one with two outs in the eighth, the Phils down 7-0 and a man on first. He allowed a single to Michael Bourn that put men on first and second. Kaz Matsui followed with another single, but Victorino threw Bourn out at home to end the inning.

Durbin took over for Hamels in game three, starting the seventh with the Phillies down 4-2. He threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to pitch the eighth and the first two batters reached on a single and a walk, but Durbin struck out Blum for the first out and got JR Towles to hit into a double-play to end the inning. That’s two good outings in a row for Durbin in which he’s thrown a total of four scoreless innings.

Park pitched the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 3-2. He allowed a two-out single but kept the Astros off the board.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday in game four, entering to start the seventh with the Phillies up 3-2. Tejada and Pence greeted him with back-to-back doubles, tying the game at 3-3. Park got Blum on a fly ball for the first out and then walked the lefty Erstad intentionally to set up the double-play. He didn’t get it. Instead he walked the next two batters he faced, first walking Michaels to load the bases and then Bourn to force in the run that put Houston up 4-3. Eyre came in to pitch to switch-hitter Kaz Matsui.

Walker started the seventh inning in game one with the Phillies down 7-0 and set the Astros down in order. He came back to start the eighth and got the first two batter before hitting Aaron Boone. Taschner came in to pitch to the lefty Bourn.

Madson did not pitch in the series. He has been unavailable and hopefully will be able to pitch soon.

Myers pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies up 4-3. Myers was making his first appearance since May 27 and walked the first batter he faced, Lance Berkman. Myers got Carlos Lee on a fly ball to right for the first out and Berkman was thrown out trying to steal second for the second. Miguel Tejada flew to left to end the inning. That’s a pretty bad time to get caught stealing if you’re the Astros, but it worked out great for the Phils. Myers got three outs in the inning on a caught stealing and two line drives hit well to the outfield.

He also pitched the bottom of the eighth yesterday, entering the game to start the inning with the Phillies down 4-3. He walked Pence with two outs but got Blum to fly to left to leave the runner stranded.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game two with a 4-3 lead. He struck out Hunter Pence to start the inning, then walked Geoff Blum, gave up a single to Chris Coste and walked Jason Michaels to load the bases. The Phillies brought the infield in and Bourn chopped a ball to first. Howard made a nice play to throw home and force the runner at the plate. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Matsui lined a two-run single into center and the Astros won the game 5-4.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw 23 pitches yesterday.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the four game series.

Rollins was 4-for-18 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s on-basing .258 in September after on-basing .294 in August.

Victorino was on the bench for game three with a bruised knee. He was 2-for-14 with a double in the series to drop his line on the year to 295/363/449 on the year. He’s 4-for-his-last-30 and has not drawn a walk since August 24.

Utley did not start game two after fouling a ball of his right foot in game one. 2-for-11 in the series. 295/414/533 on the year. He’s 2-for-21 with two singles in September.

Howard 5-for-15 with a triple and a homer. 277/353/573 on the season.

Werth was 3-for-14 with a double and a homer in the series. 269/373/521 for the year. He’s 8-for-his-last-37.

Ibanez was on the bench for game one against the lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Francisco played left. Ibanez was 4-for-11 with a home run in the set. 274/345/554 on the year.

Feliz was 2-for-15 with two singles and is hitting 268/314/379 for the year. He’s 3-for-24 with three singles in September.

Ruiz was 5-for-13 with a double in the series to raise his line on the year to 252/345/416 on the year.

Bako started game two behind the plate and was 1-for-2 in the series. 208/278/333.

Bruntlett didn’t have an at-bat in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.

Francisco started in left in game one and right in game three. 3-for-10 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 231/268/481 in 52 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo started at second in game two. 3-for-7 with a double in the series. 192/222/231 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with two walks in the series. 191/357/348.

Charlie Manuel is mad the Phillies never win.

Happ hopes his oblique strain will not force him to miss another start.


Phils offense fights it out with the Giants in a battle of mythological creatures

The Phillies did something against the Giants you’re not going to see very often. They won a three-game series in which they scored three runs. The only way to do that is with the help of some great pitching — in this case the great pitching was provided by Cole Hamels, who tossed a complete-game shutout in the series opener, and Pedro Martinez, who held the Giants to a run on five hits last night as the Phillies took game three of the series.

The Phillies have scored 21 runs in their last nine games and gone a miraculous 5-4. Twenty-one runs in nine games is 2.33 runs per game, which makes it almost impossible to win. The Padres have scored the fewest runs of the 30 MLB teams this year and they’re scoring about 3.91 runs per game. Over the nine games the Phillies have allowed 28 runs, or about 3.11 runs per game. The Giants are the team in baseball that has allowed the fewest runs and they have allowed about 3.72 runs per game. Finally, of the 28 runs that the Phils have given up over their last nine games, nine of them came in a 9-1 loss to the Braves on August 29. So in the other eight games they allowed 19 runs over eight games.

So what I’m trying to say here is that they’re pitching well.

The Phillies are 77-54 after taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants. They are in first place in the NL East. The Marlins and Braves are tied for second-place and both teams trail the Phils by 8 1/2 games. The Phils hit 23 games above .500 with a win in game one of the series, which is their high mark for this season and their best mark since 1993.

Cole Hamels threw a complete game two-hit shutout in game one, which the Phillies won 1-0 on a fourth-inning double from Ryan Howard that drove in Shane Victorino. Hamels started the ninth protecting a one-run lead and gave up a leadoff single to Rich Aurilia. Andres Torres ran for Aurilia and Hamels picked him off of first. Howard made a nice throw to second and Torres was called out. He was safe, but whatever. Big play in the game.

Weary from their explosion in game one, the Phillies bats rested in game two as Brad Penny pitched the Giants to a 4-0 win. Happ allowed a run in the fifth that put San Francisco up 1-0 and Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand hit back-to-back homers off of Happ in the sixth that extended the lead to 4-0. The Phillies offense managed five singles and a walk in the game.

Eugenio Velez hit Pedro Martinez’s first pitch of the game out to right-center last night, but that was all for the Giants’ offense against Pedro and the Phils won the game 2-1. Martinez didn’t allow another run in the game and struck out nine without walking a batter. Werth hit a long home run off of Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1-1. Utley was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth and came around to put the Phillies up to stay when Howard followed with a double.

Given the lack of offense, the Phillies needed fantastic pitching to win. They got it. The pitchers threw 27 innings with a 1.67 ERA and an 0.78 ratio. They allowed five runs in the series, four of which were scored against Happ in game two.

They got two fantastic starts — Hamels threw a complete game shutout in game one and Pedro held the Giants to a run over seven innings in game three. Happ was hit harder in the middle game. Overall the starters went 22 innings with a 2.05 ERA and an 0.77 ratio. They struck out 25 in 22 innings and walked just two.

Hamels threw shutout in game one. In nine innings he allowed a single, a double and a walk and struck out nine. That’s two fantastic starts in a row for Hamels. He has allowed no runs on nine hits and three walks over 17 innings while striking out 16 in his last two starts. He’s pitching rather well. If you’re looking for something to worry about I’d go with this: over his first 24 starts the most pitches Hamels had thrown in a game this year was 117. Over his last two starts he’s thrown 123 and 118.

Happ went six innings in game two, allowing four runs on eight hits and walk. It was just the second time in his last 14 starts that Happ has allowed more than three runs in an outing. Happ hasn’t had a whole lot of problems this year. To the degree he’s had any one of them has been that he gives up too many walks. His walk rate is down recently, though. Over his last three starts he hasn’t walked more than two batters in a game.

The Phillies are going to need Moyer to start a few double-header games in September, but I think they should (and will) also consider giving some of Happ’s starts to Moyer to keep Happ’s innings down.

Pedro allowed a run on five hits in seven innings in last night’s game. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. He’s issued just three walks in 23 innings over five starts with the Phillies, throwing to a 3.52 ERA and a 1.09 ratio. He has 23 strikeouts in 23 innings and the Phillies are 5-0 in the games he’s started, although twice rain has shortened his start and Moyer helped the Phils get a win with excellent work in long relief.

The bullpen threw just five innings in the series. They didn’t allow a run and threw to an 0.80 ratio, allowing one hit and three walks while striking out six.

Eyre did not pitch in the series.

Moyer did not pitch in the series.

Taschner started the ninth inning of game two with the Phils down 4-0. He faced one batter, lefty Nate Schierholtz, and struck him out with the help of some weird sidearm thing I’d not seen from him before.

Durbin started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 4-0 and threw two scoreless innings. He allowed two walks. In the seventh he walked Torres with one out but got the next batter to hit into a double-play. In the eighth he walked Uribe with two outs but got Rowand to fly to left. For Durbin it was his first outing in his last three that he had not been charged with a run.

Park did not pitch in the series. He’s gotten two outs since August 24.

Walker entered the ninth inning of game with the Phillies down 4-0. He faced two batters and struck them both out.

Over his last nine appearances Walker has allowed three hits and three walks in 10 1/3 scoreless innings (0.00 ERA and an 0.58 ratio) with ten strikeouts.

Madson pitched the eighth inning in last night’s game with a 2-1 lead and set the Giants down 1-2-3. It broke a string of four appearances in a row in which he had been charged with at least one run.

Lidge came on in the ninth last night with a 2-1 lead. He got the first two hitters and had Randy Winn buried at 0-2 before Winn singled to right. Uribe followed with a walk, but Lidge got Fred Lewis on a ground ball to second to end the game.

Lidge has thrown three scoreless innings in his last three appearances, allowing a hit and a walk over three innings. He’s been charged with one or more earned runs in just one of his last eight times out.

Nobody in the Phillies pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Lidge threw 22 pitches last night.

The Phillies scored three runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 3-for-12 with a double on the series. He’s hitting 244/289/413 for the year. Among the 25 players in either league who have at least 300 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter, Rollins’ .282 on-base percentage hitting first is 24th. Over his last 82 plate appearances overall he has two walks and a .259 on-base percentage.

Victorino was 1-for-12 with a single in the series. 300/368/455 for the year. His last walk came on August 24.

Utley was 0-for-10 with a walk in the series. 298/417/542 for the year.

Howard doubled in the only run the Phillies scored in a 1-0 win in game one. He also made a solid throw in the ninth to get Torres at second when Hamels picked the runner off in the ninth inning of the series opener. He was 4-for-11 with three doubles in the series. He drove in two of the three runs that the Phillies scored and is hitting 275/353/570 on the year. 337/396/831 with six doubles, a triple and 11 home runs over his last 91 plate appearances.

Howard was walked intentionally 37 times in 2006 and then 35 times in 2007. In 2009 he has been walked intentionally three times and just once in his last 254 plate appearances. His OPS in those 254 plate appearances is .977, which is very similar to the .976 OPS he posted in 2007 when he was walked intentionally 35 times.

Werth had a monster home run last night to give him 30 for the season. His career-high coming into the season was 24 (last year). He has had more plate appearances this year than last, but he’s also hitting home runs at a quicker pace. In ’08 he hit 24 in 482 plate appearances, which is one every 20.08 plate appearances. This year he has 30 in 551, which is one every 18.36 plate appearances. He 2-for-8 with a home run and two walks in the set. 270/374/521 on the year.

Ibanez is a mess. 0-for-8 with a walk and four strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 272/343/551 for the season. He has hit 200/297/338 over his last 195 plate appearances.

Feliz was 1-for-9 in the series. 272/318/387.

Ruiz went 3-for-8 with a double and a walk in the series to raise his line on the year to 245/343/414. He’s hitting 366/438/707 with five doubles and three home runs in his last 50 plate appearances.

Bako did not play in the series.

Bruntlett did not play in the series.

Francisco went 0-for-1 to drop his line with the Phillies to 214/261/452 in 42 at-bats.

Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series and is 2-for-19 with the Phillies this year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 in the series. He’s 1-for-34 since the end of June and hitting 193/349/352 for the year. I wrote yesterday that it’s pretty hard to find things to quibble with in the Amaro era, but if you’re looking to add to the Paulino-for-Taschner list I think Stairs instead of Jenkins belongs on the list as well. I think it’s hard to defend putting a guy on your roster all year who doesn’t play defense and hits .193, especially with Dobbs on the team most of the year. It’s not over yet, though, and the biggest at-bats on the year for Stairs are still to come.

This says that Brett Myers will be activated for tonight’s game against the Astros. It also suggests that Romero thinks he could be activated soon, which comes a surprise.


Phils pitching wishing there really were 500 days of summer

The Phillies might not be scoring a ton of runs these days, but they sure are pitching well. Here’s the number of runs they have allowed per game by month for the season:

Month Runs
allowed per game
April 5.60
May 4.75
June 4.77
July 3.59
August 3.59

In both July and August the Phillies played 27 games and allowed 97 runs, which is 3.59 runs per game. Both their starters and relievers have been improved over the last two months:

 
Before July

July and August
  ERA Ratio ERA Ratio
Total 4.79 1.47 3.28 1.19
SP 5.21 1.46 3.09 1.18
RP 4.07 1.47 3.72 1.23

While each of the groups was better in July and August than they were before, the starters were a whole lot better.

The area in which the starters showed tremendous improvement in July and August compared to the rest of the season was in preventing home runs. Here are the rates at which the starters and relievers allowed runs, hits, walks and home runs per nine innings before July and in July and August:

 
Before July

July and August
  R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9 R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9
SP 5.3 10.3 2.9 1.73 3.4 8.4 2.2 0.97
RP 4.4 8.5 4.8 0.97 4.0 7.9 3.1 0.82
TOT 4.9 9.6 3.6 1.45 3.6 8.3 2.5 0.93

So the starters allowed about 65% (3.4 over 5.3) of the runs per nine innings in July and August as they had in the previous months, but their improvement in preventing hits and walks wasn’t nearly that good. They allowed 82% of the hits per nine (8.4 over 10.3) and 77% of the walks. It was the home runs they allowed that were way down — they cut their rate of allowing home runs nearly in half, lowering it from 1.73 per nine innings to 0.97 per nine innings. That’s about 57% of the home runs per nine innings.

The relievers showed improvement too, but it wasn’t as dramatic as the improvement overall for the starters. For the bullpen it was the change in the walk rate that was most dramatic in July and August. They walked 3.1 batters per nine innings in July and August after walking 4.8 in the months before July.

The Phillies called up Jack Taschner. The linked article also suggests the Phillies may be considering calling up 19-year-old Anthony Gose to work as a pinch-runner. I would be surprised if that happened. Gose stole 75 bases for the Single-A BlueClaws while hitting 268/333/366 in 489 at-bats.

Brett Myers threw a 1-2-3 ninth to get the IronPigs a win last night.

The Phillies are 76-53 on the year, which puts them at 23 games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.


The pitch for relief from pitching in relief

The Phillies open the second half of the season with a big series against the second-place Marlins. The Phils came in to the set knowing they could come out tied atop the division with the Fish or as many as eight games ahead of them. So far, so good. The Phils rolled in game one as Jamie Moyer threw a one-hit shutout with help from Madson and Romero.

The Phils are on a roll and look like they have a chance to put serious distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East. That would be good for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that it would allow them to rest key members of the bullpen down the stretch.

You’ll remember that the Phillies pen was fantastic last year. Durbin and Madson both finished in the top five in the league in innings pitched as a reliever, though. Durbin led the league with 87 2/3 innings pitched in relief and Madson was fifth with 82 2/3 innings pitched in relief. Down the stretch and through the post-season one of them was fantastic and the other faded badly. Durbin ended July last season with a 1.67 ERA and a 1.15 ratio. In his 27 regular season appearances to end the season he threw to a 5.40 ERA and a 1.70 ratio. In seven appearances in the post-season he was charged with just one earned run, but allowed seven hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA with a 3.00 ratio). Madson, on the other hand, ended July with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.31 ERA and was fantastic the rest of the way. In his last 28 regular season appearances he threw to a 2.22 ERA and a 1.09 ratio. He followed that up with an awesome run through the playoffs in which he pitched 12 2/3 innings with a 2.13 ERA and an 0.87 ratio.

Durbin and Madson both find themselves in the top ten in the NL in innings pitched in relief again in 2009. Madson has again been fantastic early in the season this year while Durbin has struggled a bit. I think there’s an added element this season as well — for Durbin, his struggles have meant that in addition to all of the innings he’s thrown he’s also had to throw more pitches to get through innings. In 2008 Durbin used 1,417 pitches to get through 87 2/3 innings. So far this year he’s needed 836 pitches to get through 44 1/3 innings. At his ’08 rate of pitches per inning he would have needed just 717 pitches to get through 44 1/3 frames. In 2009, Durbin is throwing about 1.17 times as many pitches per inning as he did last year.

For the 16 pitches who have thrown at least ten innings for the Phillies this season, here are the rates for pitches per batter, batters per inning and pitches per inning for each of them this year (does not include last night’s game):


Pitchers per batter

Batters per inning

Pitches per inning
T Walker
R Lopez
R Madson
B Myers
C Condrey
C Hamels
J Happ
J Moyer
J Blanton
J Taschner
C Park
C Durbin
B Lidge
A Bastardo
J Romero
S Eyre
3.52
3.67
3.69
3.73
3.76
3.82
3.86
3.87
3.91
4.06
4.12
4.14
4.24
4.25
4.33
4.38
T Walker
R Lopez
J Happ
C Condrey
R Madson
C Hamels
B Myers
J Blanton
J Romero
S Eyre
J Moyer
C Park
A Bastardo
C Durbin
B Lidge
J Taschner
3.82
3.97
4.08
4.21
4.21
4.24
4.30
4.35
4.40
4.44
4.46
4.47
4.50
4.56
4.75
4.88
T Walker
R Lopez
R Madson
J Happ
C Condrey
B Myers
C Hamels
J Blanton
J Moyer
C Park
C Durbin
J Romero
A Bastardo
S Eyre
J Taschner
B Lidge
13.45
14.56
15.54
15.75
15.79
16.07
16.22
16.97
17.25
18.42
18.86
19.05
19.10
19.44
19.81
20.16

A lot of pitches per inning isn’t ideal, but the combination of a guy who throws a lot of innings plus needs a lot of pitches to get through an inning is worse. So I don’t think we should be worried about Romero and Eyre needing a lot of pitches to go through a frame since they don’t throw a huge number of innings. I do think we should be worried about Durbin and Lidge.

Durbin and Madson threw about the same number of innings in the first half of the season. Madson threw 44 2/3 and Durbin threw 43 1/3. Madson threw a lot less pitches, though. He threw just 694 while Durbin threw 836, which is 142 more. Madson has thrown 15.54 pitches per inning this season — if he threw at that rate he could have thrown about 54 innings with the 836 pitches Durbin has thrown compared to the 43 1/3 Durbin has.

In addition to the increasing number of pitches that Durbin has to throw to get through an inning, I think for both he and Madson you have to worry about the number of innings they are both pitching. You don’t really want to see both of those guys in the top five for innings pitched in relief for the league every season.

Lidge is the other guy I think you have to worry about in terms of the number of pitches he’s throwing. He’s throwing about 20.2 pitches per inning this year after throwing 17.18 per inning last season. His pitches per innings is at the highest rate for his career with the exception of 2002 when he threw under ten innings. 2006 with the Astros was the other year where he really struggled — in ’06 he needed just 18.01 pitches per inning.

Whether it’s a physical problem or not, Lidge is either going to work through his struggles this year or he isn’t. The worry, though, is that even if he does, by the time he does it he will have thrown so many pitches that he’s worn out.

Clay Condrey could be activated for tonight’s game.

Kyle Kendrick is engaged to marry a former Survivor contestant, which means that five percent of the Phillies 40-man roster is now engaged to or married to someone who has been on the show. Don’t know for sure, but I would guess that leads the league.

With his home run last night, Ryan Howard became the player to hit 200 home runs in the fewest number of games in Major League history.

Philliesflow has a Twitter page.

Update: The Phillies activated Condrey and designated Tyler Walker for assignment.


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