Tag: Jamie Moyer

Game on

There may not have been any real competition for the fifth starter’s job when spring training stated, but there is now. Jamie Moyer is going to pitch better than he has or Kendrick is going to pitch worse — both those things are likely, but if neither of them happens I think it’s Kendrick that’s in the rotation to start the season. There’s no question that Kendrick has been better than Moyer in the past few weeks, but I thought it was worth a minute to make sure that Moyer has been better than Kendrick over the last couple of years. He has. Here’s what both have done for the Phillies over the past three seasons:

  IP ERA Ratio R/9
Moyer 557.7 4.53 1.38 4.74
Kendrick 303 4.66 1.46 4.96

You also have to consider the contributions that Moyer has given the Phillies in big games. The most notable of those in recent history was game three of the 2008 World Series, but there have been others. Kendrick’s biggest spot came in his start of game two of the NLDS against the Rockies in 2007 and he allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings.

Moyer has also pitched deeper into games in his starts than Kendrick has. Moyer has gone an average of about 5.92 innings per start of his 91 starts for the Phils in the last three years. Kendrick has gone an average of about 5.52 over his 52 starts.

It’s also not like Kendrick hasn’t gotten a chance. He has. He made 30 starts and 31 appearances in 2008 and was just about as awful as you can be if you’re not a big name closer who won the World Series the previous season, throwing 155 2/3 innings with a 5.49 ERA and a 1.61 ratio.

The Phillies beat the Pirates 5-1 yesterday. Roy Halladay provided still more fantastic starting pitching, allowing a run over five innings to raise his spring ERA to 0.90. David Herndon, Chad Durbin and Ehren Wassermann followed Halladay and combined to allow one single over four scoreless innings. Cody Ransom hit yet another home run. Howard, Werth and Ruiz all had two hits.

Jamie Moyer was hit hard in a B game yesterday, allowing five runs in three innings.

Polanco sprained his right knee in yesterday’s game. He says he might miss two or three days, which surely can’t help his efforts to get comfortable playing third.

Mike Zagurski threw two scoreless innings in a B game yesterday. I still would guess he’s an extreme long shot to start the team, even if Bastardo and Escalona continue to struggle.

Fall from ridiculous pace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But do those guys know Jared?

Lots of people talking about this great article about how many curve balls Ryan Howard saw last year. Milt Thompson says that given how many breaking balls Howard sees he should be able to walk 150 times in a season. That may be a little optimistic, but it does seem like Howard should be drawing more walks. Howard has been in the top three in all of baseball in home runs for each of the past four seasons. Here’s how his rate of walks compares to the other top home run hitters from either league in 2009:

Player PA HR BB % of PA BB
A Pujols 700 47 115 16.4
P Fielder 719 46 110 15.3
R Howard 703 45 75 10.7
M Reynolds 662 44 76 11.5
A Gonzalez 681 40 119 17.5
C Pena 570 39 87 15.3
M Teixeira 707 39 81 11.5
A Dunn 668 38 116 17.4
J Werth 676 36 91 13.5
A Hill 734 36 42 5.7
J Bay 638 36 94 14.7

The group of players walked in about 14.9% of their plate appearances in 2009 on average. Howard walked in about 10.7% of his. The only player on the list who drew walks less often was Aaron Hill.

The Yankees beat the Phils 7-5 yesterday in a game that featured Jose Contreras allowing six runs on six hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings. Kendrick pitched very well before that, throwing three scoreless innings. Scott Mathieson struck out two in his inning, but allowed a run on a single and a double. Mayberry went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and Rollins was also 2-for-4 with a solo shot.

It sure seemed like Moyer was a heavy favorite to win the fifth starter job. I still think he is, but it’s great to see Kendrick pitching so well.

Halladay will pitch in tonight’s game against the Yankees. Victorino, who has missed time with a sore shoulder, is expected to play.

Charlie Manuel tops Gene Mauch and Dallas Green in this poll on best manager in Phillies history. I concur.

What can Brown do for himself? Probably not enough

Here’s today’s guess on who will be on the 25-man roster for the Phillies on opening day:

Hitters (13): Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Polanco, Rollins, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Schneider, Gload, Dobbs, Castro and Francisco.

Sure looks like it’s a tough task for Brown to work his way on to the roster, not matter how well he hits this spring.

Pitchers (12): Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, Madson, Durbin, Baez, Contreras, Bastardo, Kendrick, Escalona.

Romero and Lidge on the DL. Pretty low confidence in the Bastardo, Kendrick and Escalona guesses, especially Escalona. The other 22 look like sure things and Bastardo seems closer to a sure thing than Kendrick or Escalona.

No change there for me since the last guess, which came on February 12.

The Phillies are 1-2 in spring training after two losses and a tie since the last post.

Yesterday they lost to the Rays in ten innings, falling 5-3. Happ and Aumont combined to throw five scoreless innings to start the game before Joe Savery gave up three runs in the sixth. A two-run double by Domonic Brown, who is hitting .538 so far this spring, tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Yohan Flande threw a scoreless ninth inning but gave up two runs in the top of the tenth. Jimmy Rollins had a solo homer in the game and Ross Gload went 3-for-5 with a double.

Saturday the Phils and Pirates played to a 3-3 tie in ten innings. Blanton gave up three runs in the bottom of the first, two of which came on a two-run shot by Ryan Church. Baez and Zagurski both pitched two scoreless innings in the game. Jesus Sanchez had another impressive outing, striking out two in a perfect bottom of the tenth. Brown went 2-for-3 with a walk.

On Friday the Phils fell to Toronto 14-9. Hamels celebrated the start of a brand new year by giving up a home run to the first man he faced. He pitched better after that, allowing a run on two hits and a walk in two innings overall. JC Ramirez, Ryan Vogelsong and Bill White followed Hamels and combined to give up 13 runs over three innings. Bastardo struck out two in a perfect eighth. Tyson Gillies went 2-for-2 with a home run and Brown was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Moyer had an impressive outing in the B-game against Toronto on Friday. He struck out three while tossing three scoreless frames.

Lidge will face hitters on Wednesday and Romero is “a ways from facing hitters.”

Victorino still has a sore shoulder and will not play today against the Yankees. Kendrick is expected to pitch in today’s game.

Second inning wretch

The second, fifth and ninth were pretty clearly the problem innings for the Phils in 2009. When your closer puts up a 7.21 ERA for the season you don’t have to look real hard to figure out what went wrong in the ninth, but it surely means there were some guys pitching a lot and getting hit real hard in the second and the fifth, too.

So who were they? Well, opponents put up an .802 OPS against the Phils in the second inning in 2009. There were three pitchers who faced at least 100 batters in the second and allowed an OPS worse than .802 — Moyer, Blanton and Happ. Opponents hit to a .786 OPS against the Phils in the fifth. Two Phillies pitchers faced a hundred or more batters with an OPS worse than that — Blanton and Moyer.

Blanton and Moyer are on both lists. Moyer just had a rough year all around and his numbers for the second and fifth weren’t remarkable compared to the other innings in ’09, but here’s what batters did against Blanton in the second and fifth innings compared to what they did against him in all other innings in 2009:

Second and Fifth Innings

Other innings
306 351 532 883 240 306 392 698

Nine of the 128 batters that Blanton faced in the fifth inning in 2009 homered (7%), but just four of the 266 (1.5%) he faced in the third and fourth innings.

Happ notably got hit real hard in the second and the sixth and pretty much not at all any other time in the game. Overall, the sixth wasn’t a big problem for the Phils. It was for Happ, though. Here’s his second and sixth versus all the other innings he pitched in 2009:

Second and Sixth innings

Other innings
344 395 586 981 200 273 318 592

Happ was pretty much untouchable when he pitched in the fourth or fifth innings last year. The 190 batters he faced combined to go 35-for-171 against him (205/271/304). Apparently the batters were resting up for the sixth, though, when they pounded him to the tune of 362/402/649. So there was some drop off.

Happ starts tonight against Florida State. Phillippe Aumont is also scheduled to pitch. Victorino will not play with a sore shoulder.

The article linked above also suggests that Amaro is not currently pursuing any trades or signings.

Interesting stuff on Happ in this article.

Phillies opening day payrolls 1986-2010 here.

Second inning retch

Last week I looked at where the Phils pitching got worse by inning in 2009 compared to 2008. I also wanted to look at how their runs allowed per inning compared to the rest of the National League in 2009

The table below shows the Phillies rank in the league for runs allowed by inning per game in which the team played that inning (so, for example, a team that played 158 games in which they pitched the eighth inning would have their total runs allowed in the eighth divided by 158 while a team that played 161 games in which they pitched eighth inning would have their total runs allowed in the eighth divided by 161). Remember that the Phils were sixth-best in the NL in runs allowed overall, so any inning in which they were worse than sixth they were worse than they were overall compared to the rest of the league.

Inning NL Rank
Runs allowed per game
First 7
Second 10
Third 4
Fourth 6
Fifth 13
Sixth 5
Seventh 2
Eighth 8
Ninth 14

The post from last week showed that, compared to their 2008 season, the Phillies dropped off the most in the second, fifth and ninth innings. Those are the same innings the Phillies fared the worst in during the 2009 season when you compare their runs allowed per game to the other teams in the league.

Hamels is working on improving his curve ball and adding a cutter.

This suggests that Chan Ho Park had an opportunity to stay in Philadelphia and make $3 million on a one-year contract. He eventually signed with the Yankees and will make $1.2 million with a chance to make an additional $300,000 in incentives.

JC Romero is trying to be ready for opening day but needs to be realistic.

JA Happ will start tomorrow’s game against Florida State. Halladay, Kendrick and Andrew Carpenter will pitch Thursday against the Yankees. Hamels and Moyer on Friday against Toronto. Blanton on Saturday when the Phils play the Pirates.

Victorino has a sore shoulder and may not play in Wednesday’s game against Florida State.

This lists the Phillies top prospects as ranked by Baseball America for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

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