Tag: Jorge Posada

As good as it gets?

Under his new contract, Carlos Ruiz will make $1.9 million in 2010, $2.75 million in 2011 and $3.7 million in 2012. Did the Phillies get a good deal or not? The table below shows, for players across both leagues who got at least 200 plate appearances as a catcher, the top 15 catchers by OPS and their salaries for 2009:

  OPS as C ’09 Salary
J Mauer 1.061 10,500,000
J Posada .891 13,100,000
M Montero .836 425,000
B McCann .830 3,700,000
M Napoli .817 2,000,000
C Ianetta .789 415,000
V Martinez .783 5,900,000
C Ruiz .781 475,000
J Baker .776 400,000
AJ Pierzynski .770 6,250,000
M Wieters .764 400,000
R Paulino .759 440,000
G Zaun .757 1,500,000
M Olivo .755 2,700,000
K Shoppach .750 1,950,000

Ruiz’s value comes from more than just what he does with the bat, but he fared pretty well with the bat last year as well, even before he hit .341 in the post-season. Only seven catchers across either league put up a better OPS while playing catcher.

Whether the deal is good for the Phillies going forward or not, getting Ruiz for $475,000 in 2009 clearly was. Of the eight catchers who put up a better OPS, only two of them, Miguel Montero and Chris Iannetta, were paid less than Ruiz in 2009. Among all 15 players on the list above, only five made less than Ruiz.

When you consider just the offense, though, I think there are reasons to worry about Ruiz. He just turned 31 and is coming off of what is clearly the best year of his career with the bat. Ruiz hit 255/355/425 in 2009, but came into the season with a career line that was a meager 242/329/359. That .688 OPS is almost a hundred points less than his mark for 2009. His on-base percentage for his minor league career was .331 — much worse than his career-best .355 from 2009.

There were 42 players in the leagues combined that got at least 200 plate appearances while playing catcher in 2009. Had Ruiz put up his career OPS of .688 in 2009 that would have been 27th of the 42. So let’s hope the guys the Phillies are paying $3.7 million a year in a couple of years is closer to the guy who’s eighth on the list than the guy who’s 27th on the list. Offensively, at least, that’s not real hard to replace. Jason Jaramillo, for example, was 29th on the catcher list by OPS for 2009. He hit 255/312/368 for the Pirates this year, a .680 OPS, and he won’t be making $3.7 million in 2012.

I think there are two primary arguments that you can make that the Phillies aren’t going to regret paying Ruiz $3.7 million in 2012. The first is that his production with the bat last year wasn’t a fluke and he will continue to hit that well or nearly that well for the next couple of seasons. If that’s how you feel, I hope you’re right. But again, he’s old and his .781 OPS from last season is better than his career OPS in the minor leagues (.754). The other argument is harder to quantify, but it’s possible that Ruiz is so good defensively and so good at handling pitchers that even if his offense does slide back to his career levels, he’s still worth the investment.

The Phillies were expected to be one of many teams watching Noah Lowry throw yesterday in Arizona, but the workout was postponed. The 29-year-old lefty has a career 4.03 ERA but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2007 due to thoracic outlet syndrome.

This suggests that Bastardo and Escalona both have real chances to start the season on the active rosters as lefties out of the pen.

This says the Phillies have been trying to sign a veteran lefty and have been trying to ink Alan Embree or Ron Mahay to a minor league deal.


Live at five

The Yankees went down fighting in game five and the Phillies lived to fight another day. Just barely, though. The Phils took an 8-2 lead into the top of the eighth, but things got real close real fast. The Yankees scored three in the top of the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate twice in the ninth inning. Ryan Madson came through both times, though, getting Derek Jeter to ground into a huge double-play the first time and striking out Mark Teixeira to end the game the second.

The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run off of Lee in the first on an RBI-double by A-Rod. The Phillies jumped ahead in the bottom of the first, though, as Rollins and Victorino both reached ahead of Utley and Utley blasted a three-run homer to put the Phils up 3-1. The Phils chased New York starter AJ Burnett in the bottom of the third. Utley and Howard started the inning with walks and the Phillies wound up scoring three times in the inning to extend their lead to 6-1. Lee walked pinch-hitter Eric Hinske with one out in the top of the fifth and Jeter followed with a single that moved him to third. Hinske would come in to score on a ground ball by Damon to cut the Phillies lead to 6-2. Utley and Ibanez both hit solo homers off of lefty Phil Coke in the seventh to extend the lead to 8-2. Lee came back to start the eighth and gave up single, double, two-run double to the first three men he faced. It made the score 8-4 with a man on second and Park took over. He set three in a row down, but the second was a sac fly that brought A-Rod in from third and made it 8-5. Lidge had thrown 30 pitches in a miserable outing in game four, so it was Madson on in the ninth to try to protect the three-run lead. A double and a single put men on first and third and brought Jeter to the plate as the tying run. Madson got Jeter to hit into a double-play as Posada scored to make it 8-6. Damon followed with a single that brought Teixeira to the plate as the tying run. Madson got him, though, striking him out swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the game.

It sure seems like the bullpen blew up in the game for the Phillies. But it wasn’t that bad, really. A lot of it was Lee and he has clearly done enough already. I think we just have game four stuck in our minds. Pitching for the second time in two days, Park faced three men and got three outs. Throwing a day after he threw 20 pitches, Madson gave up a run on three hits but got the huge double-play and the huge strikeout when he needed it.

They are still pretty scary. Especially given that we’re sure to see them a lot in game six. I think Manuel will still use Lidge in big situations in the series.

But the Phillies are still alive. They are going to need a ton of runs to keep winning, though. They are going to need everyone in the lineup — not just signs of life but a river of life. There were some signs last night. Ibanez and Howard came into last night’s game without a walk or a homer. Howard walked twice and Ibanez blasted a long homer. As miserable as the series has been for Howard, he still may be the single most explosive player in the series for either team. Let’s hope he doesn’t wait too much longer, though, cause the Phils have put themselves in a pretty big hole.

I’m pretty sure that Hamels starts game seven if there is one. Enough has been made of his misspeak. If you don’t think Hamels wants to compete and wants to win, I disagree. You don’t get this good and this far without wanting both. Saying what you mean isn’t a requirement.

The Phillies trail the Yankees three games to two in the World Series after winning game five last night 8-6.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out three. He pitched a lot better than his line, taking an 8-2 lead into an eighth inning that he started having thrown 103 pitches.

That may be the end of the ’09 post-season for Lee. It’s a shame that the eighth inning last night blew up his line, cause it’s going to mean that his numbers, while still amazing, won’t quite reflect just how much he contributed. We’ll just have to remember. In five post-season starts this year Lee has gone 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. In five starts he threw 40 1/3 innings. That’s more than eight runs per game. There’s a chance his efforts may still make him a champion. Whether they do or not, he may have to wait till he’s a free agent in 2011, but I think they made him a whole lot of money.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Swisher (RF/S) (6) Cano (2B/L) (7) Gardner (CF/L) (8) Molina (C/R). Molina in the lineup to catch Burnett with Posada on the bench. Gardner takes over in center for Cabrera, who has a hamstring injury and has been replaced by Ramiro Pena. To take Posada out of the lineup for Molina is a poor idea even if Burnett doesn’t allow six runs in two innings.

The Yankees had five players on their bench to start the game, righty Jerry Hairston, switch-hitters Posada and Pena and lefties Hideki Matsui and Eric Hinske.

Jeter led off the game and grounded to Utley on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Damon dumped a 1-1 pitch in front of Victorino for a single. Teixeira got ahead 3-0, but flew to right for the second out. Rodriguez hit a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner for a double that scored Damon and put New York up 1-0. Swisher walked on four pitches to put men on first and second. Cano flew to left on a 1-0 pitch to end the frame.

Didn’t look like the same Lee in the first. Jeter’s ball was up the middle and took a nice play by Utley to get an out. A-Rod smoked the ball. Swisher and Teixeira both got ahead 3-0. Lee threw 20 pitches in the inning.

He started the second up 3-1 and didn’t have much trouble with the bottom of the order. Gardner grounded to first 1-2 for the first out. Molina grounded to third on a 2-2 pitch. Burnett struck out looking 2-2 to set the Yankees down.

Lee threw 14 pitches in the inning and had thrown 34 for the game.

Jeter grounded to third 2-2 for the first out of the third. Damon walked on five pitches. Teixeira hit a ground ball to third and Feliz threw to second to force Damon for the second out, but the Phils could only get one. A-Rod flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Fifty pitches in the game for Lee after throwing 16 in the inning.

Swisher lined a 2-1 pitch to third for the first out of the fourth. Cano grounded to second and Gardner grounded to short.

Lee was up to 62 after throwing 12 pitches in the inning.

With Burnett out of the game, Posada hit for Molina to start the fifth and grounded to second 1-2 for the first out. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher David Robertson next and Hinske drew a walk on five pitches. Jeter followed with a single to right that moved Hinske to third. Damon was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch slowly to first. Howard took it and when he started towards the bag Hinske took off for homer and scored to make it 6-2 with two outs and Jeter on second. Teixeira flew to right for the third out.

14 and 76 for Lee. Nice base-running by Hinske, both to go first to third and to delay and then score on the ground out to first.

A-Rod flew to right to start the first out in the sixth. Swisher flew to center for the second. Cano singled to center 1-0, but was left stranded when Gardner struck out looking 1-2.

Lee was at 91 after 15 pitches in the inning.

Posada struck out looking 0-2 after trying to call time out but not getting it earlier in the count to start the seventh. Jerry Hairston hit for the pitcher Alfredo Aceves and he flew to center on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Jeter lined softly to Utley 1-2 to end the frame.

Twelve pitches in the inning had Lee at 103.

He was up 8-2 when he started the eighth. Francisco was playing center with Victorino on the bench. Damon led off and reached on an infield single. Teixeira was next and he blasted a double to left that moved Damon to third. A-Rod was next and he hit Lee’s first pitch hard into left-center. Ibanez made a diving effort but had the ball go off of his glove for a two-run double that made it 8-4. Park came in to pitch to Swisher having thrown 14 pitches the day before. Swisher grounded to second 2-2 for the first out, moving Rodriguez to third. Park stayed in to pitch to Cano. Cano hit a fly ball to shallow center 0-1 that Francisco took for the second out. Rodriguez tagged and scored to make it 8-5 with two outs. Francisco made a weak throw that wasn’t close to getting A-Rod on a ball that wasn’t hit deep. Gardner popped to Rollins on a 2-1 pitch to set the Yankees down.

Miserable inning for Manuel. Victorino was pleading to stay in the game. Francisco probably would have made the catch on A-Rod’s ball off the glove of Ibanez in left if he had taken over in left with Victorino in center. Francisco’s throw home was terrible. Victorino with a healthy hand would have made a much stronger throw — who knows after being hit. He also left Park in to face Cano as the batter that could have made the score 8-6. The Phillies didn’t use any of their three lefties in the pen in the game.

Madson started the ninth having thrown 20 pitches the day before. Posada led off and hit a 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in right for a double. Lefty Hideki Matsui hit for the pitcher Phil Hughes. Matsui singled to left on a 2-1 pitch, sending Posada to third. Jeter got ahead in the count 2-0, but grounded a 2-1 pitch to short and the Phillies turned a double-play. Posada scored to make it 8-6 and it brought up Damon with two outs and the bases empty. Madson got ahead of Damon 0-2, but Damon singled into center on a 2-2 pitch to bring the tying run to the plate again. The game was delayed briefly for a ceremony to honor Damon’s 2,000th hit in this World Series. He was presented with some tupperware and a $50 gift certificate to Home Depot. Damon took second as the count went 0-2 on Teixeira. Teixeira struck out swinging 1-2 to end the game.

Park threw 11 pitches in the game and Madson threw 24. Both have thrown two days in a row, but both seem like they will surely be available in game six after an off-day today. Lee threw 112 pitches in game five and there’s no way you will see him in game six.

The so-called “official” stats suggest that Damon is only 8-for-21 in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-9. Matsui is 5-for-9 in the series. Jeter 8-for-22. Posada 5-for-16. A-Rod just 4-for-18 but with six RBI to lead the team. Teixeira is just 2-for-19. Cano, Swisher and Cabrera are a combined 7-for-43.

The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (DH/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with five players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco.

The Phils were down 1-0 when Rollins led off the bottom of the first. Rollins hit a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Victorino was bunting, but Burnett’s first pitch to him was right at him and drilled him hard on the right hand. Utley swung at the first pitch and blasted it way out to right to put the Phillies up 3-1. Howard drew a walk, but Werth struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ibanez was next and hit a ball hard, but Teixeira made a great diving play to take a hit away from him. Teixeira threw to first to force Howard for the second out, but Ibanez beat the relay to keep the inning alive. Feliz grounded to short 0-1 to end the inning.

Much different approach to Burnett in this game. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Feliz were all swinging first pitch. Utley hit a big home run on the first pitch of his at-bat. Howard drew his first walk of the series. Ibanez smoked the ball he hit. Burnett threw 23 pitches in the inning.

First home run of the series for the Phils with a runner on base.

Ruiz got ahead 3-0 to start the second but struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Lee swung at the first pitch and grounded to first. Rollins walked on five pitches. Victorino swung at the first pitch and popped out to short. He screamed and shook his right hand, the one that had been drilled in the first, after hitting the ball.

Second time Rollins had been on base in two at-bats.

After 13 pitches in the inning, Burnett was at 36 for the game.

Utley walked on a 3-1 pitch to start the third. He stole second as the count went 1-1 on Howard — Molina didn’t make a good throw, but Utley still would have been out if Jeter had been able to handle the short-hop on the throw. Howard walked to put men on first and second. Werth ripped a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Utley scored and it was 4-1 with men on first and second. Ibanez hit a 3-1 pitch into right for a single. Howard scored and it was 5-1 with men on first and third. That was it for Burnett. Righty David Robertson came in to pitch Feliz. Feliz got ahead 2-0, but fouled out to Teixeira for the first out. Ruiz got behind 0-2 but managed to make contact, hitting a ground ball to short. Jeter got an out at second, but Werth scored and it was 6-1. Lee singled into right, moving Ruiz to second. Rollins struck out looking 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Nice job by Ruiz to bring the runner in from third with one out after getting way behind in the count.

Robertson set the Phillies down 1-2-3 in the fourth. Victorino grounded to second. Utley grounded to short and Howard struck out swinging 2-2.

They were up 6-2 when they hit in the fifth. Righty Alfredo Aceves was on to pitch for New York and he set the Phils down in order. Werth smashed a ball to left-center field that Gardner caught as he crashed into the wall for the first out. Ibanez grounded to first for the second and Feliz grounded to short.

Aceves was back for the sixth. Ruiz flew to right and Lee struck out swinging before Rollins singled to center. He went to second on a wild pitch before Victorino grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Third time Rollins had been on base in the game.

Lefty Phil Coke started the seventh for the Yankees. Utley led off and homered to right on a 3-2 pitch to put the Phils up 7-2. Howard struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the first out. Coke stayed in to pitch to Werth and Werth flew to center 2-0 for the second out. Ibanez blasted a 2-1 pitch out to right. 8-2. Coke was done. Phil Hughes came in to pitch to Feliz. Feliz struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

Utley’s homer gave him five home runs for the series, which tied him for the record with Reggie Jackson. Jackson hit five in 1977. When Howard followed with a strikeout it was his twelfth of the series, which also tied him for the record. The Phils lefties fared pretty well against Coke.

Hughes was back to start the eighth with the Phillies lead cut to 8-5. Ruiz led off with a single and Stairs hit for Park. Stairs hit into a double-play on a 2-2 pitch to clear the bases. Rollins grounded to second.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game. The single to start the first after the Yankees pulled ahead in the top of the inning set the tone. He’s 5-for-19 with five walks and a .417 on-base percentage for the series.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a brutal hit by pitch when he tried to bunt in the first inning. He’s 3-for-18 with two walks in the series. He says his hand is okay and he expects to start in game six. I don’t know how okay he could be after that, but hopefully the effects are minimal by Tuesday. The thoughts of Victorino out of the game, especially in a DH game against a lefty are kind of scary. With the players on the roster right now I think it would have meant Francisco in center and Bruntlett as DH (although I think Mayberry may have taken Victorino’s roster spot if Victorino couldn’t play).

Utley went 2-for-3 in the game with two home runs, a walk and four RBI. In the last two games he’s 4-for-7 with three home runs, a double and six RBI. 6-for-16 with a double, five home runs and three walks so far.

Howard was 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. 3-for-19 with two doubles and 12 strikeouts. 1-for-his-last-10 with six strikeouts.

Werth was 1-for-4 with an RBI in the game. 5-for-17 with two homers in the series.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the game. Teixeira also took a hit away from him in the first on a ball he hit hard. He’s 5-for-20 with two doubles and a home run in the series.

Feliz 0-for-4 with a strikeout last night after a huge game in game four. 4-for-19 with a double and a home run in the series. Ibanez and Feliz have combined not to walk in 39 at-bats.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with an RBI last night. 4-for-16 with two doubles and a home run in the set. He’s also walked three times.

Despite the early exit by Burnett, Robertson was the only pitcher to throw more than 20 pitches out of the Yankees bullpen. He threw 27. I think who the Yankees didn’t use in the blowout, most noticeably Rivera and Marte, might say a lot about who they have confidence in. I don’t think you’re going to see much of Coke against the Phillies lefties in game six if things are close.

No game today. Pedro and Pettitte tomorrow night.


Play like a dynasty

It’s a little late for any of us to ask the Phillies to play like champions. They’ve been doing that for a while now — they are champions and nothing can ever take that away from this core of outstanding players. But the World Series starts tonight and with it the chance for the Phils to become something more. For this team that has passed every test over the last two years, the challenge in front of them now feels a little like some kind of monstrous mythical beast willed into being just to face them. The New York Yankees. The name just about says it all. But not quite. They are a mighty team with mighty talent, a mighty payroll, 103 wins, home field advantage and baseball history on their side. There isn’t much of a question that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball this year. The good news for the Phillies is that the year isn’t over yet, though, and if you’ve been waiting for someone to help us see just how good the Phils are you won’t have to wait much longer.

Cliff Lee faces CC Sabathia tonight in game one of the World Series.

Sabathia went 19-8 in 34 starts for the Yankees this year, throwing to a 3.37 ERA and a 1.15 ratio over 230 innings. He didn’t allow a lot of hits or home runs and he was fantastic against lefties. They hit 198/198/310 against him.

He was tied for the American League lead in wins, fourth in innings pitched, fourth in ERA and fourth in ratio.

Third in fewest hits allowed per nine innings in the AL, fourth in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings. Not quite as good at preventing walks. This year he walked 2.62 batters per nine innings. He walked about 7.4% of the right-handed batters he faced and about 6.0% of the lefties. 2.62 walks per inning isn’t a bad walk rate at all — it’s just not as good as his rates of preventing hits and home runs. There were 22 players who pitched for the Phillies this year. Fifteen of them had a walk rate that was worse than that. There were also 22 pitchers who pitched for the Yankees and 17 of them had a walk rate that was worse than Sabathia’s.

He’s had four straight years in which he’s thrown at least 190 innings with an ERA under 3.40 and a ratio under 1.20.

Sabathia made one start in the ALDS against the Twins and two starts in the ALCS against the Angels. Between the three games he pitched 22 innings, going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and an 0.75 ratio. He’s allowed three walks, one home run and struck out 20.

He’s pitching very well.

The Phillies faced him in game two of the 2008 NLDS when he was pitching for the Brewers. Milwaukee jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run off of Myers in the top of the first, but the Phils scored five times off of Sabathia in the bottom of the second. Victorino hit a grand slam off of him in the inning and the Phils rolled to a 5-2 win behind seven strong innings from Myers.

Sabathia faced the Phillies on May 24 of this year and allowed three runs over eight innings. The Yankees tied the game at 3-3 with a run off of Lidge in the ninth, but the Phils got an RBI-double from Ruiz off of Tomko in the top of the eleventh and won 4-3.

Ibanez is the Phillie with the most regular season at-bats against Sabathia for his career. He’s 11-for-40 with five extra-base hits and ten strikeouts (275/326/525). Rollins 4-for-11 with two doubles and a triple. Victorino 3-for-7 with three singles, but he had the biggest hit of the game against Sabathia in game two of the NLDS last year. Utley 0-for-3. Howard 3-for-7 with a double. The Phils could sure use Werth tonight, he’s 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Sabathia for his career. Feliz 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Ruiz 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Ruiz has had a fantastic post-season so far. I’d be trying to start lefties against the Phils, too, but when you do it gives them a big weapon at the bottom of the lineup. Ruiz hit 293/370/524 against lefties this season.

Lee went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He doesn’t walk anyone, almost literally when it comes to lefties. He walked six left-handed batters all season. Lefties hit just 241/263/320 against Lee with eleven extra-base hits for the season. Righties had a lot more luck, hitting 283/321/414.

He started games one and four against the Rockies in the NLDS and was fantastic twice. In 16 1/3 innings he pitched to a 1.10 ERA with an 0.86 ratio.

He was also great in his start in game three of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He allowed three singles over eight shutout innings in the game. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out ten.

In his three starts combined for this post-season he has thrown 24 1/3 innings with an 0.74 ERA and an 0.70 ratio.

He made two starts against the Yankees this year, both of which came while he was with Cleveland. On April 16 he allowed a run on seven hits and three walks over six innings as the Indians topped the Yankees 10-1. Posada hit a home run off of him in that game and Swisher had a double. On May 29 he allowed three runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings and the Yankees won the game 3-1. Posada doubled off of Lee in that game.

The Yankees have seen Lee a lot given how long he pitched in the AL. Jeter 11-for-27 (407/467/519). Posada 6-for-21 with two doubles and two home runs (286/273/667). Cano 4-for-18 with four singles (222/263/222). A-Rod 5-for-15 with two home runs and four walks (333/450/733). Swisher 6-for-18 with two doubles (333/458/444). Teixeira 9-for-23 with four doubles and a home run (391/462/696). Cabrera 3-for-11 with a home run. Damon 2-for-22 (091/130/091).

Here are the World Series rosters.


Which switch?

Four switch-hitters seem likely to get a lot of at-bats for the Yankees in the World Series. Here’s a look at what Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher have done against left and right-handed pitching in 2009 and over their careers as switch-hitters:

 
Vs Right

Vs Left
  A O S OPS A O S OPS
Posada 09 282 365 544 909 290 360 476 836
Posada Career 268 378 474 852 299 381 496 877
                 
Teixeira 09 282 373 579 952 305 400 511 911
Teixeira
Career
281 371 547 918 309 394 537 931
                 
Cabrera 09 277 332 415 747 268 343 420 763
Cabrera
Career
275 333 397 730 255 325 355 680
                 
Swisher 09 250 357 509 866 244 393 475 868
Swisher
Career
242 341 468 809 251 395 439 834

Posada was much better against righties than lefties in 2009, but has been better against left-handed pitching over his career. It was the fourth straight year for Posada that he posted a better OPS against right-handed pitching than left, though. The difference was most dramatic in 2006, when he hit just 263/348/380 in 158 plate appearances against lefties and 284/385/540 against righties. It’s enough to convince me that you’re better off with a lefty against him if you can. He good against lefties, too, and has had monster years against left-handed pitching. In 2002, for example, he hit 326/420/556 against them while hitting just 247/351/436 against righties. I’d still go with lefty these days.

Your chances aren’t real good against Teixeira no matter who’s pitching. He’s put up an OPS of over .900 against both right and left-handed pitching for each of the past three seasons. In 2006 he was a lot better against lefties than righties, but in 2005 he was better against righties. I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

It’s really, really in the Phillies’ best interests to get Melky Cabrera and Jose Molina out as often as possible in this series. The .680 career OPS against left-handed pitching is a pretty compelling argument that a lefty is the way to do it. Cabrera was a little better against lefties in 2009, but it still looks like the way to go. I don’t think you’re going to see the Phils make a whole lot of moves to get the pitcher they want on Cabrera either way.

Swisher gets on base more against lefties and hits for more power against righties. That has been the story for his career and it was for 2009 as well. I’d go with a righty if I could, but I don’t think it matters much and I don’t think the Phils will go to a lot of trouble to try to get Swisher facing a righty, either.

Bottom line for me is I don’t think it matters a whole lot whether it’s a righty or a lefty pitching to Cabrera or Teixeira. Teixeira is just a real good hitter either way and Cabrera is just not. I think you’re a little better off with a lefty against Posada and a little better off with a righty against Swisher.

Miguel Cairo is off the roster for the World Series and Brett Myers has taken his spot. I think that’s a very good decision. Cairo and Bruntlett both was too much.

This suggests that left-handed batter Eric Hinske and right-handed pitcher Brian Bruney have been added to the Yankees roster, taking the places of Francisco Cervelli and Freddy Guzman. Cervelli was the third catcher and his removal leaves the Yankees with two and more questions about who will catch Burnett’s starts. Lidge struck Hinkse out to end the World Series in 2008.


The best offense that money can rent

The Yankees can hit. The Phillies can hit too, but there’s little question that the Bronx Bombers were the better offense of the two this year and the best-hitting team in baseball during the regular season.

Here’s the runs scored for the Phillies and Yankees for the season and how that ranked compared to the other teams in their leagues and in both leagues:

  Runs R/G League
Rank
MLB Rank
NYY 915 5.65 1 1
PHI 820 5.06 1 4

New York was one of three AL teams to score more runs than the Phillies this year, along with the Red Sox and Angels.

The American and National Leagues don’t play by the same rules, of course, and the more DH means more runs. While the Yankees and Phils led their respective leagues in runs scored, the Yankees outscored the average AL team by a little more than the Phillies outscored the average team in the NL. The average AL team scored 781 runs this year. New York scored 915, which is 117.2% of 781. The Phillies scored 820 runs compared to 718 for the average NL team. 820 is 114.2% of 718.

The Yankees have eight players who played regularly in 2009 (400 PA or more) with an OPS+ of 120 or better. Posada, Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez, Damon, Swisher and Matsui. The only player on their team with 400 of more plate appearances with an OPS+ for the season under 100 is Melky Cabrera (Cabrera hit 274/336/416 with an OPS+ of 97). The Phillies had four players with 400 plate appearances or more with an OPS+ of 120 or better — Howard, Utley, Ibanez and Werth. Their two least productive offensive players who played regularly, Rollins and Feliz, were both worse than Cabrera offensively. Rollins’ OPS+ for the year was 85 and Feliz’s was 80.

By OPS, the Yankees were the best-hitting team in baseball against both right and left-handed pitchers in ’09:

  OPS v R League MLB OPS v L League MLB
NYY .837 1 1 .846 1 1
PHI .779 2 5 .787 2 7

The Phillies were really good theirownselves. The Rockies were better against right-handed pitching by OPS and the Brewers were better against lefties. But the Phils were very good.

The Yankees were better than very good. They hit 282/360/476 against right-handed pitching. By OPS, the second-best team in baseball against right-handed pitching was the Red Sox and they hit 268/349/454. Among the 342 players in either league who got 150 plate appearances against righties, Rodriguez, Teixeira and Posada were all in the top 30 by OPS.

The margin was similar against lefties. New York hit 286/365/480 against lefties. Again Boston was second, this time with a 274/359/453 line. Jeter and Teixeira were in the top 30 by OPS of the 132 players with 150 plate appearances against lefties.

This article says that Raul Ibanez will continue to play despite a small muscle tear near his abdomen.

Todd Zolecki suggests that Hamels or Martinez will probably start game two. I am hoping for Blanton in game two.


Panama jacks

Carlos Ruiz came into the season with 13 career home runs, but started last night’s game hitting 287/381/515 with six home runs in 162 plate appearances since the All-Star break. That .896 OPS for the second half was better than the second half OPS put up by a bunch of his teammates, including Utley, Ibanez, Rollins and Victorino. Of the eight regulars for the Phillies, only Howard and Werth have put up a better OPS in the second half.

Ruiz hit 235/335/367 in the first half of the season, but his second-half thunder has him up near the top of the list of the best hitting catchers in the league for the season. Here’s the list of the players in the league for the season who have posted the best OPS while playing the position and gotten at least 250 plate appearances (does not include yesterday’s games):

Player OPS
M Montero .861
B McCann .826
C Ruiz .791
J Baker .784
C Ianetta .781

In the AL there were three players going into yesterday’s games with at least 250 plate appearances for the year as a catcher and an OPS better than Ruiz’s .791. Mauer (1.090), Posada (.905) and Pierzynski (.814).

Here’s how Ruiz’s numbers overall in the second half look compared to the five players in either league who have posted a better OPS for the season while behind the plate (they are ordered by their OPS for the second half of the year):

   
Second half
  Season OPS PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Mauer 1.090 240 372 429 596 1.025
Montero 861 199 337 387 576 963
Ruiz 791 162 287 381 515 896
Posada 905 182 276 346 540 886
Pierzynski 814 198 339 378 443 820
McCann 826 211 260 303 490 793

Ruiz is third in that group for OPS since the break. Fourth in batting average, third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage.

Chan Ho Park hurt his right hamstring in last night’s game. It sounds and looked like we shouldn’t expect to see him again any time soon.


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