Tag: Jose Contreras

Jose, can you see us out of this mess?

Tuesday’s MRI “revealed a small tear in the posterior rotator cuff of Lidge’s right shoulder” and Lidge will be shut down for three to six weeks.

That doesn’t mean you should be looking for Lidge to pitch with the Phils in three to six weeks. It means he won’t be throwing at all for 3-6 weeks. This suggests we should be looking for him in the second half of the season.

This article from the Phillies web site says that Contreras is Manuel’s choice to start the year as closer. I’m going to be surprised if that works. I’m also going to be surprised if Madson doesn’t get some save chances early in the year.

Madson is the best pitcher in the bullpen for the Phillies. It would be a mistake not to have him pitching in the most important situations.

The Phils beat the Pirates 8-5 last night.

Oswalt got the start and didn’t pitch well, allowing five runs on five hits and four walks over five innings, giving him a 6.11 ERA and a 1.42 ratio in five starts this spring. He has also allowed four runs in 17 2/3 innings that were unearned. So he hasn’t pitched well.

Romero, Herndon, Bastardo and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings after Oswalt left in which they allowed two hits and a walk. Herndon threw 1 2/3 innings in the game, but threw just 20 pitches.

Michael Stutes pitched the ninth. He struck out the first two batters he faced before walking Neil Walker, then struck Andrew McCutchen out swinging to end the game. In seven spring appearances he has an 0.82 ERA and an 0.55 ratio. He’s struck out 14 in 11 innings and opponents are hitting .108 against him. So he’s pitching well.

Francisco went 1-for-4 with his fifth spring home run. Castillo was 2-for-4 with a stolen base an RBI. He’s 6-for-23 (.261) with four walks since joining the Phils. I think he makes the team.

Mayberry 1-for-1 to up his line to 299/356/597 in 67 at-bats. Martinez 0-for-1, he’s hitting .239 and on-basing .257. Don’t let people go telling you he had a good spring (at least not with the bat). Young was 0-for-1 and is at 267/313/350. Orr started the game at third and went 1-for-3. He’s at 273/286/491 in 55 at-bats.

Polanco didn’t start the game. He says his elbow is still sore and expects to play today.

Hamels starts this afternoon in the final spring game for the Phils.

The Phillies have removed Matt Rizzotti from the 40-man roster to make room for, well, someone. Castillo is my guess.

Update: Will Jose Contreras be able to go back-to-back days for the Phils this year? No idea. But he sure was fantastic when he did it in 2010.

There were 19 games in which Contreras appeared in 2010 when he had pitched the previous day. Here are his numbers in those games:

G IP H BB SO ERA Ratio
19 16 2/3 8 4 19 0.54 0.72

Those numbers include the two times in which he threw three days in a row. Contreras pitched May 8, 9 and 10 and also on August 24, 25 and 26. On May 10 and August 26 combined, he threw two scoreless innings and allowed one hit.

On May 10 he pitched for the third day in a row in part because Lidge had a sore elbow. On August 26 he only threw five pitches in the game.

So if there’s no problem with the results, the thing you might want to worry about is how seldom it happened that the Phils called on Contreras to go three days in a row. By comparison, from August 14 to August 31 of 2010, the Phils called on Madson to pitch on August 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 and 31. That’s three days in a row twice in a seven-day period. He would also pitch on Septmember 6, 7 and 8. He was great, too. Between August 14 and Septmeber 8, Madson made 18 appearances for the Phils in which he threw to a 1.02 ERA and an 0.74 ratio while striking out 24 in 17 2/3 innings.


All about the Benjamin

Ben Francisco put an exclamation point on his fantastic spring training yesterday, hitting a three-run homer as the Phils topped the Astros 7-6 to end their Grapefruit League schedule. Francisco came into camp looking to show he could be the everyday guy in right field for the Phils this season and pounded the ball, posting a 385/467/677 line over 65 at-bats. His 1.144 OPS was the best among Phillies that got at least 10 plate appearances.

Ben Francisco’s full name is Louis Ben Francisco. So, when you get right down to it, it’s really not all about the Benjamin (unless it’s all about someone else).

Nate Bump got the start for the Phillies in the game and allowed a run on eight hits and a walk over five innings. Baez walked one in a scoreless sixth and Contreras got one out in the seventh before Derrick Loop (really!) took over for him. Loop, Michael Sisco and Ebelin Lugo finished out the game for the Phils. They combined to allow five runs in 2 2/3 innings, with Lugo and Loop both charged with runs and Cisco throwing a scoreless frame.

Contreras threw just one pitch in the game because the mound was wet due to heavy rain.

Victorino 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.

Castillo was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. 4-for-19 (.211) with four walks with the Phils, Martinez 0-for-1. Young 0-for-1. Mayberry 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Gload was the DH in his continuing effort to demonstrate he’s not a right fielder.

The Phils went 20-13 in official spring games and will play the Pirates tonight and Wednesday in Citizens Bank Park. Oswalt is expected to start. Hamels will start on Wednesday with Blanton likely to throw a few innings in relief.

Utley says his goal is to be back by the All-Star break. Amaro says he won’t go on the 60-day DL.

The article linked above says that Michael Stutes will be with the team for the two games with the Pirates, but isn’t likely to start the year with the Phils.

This says the Phillies have signed Kevin Frandsen to a minor league deal. The righty Frandsen has played every position in the majors except catcher and center field, posting a 243/302/335 career line over 626 plate appearances. He turns 29 in May.


No minors issue

The Phillies will use the next nine games to decide whether Luis Castillo will start the year with the team or be released. In the article linked above, Amaro says, “He’s not going to the minor leagues.”

This says that Castillo hasn’t arrive in camp yet, that he won’t play today and isn’t in tomorrow’s lineup, either.

Halladay was fantastic yesterday as the Phils topped the Red Sox 4-1. He allowed a run on five hits and three walks over 7 2/3 innings, dropping his spring ERA to 0.48. In 18 2/3 innings, he’s allowed one run on 12 hits and six walks.

Madson finished the game for the Phils, allowing a single in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He has allowed two runs on six hits and two walks over 8 1/3 innings (2.16 ERA and an 0.96 ratio).

The Phils didn’t have an extra-base hit in the game. Barfield was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Martinez 0-for-3 with an RBI. Orr and Delwyn Young were both 0-for-1.

Victorino and Ibanez collided in the outfield in the fifth inning, with Victorino getting the worst of it. He says he’s okay.

Mark Teixeira is mad at Ben Francisco after Francisco tried to knock the ball out of his glove in Sunday’s game.

Jose Contreras is the latest injured Phillie. He will be sidelined for “a few days” with a corneal abrasion.

Update: Castillo arrived in camp around 1:30 this afternoon and is expected to play tomorrow.


Rivero cruise

The Phils beat Baltimore yesterday, winning 4-3 on a two-run walkoff single in by Carlos Rivero.

Hamels started the game for the Phils and allowed two first-inning runs on two walks and a double. After the first, he set down nine Baltimore batters in order. He has now made three spring starts, allowing three hits and four walks while throwing to a 1.80 ERA and striking out seven over ten innings. If he were to allow 2.7 hits per nine innings in the regular season, it would be notable.

Contreras, Baez, Meyer and Carpenter all threw scoreless innings in the game. Despite a rough early outing in a B-game, Baez had now thrown 3 1/3 scoreless frames in official action. Contreras and Carpenter have now both made two appearances and each has thrown two scoreless innings. Meyer had an ugly outing early and has allowed two runs on two hits in three innings overall.

Lidge pitched the other inning and allowed the other run. He hit Nolan Reimold with one out and Reimold came around to score on a two-out double by Josh Bell. Lidge has now made four appearances and allowed runs in three of them, throwing to a 6.75 ERA and allowing five hits, a walk and hitting two batters over four innings.

Howard homered in the fourth, his third of the spring. 292/346/708 after 24 at-bats.

Victorino doubled in the fifth to plate Josh Barfield for the second run. Victorino was 2-for-3 in the game to raise his spring average to .333. Barfield started at second and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He’s 5-for-10 so far.

The Phils started the bottom of the ninth down 3-2. They loaded the bases on walks to Barfield, Dane Sardinha and a bunt single by Michael Martinez before Rivero lined a two-run single into center. Martinez played center field in the game and went 2-for-2, raising his average to .190 (4-for-21 with no walks). Rivero played third and went 2-for-2. He’s 4-for-12 so far.

Mayberry doubled in the second inning. He was 1-for-3 on the day and has a 280/333/600 line for the spring (7-for-25 with two walks, two doubles and two homers).

Rollins was 0-for-3 to drop his average to .185 (5-for-27 with a double and no walks). Polanco is hitting .208 after going 0-for-3. Ibanez 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his average to .182 — he’s 4-for-22 with four singles.

Delwyn Young played right and went 1-for-4. 320/346/360 over 25 at-bats (8-for-25 with a double and a walk).

Blanton pitches today as the Phils face the Tigers.

Ben Francisco has a stiff neck.

No new news on Utley, except that we keep getting closer to games that matter and he keeps not playing.

This article from Sunday wonders if the Phils might be interested in trading for Mike Cameron. I’m going to be surprised if the Phillies trade for a right-handed outfielder.


Walks, walks till we drop

Just in case there was someone out there who isn’t tired of reading about walks yet.

Earlier this week I looked at 2010 Phillies that walked both less than 3.32 batters per nine innings and less than 8.59% of the batters they faced.

For the players in that group who threw at least 50 innings, the table below shows how their walk rate per nine innings with the Phillies in 2010 compares to their career walk rate per nine innings coming into the season. They are ordered by the difference between their ’10 walk rate with the Phils and their walk rate coming into last season.

BB/9 before 2010 BB/9 in 2010 Difference
Moyer 2.57 1.61 0.96
Halladay 1.96 1.08 0.88
Contreras 3.27 2.54 0.73
Madson 2.82 2.20 0.62
Blanton 2.56 2.20 0.36
Kendrick 2.70 2.44 0.26
Herndon No history 2.92 -
Oswalt 2.06 2.29 (0.23)
Hamels 2.28 2.63 (0.35)

Despite throwing to a 4.84 ERA, Jamie Moyer had a 1.10 ratio last season. In 111 2/3 innings, he walked just 20. He posted the best walk rate of his career in his 24th season.

Halladay has been in the top seven in his league for fewest walks per nine innings for each of the past five seasons. In four of those years he’s been in the top three. His walk rate per nine innings was also the best of his career.

Contreras nearly had the best rate of walks per nine for his career. He was a tiny bit better in 2006, but was still way below his career levels in 2010.

Madson posted the best rate of his career (with the exception of 2003, when he didn’t walk any of the six batters he faced). In 2007, all of Madson’s appearances came in relief and he walked 23 of the 237 batters he faced (9.7%). In 2010, Madson walked 13 of the 217 batters he faced (6.0%).

Blanton finished sixth in the NL in fewest walks per nine innings. It was his sixth season in a row in which he has made at least 28 starts. The only year of his career where he had a better rate of walks per nine innings was 2007 when he was with Oakland.

Kendrick’s best year at preventing walks came in 2007, when he threw to a 3.87 ERA for the Phils over 20 starts. In that season he only threw 121 innings, but walked just 25. That’s a rate of 1.86 walks per nine innings. Kendrick didn’t have enough innings to qualify among the league leaders, but in 2007, Greg Maddux led the NL with 1.14 walks per nine and Aaron Harang was second at 2.02. In 2008 and 2009 combined, Kendrick walked 66 in 182 innings, which is too many (3.26 per nine). That number was way down in 2010, but not down to his 2007 levels.

Between his time with the Astros and Phillies combined, Oswalt was seventh in the NL in fewest walks per nine innings. In less than 100 innings with the Phils, his walk numbers were slightly higher than his career levels, but still low. In his 10-year career, Oswalt has been in the top ten in fewest walks per nine innings seven times.

The walk rate for Hamels was up. In his first year in the league, 2006, Hamels walked about 3.3 batters per nine innings. Over the next three years, Hamels made 93 starts combined starts and walked 2.07 batters per nine. That was up to 2.63 last year.

Comcast SportsNet will air eight Phillies Spring Training specials, the first of which will air on Sunday. Schedule here.

This article on the bullpen guesses that Bastardo and Kendrick win the last two spots in the pen, joining Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Romero and Baez. That is my guess as well.

This article on the bench suggests that Brown, Mayberry and Delwyn Young may be the top candidates to join Gload, Schneider and Valdez. I am going to be surprised if the Phils start the season with Francisco and Mayberry as the guys in right. Delwyn Young and Valdez on the same bench seems like it would be more guys of the Delwyn Young and Wilson Valdez ilk than one team would need at one time. Young is a switch-hitter and can play the outfield, but his 260/317/393 line against righties doesn’t really cry out for regular playing time in right no matter how desperate the Phils get for platoon partners for Francisco.


Fans hopeful the Phils find a way to get Madson a break next year that doesn’t require him to kick any chairs

Most fans will remember that the bullpen in 2010 was nothing special for the Phils, and that they lost the NLCS after Juan Uribe broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning of game six with a home run off of Ryan Madson. I’m guessing that fewer remember that

  • Madson was pitching his second inning of the game after throwing a scoreless seventh
  • He threw 32 pitches in the game and Uribe’s homer came on his 28th pitch of the game
  • He had thrown in game four (32 pitches in 1 2/3 innings) and game five (one inning, 13 pitches) with an off-day between games five and six
  • He pitched in five of the six games in the NLCS, throwing 6 2/3 innings in five appearances over six games. The rest of team combined to throw 12 1/3 innings in relief in the NLCS, including Oswalt’s work in relief in game four.
  • In game two of the NLCS he started the ninth and pitched a scoreless inning with a five-run lead

So the Phils leaned hard on Madson in the NLCS. And he pitched well, allowing a run in the five appearances on the Uribe homer over 6 2/3 innings. They leaned hard on him at the end of the regular season as well. From July 15 through September 29, Madson made 43 appearances for the Phils in which he threw to a 1.54 ERA and an 0.88 ratio over 41 innings while striking out 49. From August 20 through September 15, the Phillies played 27 games and Madson appeared in 18 of them.

Only two pitchers threw more innings in relief for the Phils in 2010 than Madson did. Contreras threw 3 2/3 more innings and Durbin threw 15 2/3 more innings. But Madson missed more than two full months of the season — he didn’t pitch between April 28 and July 8.

If the question is whether the Phillies leaned too hard on Madson or not, I think the answer is yes. There’s no question that Madson was the best bullpen arm the Phillies had in 2010, but they did have four other guys that made at least 50 appearances with an ERA+ better than 100 for the year (Lidge, Durbin, Contreras and Romero).

Regardless of whether the Phillies asked too much of Madson last year or not, their NLCS loss had a lot more to do with their ability to produce runs than it did with their ability to prevent them. It did make me wonder, though, how the performance of the bullpen in the post-season over the past four years has compared to the performance of the bullpen in the regular season.

Here’s the ERA and ratio that the Phillies bullpen has thrown to over the past four years, both during the regular season and in the post-season. Also included is the team’s rank for the year in the NL in runs allowed per bullpen inning pitched.

Year Regular Season ERA Regular Season Ratio NL R Pen R/IP Post-season ERA Post-season ratio
2007 4.50 1.50 13 6.52 1.76
2008 3.22 1.38 1 1.79 1.21
2009 3.91 1.38 9 4.20 1.52
2010 4.02 1.39 8 1.89 1.21

Compared to the rest of the NL, the bullpen was really bad in 2007 during the regular season. It was terrible during the post-season as well as the Phils were swept by the Rockies. Matt Holliday homered off of Gordon in game one as they Phils fell 4-2. Game two was a nightmare in which Lohse, Mesa and Condrey combined to allow five runs in 3 1/3 innings after an early exit by Kendrick and the Phils were blown out. With two outs, nobody on and the game tied at 1-1 in the eighth inning of game three, JC Romero allowed three straight singles and a run that put Colorado on top to stay at 2-1.

By runs allowed per inning pitched, the Phillies were the best pen in the NL in 2008. They were fantastic in the post-season as well as Lidge, Madson and Romero combined to thrown 29 1/3 innings over 14 games and allowed four runs while throwing to a 1.23 ERA with an 0.85 ratio. The other guys in the pen combined to throw just 11 innings. After allowing four runs in four games against the Brewers, the bullpen would allow just five runs in the ten games they played against the Dodgers and Rays. One of those runs was unearned. In game one of the NLCS, Madson and Lidge combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief as the Phils beat the Dodgers 3-2. There were five games in the 2008 World Series and the Phillies won three of them by one run. In game one, Madson and Lidge combined to strike out three in two perfect innings as the Phils won 3-2. In game three, Madson surrendered a run to BJ Upton and the Rays in the eighth to tie the game at 4-4, but Romero followed him with 1 1/3 scoreless frames and the Phils won 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth when Ruiz’s dribbler scored Bruntlett. Madson, Lidge and Romero out-pitched the Tampa Bay pen in part two of game five as the Phils won 4-3.

The bullpen was nowhere near as good in the post-season in 2009. Blanton appeared in relief in games two and three, allowing runs in both appearances.

Madson allowed two runs on four hits in the eighth inning of game one of the NLCS with the Dodgers, but the Phils held on to win 8-6. Chan Ho Park started the eighth inning of game two with a 1-0 lead and allowed a pair of runs in game two and the Phils lost 2-1. After game two the pen was great, holding the Dodgers to a run (charged Park in the eighth inning of game five with the Phils up 9-3) over 8 2/3 innings.

The ’09 World Series started well for the pen. Lee threw a complete game to start the series as the Phils took a 1-0 lead. They lost game two 3-1, with all three runs charged to Pedro Martinez. They failed in game three, though. The Phils jumped out to a 3-0 lead before New York took a 5-3 lead off of Hamels with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Happ, Durbin and Myers followed Hamels — all three of them allowed runs and they combined to give up three runs over 3 2/3 innings. Lidge got hammered in game four after a regular season in which he had thrown to a 7.21 ERA. The ninth started tied at 4-4. Lidge got the first two. Damon singled, stole second, stole third. Lidge hit Teixeira. A-Rod doubled. 5-4 with men on second and third. Posada hit a two-run single to make it 7-4, which was how it ended. Madson allowed a run on three hits in the ninth inning of game five, but the Phils held on for an 8-6 win. Pedro had nothing in game six, but Durbin didn’t do much to put out the fire. With the Phils down 4-1, Durbin started the fifth and was charged with three runs (with an assist to Happ, who gave up a two-run double to Matsui with both runs charged to Durbin).

The one of these things that’s not like the others for the Phils was the 2010 post-season. The Phillie bullpen was far from fantastic in the 2010 regular season, but pitched very well in the post-season. The Phils got two complete games while sweeping the Reds in the NLDS, one from Halladay and one from Hamels. In the other, Oswalt went just five innings, but was backed up by Romero, Durbin, Contreras, Madson and Lidge, who combined to allow a hit and two walks over four scoreless frames.

The bullpen didn’t allow a run in the first three games of the NLCS, either, making it the first six games of the 2010 post-season that the bullpen had not been charged with a run. Madson and Lidge combined to throw two scoreless innings in game one, but the Phils lost by a run anyway. Madson allowed a walk and a hit in the only inning thrown by the pen in game two, but the Phils rolled to a 6-1 win behind Oswalt. Contreras threw two perfect innings behind Hamels in game three as the Phils managed just three hits and fell 3-0 to fall behind two games to one.

They lost game four, too. They started the bottom of the sixth up 4-3, but Durbin allowed a pair of runs on two doubles and two walks and the Giants pulled ahead 5-4. The Phils tied the game in the top of the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Howard and Werth. Oswalt started the ninth with the game still tied, but allowed back-to-back singles with one out to put men on first and third. Uribe hit a fly ball deep enough for Aubrey Huff to tag, score and win the game for the Giants.

In game five, Contreras, Romero, Madson and Lidge combined to throw three scoreless frames in relief of Halladay and the Phils took the game 4-2 to stay alive. Madson, for the record, looked fantastic as he struck out the side on 13 pitches in a perfect eighth.

Not so much in game six, though. In Madson’s second inning of work, Uribe homered off of him to put the Giants on top to stay at 3-2.


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