Tag: Juan Castro

Seventh wonder

The Phils come into the All-Star break with the seventh-best winning percentage in the National League. Since 2007, the Phillies have never ended the season with the league’s best winning percentage — the Dodgers topped them last year, the Cubs in ’08 and Arizona and Colorado both did in 2007.

Compared to the 2009 season, the Phillies have actually gotten a little bit better at preventing runs overall in 2010. The problem is that the offense has gotten worse at a rate that exceeds those improvements.

In 2009, the Phils sported the league’s most dominant offense. They scored 5.06 runs per game. The Rockies had the second-best mark for runs per game at 4.96 and nobody else was very close. Eleven of the teams in the NL scored less than 4.6 runs per game.

The thing that’s easily forgotten is that compared to the rest of the league, the Phillies still have a good offense in 2010. It’s just not as good as it was last year. Only four NL teams, the Reds, Rockies, and Dodgers, have scored more than the 4.71 runs per game that the Phillies have scored this season.

Offense in the league is also down this year, but just a little. In 2009 the average NL team scored about 4.43 runs per game and in 2010 they have scored about 4.39 runs per game so far.

Still, the dropoff for the Phillies is bigger than the dropoff overall for the league:

2009 5.06 4.43 1.142
2010 4.71 4.39 1.073

So the ’09 Phillies scored about 114.2% of the runs per game as the average NL team while the ’10 Phillies are scoring about 107.3% of the runs per game as the average NL team.

If the Phils wanted to stay about as good as they were before overall, it would be helpful if they could make up the difference with improvements in preventing runs. And they have gotten better in 2010, but not enough to make up for the offensive dropoff.

The Phils were sixth in the NL in runs allowed per game in 2009 and are sixth again in 2010. You have to look a little further inside the numbers than that to see the improvement.

2009 4.38 4.49 .9755
2010 4.16 4.44 .9369

So the Phils allowed about 97.6% of the runs per game as the average NL team did in 2009 and about 93.7% of the runs per game as the average NL team in 2010.

That’s better. It’s just not enough better to cancel out the drop off from the hitters.

Still, it’s good news that the Phillies are better at preventing runs than they were last year. I think it’s also reasonable to conclude that even if the Phillies continued to be the fourth-best team in the league at scoring runs and the sixth-best team at preventing them they would wind up with better than the seventh-best record overall after enough games were played.

The best news for the Phils, though, is that the offense can be so much better it has been in the first half of the year. If you’re looking for places to improve, I’d start with the 312 plate appearances that the Phils gave to Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro in the first half in which the duo combined to on-base .258. If they can give most of those opportunities in the second half to Utley, Rollins and Polanco and avoid injuries to key hitters, the offense is a lock to get better.

The second place I’d look would be with Raul Ibanez, who seems likely to improve on his 243/326/397 line for the year after the break.

Brave new world?

The Phillies can’t hit, can’t field and can’t win. Those are all big problems, but just part of the challenge faced by this year’s Phils. The other part is that the Atlanta Braves are just good and have been for a while. The Braves looked a whole lot better than the Phils over the past two games, but just about everyone is looking better than the Phils during the recent funk. The problem is that Atlanta winning more than the Phils isn’t a recent development. Here’s what the teams have done in the regular season going back to the start of August, 2009:

Games after July 31 in the 2009 season
Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 34 25 283 214 +69
PHI 34 27 276 243 +33

Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 30 22 255 206 +49
PHI 28 23 237 203 +34

Regular season games after 7/31/09
Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 64 47 538 420 +118
PHI 62 50 513 446 +67

The Braves are 2 1/2 games better than the Phils since the start of last August. The scarier part is how much better their run differential has been than the Phillies over those 110 games or so. In those games the Phillies have scored 67 more runs that their opponents. Atlanta has nearly doubled that, scoring 118 more runs than they have allowed.

There is good news, though, and that’s that the Phillies are simply better than Atlanta. They finished comfortably ahead of the division in 2009, six games ahead of the second-place team and the second-place team wasn’t even the Braves — it was the Marlins. The Phillies played well enough to win and the Braves didn’t win anything as well as they played.

Sooner or later, the Phillies are going to start to hit and field and win again. When they do, my guess is they win often enough to outpace the Braves. I’m feeling a little less sure than I did couple of weeks ago, though, and they didn’t do a lot last night to make it look like they were about to turn the corner.

The Phillies are 28-23 on the year after a 7-3 loss to the Braves. The Phils fall a game and a half behind the Braves in the NL East. They have lost eight of their last ten.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and got two outs in the first before a rain delay that forced him from the game. He allowed three runs on a double, a homer and two walks and struck out one. Hamels did not return after a delay of an hour an four minutes in the first inning. Atlanta’s starter, Tim Hudson, did and allowed two runs over six innings in the game.

Martin Prado doubled to left to start the bottom of the first. Jason Heyward flew to right for the first out before Hamels walked Chipper Jones. It put men on first and second for Troy Glaus and Glaus hit a 2-1 pitch out to left to put Atlanta up 3-0. Hamels struck out McCann before rain stopped the game. When it started back up the Phils had Durbin on the mound. Durbin walked Yunel Escobar before getting Omar Infante to pop to second to end the inning.

Hamels was behind Escobar 2-1 when rain stopped the game, so when Durbin walked him when the game resumed the walk was charged to Hamels.

Durbin struck out Melky Cabrera to start the second inning before the pitcher Tim Hudson singled to center. Durbin got the next two to leave Hudson stranded.

He walked Glaus with one out in the third and McCann moved Glaus to third with a single. Escobar hit a double-play ball to Castro at third, but the Phillies didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play, cause Castro didn’t handle the grounder cleanly and was charged with an error. Glaus scored to make it 4-0 with McCann going to second and Escobar safe at first. Infante was next and he singled to left, scoring McCann (5-0) and sending Escobar to third. Durbin got out of it without any more damage, getting Cabrera to line to short and Hudson to ground to short.

Big error for Castro at third. With both Valdez and Castro in the starting lineup, the Phils put Castro at third and Valdez at short. That presumably means that the Phils think Valdez is better at short or worse at third.

Bastardo threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He was back for the fifth and walked McCann with one out. Escobar was next and he singled into center, sending McCann to second. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Infante and walked him to load the bases. Cabrera hit a ground ball to second. Utley went to Valdez for the second out, but that’s all the Phillies would get. McCann scored to put Atlanta up 6-0 with two down and men on first and third for Hudson. Hudson grounded to second to end the inning.

Bastardo threw 1 1/3 innings having thrown 22 pitches the day before. He’s been charged with five runs on 14 appearances for the season, three of which have scored in the last two days.

The lead was cut to 6-2 when Romero started the sixth. He walked Heyward with one out and struck Chipper out swinging before Heyward stole second. After the stolen base, the lefty Romero put the righty Glaus on intentionally and got McCann on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Baez pitched the seventh. He gave up a leadoff single to Escobar, but got Infante on a fly ball to left for the first out before getting Cabrera to hit into a double-play.

Baez was back for the eighth. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Takashi Saito to and singled to right. Werth mishandled the ball for the Phillies second error of the game, which allowed Hinske to go to third. Gregor Blanco ran for Hinske and came in to score when Prado followed with a fly ball to right, putting Atlanta up 7-2. Baez walked Heyward and Contreras came in to pitch to Jones, getting Chipper to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Long day for the pen, especially Durbin who threw 51 pitches after throwing seven in Monday’s game. Durbin also pitched three days in a row May 26-28. That’s too much Durbin and you’re not likely to see him for a while. Bastardo was also pitching for the second day in a row. He threw 23 pitches last night after throwing 22 on Monday. Before Monday’s game he hadn’t ever thrown 20 pitches in relief in a game. Now he’s done it twice in two days.

Baez threw 31 pitches in the game. Herndon 12 and Contreras six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Victorino (2) Valdez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Valdez at short. Castro at third. Werth back in the lineup after sitting with his 0-for-19. Ruiz catches. Valdez came into game hitting 333/350/513 over his past 41 plate appearances, but he has a .269 on-base percentage for the season and .272 for his career. Hitting him second in the lineup is a poor idea.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Werth walked with one out in the second and the Phillies down 3-0. Ibanez flew to center and Castro grounded to short.

Ruiz reached on an infield single to start the third. Durbin tried to bunt him to second and couldn’t, striking out for the first out. Victorino struck out too, bringing Valdez to the plate with two outs and Ruiz still on first. Valdez singled to left and Infante mishandled the ball for an error, letting Ruiz go to third and Valdez to second. Utley struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.

Durbin can’t get the bunt down.

Ibanez singled with two outs in the fourth and the Phils down 5-0. Castro grounded to short for the third out.

Ruiz walked to start the fifth. Dobbs, who had entered with Bastardo in the bottom of the fourth, was next and he grounded to third with Ruiz forced at second for the first out. Victorino struck out again before Valdez grounded back to the pitcher.

Second time in three innings the Phillies put the leadoff man on base but didn’t score. Victorino struck out in both innings.

Utley started the sixth with a double. Howard followed and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, cutting the Atlanta lead to 6-2. Werth and Ibanez went down behind him before Gload hit for Herndon and grounded to short.

First home run for Howard since May 21. Including last night, he has hit 139/244/222 in his last 41 plate appearances.

Ruiz singled off of lefty Eric O’Flaherty to start the seventh. Dobbs stayed in the game and singled to right, sending Ruiz to third. Victorino popped to first with the runners holding for the second out. Valdez was next and hit a ground ball to third. Chipper fielded and went to second for an out as Ruiz took off for home. Prado took the throw at second and made a strong throw home, where McCann applied the tag and held the ball as Ruiz slid in to end the frame and turning the Phillies away.

Wow. Great play by Atlanta.

Just a miserable game for Victorino, who can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. He went 0-for-5 and left six men on base in the game.

Dobbs gets a rare at-bat against the lefty with the Phils out of third baseman and comes through with a single. Valdez, Castro and Dobbs are presumably the healthy players on the Phils who could play third. Valdez was playing short and Castro was double-switched out of the game in the fourth.

Werth doubled to center with two outs in the eighth, finally breaking his long slump (he’s 1-for-his-last-22). Ibanez struck out looking for the third.

The Phillies were down 7-2 when they hit in the ninth. Francisco, who had entered with Contreras in the bottom of the eighth, led off with a single to center. Ruiz walked. Dobbs again got to hit against a lefty, this time Jonny Venters, and this time he struck out. Victorino was next and he hit a ground ball back to the pitcher. Venters went to second to force Ruiz for the second out. It brought up Valdez with men on first and third. Victorino took second without a throw before Valdez singled to center, scoring Francisco (7-3) and sending Victorino to third. Utley was hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring Howard to the plate as the tying run. Billy Wagner came in to pitch to Howard and got him to ground an 0-2 pitch to short to end the game.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and struck out twice.

Valdez was 2-for-5 with an RBI and still shouldn’t be hitting second.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double. He’s hitting 176/288/294 over his last 59 plate appearances.

Howard 1-for-5 with a two-run homer. He’s on pace to hit 29 home runs this year and walk 54 times.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. He’s still on pace to set the single-season doubles record with 73.

Ibanez 1-for-4.

Castro was 0-for-2. He’s 4-for-his-last-22. You kind of get the feeling he’s not a Manuel favorite.

Ruiz was 2-for-2 with two walks. He’s 6-for-his-last-12 with four walks.

Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 5.04) faces righty Derek Lowe (7-4, 4.86) this afternoon. Lefties are hitting 343/412/586 against Kendrick for the year. He comes off of a strong start against the Marlins in which he allowed two unearned runs over six innings. Lowe ended April with a 5.79 ERA but has a 2.88 ERA and a 1.16 ratio over his past four starts.

This article suggests that Polanco may play again on Friday.

Freese pop

Joe Blanton was back on the field for the Phils last night. The good news is that he looked good. The bad news is the Phillies lost. Blanton pitched better than his line and started the seventh with the game tied at 1-1. Things fell apart for him in the seventh as he allowed a leadoff home run and a couple of singles. David Freese broke the game open later in the inning off of Figueroa when he blasted a three-run double off the wall in right to put the Cards ahead to stay at 5-1.

Despite the loss, Blanton’s outing was encouraging and there’s every reason to hope that he can bring some stability to a rotation that has seen Kendrick, Moyer and Hamels struggle in the early season. He may want to work on his bunting, though. In last night’s game he had bunted into rally-killing double-plays twice before the end of the fifth inning.

The Phillies are 14-11 on the season after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 6-3 last night.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on ten hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out four. He threw 94 pitches in the game.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Matt Holliday doubled to center to start the second. He went to third on a ground out by David Freese and came in to score when Colby Rasmus flew to center, putting the Cards up 1-0. Yadier Molina followed with a single on a ball deflected by Blanton before the pitcher Jamie Garcia grounded to Utley for the third out.

Brendan Ryan started the third with a single, but was left stranded when the next three hitters went in order behind him.

Rasmus doubled to right with two outs in the fourth. Blanton walked Molina intentionally, putting two men on and letting Blanton face the pitcher Garcia. Garcia grounded to second again.

Ryan started the fifth with a double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, Werth-to-Utley-to-Polanco. Blanton got the next two hitters behind him.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Blanton started the sixth. Freese and Rasmus singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and third. Molina grounded out on a by Ruiz handled out in front of the plate to leave both men stranded and the game tied.

Things went bad for Blanton in the seventh. Nick Stavinoha hit for the pitcher Garcia to start the inning and homered to left to put St Louis ahead 2-1. Blanton got Ryan on a fly ball to center for the first out before Skip Schumaker singled to center. Ryan Ludwick flew to center for the second out. Albert Pujols was next and he singled to center, putting men on first and second. Figueroa came in to pitch to the righty Matt Holliday and uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. With Halladay ahead in the count 3-1 the Phils put him on intentionally to load the bases for Freese. Freese blasted Figueroa’s 0-1 pitch off the wall in right for a double, clearing the bases and putting St Louis up 5-1. Rasmus followed and blooped a single to left, scoring Blanton. 6-1. Ruiz threw Rasmus out trying to steal second.

Ugly. Blanton leaves with two outs and two on and Figueroa gives up the big blow to Freese.

Figueroa was back for the eighth with the St Louis lead cut to 6-2. He gave up a leadoff single to Molina, but got the next three.

Lidge pitched the top of the ninth with the Phils down 6-2. Holliday doubled into the left field corner with two outs, but Lidge struck Freese out swinging to leave him stranded.

Figueroa threw 23 pitches in the game. Lidge 17.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jamie Garcia went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Castro at short with Rollins on the DL. Victorino continues to leadoff.

Victorino led off the first with a single, but was caught stealing second and Polanco and Utley went down behind him. There was a six minute delay to figure out whether or not Utley’s drive down the right field line was fair or foul. They came up with foul and Utley flew to right to end the inning.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second.

Ruiz walked with one out in the third. Blanton tried to move him to second, but bunted into a double-play.

Utley walked with two outs in the fourth. Howard grounded to second behind him.

Werth doubled to start the fifth and Ibanez followed with a single that moved him to third. Castro was next and hit a fly ball to right. Werth tagged and scored, tying the game at 1-1. Ruiz followed with a walk, putting men on first and second with one out. Blanton again bunted into a double-play, ending the inning.

Twice is a lot of times to bunt into a double-play in five innings.

Polanco walked with one out in the sixth. Utley and Howard struck out behind him.

Any inning in which Polanco walks has to be considered a success, no matter how many people strike out behind him.

The Phillies were down 6-1 when they hit in the seventh. Werth led off with a home run to center, cutting the lead to 6-2. Ibanez, Castro and Ruiz went in order behind him.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. With righty Kyle McClellan on the mound for St Louis, Gload hit for Figueroa and flew to right for the first out.

Utley homered off of lefty Trever Miller to start the ninth, cutting the St Louis lead to 6-3. Howard, Werth and Ibanez all struck out behind him to end the game.

Victorino was 1-for-4 in the game. He’s 5-for-his-last-14.

Polanco 0-for-3 with walk. He’s on pace for 19 this season.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run, his eighth of the year. He’s on pace to hit 52 but drive in just 117 runs. Victorino’s .274 on-base percentage and Polanco’s .324 ahead of him aren’t helping the Phillies score runs. He’s 6-for-his-last-13 with five extra-base hits.

Howard was 0-for-4 and struck out three times. He’s on-basing .313 for the year and on pace to walk 32 times.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. He’s 8-for-his-last-15. He’s still on pace for 84 doubles, which would shatter the single season record of 67.

Ibanez was 1-for-4. After walking a lot to start the season he now has walked once in his last 30 at-bats.

Castro 0-for-2 with an RBI. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.

Ruiz was 0-for-1 and walked twice. He’s on pace for 117 walks.

Cole Hamels (2-2, 5.28) faces righty Adam Wainwright (4-1, 2.13) tonight in game two of the four game set. Wainwright has an 0.90 ratio for the season. Opponents are hitting .203 against him for the year. Hamels has had one good start in five outings. Righties are hitting 341/376/602 against him and lefties 128/244/308.

A 17-year-old fan was tasered after running on to the field last night.

This suggests that we should not expect to see Madson in the near future. That is a big problem.

Home is where the early depart is

The Phillies played their home opener yesterday and the outcome of the game or the fact that Cole Hamels didn’t pitch very well is probably less on people’s minds this morning than the fact that two of the guys expected to start the game for the Phils didn’t finish it. Jimmy Rollins was scratched from the lineup just before the game started with a calf strain and Jayson Werth left in the middle with a problem with his hip.

They won, by the way. The Phillies are 6-1 on the season after beating the Nationals 7-4 yesterday. They have won four in a row.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six. His ERA after two starts is 5.06.

He got Nyjer Morgan to fly to left to start the game. Willy Tavares was next and grounded to short. Cristian Guzman was next and he doubled into left on the first pitch of his at-bat, but Hamels struck Dunn out swinging to leave him stranded.

Josh Willingham led off the second and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left to put the Nats up 1-0. Hamels set Ian Desmond, Ivan Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy down behind him.

Hamels set Washington down in order in the third.

Guzman led off the fourth and singled to left. Dunn was next and Hamels hit him with a pitch, putting men on first and second with nobody out. He struck out Willingham for the first out, though, and Desmond behind him for the second. Rodriguez was next and he hit the first pitch he saw into center for a single. Guzman scored to make it 2-0 with Dunn moving up to second. Kennedy walked to load with bases with two down for the pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis doubled softly to left, bringing in Dunn and Rodriguez and the Washington lead was 4-0. Morgan grounded out on a ball that Ruiz took out in front of the plate to end the frame.

The Phillies cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Hamels set down Tavares, Guzman and Dunn on two ground outs and a fly out in the top of the fifth.

The Phillies were up 7-4 when Hamels started the sixth. He got the first two to start the sixth before Rodriguez doubled to center. Kennedy was next and he hit a ball to short that Castro didn’t handle. Castro was charged with an error and Washington had men on first and third with two down. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Jesse English and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to him. Durbin got Gonzalez on a soft grounder to first to end the frame.

Hamels had thrown 109 pitches in the game.

Contreras pitched the seventh for the Phils and set the Nats down in order, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. He’s allowed one hit in three scoreless innings while striking out four so far for the season.

Baez pitched the eighth and walked Dunn to start the inning, but got the next three batters on three ground balls to turn Washington away. Baez has allowed one walk over three scoreless innings in his last three appearances. He’s on pace to appear in 116 games. That would be too many — Pedro Feliciano led all pitchers in appearances in 2009 with 88.

Madson came on in the ninth looking for his second save. He struck Kennedy out for the first out. Willie Harris hit for the pitcher and Madson got him to foul out to Castro for the second out. Morgan grounded to second to end the game.

Baez threw 16 pitches, Contreras 14 and Madson ten. Everyone should be available on Wednesday thanks to the off day today and Halladay’s complete game on Sunday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Marquis went (1) Castro (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. Rollins was a very late scratch with an injury to his right calf. There are no circumstances under which Juan Castro should be your leadoff man, including the circumstance under which your leadoff man gets hurt right before the game starts (possible exception is if the injury happens after the lineup has been submitted and it’s too late to change it, as a commenter points out).

The Phillies went in order in the first and again in the second.

Down 1-0 in the third, Ruiz drew a one out walk. Hamels tried twice to bunt and couldn’t and then hit into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phils were down 4-0 when they hit in the fourth. Polanco singled with one out and Utley followed with a walk. Howard got behind 1-2 quickly, but Marquis didn’t get a couple of close calls and Howard singled into left on a 3-2 pitch. Polanco scored to make it 3-1 and Utley went to third. Washington manager Jim Riggleman was ejected after the at-bat for arguing balls and strikes. Werth was next and hit a ground ball to third. Howard was forced at second for the second out, but Utley scored to make it 4-2. Ibanez flew to left to end the inning.

Victorino struck out to start the fifth, but Ruiz followed with a single to left. Hamels got the bunt down this time and it paid off when Rodriguez tried to get Ruiz at second and the ball went into center field. Rodriguez was charged with an error and the Phils had men on first and second with one out. Castro was next and he delivered a double into center, scoring Ruiz and sending Hamels to third with the lead cut to 4-3. Polanco singled into center and both runners scored, putting the Phils ahead 5-4. Utley was next and he pulled a 1-2 pitch down the line and off the screen for a two-run homer. 7-4. That was it for Marquis and lefty Jesse English came in to pitch to Howard with one out and the bases empty. Howard grounded out for the second out, but Werth dumped a single into center in front of a diving Morgan. English struck Ibanez out to for the third out.

Huge hits for Castro, Polanco and Utley in the inning. Nice to see Hamels get the bunt down, which helped set it all up. Ruiz went into second base hard on the Hamels bunt, making handling the throw from Rodriguez a tough task.

The Phils went in order in the sixth. Gload hit for Durbin with two outs and nobody on and grounded to first.

Castro, Polanco and Utley went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Howard started the eighth with a double off of lefty Sean Burnett. Righty Miguel Batista came in to pitch to Francisco, who had entered to play right when Werth left with a problem with his hip in the seventh, and struck him out. The righty Batista walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally to put men on first and second and then set down Victorino and Ruiz behind him.

Castro was 1-for-4 with a big double and an RBI and made an error.

Polanco 2-for-4 with two RBI, raising his average for the season to .484. He and Howard have combined to drive in 21 of the 50 runs the Phillies have scored on the season — Polanco has 10 RBI and Howard has 11.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Werth 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his early average to .161.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a walk.

No game today.

This suggests that Werth could be back in a few days and it may be longer for Rollins.

Update: This suggests Rollins is likely to go on the DL and Brian Bocock or Wilson Valdez could be added to the roster.

The Start Log is also updated. It shows that the Phillies have two quality starts on the season, both of which were made by Halladay. Happ had one good start where he threw five scoreless innings, but Moyer, Kendrick and Hamels haven’t been good.

The Phillies pitchers other than Halladay have combined to throw to a 5.61 ERA and a 1.56 ratio so far. Only the Nats and Pirates have fewer quality starts so far in the NL.

On the plus side, the Phils lead the league in runs scored and runs allowed. They’ve also scored more runs than any American League team.

Sixth sense

A brief moment to reflect on how the Phillies could be sixth-best in the league overall in runs allowed if their starters were seventh best and their relievers were ninth best.

There were five teams in the NL last year that allowed fewer runs than the Phils. They were the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Braves and Cubs.

By runs allowed per nine innings there were six teams whose starters were better than the Phils in ’09. They were the five above plus the Rockies.

By runs allowed per nine innings there were eight teams better relievers than the Phils. The five above plus the Reds, Brewers and Padres.

If every team plays a similar amount of innings, it’s tough to allow fewer runs overall if both your starters and relievers are worse than the Phils at preventing runs per nine innings. So I don’t think there’s a lot of confusion about how the teams that didn’t have better starters or relievers wound up allowing more runs overall than the Phils. Here’s how the total runs allowed for the four teams that had better starters or relievers than the Phils in ’09 looked for the season:


Runs allowed

  Starters Relievers Total
COL 469 246 715
CIN 509 214 723
MIL 568 250 818
SD 504 265 769
PHI 477 232 709

Despite the fact that they allowed more runs per nine innings, the Phillies relievers allowed fewer runs overall than Milwaukee or San Diego. The Brewers bullpen threw 52 more innings than the Phillies pen while the Padres threw 79 2/3 more.

The Phils scored two in the ninth to top the Yankees 3-2 yesterday. Timing, fellas. Halladay struck out three in two perfect innings and was followed by Kendrick , Contreras and Carpenter, who each threw two scoreless frames. Ozzie Chavez doubled in Juan Castro to put the Phils up 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh. Sergio Escalona got hit in the top of the ninth, yielding two runs on four hits as the Phils fell behind 2-1. Paul Hoover tied it up with an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth and Wilson Valdez’s infield single scored pinch-runner Dewayne Wise to give the Phils the win. Polanco made a throwing error at third and dropped a wind blown foul ball. Release the hounds.

Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer are expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils face the Blue Jays.

Um, really?

Last man sitting

This suggests that the Phillies have signed Ross Gload to a two-year contract.

Gload is a 33-year-old left-handed batter who can play first base and maybe the corner outfield positions. He’s made between five and 20 appearances in the outfield in each of the last four seasons.

Assuming that Dobbs is on the team, the move seems to complete the Phillies offensive roster. Eight regulars: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino and Werth. Five bench guys: Dobbs, Castro, Schneider, Gload and Francisco. That’s three lefties in Schneider, Dobbs and Gload. Dobbs and Gload seem like very similar players — left-handed hitters that don’t do much defensively.

I like this move because I think Gload is a solid hitter, but it’s a little unclear to me if the Phils see Gload as someone who can do anything besides be a left-handed pinch-hitter. It seems like they had that role covered with Dobbs, who saw his defensive use drop dramatically for the Phils in 2009. After appearing in 52 games at third for the Phils in ’08, Dobbs made just 16 there in ’09. Dobbs did miss a lot of time at the end of August and in the first half of September, but the Phillies seemed less interested in playing him at third base in 2009 than they had been the year before. It also seems possible that Dobbs’s injury problems last year made it harder for the Phillies to use him at third — basically I think that the Phillies should keep Dobbs on the team and let him play third more often than they did in 2009. If they aren’t going to let him play third I think that roster spot could be used better, especially with Gload around.

If those are the five guys on the bench when the season starts it leaves the Phils a little thin from the right side. I think there’s a chance there may be more activity around the bench before the season starts because there is so much overlap between what Gload and Dobbs can do.

Gload hit 261/329/400 in 259 plate appearances for the Marlins last season, but a much more impressive 271/345/432 against righties. He has been pretty good against lefties over his career, though, hitting 298/321/382 against left-handed pitching over his career compared to 278/330/414 against righties.

Gload had two really good seasons as a part-time player, both with the White Sox. In 2004 he hit 321/375/479 in 260 plate appearances and in 2006 he hit 327/354/462 in 167 plate appearances. He doesn’t walk or hit for a lot of power, but he is a career .283 hitter.

This suggests that the Phils may still be in the running for Halladay. It also speculates they might have to trade Blanton if they trade for Halladay.

This says the Phils are likely to offer arbitration to Condrey and Durbin. It also says that Mathieson, Escalona and Bastardo could be in the bullpen mix this year.

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