Tag: Juan Rivera

Hollywood ending

Playing their twentieth game in twenty days and the tenth game of a ten-game road trip, the Phils found themselves down 5-0 after an inning in Los Angeles yesterday. After three innings it was 6-0 and it seemed like it might be about time to call it a day, appreciate what a great trip it had been and get ready for the Nationals on Friday night.

Turned out it was time to remember that the Phillies are the best team in baseball.

Hunter Pence got the comeback started with a two-run homer in the fourth. Two defensive miscues in the middle innings by LA helped the Phils score three unearned runs and cut the lead to 6-5 by the time the Phils were done hitting in the fifth. Kendrick allowed a run on a single and a double in the bottom of the fifth to extend the LA lead to 7-5, but the Phils roared back again, getting four runs in the sixth on a two-run single by Utley in front of a two-run shot by Howard that put them on top at 9-7. Madson allowed a run in the ninth, but hung on to get the save and the Phils won 9-8.

The Phillies are 77-40 on the year after beating the LA Dodgers 9-8 yesterday. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep and end their ten-game road trip with a 9-1 mark. The game also was the end of a stretch in which the Phils played 20 games in 20 days. They went 16-4 in those games and will be off today and Monday with a three-game set with the Nats in-between the two off-days.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles, a triple and a home run. He struck out six and his ERA puffed to 2.85. Worley has scuffled in two of his last three starts, allowing 12 runs in 17 innings while opponents have hit .313 and slugged .567 against him. After allowing two home runs in 62 1/3 innings to start the season, Worley has now given up a home run in each of his last four starts, allowing four over 26 innings.

He struck Aaron Miles out looking 0-2 to start the bottom of the first, but things went downhill from there. Worley walked Casey Blake and Andre Ethier back-to-back before Matt Kemp singled into left, scoring Blake to make it 1-0 and moving Ethier to second. Juan Rivera was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch out to left-center for a three-run homer, putting the Dodgers up 4-0. James Loney walked behind Rivera and Dioner Navarro followed that with a double to right. Loney scored and it was 5-0, but Navarro was caught up between second and third and finally tagged out for the second out. Jamey Carroll was next and tripled to left, but was left stranded at third when Worley struck out pitcher Chad Billingsley to end the inning.

Righties came into the game slugging just .270 against Worley for the year, but Rivera takes him deep for a three-run homer, the switch-hitter Navarro doubles and the righty Carroll adds a triple. Navarro making an out on the bases saves the Phils a run when he doesn’t score on the triple by Carroll.

Worley struck out Blake and Ethier in a 1-2-3 second.

Kemp started the third with a double to left and moved to third when Rivera followed with a single to right. Worley struck out Loney for the first out, but Navarro was next and he flew to left, deep enough for Kemp to tag and score and extend the lead to 6-0. Carroll flew to right for the third out.

Miles doubled to left with one out in the fourth. Blake popped to Rollins and Ethier flew to center to leave him stranded.

Five extra-base hits allowed by Worley in four innings.

Kendrick started the fifth for the Phils with the LA lead cut to 6-5. He struck Kemp out swinging for the first out, but Rivera followed and reached on an infield single. The lefty Loney was next doubled to right, scoring Rivera to make it 7-5. Kendrick struck Navarro out swinging 0-2 for the second out and got Carroll to fly to right to leave Loney at second.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Kendrick has some problems with left-handed hitters. They came into the game hitting 248/350/475 against him. Hitting .248 against him is fine — on-basing .350 and slugging .475 is less great. 311/378/524 against Kendrick for his career coming into the game compared to 258/301/391 for righties.

Herndon set the Dodgers down in order in the sixth.

He dropped his ERA to 4.10 on the year with the 1-2-3 frame. After throwing to a 9.28 ERA in 11 appearances in April, Herndon has pitched to a 2.03 ERA 1.01 ratio in 26 2/3 innings over 21 appearances since.

Lidge started the seventh and struck out Ethier for the first out. Kemp followed with an infield single and stole second before Lidge walked Rivera on four pitches. Bastardo came in to face the left Loney and got him on a fly ball to left for the second out. He struck Navarro out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Bastardo bails out Lidge, coming into the game with runners on first and second and one out. Lidge hasn’t been charged with a run in any of his last three appearances, but six of the 12 batters he has faced have reached base on two singles and four walks.

Bastardo was back to shut the Dodgers down in order in the eighth.

After throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the game, Bastardo has now allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings over his last eight appearances. Over those eight appearances he hasn’t walked any of the 25 batters he faced and opponents have hit .125 against him.

Madson started the ninth with a two-run lead. Blake led off with a single to left.

Ethier was next and smashed a ball to left, but Ibanez tracked it down after a long run for the first out. Kemp moved Blake to third with another single to third, putting the tying run on base and bringing Rivera to the plate. Rivera hit a ground ball to second. Utley went to Rollins for the second out as Blake scored to cut the lead to 9-8. Righty Rod Barajas hit for the pitcher Javy Guerra and Trent Oeltjen ran for Rivera at first. Barajas hit a ball well to center, but Victorino took it on the edge of the track to end the game.

Not a real impressive outing for Madson, who got the job done but gave up two hits and got outs on balls hit hard by Ethier and Barajas in the inning. He was pitching for the third straight day and has allowed a run on two hits in an inning in each of his last two appearances.

Madson threw 18 pitches in the game. Kendrick 22, Bastardo 16, Lidge 11 and Herndon five. Madson is the only guy in the pen who has pitched more than one day in a row and the Phils are off today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chad Billingsley went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Martinez. Schneider catches the day game with the righty on the mound for LA. Martinez at third with Valdez on the bench and Polanco sidelined.

Victorino singled with one out in the first. Utley flew to left for the second out before Howard walked, putting men on first and second for Pence. Pence popped to Carroll to leave both runners stranded.

Down 5-0, Ibanez singled to right to start the second. Schneider followed and grounded into a double-play. Martinez flew to left for the third out.

Rollins singled to right with one out in the third. Victorino followed that with a ground-rule double to left that moved Rollins to third. Utley was next and he flew to center. Rollins tried to tag and score, but Loney took the throw from Kemp, threw home and Rollins and was called out to set the Phillies down.

Close play at the plate and it looked like Rollins might have gotten his hand in. Manuel came out to discuss, but with no success.

The Phils were down 6-0 when they hit in the fourth. Howard led off and walked on four pitches. Pence was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to center, getting the Phils on the board at 6-2. Ibanez flew to left for the first out and Schneider grounded to short for the second. Martinez was next and hit a ball through Loney at first. Martinez wound up at second with Loney charged with a two-base error. Worley was next and hit for himself, singling into center. Martinez scored and it was 6-3 with two down and Worley on first. Rollins grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

No play by Loney on the ball hit by Martinez helps the Phils get a run. Worley hits for himself despite having allowed six runs in three innings and comes through. I was expecting a pinch-hitter with the runner in scoring position, especially given the off-day today for the Phils and another coming on Monday.

Victorino led off the fifth and walked on five pitches. Utley flew to left before Howard moved Victorino to second with a single. Pence was next and hit a ball to third that Blake didn’t handle for an error, allowing Victorino to score (6-4) with Howard going to third and Pence winding up at second. Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo took over for Billingsley and Ibanez grounded to first for the second out, but Howard scored from third to cut the lead to 6-5 and Pence moved up to third. Kuo struck Schneider out swinging to leave Pence at third.

Two more unearned runs in the inning for the Phils thanks to the error by Blake at third, which gave them three unearned runs in the last two innings.

The Phils trailed 7-5 when they hit in the sixth. Martinez flew to center for the first out. With the lefty Kuo still on the mound for the Dodgers, Francisco hit for Kendrick and walked on five pitches. Righty Blake Hawksworth came in to pitch to Rollins and Rollins singled to right, moving Francisco up to third. Rollins stole second, but Victorino struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Utley picked him up, though, lining a single to left that scored both runners and tied the game at 7-7. Howard was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch out to left for a two-run homer that put the Phils on top at 9-7. Matt Guerrier took over for Hawksworth and struck out Pence to end the inning.

Looked like a huge strikeout for Victorino with one out and men on second and third, but Utley picks him up with the single and Howard delivers another long ball against a right-handed pitcher.

Schneider singled to right with one out in the seventh. Martinez flew to left for the second out. With the righty Guerrier still pitching for the Dodgers, Mayberry hit for Herndon and struck out swinging to set the Phillies down.

Coming off a stretch where he hit four home runs in 16 at-bats, Mayberry is 0-for-his-last-6.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Pence walked with one out in the ninth, but Ibanez and Schneider went down behind him to leave Pence at first.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game and 5-for-12 with two walks and two doubles in the three-game set. He’s hitting 267/341/401 for the year. 298/403/474 over his last 67 plate appearances.

Victorino 2-for-4 with a walk and a double. 6-for-12 with three doubles and a home run in the series. 312/391/542 for the season.

Utley 1-for-5 with two RBI. 2-for-14 with two RBI in the set. 7-for-his-last-33 with seven singles. He’s hitting 280/368/461 for the year.

Howard was 2-for-3 in the game with two walks and a two-run homer. 4-for-12 with a double and a home run in the game. He’s hit 24 home runs against righties for the year and one against lefties. 252/341/489 for the year.

Pence 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer. 4-for-11 with two walks and a home run in the series. 347/389/592 in 49 plate appearances with the Phils so far. 313/360/484 for the season overall. The Phillies are 11-1 since he joined the team.

Ibanez 1-for-5 with an RBI. 1-for-9 in the series. 1-for-his-last-17. 240/286/416 for the year.

Schneider was 1-for-5 in the game in his only action of the series. He’s hitting 180/253/292 for the year. Ruiz was 1-for-8 in the series and is hitting 261/360/367 for the season.

Martinez 0-for-4 to drop his average on the year to .216. He was 1-for-8 in the series. 4-for-his-last-30 with a walk and a double. 216/258/304 for the year. Valdez didn’t play but was 1-for-4 in the series and is hitting 236/283/298 on the season.

The Phillies don’t play today. They start a three-game set with the Nationals at home tomorrow.

Philliesflow won’t be updated again until August 23.

What now?

It’s no secret the Phils are going to need to add a right-handed outfielder to try and replace some of Jayson Werth’s production. The Phillies already have Ben Francisco, and this article from yesterday mentions as possible additions Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Scott Hairston, Juan Rivera and Josh Willingham. Matt Diaz won’t be with the Phils this year, cause he just signed with the Pirates, but Jeff Francoeur rumors abound and the same names keep on coming up.

Today’s point is that Josh Willingham is a lot better hitter than the rest of those guys.

Here’s the ’11 age, career numbers and OPS for each of the players mentioned above as well as what they’ve done in the last three years:

’11 Age Career OPS Last 3
Francisco 29 263/329/446 775 263/331/442 773
Francoeur 27 268/310/425 735 256/301/389 690
Diaz 33 301/350/456 806 281/342/438 780
S Hairston 31 245/303/435 737 245/305/432 737
Rivera 32 280/328/461 789 266/314/445 760
Willingham 32 265/367/475 841 260/373/476 850

It’s really not very close. Diaz is the only guy on the list who is really close to Willingham. And Diaz can’t hit right-handed pitching and is on the Pirates. Here’s what the career splits against righties and lefties look like for those guys:

vs R OPS vs L OPS
Francisco 262/323/440 762 267/347/460 806
Francoeur 256/296/403 699 299/343/481 824
Diaz 269/327/382 710 335/373/533 907
S Hairston 227/288/402 690 278/331/498 829
Rivera 276/326/441 768 288/333/499 832
Willingham 264/382/446 828 277/409/500 909

Willingham has the best numbers of those six players against both righties and lefties. All of the other guys on the list have a career on-base percentage against righties that’s under .330. If the question is who is the player besides Willingham on that list who is better than Francisco, I think a reasonable answer is nobody. At least nobody is enough of an improvement to be worth investing in. Rivera has been better over his career, but I don’t think you would have enough confidence that he’s going to be significantly better in 2011 to put both of them on the team next year.

The problem of course, is that Willingham isn’t a free agent. The Phils would have to trade for him to get him from the Nationals and he is due to become a free agent after the end of the 2011 season. So, better or not, I am going to be surprised if Willingham winds up with the Phils.

Finally, the list of players the Phillies are considering is surely larger than the five (now four) non-Phillies listed above. A bunch of right-handed bats remain available, including Jose Guillen, Bill Hall, Andruw Jones, Austin Kearns and Magglio Ordonez. Some people think the Padres might be persuaded to trade Ryan Ludwick. This article suggests that Aaron Rowand has “become a strong consideration” off of three bad years in a row and a terrible 2010 in which he on-based .281. A lot of those guys bring some baggage with them, like being about to be suspended for a long time or having not been good since 2008, or just have a strong need to be unconsidered really soon, but they’re out there.

And that’s good news for the Phillies. Cause the guys people are speculating they might have interest in aren’t that exciting, except for the one they’re probably not going to be able to get.

Come to think of it, I don’t really care for how Jayson Werth has been distributed either

The Phillies played 162 regular season games in 2010 and scored 772 runs, which is about 4.77 runs per game. Not every starting pitcher got the same offensive support in their starts, of course. For example, the Phillies went 18-15 in the games that Cole Hamels started, but fared better in the games that Joe Blanton started (17-11) despite the fact that Hamels pitched much better. That has a whole lot to do with what their offense did in the games started by Hamels compared to what it did in the games that Blanton started. In the games that Hamels started, the offense scored an average of 3.76 runs per game, which is more than a full run lower than their average for the season. In the games that Blanton started, the offense scored an average of 5.89 runs per game — more than a full run more than their average for the season.

If the Phils had scored 4.77 runs in each of the 162 games they had played, they would have gone 98-64 instead of 97-65. That’s not much of a difference. But while it might not add up to a huge difference overall, it did make a difference when it came to their results based on who the game’s starting pitcher was.

The table below shows, for the six Phillies who started at least 12 games for the team in 2010, the average runs scored per game in that pitcher’s starts, the team’s actual record in their starts, what the team’s record would have been if they had scored 4.77 runs in every game started by that pitcher, and the wins the team would have added or lost if that had happened.

R per game Team actual
W-L if team
scored 4.77 in every game
Wins +/-
Hamels 3.76 18-15 22-11 +4
Halladay 4.42 22-11 26-7 +4
Oswalt 4.33 10-2 11-1 +1
Moyer 4.58 9-10 9-10 0
Kendrick 5.48 17-14 15-16 -2
Blanton 5.89 17-11 11-17 -6

So, for example, the Phillies scored 3.76 runs per game in the 33 games that Hamels started and went 18-15. If the Phillies had scored 4.77 runs in every game that Hamels started, but allowed runs exactly as they did, they would have gone 22-11 in the games that Hamels started. That’s four more wins, which is why there’s a four in the +/- column.

For me, the biggest surprise is how things evened out. The Phils may have cost themselves some games in 2010 by not putting up runs with Halladay and Hamels on the mound, but they just about made up for it by pounding the ball when Blanton and Kendrick were on the hill. As I mentioned above, if they had scored the same number of runs in every game they only would have won one more game. And that’s if they could figure out how to put .77 runs on the board.

Did you hear the one about the Phillies’ best offensive player from last year deciding he’d rather play for a team that has lost 298 games over the past three years and has made the playoffs less often in the 42-year history of its organization than the Phillies have in the last two years? And that the Phils won’t be getting a good pick back as compensation? It’s a hoot.

That said, it’s tough to be too hard on Werth. What with putting up a 1.361 OPS against the Rays in ’08 as he helped the Phils win the World Series and whatnot.

No worries, though, this article suggests that Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Scott Hairston, Josh Willingham or Juan Rivera might be the cure for what ails the Phils. I’m having some trouble getting excited about that, really especially Francoeur, Diaz or Hairston. Willingham or Rivera might be okay, I suppose.

In this article linked above, Amaro seems to suggest that Domonic Brown might not start the year with the Phils. It suggests that Amaro said that Gload might be part of a left-handed platoon in the outfield. Maybe they can put Gload and Rivera out there and give us all a chance to see just how fast Shane Victorino really can be.

Pat chat

I still think the likely solution in left field for the Phillies is that they’ll bring back Pat Burrell. In case they don’t, the list below includes hitters that 1) are right-handed 2) have spent time in the outfield over the past three seasons and 3) were among the top 40 right-handed hitters who got at least 400 plate appearances in 2006, 2007 or 2008 (using OPS as the measure). The left column is their name, the middle column is their OPS over the last three seasons and in the right column is a note if the player is thought to be available via free agency or trade.

Player OPS 2006-2008 Indications
the player is available?

Better OPS than Burrell 2006-2008
Manny Ramirez 991 YES — FREE
Matt Holliday
Ryan Braun 938
Vlad Guerrero 925
Ryan Ludwick 913 MAY BE
910 MAY BE
Carlos Lee 901
Jermaine Dye 900 MAY BE
Pat Burrell 889 YES — FREE

Worse OPS than Burrell ’06-’08
Jason Bay 859
Alex Rios 836
Hunter Pence 834
Ty Wigginton 827
Torii Hunter 825
Xavier Nady 824

Conor Jackson

Juan Rivera 821 YES — FREE
Corey Hart 816
Vernon Wells 814
Aaron Rowand 803
BJ Upton 801
Mike Cameron 801 MAY BE

Marlon Byrd

790 MAY BE
Bill Hall 786
Reed Johnson 778
Melvin Mora 770
Justin Upton 769

Several of the players without a note in the right column are surely available, I only made a note where for players where there have been stories in the press suggesting their team may be looking to trade them. I’d guess that Morgan Ensberg could be pried away from Cleveland, for example.

That’s not a real long list when you’re looking to replace Burrell. I think there’s very little chance the Phillies sign Manny or trade for Ludwick or Ordonez. Trading for Jermaine Dye seems somewhat more reasonable, but you’d still have to pay him big money plus give up players to get him. It is a shorter term commitment, which is no doubt appealing, but Burrell is also younger than Dye and has been better over the past two seasons. Dye was a monster in 2006 when he hit 44 home runs, which puts his OPS for the three-year period ahead of Burrell at .900. Over the last two seasons, though, Dye has posted an .847 OPS. I think it’s likely that Burrell will outproduce him offensively in 2009.

Jason Bay is an interesting name on the list. He’s almost surely going nowhere after joining the Red Sox last season, but two of his last three seasons have been outstanding. He was miserable in 2007, but in ’06 and ’08 he hit to an impressive .911 OPS. If there was an opportunity to acquire him it looks like it closed last season, though, and you gotta believe the Phillies did the right thing what with winning the World Series and whatnot.

Josh Willingham is another guy that caught my eye. In what looks to me to be an outstanding deal for the Nationals, Florida sent Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Nats last week for Emilio Bonifacio and minor leaguers Jake Smolinski (2B) and PJ Dean (RHP). Willingham can hit — I’d be surprised if both of these things proved to be true: 1) the Phillies think they will not be able to bring back Burrell and 2) they had no interest in trading for Willingham. If they don’t think it’s very likely they will re-sign Burrell and could have gotten Willingham, I think they made a mistake (especially if the price the Nats paid reflects what it would have cost the Phillies). Either way, it looks like the window to trade for him is closed as well.

Juan Rivera has had one good season out of the last three. Replacing Burrell’s bat with his, or a platoon of Rivera/Stairs, Jenkins/Stairs or Dobbs/Stairs would mean a big dropoff in offensive production at the position for the Phils. One of the things about Rivera that’s not true of a lot of the players lower on the list is that he’s been about as good against lefties as righties over his career, hitting 284/336/458 against left-handed pitching and 284/322/486 against righties. So unlike some of the other options, Rivera wouldn’t need to purely be a platoon player.

Here’s eight more available right-handed hitters and what they’ve done over the past three seasons with the bat, again using OPS as the measure:

Player OPS
Moises Alou 910
Gabe Kapler 753
Kevin Mench 730
Emil Brown 727
Jay Payton 692

Alou’s .910 OPS over the last three years is a bit misleading. He had 49 at-bats in 2008. I don’t think it’s likely that the Phillies would bring in Alou to be the main guy in left field given his age and injury history.

Close to zero chance they bring back Jason Michaels, I would guess. Jay Payton also seems exceptionally unlikely.

Hairston’s numbers over the past three years are miserable, but he did post career highs in ’08 as he posted a 326/384/487 line in 261 at-bats. To count on that kind of production as a regular player or even a platoon player in left field would be a huge mistake that the Phillies are very unlikely to make.

I’d love to see Baldelli on the Phillies, but not as the guy the Phils were counting on to play in left field regularly given his health concerns. I think whoever winds up with Baldelli in 2009 will be looking for a backup plan — if it’s the Phils let’s hope it’s a good one.

Mench has great career numbers against lefties, 299/358/542, better than Kapler’s 294/344/484. Either of those guys would have to man left as part of a platoon and Mench looks like the better option.

Emil Brown blasted 72 doubles in 2005 and 2006, but on-based .246 against righties in 2007 and .272 against them in ’08. So if he does anything for the Phils lets home it’s against left-handed pitching. His career line against lefties is 270/338/446, worse than Kapler and Mench.

Again, the emergence of Werth in 2008 took a big right-handed bat off the bench for the Phils. I think the Phillies need to add two right-handed hitters to their team before the start of ’09, meaning there may be room for Burrell plus another guy on one of the two lists. The dream scenario in my mind would be to add Burrell and Baldelli, although I would guess the chances of that are close to zero given that Baldelli will have lots of opportunities to join teams that will be able to give him far more playing time.

In a scenario where the Phillies don’t bring back Burrell, they seem almost guaranteed to lose offense at the position. In a Burrell-free world, my first guess would be that they would bring in Rivera. Second guess would be that they try to sign one of Baldelli, Kapler, Mench or Brown to come in and share left in a platoon with Stairs, Dobbs or Jenkins. I put Mench at the top of that wish list just because of the numbers against lefties over his career, but Baldelli would be high on it as well. If it were Baldelli the Phils would almost surely have to add a second right-handed bat that can play outfield as insurance.

I will be surprised if the Phillies trade for anyone to play left field for them, given the Willingham trade and the options that appear to be available without a trade.

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