Tag: Laynce Nix

Three’s a kind of motley crowd

I think the Phillies are going to add an outfielder in the near future.

If they don’t, they seem poised to start 2013 with a combination of Laynce Nix, John Mayberry and Darin Ruf manning left field. There’s a whole lot of problems with that. One of them is that that’s one too many right-handed hitters for a two-man platoon — Mayberry and Ruf can’t both play left field against a lefty.

The most likely scenario if the roster plays out as it is has Mayberry or Ruf on the bench against left-handed pitching. I think there are two other possibilities, though, one that could happen and one that almost surely could not. The first is that the other could play right field against a lefty with Brown on the bench. The second is the other could play first base with Howard on the bench (that’s the one that’s not going to happen whether it makes sense or not).

Domonic Brown is 25-years-old and has 109 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching in which he has hit 208/284/302 with one home run, which came on September 10, 2012, off of Wade LeBlanc. Not trying to be a downer here, but lefties slugged .547 against the lefty LeBlanc in 2012. So he wasn’t exactly a lefty-killer.

Still, one can argue that Brown has the potential to develop into a very good all-around player against left-handed pitching, that getting to that point is going to require at-bats against lefties and giving them to him is in the best interest of the Phillies.

I think there’s also a case to be made that we simply don’t have enough data on Domonic Brown hitting against left-handed pitching. Similarly, you could also say there’s just not enough data on Ruf to conclude Ruf is going to be better all-around against lefties in right field than Brown. It seems likely he would offer more offensively, but with a huge question mark in terms of the glove. I do think it’s reasonable to conclude that Mayberry would be better in right overall against lefties than Brown in the short term, but Mayberry is probably in the lineup against a lefty in left field anyway given that we know he can handle left defensively and hit lefties. We don’t know either of those things about Ruf. My guess is that Ruf’s outfield defense will make it tough to play him there. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

With Ryan Howard, it’s not the case that we’re lacking data against left-handed pitching. He’s been terrible against lefties in four of the last five years.

There is close to no chance we’re going to see Mayberry take a significant number of starts from Howard against lefties at first in 2013 when Howard is healthy. But it’s likely he would deliver better performance than Howard if he did, both offensively and defensively.

Here’s what Howard and Mayberry have done against left-handed pitching over the last five seasons (Mayberry only got at least 50 plate appearances against lefties in 2011 and 2012):

Howard Mayberry
Year PA wOBA vs L Line vs L PA wOBA vs L Line vs L
2012 106 .261 173/226/378 180 .345 271/317/494
2011 185 .283 224/286/347 120 .405 306/358/595
2010 216 .359 264/333/492 6 - -
2009 252 .290 207/298/356 38 - -
2008 265 .319 224/294/451 - - -

In each of the last two years, Mayberry has been clearly better than Howard against lefties. 2010 is the only year in the last five that Howard has been non-terrible against lefties. In that season, Howard hit for about the same average that Mayberry hit against lefties in 2012, the lesser of Mayberry’s last two seasons against lefties, with about the same power. He walked a little more.

Mayberry is almost surely going to be better offensively against lefties than Howard is in 2013.

He would very likely be better defensively as well. Howard posted a negative dWAR for the seventh straight year in 2012 and his UZR/150 of -15.6 at first base was the worst mark for his career. Mayberry’s career UZR/150 at first in about 285 defensive innings is -0.2.

Of course, Mayberry doesn’t have to play first to get into the lineup against lefties. In fact, given the current roster, outfield options and the fact that he’s almost surely a better defense outfielder than Ruf, Mayberry seems likely to be starting in left field against left-handed pitching if the roster stays the same.

So the question really becomes whether Ruf would be better overall against lefties than Howard. There’s close to no data on Ruf in the majors, but to me the answers are both that he likely would fare better than Howard against lefties and that’s it’s not likely to happen a whole lot in 2013, if ever, as long as Howard is healthy.

Jonathan Singleton, traded the the Astros in the deal that brought Hunter Pence to the Phillies in July of 2011, has been suspended for 50 games for violating the minor league drug policy.

Polanco says he ready to be the everyday third baseman for Miami. Not It.

Their better half

In the most recent post, I took a guess at the hitters who might start the year with the Phillies as well as the guys contending for the other spots. Here’s today’s guess about the pitchers:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Horst (L)
12 R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)

Lannan and Bastardo are the guys I feel least sure of among the eight pitchers I have on the team. But I think they both start the year on the staff with Lannan serving as the fifth starter. Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Kendrick, Papelbon and Adams seem like locks if they are healthy, although I think it’s possible, but unlikely, that Kendrick could be pitching out of the pen at the start of the year.

If those eight guys did make the opening day roster for the Phils, it would leave the pitching staff with four open slots (assuming the team starts the year with 12 pitchers).

Of those four spots, one should go to a long man, or at least someone who could pitch more than one inning, and at least one other would go to a lefty.

The Phillies have a lot of options when it comes to the second lefty in the pen. Horst and Valdes were both very good in 2012 and I think it’s possible they both make the team to start the year. If it’s just one of them, I’d give Horst an advantage over Valdes. I think Horst is pretty close to a lock to start the year with the team.

I think the issue of who will be the long man out of the pen is more complicated. Kendrick is the guy best-suited for that role, but the Phillies would likely prefer to have him pitch out of the rotation, coming off of a 2012 in which he threw to a 2.43 ERA over his last ten starts. Cloyd, Ethan Martin or Jonathan Pettibone seem like the candidates to make the team that are mostly likely to be able to give the Phillies more than one inning, but I have a little trouble seeing the Phillies carrying one of them to pitch out of the pen to start the year. My guess at this point would be that the Phillies don’t have a true long man out of the pen to start the year.

So if Horst takes one of the four open spots, that leaves the Phils with three.

The guy I feel next strongest about is Aumont, given the combination of his upside and some promising results in 2012. I’ll slot him into the tenth spot.

I think it’s really wide open after that. At this point I’ll take Valdes, based on his impressive 2012, for the eleventh slot. Beyond that I see it as close to a toss-up between Stutes and De Fratus as front-runners for the final spot. Stutes is coming off of a significant injury that sidelined him for much of 2012 and both should contribute to the team this year. Stutes helped the Phils a lot in 2011 and De Fratus has had several very impressive years in the minors in a row.

I’ll pick De Fratus for the twelfth spot.

So that gives the Phils 12 pitchers — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Lannan, Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus. Five starters, seven relievers. Three lefties out of the pen and no long man in relief.

If that’s the staff heading into 2013, I expect we’ll all feel a whole lot more comfortable with the pitching than we do with the hitting to start the year.

This article from the Phillies web site adds Michael Cuddyer to the list of players the Phils might be pursuing that includes Hairston, Wells and Soriano.

This article suggests that if the outfield situation stays the same, we may see Brown getting a chance to be the everyday guy in right field to start the year with a platoon in left that includes some combination of the lefty Nix and righties Ruf and Mayberry. Mayberry seems like he should be a candidate to get some at-bats at first base against left-handed pitching as well.

There are a bunch of problems in left if that proves to be the case. One is that it’s hugely unlikely that Laynce Nix is going to be able to take all or maybe even most of the at-bats against righties in left field in 2013. Nix is 32 and has never gotten more than 400 plate appearances in a season. Phillie left fielders are going to get around 480 plate appearances against right-handed pitching in 2013. Nix has never had more than 321 plate appearances against righties in a season. So it seems likely that some parts of that platoon would be hitting a lot against righties. I don’t think you want to see a whole lot more of Mayberry hitting against righties given his 229/291/335 line against them in 2012. We’ll see on Ruf. He was 5-for-17 against righties last year with a home run.

The other important problem with Nix as the left-handed part of a platoon in left is that Nix, despite his left-handedness, isn’t exactly a fabulous hitter against right-handed pitching anyway. His career line against righties is 253/297/447. Last year he got just 117 plate appearances against righties, but put up a 248/316/390 line. So Nix probably couldn’t completely man a left-handed platoon in left anyway and if he could, you might not want him to.

Blanton leaves some wondering why he’s so eager to catch a plane if it’s only going to bring him back to Earth

Joe Blanton was outstanding yesterday, throwing a complete game three-hit shutout as the Phils topped the Braves 4-0. Pitching in the early afternoon the day after a 15-13 marathon, Blanton needed just 88 pitches to get the job done in a game that took just two hours and two minutes.

First complete game for Blanton since 2007. Maybe his best start since joining the Phillies, and almost surely his best since September 22, 2009. He held the Marlins to two hits and two walks over seven innings that day and struck out nine. Maybe the best of his career since throwing a complete-game three hitter against the Twins while with the A’s on June 2, 2007.

The Phillies are 13-13 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 4-0 yesterday. They take the series two games to one.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three singles, no walks and striking out six. He dropped his ERA on the year to 2.83, which is four-best among the six Phillies who have started a game for the team this season.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman singled to center with two outs, but Blanton got Dan Uggla to ground to short for the third out.

Blanton didn’t allow a base-runner in the second, third or fourth. He struck out Juan Francisco in the second. He got Pastornicky looking in the third and Martin Prado looking in the fourth.

Still up a run, Blanton got the first two to start the fifth, striking Francisco out again for the second out. David Ross was next and reached on an infield single, but Blanton got Pastornicky to ground to short for the third out.

Blanton got the Braves in order in the sixth. Pitcher Randall Delgado was the first hitter for Atlanta and hit the ball well, but Victorino made a nice running catch to take it for the first out.

Blanton had thrown 67 pitches through six innings.

He started the seventh with Polanco at third, Galvis at second and Wigginton moved over to first. The Braves went in order again.

He struck Francisco out for the third time in the game as he threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Livan Hernandez to start the ninth and struck out swinging. Bourn followed with a single into center, putting a runner on first for Martin Prado. Prado hit the ball hard, but Galvis speared his line drive at second and threw to first to double-off Bourn, ending the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Randall Delgado (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Orr (8) Schneider. Polanco on the bench with Wigginton at third. Pierre in left after sparking a ninth-inning rally in game two of the set. Nix at first. Schneider catches the day game after a night game. Orr at second against the righty with the weak-hitting Galvis on the bench.

Rollins led off the game with a single to left and moved up to second when Pierre bunted for a single. Victorino was next and flew to right for the first out with Rollins moving up to third. Pence followed with a ball to center for the second out, deep enough for Rollins to tag and score, putting the Phils up 1-0. Wigginton struck out swinging to set the Phillies down.

Nix led off the second with a single to left, but Orr, Schneider and Blanton all went down behind him.

The Phils went in order in the third. Pierre again tried to bunt for a hit, but Francisco caught it in the air for the second out.

Pence struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.

Blanton struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Rollins, Pierre and Victorino went down in the sixth.

Pence and Wigginton both grounded out to start the seventh, but Nix was next and he a 2-1 pitch from Delgado out to center to put the Phils up 2-0. Orr singled to right, but was thrown out trying to steal second with Schneider at the plate.

For his career, Orr now has 16 stolen bases and has been caught seven times. Safe about 69.6% of the time. Might want to think about staying put.

Blanton reached on an infield single with one out in the eighth, but Rollins hit into a double-play behind him.

Pierre singled to left to start the ninth. Victorino was next and hit a 2-2 pitch from Hernandez out to right, putting the Phils up 4-0. Pence followed that with a double to left. Wigginton struck out for the first out before Polanco moved Pence up to third with a ground out to second. Galvis flew to center to leave him there.

First home run of the year for Victorino against a right-handed pitcher. He came into the game hitting 228/274/241 against righties.

Rollins was 1-for-4 in the game and 4-for-15 in the series. He’s hitting 240/280/270 for the year. Three extra-base hits, all doubles, in 108 plate appearances on the year.

Pierre 2-for-4. 2-for-5 with a walk in the series. 324/368/352.

Victorino 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the game and 5-for-14 with a home run in the set. 245/286/406 for the year. The list of Phillies that are on-basing .310 or less for the season includes Polanco, Pence, Victorino, Rollins, Mayberry, Thome and Galvis.

Pence 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI in the game. 4-for-12 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 263/302/404 on the year.

Wigginton 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-12 with two walks and five strikeouts in the series. 6-for-his-last-21 with six singles. 310/375/437 for the year.

Nix 2-for-3 with his second homer of the year. 5-for-9 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 342/419/658 for the year. He’s fifth in the NL in slugging percentage among players with 25 or more plate appearances.

Orr 1-for-3 in the game and in the series. 292/320/458 for the year. His isolated power of .167 is third-best on the team behind Nix and Ruiz. That might not even last all season.

Polanco 0-for-1 in the game and 4-for-11 in the series. 265/307/301 for the year (an isolated power of .036).

Galvis 0-for-1. 2-for-11 with a double in the series. 190/220/291 for the year. His OPS for the year peaked at .669 after going 1-for-4 with a double against the Giants on April 16. Since then he’s 8-for-48 with two walks and two doubles (167/200/208 over 51 PA).

Mayberry didn’t have an at-bat yesterday. He was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double in the series. He’s hitting 226/241/283 for the season.

Kendrick (0-2, 6.59) faces righty Steven Strasburg (2-0, 1.13) tonight. Kendrick has made two starts this year. The first, against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, was a disaster, but he was a lot better his last time out, holding the Cubs to two earned runs over six innings. Strasburg has made five starts on the year and allowed one or no runs in four of them. He allowed two runs in the other start. Strasburg has made one other appearance against the Phillies, which came on August 21, 2010.

After spending most of the month looking for the offense, some wonder if it might have been in Arizona all along

Always the last place you look.

The Phillies have hit just 12 home runs this season, but three of them came last night as an offensive explosion and a solid start by Vance Worley got them past the Diamondbacks.

Laynce Nix had a fantastic game, going 3-for-3 with a long home run and hitting another ball off the wall. Pence, just off of missing a game with a shoulder problem and coming into the game 1-for-his-last-16, homered as well. Victorino hit his second home run in two days.

Over the last two games, the Phillies have scored 13 runs. Coming into the series in Arizona, the Phils had scored ten runs in their last six games combined.

Last night’s game was the first time this season that the Phillies have won a game in which they allowed more than two runs.

The Phillies are 8-10 on the year after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 last night. The teams have split the first two games of the series, with the Snakes outscoring the Phils 14-13.

Worley started the game for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out six and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.16 after four starts. He has struck out 27 in 25 innings for the year. Over his last two starts he has allowed one run over 13 innings while striking out 17.

Justin Upton singled to center with two outs in the first, but Worley got Miguel Montero to fly to left for the third out.

Cody Ransom singled to center with two outs in the second, but Worley got Willie Bloomquist on a ball Worley handled himself to end the inning.

Worley walked Aaron Hill with two outs in the third. Upton hit a ball hard, but Worley again took it himself for the third out.

Third straight inning that Worley had gotten the first two batters in the inning before allowing the third to reach base.

He started the fourth up 4-0 and set the Snakes down in order.

Ransom led off the bottom of the fifth and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left, cutting the Phillies lead to 4-1. Worley got the next two before Parra doubled to left. Hill was next and Worley hit him, putting runners on first and second with two down for Upton. Upton grounded to second to end the inning.

Montero led off the sixth with a single to right, but Worley struck Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt out behind him. Ransom grounded to third to end the inning.

Contreras started the seventh with a 7-1 lead. Bloomquist led off with a double to right on a ball deflected by Victorino. Ryan Roberts hit for the pitcher Bryan Shaw and he doubled, scoring Bloomquist. 7-2. Parra was next and grounded a ball past a diving Orr and into right center for another double. Roberts scored and it was 7-3. Contreras struck out Hill for the first out before Parra stole third. Upton grounded to short for the second out, with Parra coming in to score and cut the lead to 7-4. Bastardo came in to face the lefty Montero and got him to pop to short to end the inning.

Contreras faces five batters in the inning, allowing three runs on three doubles and a stolen base. After three outings, he’s allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings for the season.

Bastardo still hasn’t gotten more than two outs in any of his five appearances, but has struck out five in 2 2/3 innings and been charged with just one run.

Qualls started the eighth with the Phils up 8-4. Kubel led off and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 8-5. Qualls struck out Goldschmidt, Ransom and Bloomquist behind Kubel.

That’s the first run that Qualls has been charged with for the season. In seven innings he’s allowed one run on four hits and two walks. He hasn’t allowed a lot of homers over his career, so let’s hope he doesn’t start now.

Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a three-run lead to get his sixth save of the year.

Papelbon has allowed one run on six hits and two walks over eight innings so far.

Overall, the bullpen went three innings in the game, allowing four runs on four hits and no walks while striking out five.

Contreras has thrown two days in a row, with less than fantastic results. He threw 15 pitches in the game. Qualls threw 15 and Papelbon and Bastardo were both under ten.

Michael Stutes has been put on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and Michael Schwimmer called up.

The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Collmenter went (1) Pierre (2) Orr (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Victorino (6) Wigginton (7) Nix (8) Schneider. Pence returns after taking a day off with a shoulder problem. Galvis and Ruiz on the bench with Orr at second and Schneider catching. Wigginton at third with Polanco on the bench. Mayberry on the bench with Pierre in right despite going 2-for-4 with a double and an outfield assist in game one of the set.

Pierre led off the bottom of the first with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal second for the first out. Orr and Rollins went down behind him.

Three stolen bases for the year for Pierre and two caught stealings. He’s also been picked off once.

Pence and Wigginton struck out in a 1-2-3 second.

Nix hit a ball off the middle of the wall in right for a long single to start the third. Schneider flew to right for the first out. Worley was next and bunted, but Collmenter threw to second to force Nix for the second out. Pierre grounded to Collmenter to set the Phillies down.

Worley can’t move Nix up to second with the bunt, which might have cost the Phils a run given that Orr singled to start the fourth.

Orr singled to right to start the fourth. Rollins was next and grounded to second with Orr forced at second for the first out. Pence was next and hit the first pitch of his at-bat just out to right for a two-run homer, putting the Phils on top 2-0. Victorino popped to second for the second out before Wigginton doubled to left. Nix was next and he blasted the first pitch of his at-bat way out to right for his first homer with the Phils. 4-0. Schneider singled before Worley struck out to leave him at first.

Three extra-base hits in the inning for the Phillies. Pence and Nix both hit their homers off of Collmenter on the first pitch of their at-bat.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

With the lead cut to 4-1, they went in order again in the sixth.

Nix and Schneider singled back-to-back to start the seventh, putting runners on first and second for Worley. Polanco hit for Worley with the righty Collmenter still on the mound for Arizona. Righty Bryan Shaw came in to pitch to Polanco and Polanco bunted the runners up to second and third with the first out. Pierre was next and he hit a ball into left that appeared to have been caught by a sliding Kubel. The Phillies, however, got the call and Pierre had a single that loaded the bases for Orr. Orr lined a triple into the right-field corner, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 7-1. Rollins struck out swinging for the second out. Pence flew to center for the third.

Pierre was out, but the Phils get the call an extra run. Rollins strikes out with a man on third base and one out after the Orr triple.

Victorino led off the eighth with the lead cut to 7-4 and homered to left, extending the lead to 8-4. Wigginton flew to left for the first out. Ruiz hit for Bastardo and flew to left for the second. Mayberry hit for Schneider and popped to first for the third.

Second homer in two games for Victorino. Third home run in the game for the Phillies.

Polanco, Thome (hitting for Qualls) and Galvis went in order in the ninth with the lead cut to 8-5.

Thome struck out swinging for the second out. He’s now 2-for-17 on the season (.118) with two singles and ten strikeouts in 19 plate appearances.

The Phillies scored eight runs in the game without a walk.

Pierre was 2-for-4 with a caught stealing, upping his line on the year to 333/357/370.

Orr was 2-for-4 with a three-run triple. He’s 4-for-11 on the season with three extra-base hits and leads the team in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a strikeout with Orr on third and one out in the seventh. He’s hitting .229 for the year after going 2-for-his-last-25.

Pence 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. He was 1-for-his-last-16 coming into the game.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a home run. He’s homered two days in a row, but is 2-for-his-last-16 with two home runs.

Wigginton 1-for-4 with a double. 353/410/529 in his last 39 plate appearances since going 1-for-9 to start the season.

Nix was 3-for-3 with a two-run homer, upping his line to 333/391/619 for the year after 23 plate appearances. He went 0-for-5 to start the season and has gone 7-for-16 with a walk, three doubles and a home run since (438/471/813).

Schneider 2-for-3 to up his average to .267. He’s 4-for-his-last-9.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 2.95) faces righty Trevor Cahill (1-1, 2.84) this afternoon. Hamels has allowed three runs over 13 innings in his last two starts and has 23 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings for the year. Cahill allowed seven runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings in his most recent outing. He has allowed just 13 hits in 19 innings, but walked ten.

Past weekend edition

The Phillies played two games with the Blue Jays this weekend, winning one and losing one.

Toronto hammered the Phils 10-2 yesterday in a game memorable because Hamels and Contreras combined to allow nine runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Hamels got the start and didn’t fare well, allowing five runs on eight hits and no walks over 3 1/3 innings. Only four of the runs were earned thanks to a fourth-inning throwing error by Mayberry at first. Eight hits is a lot to allow in 3 1/3 innings — opponents are now hitting .322 against Hamels in official Spring Training action. His ERA is 3.86. Qualls followed Hamels and he pitched very well, facing six hitters and retiring five of them (the other reached on an error by Frandsen, his fourth). Contreras started the sixth and things didn’t go well. He faced five hitters, striking out one and allowing two singles, two doubles and a stolen base. After he left, Herndon promptly allowed a two-run homer to Jose Bautista, with one of the runs charged to Contreras and leaving Contreras with a 108.00 ERA after one official appearance. Herdon went 1 2/3 frames, allowing a run on two hits and upping his ERA to 2.57. Opponents have hit .310 against Herndon so far. Bastardo threw a scoreless eighth, allowing a single and a walk to the first two men he faced but keeping the Blue Jays off the board.

Montanez started in left and went 3-for-4 with a double, raising his line to a monster 448/452/655. Pierre was 1-for-1 to raise his average to .267. Podsednik 1-for-1 and has a 371/450/514 line.

Mayberry started at first, went 0-for-4 and left four men on base. 195/250/268.

Saturday the Phils beat the Blue Jays 4-3 in ten innings.

Worley got the start and threw four scoreless innings, dropping his Spring Training ERA to 1.80. Papelbon was next and allowed two hits, but kept Toronto off the board in his inning, also dropping his ERA to 1.80. Aumont pitched the sixth and was charged with a run on two hits and three stolen bases. Sanches threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Purcey pitched the eighth, allowing a leadoff homer to JP Arencibia before retiring the next three batters. His ERA is up to 3.00 with the run. Stutes surrendered a single and a home run in the ninth, pushing his ERA to 4.50. Raul Valdes set Toronto down in order in the top of the tenth, keeping his ERA at 0.00.

Luna was 2-for-2 and drove in two runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the tenth when he singled home Podsednik. Podsednik was 1-for-1 with a walk and a double, raising his line to 353/436/500 with a team-high five extra-base hits (all doubles). Polanco was 1-for-1 to up his average to .529.

Polanco hurt the ring finger on his left hand on Saturday. The linked article suggests he will miss a few days. This says it is not broken.

Ryan Madson still seems to think the Phillies made an offer that may not have been made. Whatever happened, the Phillies would be a whole lot better off with Madson for one-year, $8.5 million than they are having signed Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million deal.

Jim Thome played first base in minor league games over the weekend. The linked article also says that Nix hopes to play today against Detroit. Scott Elarton will start that game.

Who is righter?

One other thing about Podsednik and Pierre. Given that either would be a part-time player who would play (hopefully) far more often against righties than lefties, the answer as to who would be the better match for the Phillies seems to have a lot to do with what the lefties do against right-handed pitching.

For their careers, their numbers are similar. Pierre has a 293/339/369 line against right-handed pitching while Podsednik is at 283/344/391. Pierre has hit for the slightly higher average, but Podsednik has offered more power and walked more. Against righties, Podsednik has walked in about 8.1% of his plate appearances while Pierre has walked about 5.7% of the time. Podsednik’s isolated power of .108 is considerably better than Pierre’s .076 against righties.

Pierre was absolutely terrible against righties in 2011, hitting just 264/296/325 against them over 536 plate appearances. A .296 on-base percentage with no power isn’t really what you’re looking for a left-handed corner outfielder against right-handed pitching. Pierre hit just .264 and walked in just 4.1% of his plate appearances against righties. Advantage Podsednik, there, who didn’t appear in the majors in 2011. In 2010, though, he hit them hard, putting up a 300/349/406 line against them over 445 plate appearances. 2009 he was good, too — 297/352/429 over 426 plate appearances.

The Phils played twice yesterday in split-squad action, beating the Braves and playing to a tie against the Rays.

The Phils beat the Braves 6-4.

Blanton started the game, allowing three runs over five innings. He allowed a solo home run to Matt Diaz in the second and a pair of runs on three singles in the third. That’s the first time Blanton has been charged with a run in official Spring Training action. In three starts he’s now thrown to a 2.70 ERA with a 1.10 ratio over ten innings in three starts. Herndon was next, facing four batters, retiring three and allowing a two-out homer to Uggla, upping his ERA to 1.69. Willis and Bastardo followed with scoreless innings. Qualls allowed a single and struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

Nice to see Willis put up a zero. He walked the first man he faced on four pitches, but got a fly ball and double-play behind that. Got his ERA down to 16.88. Bastardo has allowed one hit and no walks in four scoreless frames.

Rollins, Polanco and Thome (DH), all went 2-for-4 in the game for the Phils. Mayberry continued his hot hitting, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and getting his average up to .226. He’s 2-for-5 with two doubles and two walks over the last two days after a slow start. Podsednik had two more hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and upping his average to .333. He leads the team with four doubles.

The Phillies lost a late lead in the other game, allowing two runs in the last two innings as they tied the Rays 6-6.

Piniero started that one and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over two innings. He’s got a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 ratio through three appearances. Purcey followed that with two scoreless frames, dropping his ERA to 1.80 in five innings. Elarton gave up three runs in the fifth on a double, two singles and a walk before coming back to throw a scoreless sixth. Coming off an awful outing, Horst allowed two hits in a scoreless inning in the seventh to drop his ERA to 6.75. Schwimer started the bottom of the eighth with a 6-4 lead, but allowed a run in the eighth and another in the ninth that allowed the Rays to tie the game at 6-6. Jordan Whatcott, probably not coming soon to a theater near you, took over for Schwimer with two outs in the ninth and a man on second and got a ground out to end the ninth.

Elarton came into the game having allowed just one run on one hit over six innings, but has now allowed four earned runs over eight innings (4.50 ERA).

Pierre played center field and hit leadoff, going 2-for-4 and driving in two runs. Frandsen went 0-for-3 at short and dropped his average to .174. Montanez went 1-for-3 in right and is now hitting .450 (9-for-20). Pete Orr was 2-for-4 with a double and is at .280.

The Phils play the Pirates this afternoon with Cliff Lee expected to pitch.

Halladay does not sound worried about his Spring Training results to this point. I’m not either. Halladay has thrown to a 10.57 ERA so far, but has also struck out ten in 7 2/3 innings.

Contreras threw a scoreless innings in a minor league game, allowing a single and getting three ground outs.

In this article, Manuel says there’s “a good chance” Utley will play April 5 against Pittsburgh. The article also suggests that Manuel thinks that Galvis can play second base in the majors. Let’s hope he doesn’t start against Pittsburgh on April 5. Galvis has a .639 OPS in 30 at-bats this Spring Training. In 2011, Wilson Valdez put up a .634 OPS for the Phils over 300 plate appearances.

Laynce Nix was scratched yesterday because of sore left ribs that continue to be thought of as not serious no matter how many times he’s scratched. Brown was scratched due to a stiff neck.

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