Tag: Mark Teixeira

Most influential player that ever stepped in Yankee Stadium makes his case for a new addition to Vizzini’s list

Vizzini is the guy in The Princess Bride who is best known for his list of classic blunders that’s headed up by never getting involved in a land war in Asia. With an assist to Grady Little, it may be time for him to add never letting Pedro Martinez stay in a playoff game to pitch to Hideki Matsui. In game six of the 2003 ALCS, Little left Martinez in to pitch to Matsui in the bottom of the eighth and the Red Sox were never able to recover. Last night, after being pulled from his previous start after 87 pitches with a two-hit shutout, Martinez’s 97th pitch of the game was delivered to Matsui and Matsui hit it out to right to put New York on top to stay at 2-1.

Despite the high pitch count, Pedro was throwing well at the time. He had just struck out the big bats of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez back-to-back. Starting with the at-bat against Matsui, though, he faced four more hitters in the game. Matsui homered, he got one out to end the sixth and the only two men he faced in the seventh got hits. Keeping Martinez in to face those four hitters cost the Phillies two runs in a game when they scored one. They got off that easy because of a missed call that gave them two outs on a play where they earned none.

AJ Burnett was fantastic in the game. The Phillies managed a run off of him in the second thanks to a two-out bloop double that was followed by a ground ball to third that should have been handled by A-Rod but went into left to put the Phils up 1-0. Martinez pitched well early as well, but Mark Teixeira connected for a solo home run in the fourth that tied the game at 1-1. With his pitch count near 100, Martinez stayed in to pitch to Matsui with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and Matsui hit a 1-2 pitch just out to right. 2-1. Pedro came back to start the seventh against the miserable bottom of the Yankees order and couldn’t get anybody out. He faced two men in the inning and both singled, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Park came in to face Jorge Posada and Posada delivered an RBI-single that made it 3-1 with men on first and second and nobody out. Jeter tried to bunt and fouled out before the Phillies got out of the inning without any more damage, getting a double-play on a ball hit hard to Howard that the umps said he caught that he didn’t. Mariano Rivera came in and kept the Phils off the board for the last two innings of the game.

The Phillies took a ton of pitches in the game and got behind Burnett time after time. Some people seem to think it was the wrong approach. I don’t agree. I’m pretty sure it was the perfect approach — not because you want Burnett to throw a lot of pitches and you get to take a chance against the pen, but because Burnett will walk the whole world. He didn’t last night. He was great. But the approach was right for the Phillies, at least to start the game. I think you can argue that they should have started swinging earlier in the count in the middle innings when it was clear that Burnett was getting ahead time after time. I think they want to do it the same way the next time they see him, at least early in the game.

So the Phils leave New York with a split but also with a bad taste in the mouth. The things that stick out most in my mind from the two games aren’t Utley’s home runs or the clutch hit from Ibanez or even Lee’s heroics. It’s Pedro walking off the mound and pointing at the sky and the little smile on his face after he didn’t pitch well and the Phillies were losing. It’s the way that Lee caught Damon’s popup as if he playing in the World Series wasn’t quite enough for him and he needed to manufacture a little excitement. It especially bothers me because I haven’t seen either of those guys win the World Series wearing a Phillies’ uniform. The Phils have put together a fantastic run in the post-season over the past two seasons because they have elevated their play. They’ve played with an intensity that’s been pretty awesome to watch, but it’s just about the exact opposite of flipping out your glove to catch a popup. They have simply been better in the playoffs than they are in the regular season. It feels like this is the place where I should be saying that it’s not that I don’t want to see them having fun. The problem with that is it’s not true. I don’t want to see them having fun. Not during the game. Have fun after the game or before it on in August when you’re up by 8 1/2 games in the division. Right now you need to go back to work.

The Phillies and Yankees are tied at one game apiece in the World Series after the Yankees took game three in New York last night.

Martinez got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out eight.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Matsui (DH/L) (6) Cano (2B/L) (7) Hairston (RF/R) (8) Cabrera (CF/S) (9) Molina (C/R). Molina catches Burnett with Posada on the bench. Hairston plays right with Swisher on the bench. Matsui and Cano move up a spot in the order. That lineup is a gift to the Phillies. Sure was nice of New York to take their good players out of the lineup and put their bad ones in instead. Taking Posada, who was among the best hitters in baseball against righties this year, out against a righty is particularly nice. Hairston had nice numbers against Martinez coming into the game, but it sure seems like the Yankees would have been better off with the lefty Hinske in right if Swisher wasn’t going to play.

The Yankees had four players on their bench to start the game, lefties Brett Gardner and Eric Hinske and the switch-hitters Posada and Swisher.

Pedro threw a 1-2-3 first, striking Jeter out swinging 3-2 for the first out, Damon swinging 1-2 for the second and getting Teixeira to pop to Rollins behind the mound to end the inning.

Big strike zone for Martinez in the first. Silliest call was a 1-1 pitch to Jeter that was pretty far outside and called a strike. Pedro threw 17 pitches in the inning.

Pedro started the second with a 1-0 lead. A-Rod struck out looking 1-2 for the first out. Matsui was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch past a diving Utley and into right for a single. Cano hit a ball into left-center on a 2-2 pitch, but Ibanez made a very nice diving play to take a hit away from him. Hairston flew to right to end the inning.

Great catch by Ibanez changed the inning. After a long 26-pitch inning Martinez was at 43 for the game after just two innings.

Cabrera flew to center to start the third. Molina followed and walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Jeter struck out looking 2-2 for the second out and Damon swung at the first pitch and flew to center.

Sixteen pitches in the inning, 59 for the game.

Teixeira led off of the fourth and hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center to tie the game at 1-1. A-Rod flew to left 0-2 for the first out. Matsui drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch, but Cano flew to center and Hairston struck out looking 1-2.

After 16 pitches in the inning Martinez was at 75 for the game.

He struck Cabrera out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the inning. Molina grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch for the second out before Jeter came to the plate and lined his first pitch from Martinez into left for a double. Damon swung at the first pitch he saw, too, and popped to Howard to leave Jeter stranded.

Lots of action in the pen for the Phils as Martinez’s pitch count neared ninety. After throwing eight pitches in the inning he was at 83 for the game. Just two pitches for the Jeter and Damon at-bats.

Pedro struck out Teixeira swinging 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. A-Rod was next and he struck out swinging 1-2. Martinez stayed in to pitch to the lefty Matsui. He got ahead of him 0-2, but Matsui hit a low 1-2 pitch out to right to put New York up 2-1. Cano flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Another big hit for Matsui off of Pedro in the post-season. Martinez stays in to pitch to the lefty and it costs the Phils. A-Rod was 0-for-7 in the series with five strikeouts and a bad defensive play at this point. Sixteen pitches in the inning had Pedro at 99.

He came back to start the seventh and it cost the Phils. Hairston led off and got behind 0-2 but singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Brett Gardner ran for him at first. Cabrera lined a single to right and Cabrera went to third. Posada hit for Molina and Park came in to pitch to him. Park got ahead of Posada, but Posada lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Gardner scored to make it 3-1. Jeter was next and he tried to bunt but got behind 0-2. He bunted the next pitch foul for the first out. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Damon. Damon hit it hard to first. Howard threw wildly to second and wouldn’t have gotten any out on the play, but the ump at first ruled that Howard had caught the ball. He hadn’t, but Rollins tagged out Posada on second base to complete a double-play to end the inning.

Bottom of the order gets it done for the Yankees against Pedro as Manuel lets him start the seventh. Park flailed his arms about after the Posada hit, but I’m not sure if he was mad at someone or just the hit. Jeter trying to bunt is a poor idea, especially with two strikes. It helped the Phillies out a lot. They got three outs in the inning. Jeter gave them one he shouldn’t have and the other two came on a play where they wouldn’t have gotten any with the right call.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still down 3-1. He hit Teixeira on the leg, but struck A-Rod out looking at pitch out of the strike zone 1-2 for the first out. Matsui got ahead 2-0 but struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Cano hit the first pitch of his at-bat into right for a single, moving Teixeira to second. Gardner was next and he struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning and leave both runners stranded.

Jeter is 4-for-8 with two doubles so far. Matsui 3-for-6 with a homer. Posada 2-for-5. A-Rod 0-for-8 with six strikeouts. Cabrera, Cano, Teixeira and Damon are a combined 4-for-28 with the big home run by Teixeira. The Yankees have two walks in the first two games, one by Matsui and one by Molina.

The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Stairs (DH/L) (8) Feliz (3B/R) (9) Ruiz (C/R). Stairs at DH against the righty with Ibanez back in left field and Francisco on the bench. Four lefties between the 3-4-5-6 spots in the order.

The Phillies started the game with four players on the bench, lefties Dobbs and Bako and righties Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco. Dobbs was on the roster but not available. He has the flu.

Burnett looked very good in the first. Rollins flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Victorino struck out looking 1-2. Utley got ahead 3-1 and flew to left.

Burnett threw strike one to all three hitters in the inning. All three took. He threw 12 pitches in the inning.

Howard started the second and struck out trying to check his swing 1-2. Werth grounded to third on a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez hit a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. It dropped on the line and went into the stands for a ground-rule double. Stairs was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch hard to third. It went under A-Rod’s glove for a single. Ibanez scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Feliz struck out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Burnett had gotten ahead of all eight Phillies hitters 0-1. Two lefties in a row hit with hits to the left side of the infield. You won’t see Matt Stairs with a lot of hits to left. A-Rod should have made the play on his ball. Burnett threw 25 pitches in the inning and was up to 37 for the game.

He didn’t get ahead of Ruiz to start the third, cause Ruiz swung at the first pitch and grounded out to short. Rollins was next and he drew a walk. He was running as Victorino dribbled a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Burnett threw to first for the second out. Utley was next and took three straight balls before the Yankees put him on intentionally. With two outs and men on first and second, Howard took ball one too but struck out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Utley was the first Phillies hitter to get ahead in the count on the first pitch. Twenty-four pitches for Burnett in the inning and 61 for the game.

Werth led off the fourth and singled to right. Ibanez got behind 0-2 and checked his swing as the count went 1-2. Molina threw to first and Werth was picked off for the second out. Ibanez struck out swinging for the second out. Stairs swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Huge play by Molina helps the Yankees work around the leadoff single. If you’re going to get four hits and two walks in seven innings off of Burnett you don’t want to give away outs on the bases. It got the crowd, which had been sleepy all night, back in the game, too. The Yankees scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the inning when Teixeira led off with a home run. Twelve pitches had Burnett up to 73.

Feliz started the fifth with the score tied at 1-1. He swung at the first pitch and flew to right. Ruiz was next and he ripped a 1-2 pitch into left and off the wall for a double. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and popped to third, leaving Ruiz stranded.

Burnett was up to 86 pitches for the game after throwing 13 in the inning. Two outs in the frame on the first pitch.

Utley led off the sixth and grounded softly to first 2-1 for the first out. Howard struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. Werth flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Third strikeout in three at-bats for Howard. Burnett threw 11 pitches in the inning and had thrown 97 in the game.

The Phils started the seventh down 2-1. Ibanez struck out looking 1-2. Stairs struck out looking 0-2. Burnett got ahead of Feliz and Feliz hit a 1-2 pitch softly to short for the third out.

Eight in a row for Burnett. After 11 pitches in the inning he was at 108 for the game.

Righty Mariano Rivera started the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. Ruiz grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Rollins was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino dribbled an 0-1 pitch into right field for a single, sending Rollins to second. With the count full on Utley the runners were not running with the pitch. Utley hit a hard ground ball to second and the Yankees turned the double-play with the help of a strong throw from Jeter that just nipped Utley.

Utley was safe at first, but the Phils got their share of calls in the game. Not sending the runners on the 3-2 count cost the Phillies the chance to bring Howard to the plate as the go-ahead run. I’m okay with not running, cause I think you want to stay out of the strike-out-throw-out double-play that ends the inning, too.

Rivera was back for the ninth and struck Howard out looking 0-2 on a ball that wasn’t in the strike zone for the first out. Werth hit a soft liner to second 2-2 for the second out. Ibanez doubled to left-center on a 1-1 pitch, bringing Stairs to the plate as the tying run. Rivera struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. 1-for-6 with three walks in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-8 with a walk so far.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk last night and 2-for-7 with two walks and two home runs in the series.

Howard was 0-for-4 and struck out four times. He’s 2-for-9 with two doubles in the first two games.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with two doubles in the game. The Phils had just three extra-base hits last night — two doubles by Ibanez and one by Ruiz. He also made a very nice diving catch in left. Ibanez is 3-for-8 in the series.

Werth was 1-for-4 last night and is 2-for-6 with two walks in the series. He made an awful mistake in last night’s game, getting picked off of first base.

Stairs was 1-for-4 with an RBI in his only action in the series.

Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and is 0-for-7 so far.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-7 with two doubles in the series.

Mariano threw 39 pitches in the game, but there’s an off day today with game three on Saturday.

Take two

Pedro Martinez faces righty AJ Burnett tonight in game two of the World Series.

Burnett went 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.40 ratio in 33 starts for the Yankees this season. The righty was much better against lefties than he was against righties. Lefties hit just 217/310/343 against him while righties hit a much better 282/366/450. Lefties did walk a little more often against him. He walked about 11% of the lefties he faced and about 10.6% of the righties. The on-base percentage is so much better for righties cause they got so many more hits.

He walked too many batters, both right and left-handed. That’s how his ratio is 1.40 when he allowed 193 hits in 207 innings. Overall he walked about 4.22 batters per nine innings. Among the 11 Phillies pitchers who started more than one game for the team this season the pitcher with the worst rate of walks per nine innings was Park. He walked 3.56 per nine for the year.

Burnett gave up 97 walks this year, which led the American League. He led it by a lot. Matt Garza and Ricky Romero tied for second and they each walked 79.

He has made three starts in the post-season this year, throwing to a 4.42 ERA with a 1.31 ratio. In 18 1/3 innings he has walked ten. In game two of the ALDS he held the Twins to a single run over six innings but walked five. In game two of the ALCS he held the Angels to two runs over 6 1/3. His most recent start was game five of the ALCS and he was hit hard, allowing six runs over six innings.

He made a start against the Phils on May 22 of this year and allowed five runs over six innings as the Phillies rolled to a 7-3 win in Philadelphia. Werth, Rollins and Ruiz all homered off of him in that game.

Rollins is the Phillie who has seen Burnett the most in the regular season over his career. 11-for-43 with three doubles and a home run (256/340/395). Victorino 1-for-6. Utley 6-for-21 with a triple and a homer (286/348/542). Howard 2-for-12 with two home runs. Werth 1-for-7 with a homer. Ibanez 4-for-15 with a double. Feliz 2-for-15. Ruiz 3-for-3 with a home run. Stairs is 3-for-11 with two home runs against him.

Martinez made nine starts for the Phillies this season, pitching to a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio over 44 2/3 innings. He gave up seven home runs — that rate would have him giving up about 31 over 200 innings. Opponents slugged .472 against him for the season.

He didn’t walk much of anyone. His walk rate of 1.61 batters per nine innings was the best of any Phillies pitcher other than Lee.

He was fantastic in his start in game two of the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing two singles over seven shutout innings. That is the only start he has made since September 30. He had a pitch limit of about 90 pitches in the NLCS and was pulled having thrown just 87.

He has faced some of the Yankees a lot during the regular season over his career. Jeter is 22-for-86 with three doubles and three home runs against him (256/347/395). Damon 5-for-25 with two walks (200/259/200). Teixeira 1-for-6 with a double. Rodriguez 16-for-56 with two doubles and a home run (291/350/382). Posada 11-for-60 with four home runs and a memorable post-season head-pointing incident (183/290/450). Matsui 4-for-28 with a homer (143/200/250). Cano 0-for-12. Swisher 0-for-2. Cabrera 1-for-5 with a walk.

Which switch?

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

Vs Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best offense that money can rent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not just that, but I don’t much care for the look in Anderson Hernandez’s eyes either

Earlier this week I mentioned the Marlins infield and the astonishing 29 home runs they got from four different infielders. Between all the hype given to Utley and Howard and Reyes and Wright, you might think the Mets or the Phillies have the best infield in the division. But, in 2008 at least, they didn’t. Arguably, the Marlins didn’t either.

If you look at the players from each team who got the most at-bats at each of the four infield positions in 2008, add up what they did and compare the total OPS for the five NL East teams, here’s how things look:

The Braves:











































The Marlins:













































The Mets:









































The Phillies:













































And the Nats:





































The Marlins gave a higher percentage of their defensive innings at the four infield positions to the players listed above than the Braves did. So if you compare what all players did while playing defensively at each of the infield positions (and not just the player who appeared their the most often), the Marlins wound up with a better OPS for the season:










All 1B








All 2B








All 3B








All SS

























All 1B








All 2B








All 3B








All SS














If you’re wondering how Kelly Johnson can hit 12 home runs and the Braves’ second basemen combine to hit 11, it’s because Johnson hit one as a pinch-hitter and all other players who played second base for Atlanta in ’08 combined to hit zero.

Eric Hinske recalls facing Brad Lidge with the World Series on the line in this article. The same article also suggests that Mike Zagurski could be ready to join a minor league team in mid-April and Scott Mathieson around mid-August.

Pat the Bat will take the bus to face the Phils on Saturday.

The Phils played their first spring training game yesterday and got bombed by the Pirates, 8-2. Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor combined to pitch two innings and allow seven runs, three of which came on a three-run homer by Shelby Ford off of Bisenius with two outs in the fourth. Mike Koplove is a guy fans should be watching — he struck out two in a perfect eighth. I think Koplove is a long shot to make the team out of spring training, but one scenario where it would be possible is if Park won the fifth starter job and Koplove took Park’s spot in the pen.

Offensively, Jeremy Slayden went 2-for-2 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils. If he was right-handed people would be getting rightfully geeked up. He’s not. Ibanez 1-for-2 with an RBI. Marcus Giles 0-for-2 and struck out twice. Jenkins was 1-for-1 with a walk — if you’re looking for places the Phillies can get better in 2009, one is by getting more offense out of Jenkins.

The Phils play Toronto today. JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco are among the Phillies scheduled to pitch.

Jason Donald will play third in today’s game, according to Todd Zolecki’s blog. If Utley is healthy, I think the Phillies would have to believe Donald can play third base for him to have much of a chance to make the opening day roster.

Ad: TicketCity has Phillies tickets for spring training and regular season games.

A fella and Ruiz

With the exception of the final game of the season, when Lou Marson caught Kyle Kendrick, Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz handled all of the duties behind the plate for the Phillies in 2008. For the five Phillies pitchers that made the most starts in ’08, here’s the percentage of their batters caught by each of the catchers and the numbers opposing hitters put up with each of them behind the plate:

  % of
batters caught
Hamels 79.0 219/265/381 .646
Moyer 59.9 240/317/371 .688
Kendrick 63.2 316/385/484 .869
Myers 23.1 291/360/539 .900
Eaton 46.9 267/332/411 .743
Total 55.1 256/320/417 .737

And here are the numbers for Coste:

  % of
batters caught
Hamels 21.0 257/298/397 .695
Moyer 40.1 294/339/453 .792
Kendrick 34.6 286/353/478 .831
Myers 76.9 260/321/439 .760
Eaton 53.1 348/425/557 .981
Total 44.0 283/343/460 .802

You don’t want to compare the total lines — the .737 OPS with Ruiz behind the plate to the .802 OPS with Coste behind the plate. Each of the catchers did not catch the starters the same amount of the time. It is, for example, a big advantage to get to catch 79% of the batters Hamels faced.

Hamels, Moyer and Eaton all fared better pitching to Ruiz than they did to Coste. Kendrick had better luck pitching to Coste and Myers was much better pitching to Coste. Ruiz was behind the plate for Hamels nearly all of the time and Myers threw almost exclusively to Coste, but for the other three starters the catching was divided up more evenly.

A word about Adam Eaton. I think there’s not much chance you’re going to see Eaton pitch for the Phillies again. If he does, though, let’s hope it’s to Ruiz and not to Coste. If there’s a glimmer of hope for Eaton it’s got to be that his problem is not that he can’t pitch, it’s that he can’t pitch to Chris Coste. Eaton’s numbers for the season in 2008 were terrible (again), but the (267/332/411 (.743 OPS)) line that opponents posted against him when he wasn’t pitching to Chris Coste was far more encouraging. That line, for example, is very similar to the 263/337/409 (.746 OPS) that opponents hit against Randy Wolf and slightly less similar to the 287/328/410 (.739 OPS) put up against Aaron Cook.

The rumor of the day from the winter meetings has the Phils in a multi-team deal that winds up with them giving up JA Happ and Chris Coste and getting Mark DeRosa. I’m not going to be surprised if the Phillies trade Coste, but I will be a bit more surprised if they trade Happ. What to do with DeRosa after Utley returns is the big question in the deal for me. He’s had two nice seasons with the bat in a row, but I wouldn’t feel good about counting on him to see a lot of time in left field. The Phillies do need to add two right-handed bats — I would be thrilled if DeRosa was the second-best right-handed bat they add. Not so much if he was the best.

This suggests that Jamie Moyer wants two years, $18 million and that the Phillies have offered two years, $14 million.

This suggests the Phils are unlikely to bring back Tad Iguchi.

This suggests Mark Teixeira may sign with Boston. It has been suggested that the Angels may be interested in Burrell to play first base if they lose Teixeira.

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