Tag: Miguel Cairo

Non-starter

The Playoff Start Log is updated and I think it says a lot about what went wrong for the Phillies in the World Series. In 2008 the Phils won it all, getting five quality starts in five World Series games. After Lee allowed one run in nine innings in game one of the NLDS against the Rockies this year, the Phils had made seven quality starts in a row in playoff games. In the last four games of the World Series this year the Phillies didn’t have a quality start and their starters threw to a 7.59 ERA. They allowed 18 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.

That probably has a lot to do with how much better the Yankees are at scoring runs than the Rockies or Rays. Still, you aren’t going to win a lot of games when your starters throw to a 7.59 ERA.

The Yankees won the World Series this year. The Phillies didn’t. The Yankees had Andy Pettitte and the Phillies had Joe Blanton. The pair didn’t play in the same league in 2009, but they had pretty similar numbers during the regular season:

  GS IP ERA Ratio ERA+
Blanton 31 195.1 4.05 1.32 106
Pettitte 32 194.2 4.16 1.38 107

If the two players had a similar year in the regular season, they didn’t in the post-season. The Yankees put a whole lot of their playoff eggs in the Pettitte basket, but Blanton was not a big part of the Phillies rotation in the playoffs. You didn’t have to watch the Phillies play too many playoff games this year before that became apparent. He was pitching in relief in the sixth inning of game two of the NLDS with the Phils down 4-0.

The Phils and Yankees both played 15 post-season games in 2009. Pettitte threw almost twice as many innings as Blanton. He threw 30 2/3 while Blanton threw 15 2/3. Blanton made two starts and two appearances in relief while Pettitte’s post-season legend grew. Pettitte made five post-season starts in ’09 and went 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Why would the Phillies do such a thing? Well, it wasn’t because Blanton hadn’t been good in the post-season. He helped them win the World Series in 2008 as he started three playoff games. The Phils won all three as Blanton went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio.

The why, apparently, turned out to be that the Phils thought their chances were better with Pedro Martinez. The Phils signed the free agent Martinez in mid-July to a contract that would have the Phillies paying him about a million dollars. Martinez made nine starts for the Phils in 2009 and pitched better than a lot of people were expecting, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. There were some warning signs, too, though. Opponents slugged .472 against him and he allowed eight home runs in 44 2/3 innings. That home run rate would have had him allowing about 36 over 200 innings. Milwaukee’s Braden Looper was the only pitcher in either league that allowed 36 or more home runs this season. Two of his early starts with the Phils were cut short by rain, but he threw less than five innings per start in his nine outings with the Phils.

He didn’t exactly end the regular season on a high note. He made a fantastic start against the Mets on September 13 in which he threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings. His next start was against the Braves on September 19 and he allowed three runs over three innings before leaving the game with a neck problem. He made just one more start before the end of the year and he wasn’t very good. On September 30, he faced Houston and allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over four innings.

It didn’t scare off the Phillies. They let him start a game in the NLCS and two games in the World Series. They lost all three games. In the first he pitched great but had to be pulled before he had thrown 90 pitches. In each of the next two the Phils left him in the game too long. He started the game in which they were eliminated from the World Series and was awful.

So Blanton was a solid pitcher this year, the Phils gave at least some of his playoff starts to Pedro, who not a lot of other teams seemed to want, and then they lost every post-season game that Pedro started. That sounds pretty bad and I think it was. It’s a little more complicated than that, though.

The Phillies scored a total of five runs in the three games Martinez started. Pedro didn’t pitch as well as his numbers would indicate, but his numbers were great overall for the playoffs. In the three playoff starts with the Phils, Pedro threw to a 3.71 ERA with an 0.88 ERA. Blanton, meanwhile, did not pitch well in his post-season chances. He made two starts and two relief appearances overall for the post-season, throwing to a 5.17 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Still, the decision to go with Martinez instead of Blanton in the post-season was critical for the Phillies. And it didn’t work.

Cliff Lee will be back with the Phils in 2010 after the Phillies picked up his $9 million option.

Brett Myers will not be back.

Feliz may or may not be back, but it’s a little less likely now that the Phillies have declined his $5.5 million option.

I think the Phils went 3-for-3 in that flurry. I think it was the right decision not to pick up Feliz’s option, but I was surprised to see them do it. Beltre, Figgins and DeRosa seem to be the names that most people are talking about as improvements at third. If he’s healthy, I think Troy Glaus would be a huge help for the Phillies offensively as well. You might notice some defensive dropoff, though. The list of free agent third basemen that would help the Phils more than Feliz isn’t that long, so hopefully they have something in mind.

Ibanez (sports hernia) and Eyre (loose bodies in his elbow) were scheduled for surgeries yesterday and Lidge will have surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.

Park, Feliz, Bako, Stairs, Martinez, Myers and Cairo have all filed to become free agents.


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
  A O S OPS A O S OPS
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
Teixeira
Career
281 371 547 918 309 394 537 931
                 
Cabrera 09 277 332 415 747 268 343 420 763
Cabrera
Career
275 333 397 730 255 325 355 680
                 
Swisher 09 250 357 509 866 244 393 475 868
Swisher
Career
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.


Only the names, and the fact that the Dodgers are much, much better now, have changed

If it seems like you’ve seen the NLCS between the Phils and Dodgers before it’s because you have. A lot has changed over the past year, though, and the most important among them is that the Dodgers have gotten a lot better. After going 84-78 in 2008, the Dodgers posted the best record in the NL in 2009 at 95-67.

The wins aren’t the only thing that improved for LA this year. Here’s a look at the runs scored by the Dodgers and Phils for this year and 2008:


Team

Runs Scored

NL Rank

’09 LA

780
4

’09 PHI

820
1
     

’08 LA

700

13

’08 PHI

799
3

The Phillies hit in both years compared to the other teams in the National League. The Dodgers were third in runs scored this year, but thirteenth in 2008.

LA was fantastic at preventing runs in both ’08 and ’09. The Phillies allowed 29 more runs in ’09 than they did in ’08 and their rank in the NL dropped from third to sixth:


Team

Runs Allowed

NL Rank

’09 LA

611

T-1

’09 PHI

709
6
     

’08 LA

648
1

’08 PHI

680
3

In 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs and allowed 680. So they scored 119 more runs than they allowed. In ’09 they scored 820 and allowed 709, which is the difference of a pretty similar 111.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, scored 700 and allowed 648 in 2008, for a difference of 52 runs. This year they scored 780 and allowed 611, which is the difference of a pretty dissimilar 169.

I don’t think there’s much of an argument to be made that the Phillies were better than the Dodgers in 2009. They weren’t. The Dodgers were better. What I’m not sure about is how much it matters. A big part of why the Dodgers were better for the year is that they went 35-17 in April and May. That’s pretty awesome, but it’s also a long time ago. The Phillies are World Champs and if you watched game four of the NLDS it’s a little hard to deny that their magic is alive and well.

At the same time, the Dodgers won more games than the Phillies this year. Their offense was a little worse than the Phillies, but still among the best in the league, while their pitching was much better. They come off an impressive sweep of the Cardinals. They went 4-3 against the Phillies this year without a single plate appearance from Manny Ramirez.

I do think the Phillies will win the series, but it is going to be a tight one.

Here’s a look back at the series from last year:

Hamels started game one last year against Derek Lowe. The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, but Victorino led off the bottom of the sixth and hit a ground ball to Furcal and Furcal threw it away. Utley followed with a home run to tie the game at 2-2 and Burrell hit a solo shot two batters later, putting the Phils on top to stay at 3-2.

Brett Myers and Chad Billingsley faced off in game two. Myers threw behind Manny in the first inning and a Loney double in the second helped put LA up 1-0. A Myers single helped the Phillies score four times in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 4-1. Loney had another big hit off of Myers in the third, an RBI-single that made it 4-2. The Phils extended their lead to 8-2 with four more runs in the bottom of the third, which featured Chan Ho Park striking out Rollins for the second out of the inning. That should have been it for the game, but LA got back into it in the top of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on, Furcal struck out for what should have been the third out of the inning. Ruiz didn’t block the ball, though, and Furcal was safe at first. Martin followed with a single before Manny hit a three-run homer to make it 8-5. The lead stood up for the Phils, thanks to Durbin, Romero, Lidge and Madson, who combined to throw four shutout innings.

Game three was the game the Phillies lost, falling 7-2 in LA. Moyer got the start and the Dodgers scored five times against him in the bottom of the first. Five of the first six Dodgers hitters to face Moyer reached base before he struck out Kemp for the second out of the inning with the bases loaded. He looked like he was going to get out of it down 2-0, but Blake DeWitt cleared the bases with a three-run triple that made it 5-0. A leadoff double by Howard helped the Phils cut the lead to 5-1 in the top of the second, but Moyer didn’t make it out of the bottom of the second. Furcal led off the bottom of the second with a homer that made it 6-1. Nomar Garciaparra extended the lead to 7-1 with an RBI-single off of Happ in the bottom of the fourth. Burrell drove in Utley with a single in the seventh for the Phillies other run.

Coming off of Myers throwing behind Ramirez in game one, LA starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a ball near the head of Shane Victorino in game three. It led to a bench-clearing incident after Victorino grounded out to end the inning.

Game four changed the series thanks to a late home run from Matt Stairs. Utley and Howard drove in runs off of Lowe in the top of the first, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. Blake homered off of Blanton in the bottom of the first, cutting the lead to 2-1. Blanton protected the one-run lead until LA hit in the bottom of the fifth. Furcal led off with a walk and moved to second when Ethier followed with a bloop single. Ramirez followed with an RBI-single (2-2) and a ground out by Martin brought in Ethier to make it 3-2. Howard led off the sixth with a walk and came in to score on a wild pitch by Park to tie the game at 3-3. Blake led off the bottom of the sixth with a homer off of Durbin, though, making it 4-3, and a throwing error by Howard on a bunt by Furcal helped the Dodgers score another run to extend the lead to 5-3. That score held till the top of the eighth, when Howard led off with a single. Victorino followed two batters later and lined a ball out to right off of Corey Wade, tying the game at 5-5. Feliz flew out for the second out, but Ruiz delivered a two-out single off of Jonathan Broxton and Stairs followed and connected for a mammoth homer to put the Phils up 7-5. Romero and Lidge kept LA off the board in the eighth and the ninth.

It was hard to imagine LA coming back from Stairs dagger. They didn’t. Hamels outpitched Billingsley in game five with the Phillies winning 5-1. Rollins was the first batter of the game and he put the Phils up 1-0 with a home run to center. Howard and Burrell had RBI-singles in the third, making it 3-0. Furcal had an inning to forget in the fifth, making three errors as the Phils extended the lead to 5-0. Manny Ramirez homered off of Hamels with two outs in the sixth to get LA their only run of the game.

Kendrick and Myers are off the Phillies roster for the NLCS and have been replaced by Chan Ho Park and Eric Bruntlett. Bruntlett and Cairo are a lot of similar guys to have on your roster, especially since it means going with 11 pitchers. I think that’s a bad decision — I would rather have seen them carry 12 pitchers and just one of Bruntlett and Cairo given the bullpen struggles and the fact that I would be pretty worried about Park since he hasn’t pitched for the Phils since September 16.

On the other hand, if they weren’t comfortable with letting Kendrick pitch they shouldn’t have him on the roster. You should try to have 12 pitchers in your organization you feel okay about putting into a game, though. Cairo and Bruntlett both is a lot of Cairos and Bruntletts. Condrey and Walker sure must be wondering what is going on.

My guess is that the thinking here may be to try to put another right-handed bat on the bench out of fear of the lefties in the bullpen for the Dodgers, Kuo and Sherrill. Those guys are scary, but if that’s the reasoning I think the Phils may have overthought this one. If it is about putting another righty on the bench, I wonder if they considered Mayberry instead of Bruntlett. It sure seems like he would provoke a bit more worry in the Dodgers since he can hit the ball out of the yard.

This article suggests Pedro Martinez may start game two. I am hoping for Blanton and Pedro in game four. Blanton was 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio in three post-season starts in the post-season in 2008. Manuel’s seeming reluctance to start him is curious to me. It no doubt has a lot to do with fear of his bullpen, but I’d just let him start.

There have been many technical problems with Philliesflow over the past few days. If the site goes down again for a long period of time, I may post at philliesflow.wordpress.com and would let people know where to find the site via the Philliesflow Twitter page.


That’s not hot

Not a whole lot of Phillies hitting the ball especially well as the regular season comes to a close. Here’s a look at the eight regulars, what they did in the regular season and in their last handful of at-bats:

 

Season

 

HOT

AVG

OBP

SLG
 

Rollins

250

296

423
Miserable year
for Rollins, but it ends with a six-game hitting streak; He’s
10-for-his-last-25 (400/464/725)
         

Howard

279

360

571
Another monster
year for Howard, who has driven in more than 140 runs for the third time
in four seasons.  He comes into the post-season on a tear, hitting
365/437/762 over his last 71 plate appearances and 7-for-his-last-17 with
two home runs. 
         

Ruiz

255

355

425
Ruiz blasted
left-handed pitching this season to the tune of 293/370/524.  After
hitting just 235/335/367 in the first half of the season, he hit
276/375/487 in the second half.  He missed about a week in late
September with a problem with his left wrist, but came back in time to go
3-for-10 with a pair of walks to end the season.
         
  Season  

NOT

AVG

OBP

SLG
 

Feliz

266

308

386
Feliz’s .386
slugging percentage for the year is the worst for his career in any season
where he had 250 at-bats.  He hit just 12 home runs on the season,
the fewest he has hit since 2002 when he got 146 at-bats.  He was
terrible in the second-half, hitting 236/274/351.  5-for-his-last-22. 
Hasn’t drawn a walk in his last 58 plate appearances.
         

Werth

268

373

506
In his first
season with more than 420 plate appearances, Werth had a fantastic year
and set career-highs in home runs (36), RBI (99) and slugging percentage
(.506).  He’s still way better against lefties than righties
(302/436/644 vs lefties this year and 256/348/457 against righties), but
he didn’t break down in the second half, putting up a .873 OPS in the
second-half after posting an .884 OPS in the first half.  He’s
5-for-his-last-20 but hit 189/343/302 in his last 67 plate appearances to
end the regular season.
         

Ibanez

272

347

552
A .552 slugging
percentage was a career high for Ibanez.  He hit 34 home runs, which
is also a career high.  309/367/649 in the first half and 232/326/448
in the second half.  Hit lefties better than righties, posting a
285/359/639 line against lefties and 267/342/517 against righties. 
Hit a miserable 196/277/327 in 119 plate appearances from August 1 to
September 7.  He picked it up some after that, hitting 259/358/543 in
his last 95 plate appearances to end the season.  Comes in the
playoffs 3-for-his-last-18.
         

Victorino

295

358

445
His .358
on-base percentage is a career-high, but Victorino has struggled badly
after July.   He hit 245/309/394 since the end of July and comes
into the post-season 7-for-his-last-35, hitting 200/243/371 in his last 38
plate appearances.
         

Utley

282

397

508
Utley hit
313/430/573 with 20 home runs in the first half and 246/358/432 with 11
homers in the second.  He enters the post-season 0-for-his-last-15. 
He hit two home runs in 108 at-bats in September.

Rollins, Howard and Ruiz finished strong. Hopefully the rest of the guys pick things up with the help of some extra time off.

Among other players who may see time in the post-season for the Phillies, Miguel Cairo finished well. He went 5-for-13 with a triple and a home run to end the season.

Cairo’s fellow backup infielder Eric Bruntlett had a hide-your-eyes ugly season, but was 2-for-9 to end the year with two singles. That might not sound like much, but he hit 171/224/238 on the year.

Dobbs 1-for-his-last-11.

Stairs 0-for-his-last-4 with three strikeouts. He hasn’t singled since the end of June — he’s 4-for-his-last-49 (.082) with two doubles and two homers.

Ben Francisco seems like the guy on the bench likely to see the most time. He finished the year by going 5-for-12 with two doubles and two walks.

Bako was 2-for-9 with a pair of singles to end the season.


All sides decry the lack of decency as magic number campaign goes negative

The Phillies are heading to the playoffs as division champs once again. A grand slam from Pedro Feliz in game two helped get things going in the right direction and the Phils clinched the NL East with a decisive 10-3 win in game three of a four-game set with the Astros.

A few guys clearly need some rest for the Phils, but the team is plugging along offensively. The pitching, on the other hand, is a mess. The bullpen pitched well in the series, but the ninth inning has been an adventure and seems guaranteed to be for some time to come. The starting pitching is suddenly awful. The Phillies don’t have a quality start in their last nine games. Over those games their starters have combined to throw to a 6.26 ERA and a 1.61 ratio. In five of their last six and six of their last eight games their starting pitcher has thrown less than six innings.

The Phillies are 92-67 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Houston Astros. The Phils have won the division and currently are second among the four NL playoff teams with 92 wins. All four of the Phils, Cards, Dodgers and Rockies have three games to play. LA has 93 wins and the Rockies and Cards each have 91. The Phils will play the Dodgers or the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers lead the Rockies by two games with the teams set to play a three-game series this weekend.

The Phillies lost the first game of the series 8-2. Rollins put the Phils up 1-0 in the bottom of the first as he singled, stole second and came in to score on a sac fly by Utley. Hamels kept Houston off the board until the fourth, when the Astros tied the game at 1-1 on three singles and walk. Three of the first four Houston batters reached in the sixth and the Astros scored two more to extend their lead to 3-1. Victorino doubled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, moving to third on a ground out and came in to score on a balk to make it 3-2. Houston blew it open in the seventh. Hamels got the first two batters in the frame before allowing two singles, a stolen base and walking the next hitter intentionally. Walker took over for Hamels and was awful again, allowing a two-run double, a walk and a single before Condrey took over. Condrey allowed a two-run single before striking out JR Towles to end the five-run inning with the Phillies down 8-2. With two outs and nobody on, seven straight Astros reached in the frame.

The Phils got a huge win in game two, topping Houston 7-4. With the help of a loss by the Braves the win helped reduce their magic number to one. Lance Berkman homered off of Happ with two outs in the third to put the Astros up 1-0. Bako led off the bottom of the third with a walk and came in to score on a double by Rollins, tying the game at 1-1. Howard, Ibanez and Werth got on board to start the fourth before Feliz delivered an enormous blow, hitting the first pitch of his at-bat from Wilton Lopez out to left for a grand slam that put the Phils up 5-1. Houston got another run off of Happ in the top of the fifth on two singles and a catcher’s interference to make it 5-2. Werth hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth and it was 7-2. Kaz Matsui got Happ for a two-run shot as well in the top of the sixth. 7-4. Moyer came on in relief of Happ in the top of the sixth. He got the last out and returned for the seventh, injuring his groin as Jeff Keppinger flew to center for the third out. Madson worked the final two innings to earn the save.

The Phils clinched the NL East with a 10-3 win in game three. The Astros loaded the bases in the first on three singles before Pedro walked Pence with two outs to force in a run an put Houston up 1-0. Rollins started the bottom of the first with a double and came in to score on a ground out by Utley to tie the game at 1-1. JR Towles hit a solo shot off of Martinez in the top of the second, putting Houston on top again at 2-1. Towles did it again in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1. Martinez left after four innings, but Kendrick came on next and was fantastic in relief. He struck out four in three scoreless innings while the Phillies broke the game open. Two singles, a walk, a double by Feliz and a costly throwing error by Astros starter Brian Moehler helped the Phils score four runs in the bottom of the fourth, putting them on top at 5-3. Back-to-back triples by Rollins and Victorino to start the fifth helped the Phillies score two more. 7-3. An RBI-double by Ruiz in the sixth brought in Feliz and made it 8-3. Ibanez hit a two-run shot in the seventh and it was 10-3. Eyre got the first two outs in the ninth before Brad Lidge came in and got Berkman to ground to first to end the game.

The Phillies lost last night’s game 5-3. Berkman put the Astros up 2-0 with a two-run double off of Lee in the top of the first. Francisco doubled in the fifth and came in to score on a single by Rollins to cut the lead to 2-1. The Phils couldn’t get any more in the inning, though, as Werth grounded to short with the bases loaded to leave all three runners stranded. Tejada hit a two-run shot off of Lee in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1 and Houston added a run on three singles off of Myers in the seventh. Down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies got a two-out double from Feliz. 5-3. Tracy followed with a single that moved Feliz to third and put the tying run on base, but Cairo flew to center to end the game.

The Phillies threw 36 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starting pitching was bad. 6.14 ERA and a 1.68 ratio over 22 innings. Five home runs allowed — two against Happ, two off of Martinez and one off of Lee.

Hamels got the start in game one. He was strong early but ended up with an ugly line, allowing six runs over 6 2/3 innings on nine hits and three walks while striking out five. Six starts in September for Hamels — three were good and three were bad. Two bad ones in a row have him allowing ten runs on 17 hits and three walks over 13 2/3 innings in his last two starts (6.59 ERA and a 1.46 ratio). His line would have look a whole lot better if he had gotten Bourn with two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh. He’s keeping people in the yard these days, which is a good sign. In six of his last seven starts he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Happ went 5 2/3 innings in game two, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned and he struck out six. He has a 3.77 ERA over his last three starts, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. He’s allowed 20 hits and three walks over 14 1/3 innings (1.60 ratio). After walking lots of hitters for most of the season, he hasn’t walked two or more in a start any of his last six times out. He’s allowed too many hits in those six starts, though, 35 in 28 1/3 innings. Seven of the hits have been home runs. That’s too many, too. Seven home runs over 28 1/3 innings would have him on a pace to give up about 49 homers over 200 innings.

Pedro started game three and went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He gave up a pair of home runs to Towles. He’s allowed more than three runs in a start just once as a Phillie, he allowed four against the Mets on August 23, but has gone five innings or less in five of his nine starts.

Lee went 5 2/3 in game four, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the runs was unearned. He’s allowed 11 runs in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts. He’s also given up three home runs — he’s allowed just 17 home runs in 231 2/3 innings on the year. The 231 2/3 innings he’s thrown on the year is fourth in all of baseball. That’s not good.

The pen pitched well. They threw 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. Walker was awful in game one, but came back to throw a 1-2-3 inning last night. Madson had a nifty two inning save in game two. Kendrick sparkled in relief of Martinez in game three. Myers had a worrisome outing last night.

Eyre started the ninth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. Making his first appearance since September 7, he faced two batters and retired them both. He has been charged with two runs in 32 appearances since the end of April.

Romero pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He allowed back-to-back singles with one out before getting the next two hitters to leave the runners stranded.

Escalona pitched the ninth inning last night with the Phils down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order. He’s been charged with runs in two of his 12 appearances on the season, but appears to have little chance to be on the post-season roster.

Moyer took over for Happ in the sixth inning of game two with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 7-4. He got Miguel Tejada on a fly ball to center to end the frame. He came back for the seventh, too. He walked Hunter Pence with two outs before getting Jeff Keppinger on a fly ball to deep center field. Moyer fell to the ground after delivering the pitch to Keppinger and left the game with a strained groin.

Kendrick was awesome in game three. Pitching in relief of Pedro, he went three scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits and struck out four. He has a 2.66 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 23 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season. He allowed three runs in two innings to the Red Sox in his first appearance of the year — since then he’s thrown to a 1.66 ERA.

Walker took over for Hamels in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, men on first and second and the Phils down 4-2. He gave up a two-run double to Carlos Lee and then walked Hunter Pence. It put men on first and second with two down for Jeff Keppinger and Keppinger reached on an infield single to load the bases. Condrey took over for Walker to pitch to Kaz Matsui.

Second straight terrible outing in a row for Walker — over his last two appearances he had allowed four runs on four hits and a walk without getting an out. It’s raised his ERA on the year from 2.23 to 3.34. His ratio went from 1.05 to 1.21.

He got another chance in game four and pitched better. He started the eighth with the Phillies down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. He walked Matsui with one out but got the next two. He has a 1.98 ERA in nine appearances in September, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. In 13 2/3 innings he has walked eleven.

Condrey entered game one in the top of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded, the Phils down 6-2 and Matsui at the plate. Matsui delivered a two-run single before Condrey struck out JR Towles to end the frame.

Condrey also pitched last night, entering the game in the sixth inning with two outs, men on second and third and the Phillies down 4-1. He hit Humberto Quintero with a pitch before pinch-hitter Aaron Boone flew to center to end the frame.

Condrey hasn’t been charged with an earned run in any of his last ten appearances. In seven innings he’s allowed five hits without walking a batter.

Myers started the seventh inning of game four with the Phillies down 4-1. Bourn led off with a bunt single, went to second on a passed ball and was bunted to third. Tejada followed with a single that scored Bourn and made it 5-1. Berkman was next and he singled as well, putting me on first and second with one out. Pence hit into a double-play to end set Houston down.

It was the first appearance for Myers since September 12.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He got the first two before he hit a batter and allowed a single. He got Jason Michaels to ground to third to leave both men stranded.

Lidge also pitched in game three, entering in the ninth inning with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 10-3. He got Berkman to ground to first to end the game and clinch the division for the Phillies.

Madson entered game two in the top of the eighth with the Phillies up 7-4. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and came back for the ninth. Matsui led off the ninth with a single before Tejada flew to right for the first out. Berkman reached on a single just out of reach of Rollins, moving Matsui to second and bringing Lee to the plate as the tying run. Lee struck out swinging and Madson got Pence swinging to end the game.

The Phillies scored 22 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins had a fantastic series. He was 6-for-15 in the series with two doubles and a triple and is hitting 250/297/424 on the year.

Victorino was 4-for-12 with a double and two triples. He’s hitting 293/360/448 for the year. Hopefully a lot of rest is the answer for Victorino. He’s hitting 243/309/395 over his last 232 plate appearances. He was hitting 319/386/476 after going 3-for-5 on July 28.

Utley was 0-for-9 in the series and got last night off. He’s hitting 285/401/513 on the season. He hit an ugly 204/304/343 in September.

Howard was 3-for-12 with five walks in the series. 276/358/563 on the season.

Werth 5-for-13 with a home run and four walks. 268/374/506.

Ibanez 3-for-14 with two walks, a home run and four RBI. 274/348/556.

Feliz hit a huge grand slam in game two. 5-for-17 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI in the series. 268/311/390 for the year. Feliz has been awful since the end of July, hitting 230/260/376 over 224 plate appearances. He’s shown a lot of life lately, though, hitting 327/327/489 over his last 49 plate appearances. No walks in his last 53 at-bats.

Bako started games one, two and four of the series. 2-for-8 with two walks. He’s up to 230/315/345 on the season. 333/405/455 over 37 plate appearances in his last ten games.

Ruiz started game three of the series and went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 253/351/424 on the year.

Hoover appeared in game one without an at-bat.

Francisco started in center field last night in game four. 3-for-5 with two doubles in the series. 281/316/551 in 89 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 235/257/294 for the year.

Bruntlett started at second base last night and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He’s hitting 158/214/228 for the year. He did not have a bat in all of September before starting October with a tough game. Hasn’t been such a good year for him.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line on the year to 255/306/400. He’s 5-for-22 with five singles since the end of July.

Tracy went 1-for-2 in the series and is 3-for-6 with the Phillies.

Victorino and Utley are the guys the Phillies really need to snap out. Rollins was a monster in the series and so was Feliz despite recent struggles.

This article breaks down tie scenarios for the best record in the NL.

Chan Ho Park left a simulated game yesterday after facing five batters due to a problem with his hamstring. It also suggests that whether Happ or Martinez is fourth starter behind Lee, Hamels and Blanton will depend on the health of Eyre and Romero.


Thanks for the memories

Given his unbelievable performance in 2008 and the fact that he’s going to be a Phillie for two more seasons, it’s a little hard to know when to pull the plug on Brad Lidge and his miserable 2009 season. I can help, though. The answer is right now.

The Phillies aren’t playing critical games these days. It would take a huge meltdown in conjunction with miraculous play by some other teams to keep them out of the playoffs. It’s not going to happen. It’s not just about the playoffs, though. Time after time Manuel comes up with “he’s my closer” when asked about Lidge. Really? Well your closer is having a terrible year, it kills your team and he’s only your closer because you say he is. As loyal as you are to Lidge you have a responsibility to your team to do better. At least when the games matter, you do. Lidge has an 8.84 ERA and a 2.02 ratio over his last 22 appearances. Every time Lidge gets the ball with the game on the line now it digs the hole deeper for Manuel — one more time to say he’s my closer and one more chance to get someone else some experience with the role that’s lost.

Lidge has two more years to get his ’08 magic back. It’s gone now, though, and anyone who can’t see that is blinded by something. If it’s loyalty that has Manuel blind I actually think that’s a little impressive. Maybe that loyalty to his players is how he gets so much out of them. But it’s not Brad Lidge’s job to say he doesn’t want to close anymore. Not his job to say he can’t get the job done. He doesn’t believe that and he shouldn’t and it’s never ever going to happen. It is Manuel’s job, though, and he has more than one player he needs to be loyal to.

The Phillies are 88-63 on the season after losing two of three to the Florida Marlins. The Phils are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by 6 1/2 games. Atlanta has gone 8-2 over their last ten games to pull within four of the Rockies for the Wild Card. After winning game one of the series the Phillies were 27 games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies rolled to a 9-3 win behind a great start from Blanton in game one. Blanton exited with a 4-0 lead after allowing two singles and two walks over seven innings. The Phils broke it open with a five-run eighth in which Ibanez hit his 32nd homer of the season. Escalona and Walker combined to allow three Marlins runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Anibal Sanchez baffled the Phils in game two, throwing eight shutout innings as the Marlins won 3-0. Dan Uggla put the Fish up 1-0 with a solo homer off of Moyer in the second and Cody Ross extended it to 2-0 with another solo shot in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez doubled in Chris Coghlan in the fifth to make it 3-0. The Phillies had two hits in the game, a single by Utley and a double by Utley.

The Phillies coughed up three runs late last night and lost 7-6. A two-run doubled by Howard put the Phils up 2-0 in the top of the third, but the Fish put a run on the board off of Hamels in the fourth and went up 3-2 in the fifth. Ibanez homered in the sixth to tie the game at 3-3 and Hamels brought Feliz in with a two-out single to put the Phils back up at 4-3. Howard drove in two more runs with a two-run homer in the seventh. 6-3. Gaby Sanchez homered off of Hamels in the bottom of the seventh to get the Marlins back within two runs. Madson gave up a run in the eighth on two singles and a hit batter. 6-5. Lidge started the ninth in defense of the one-run lead and gave up a leadoff double to Ross Gload. He got the next two hitters before Ramirez walked and then Jorge Cantu tied the game with a single. With two outs and men on first, Brett Carroll delivered the game-winning single to center for Florida.

The Phillies threw 25 2/3 innings in the series, pitching to a 4.56 ERA and a 1.36 ratio.

Blanton made a great start in game one. Moyer and Hamels combined to allow seven runs in 14 innings in the next two games. Overall the starters threw to a 3.05 ERA with a 1.05 ratio over 21 innings. They allowed four home runs, Moyer and Hamels each gave up two.

Blanton was fantastic in the opener. He went seven shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks while striking out nine. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts and has allowed more than three runs in a start in his last 21 starts.

Moyer started game two and allowed three runs over seven innings on nine hits and a walk. He gave up a pair of solo home runs and struck out five. He’s allowed 27 home runs in 156 2/3 innings this year after allowing 20 in 196 1/3 innings in 2008.

Hamels went seven innings in game three, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk a batter, but allowed two home runs in a game for the first time in eight starts. He’s walked just five batters in 36 2/3 innings for the month.

The relief pitching was terrible in the series. Escalona and Walker combined to give up three runs with a big lead in game one. Madson and Lidge got hit hard last night. Overall the pen pitched 4 2/3 innings with an 11.57 ERA and a 2.79 ratio. They allowed nine hits and four walks in less than five innings.

Escalona started the eighth inning of game one with the Phillies up 9-0. Coghlan singled with one out and Nick Johnson followed with a walk. Ramirez was next and he lined a double to center, scoring Coghlan to make it 9-1 with men on second and third and one out. Walker came in to pitch to the righty Cantu.

Walker entered game one in the eighth inning with one out, men on second and third and the Phillies up 9-1. He struck Jorge Cantu out for the second out, but Uggla was next and delivered a two-run single to right to make it 9-3. Walker walked Ronny Paulino before getting Cody Ross to pop to third to end the inning.

Condrey pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in game one with the Phils up 9-3.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 3-0. He walked Wes Helms with one out before getting Uggla on a popup for the second. Paulino moved Helms to second with a single before Durbin struck out Ross to end the inning.

Madson started the eighth inning of game three with a 6-4 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Cantu and then hit Nick Johnson with a pitch. He got Uggla to hit into a double-play, which left Cantu at third with two down. Ross singled to left and Cantu scored, making it 6-5. Madson struck out Paulino to end the inning.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning last night, entering with a 6-5 lead. Gload doubled to start the inning, but Lidge got the next two before walking Ramirez. It put men on first and third with two down for Cantu and Cantu singled to center, scoring Gload to make it 6-6. Ramirez went to third on the single and scored the game-winner when Carroll followed with a single.

The Phillies scored 15 runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 2-for-13 with a double in the series and is hitting 245/290/411 for the season.

Victorino was 2-for-11 with three walks. 295/363/448 on the year. He’s hitting 240/310/385 over his last 198 plate appearances.

Utley was 3-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 294/412/530 for the year.

Howard went 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and seven RBI. He’s at 272/353/564 for the season.

Ibanez was 3-for-11 with two home runs and a walk in the series. He has six home runs but just ten RBI in the month. 277/347/565 for the year.

Werth was 1-for-9 with two walks in the series. 271/376/516. 1-for-his-last-13.

Feliz was on the bench for game one with Cairo at third. He went 1-for-7 with a double in the series. 262/308/381. He’s hitting 245/283/359 since the end of May. The end of May was a long time ago.

Ruiz started the night game of the double-header before returning to Philadelphia to have his wrist looked at. He was 0-for-2 in the series and is at 253/353/423 for the year.

Bako started games one and three of the series. 2-for-7 with two walks in the series. 198/291/297 on the year.

Cairo started game one at third and went 2-for-5 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 226/250/290 in 31 at-bats for the year.

Francisco was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 267/300/547 in 75 at-bats with the Phillies.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in the series and still does not have an at-bat in September. 167/224/240 on the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is at 259/312/410 for the season.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with a walk. 206/369/402 on the season. He’s 3-for-37 (.081) since the All-Star break.

This article says that Carlos Ruiz has had an MRI that showed no structural damage to his left wrist. Ruiz will likely have a cortisone injection today and be sidelined for three to five days.

The list of catchers that the Phillies have lost recently includes Jason Jaramillo, Lou Marson, Ronny Paulino and Chris Coste. Marson was part of the Lee deal, which was a fantastic trade for the Phils. The other three were pretty much given away, though. The Phils traded Jaramillo for Paulino in December. Paulino was traded for Taschner in an awful deal for the Phillies at the end of March. The Astros claimed Coste off of waivers in July after the Phils had acquired Bako. Losing Paulino for Taschner is the move of those three that hurts the most, Paulino has hit 278/344/435 in 223 at-bats for the Marlins this season.

The article linked above also says that Eyre was available to pitch last night.


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