Tag: Nick Swisher

Hamels comes up petite

Things looked really good for the Phillies for the first two innings of game three last night. The Phils were up 3-0 after two and pounding away at Yankees starter Andy Pettitte. Pettitte had thrown 51 pitches for a Yankee team that had three games in three days and a bullpen just about everyone agreed needed to be avoided. Hamels had allowed one base-runner on a hit batter. The game changed in the middle innings, though. Pettitte snapped to life and started mowing down the Phillies hitters. Hamels didn’t make it out of the top of the fifth, which ended with New York up to stay at 5-3.

Werth put the Phillies up 1-0 with a homer off of Pettitte in the second. After Ibanez struck out, four straight Phillies reached and it helped the Phils score two more runs to go up 3-0. A-Rod hit a two-run homer off of Hamels in the fourth and Hamels didn’t make it out of the fifth as New York added three more to go up 5-3. A Nick Swisher home run in the sixth off of Happ made it 6-3 before Werth homered again to get the Phils within two at 6-4. In the seventh, Johnny Damon walked, stole a base and scored on a single by Posada off of Durbin to make it 7-4. Hideki Matsui delivered a pinch-hit homer off of Myers in the eighth to make it 8-4. Ruiz hit a home run off of Phil Hughes in the bottom of the ninth to make it 8-5, which is how it ended.

Hamels was not the only left-handed player who struggled for the Phillies last night. Far from it. Utley, Howard and Ibanez combined to go 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts. In the last two games Howard is 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts and Utley is 0-for-7 with a walk.

The Phils trail the Yankees two games to one in the World Series after dropping game three 8-5.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out three. It was his second straight start in the post-season in which he was unable to complete five innings.

He faced a Yankees lineup that went (1) Jeter (SS/R) (2) Damon (LF/R) (3) Teixeira (1B/S) (4) Rodriguez (3B/R) (5) Posada (C/S) (6) Cano (2B/L) (7) Swisher (RF/S) (8) Cabrera (CF/S). Matsui on the bench as the teams play the first non-DH game of the series.

The Yankees had five players on their bench to start the game, righties Jose Molina and Jerry Hairston and lefties Brett Gardner, Hideki Matsui and Eric Hinske.

Jeter led off the game, which started around 9:15 after a delay of about an hour and twenty minutes. Hamels got him to ground back to the mound on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Damon grounded to short 1-2 for the second out. Teixeira struck out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

Impressive start for Hamels, who threw 13 pitches and 11 strikes in the inning.

He hit A-Rod with the first pitch of the second. Posada was next and hit what probably should have been a double-play ball to Feliz, but Feliz juggled and the Phillies could only get one out at second base. Cano struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out and Swisher flew to Werth in shallow right-center to set the Yankees down.

After throwing nine pitches in the inning, Hamels had thrown 22 in the game. Seventeen strikes.

He started the third with a 3-0 lead and set the Yankees down in order. Cabrera grounded to third, Pettitte grounded to second and Jeter flew to right.

Thirteen pitches had Hamels at 35.

Damon started the fourth and flew to right 0-1 for the first out. Hamels got ahead of Teixeira 1-2, but Teixeira walked on a 3-2 pitch that looked like it was a strike. It put a man on first for Rodriguez. A-Rod drove an 0-1 pitch to right that hit off of a camera on the top of the right field fence that hung over a little onto the field. He looked like he had a double that moved Teixeira to third, but the umps looked at the replay and ruled it was a home run. 3-2. Very close, but they probably got it right. Posada grounded to short and Cano fouled out to the catcher to end the frame.

The walk of Teixeira on what was probably strike three costs the Phillies a run. Fourteen pitches had Hamels at 49.

He didn’t make it out of the fifth. Swisher got behind 0-2 before he hit a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line for a double. Cabrera struck out swinging 0-2 for the first out, but Pettitte swung at the first pitch and dumped a ball in front of Victorino for a single. Swisher scored and it was 3-3. Jeter was next and he hit a ball into center to almost the same place. Victorino made a sliding effort but didn’t come up with the ball and Jeter had a single that put men on first and second with one out. Damon was next and he split the gap in right-center for a double that cleared the bases and made it 5-3. Teixeira walked on a 3-2 pitch that was way outside and that was it for Hamels. Happ came in and got A-Rod to line to center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Posada got ahead 3-0 but popped to Utley to set New York down.

Nice job by Happ. Posada may have done him a favor, cause Happ looked like he would have been happy to walk Posada and go after the lefty Cano behind him.

Happ came back for the sixth. Cano grounded to second for the first out. Swisher was next and Happ got ahead of him 1-2, but Swisher hit the 2-2 pitch out to left to make it 6-3. Cabrera flew to left for the second out and Happ struck Pettitte out swinging 2-2 for the third.

A double and a home run in the last two innings for Swisher. Second time the Phillies pitcher got way ahead of him and didn’t put him away.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phils down 6-4. Jeter flew to right for the first out, but Damon followed and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch after getting behind 1-2. Damon was running on the 3-2 pitch to Teixeira. Teixeira struck out swinging for the second out, but Damon was safe a second. Durbin hit A-Rod with a 2-2 pitch, putting men on first and second. Posada singled into left on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Damon to make it 7-4. Durbin stayed in to pitch to the lefty Cano and struck him out swinging 1-2 to set New York down.

Second time the Phillies hit A-Rod in the game. I was surprised it was Durbin and not Park in the seventh. I was expecting Park-Madson-Lidge seven-eight-nine. I thought the Phillies should have brought Eyre in to pitch to Cano, but it worked out well.

It wasn’t Madson in the eighth, either. Myers started the eighth and got Swisher to fly to left on a 2-0 pitch for the first out. Cabrera struck out swinging for the second. Lefty Hideki Matsui hit for the pitcher Joba Chamberlain and homered to left 2-2 to make it 8-4. Jeter struck out swinging to end the frame.

Again I was surprised not to see the Phillies bring in a lefty to pitch to Matsui. Not sure what they were saving them for, but apparently it wasn’t Matsui pinch-hitting.

Madson pitched the ninth. Damon grounded to short for the first out and Teixeira flew to center for the second. A-Rod walked on a 3-1 pitch to put a man on for Posada, but Posada flew to center 3-2 to set New York down.

Happ, Durbin, Myers and Madson combined to allow three runs in 4 2/3 innings on three hits and two walks. The Phillies didn’t use Eyre or Bastardo in the game and let Durbin pitch to Cano and Myers pitch to Matsui. It seems like Manuel must have gone with Durbin and Myers in the seventh and eighth because of three games in three days. Down by just two runs in the seventh seems like a strange time to go to something other than your primary options, though.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Andy Pettitte went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (DH/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with five players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco.

Rollins swung at the first pitch to start the bottom of the first and hit a ball that went off the glove of Rodriguez at third and into left field for a single. Victorino was next and he popped a 1-2 pitch to third for the first out. Rollins stole second as the count went 3-1 on Utley, but Utley struck out swinging for the second out. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 to leave Rollins stranded.

Like Burnett, Pettitte walks a lot of hitters. In a change from game two, however, the Phillies were very aggressive early in the count against Pettitte after taking time after time against Burnett. Rollins, Victorino and Utley all swung at the first pitch. Pettitte threw twenty pitches in the inning.

Werth started the second and got ahead 3-0 before he hit a 3-2 pitch out to left to put the Phillies up 1-0. Feliz was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch high off the wall in right for a double. Ruiz walked 3-1. Hamels bunted the first pitch from Pettitte and his bunt was beautiful on the third base side of the mound. The Yankees couldn’t get an out and Hamels had a single that loaded the bases. Rollins walked 3-1 and Feliz scored to make it 2-0. Victorino swung at two bad pitches to get down 0-2, but hit Pettitte’s next pitch to left deep enough for Ruiz to tag and score and make it 3-0 with two down and men on first and second. Utley struck out looking 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Great to see Feliz pound a double high off the wall. Pettitte made a bad pitch to Victorino 0-2 after Victorino looked awful trying to be aggressive early in the count. Nice job by Ruiz and Rollins to take the walks when the plan was clearly to go after Pettitte early in the count. Long inning for Pettitte. Thirty-one pitches had him at 51 after just two innings.

Big strikeout for Utley with two men on to end the inning. The Phillies lefties, Utley, Howard and Ibanez, were a combined 0-for-4 with four strikeouts at this point. Rollins, Victorino, Werth, Feliz and Ruiz were 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, two walks and three RBI.

Pettitte set the Phils down in order in the third. Howard struck out swinging 0-2. Werth got ahead 3-1 but flew to right for the second out. Ibanez flew to center on the first pitch of his at-bat.

A nine-pitch inning had Pettitte at 60.

Feliz started the fourth with the Phils up 3-2. He hit a ground ball to third, but A-Rod’s throw pulled Teixeira off bag for an error. Ruiz hit a 2-0 pitch in the hole between short and third. Jeter threw to second to force Feliz for the first out. Hamels bunted Ruiz to second for the second out. Rollins got ahead 2-1 but flew to right to leave Ruiz stranded.

Twelve pitches had Pettitte at 72.

Down 5-3 in the fifth the Phils went in order again. Victorino flew to Cabrera. Utley grounded to first with Pettitte covering. Howard popped to short 1-0 to end the inning.

Eleven pitches for Pettitte and 83 for the game. He threw 51 in innings one and two and 32 in innings three, four and five. The only batter to reach for the Phillies in innings three, four and five was Feliz. He reached on A-Rod’s error.

It was 6-3 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Werth led off and homered again, smashing a 1-1 pitch out to left to make it 6-4. Ibanez struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch that wasn’t in the strike zone. Feliz struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch that wasn’t in the strike zone. Ruiz drew a walk and Bruntlett hit for Happ and flew to right.

Bruntlett is a miserable second-best option as a righty off the bench, but I agree with Manuel it was too early for Francisco. With Ibanez’s strikeout Utley, Ibanez and Howard were 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in the game.

21 and 104 for Pettitte.

The Phils were down 7-4 when they hit in the seventh. Righty Joba Chamberlain was on in relief of Pettitte and set them down in order. Rollins flew to left-center on a 1-0 pitch. Victorino got ahead 2-1 and grounded to second. Utley lined a 1-1 pitch to center to end the inning.

Lefty Damaso Marte came on to start the eighth with an 8-4 lead. Gardner was in center with Cabrera in right and Swisher out of the game. The Phillies went in order. Howard struck out again, swinging 0-2. Werth got to face the lefty but struck out looking 2-2. Ibanez lined an 0-2 pitch to third.

Righty Phil Hughes started the ninth with an 8-4 lead. Feliz grounded to third on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Ruiz was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch from Hughes out to left-center to make it 8-5. Stairs hit for Madson. Righty Mariano Rivera took over for Hughes and got Stairs to ground to second 0-2. Rollins popped a 1-0 pitch to third to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Victorino 0-for-3 with an RBI.

Utley 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Howard 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 2-3-4 in the lineup were 0-for-11 in the game.

Werth was 2-for-4 with two home runs. Sure would be nifty to get someone on base for one of those, but this was not the game for that.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Feliz 1-for-4 with a double.

Ruiz 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run.

Stairs 0-for-1.

Bruntlett 0-for-1.

Game four is tonight with Joe Blanton scheduled to meet lefty CC Sabathia.

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.

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