Tag: Pedro Martinez

Shift happens

I’m not sure you want to spend a whole lot of time looking for evidence from this season that the Phillies are better than the New York Yankees. The Yankees won 103 games in a league widely believed to have a higher level of play than the National League. Beyond that, even during their brilliant run of the past two seasons the Phillies have been pulverized by the AL in interleague play — after going 6-11 this year they are 10-23 in regular season action since the start of 2008.

I do think there’s a good case to be made for the Phillies in the World Series, however. The Phils are unique among the teams in either league in that the last time they lost a game they couldn’t afford to lose was in 2007. Just about everyone will roll their eyes when you say there’s something special about the Phillies and the way they shift into a higher gear for the playoffs. And with good reason. I would roll my eyes, too. It’s there, though. You can see it by watching them play. I can, at least. If you can’t, you can see it in the numbers. Over the past two years, the Phillies have simply been a better team in the post-season than they have in the regular season. They are 18-5 in 23 playoff games since the start of 2008.

Here’s how the runs the Phillies have scored and allowed over the past two years compare for the post-season and the regular season:

  G R RA R/G RA/G Diff
Post 23 119 75 5.17 3.26 1.91
Regular 324 1619 1389 5.00 4.29 0.71

Facing better teams, the Phillies have scored more runs per game and allowed a lot fewer.

The margin by which they are winning playoff games also has increased this year compared to 2008:

  G R/G RA/G Diff
’09 post-season 9 6.11 3.44 2.67
’08 post-season 14 4.57 3.14 1.43

The Phillies are on a tear with the bats. They’ve scored 55 runs in nine games. Their pitching hasn’t been as good as it was last year, but it’s been good and the offensive boost has been enough to get their difference between the average number of runs they’re scoring and allowing way up in 2009.

Runs allowed per game up or not, the Phillies are still pitching rather well this post-season. If you allowed 3.44 runs per game over a complete season you would give up about 557 runs. This year the Giants and the Dodgers were the best NL teams at preventing runs and they each allowed 611.

It may seem like the Phillies haven’t had the dominating pitching they had in the ’08 post-season this year. And they haven’t, in the bullpen especially. But the starting pitching has been a little better:

    ERA Ratio
2009 Starters 3.11 1.02
2009 Relievers 3.24 1.44
2008 Starters 3.70 1.19
2008 Relievers 1.79 1.21

If you’re looking for stuff to worry about you may want to go with hoping that Cliff Lee stays healthy and keeps pitching well. The Phillies have four great starts in their nine post-season games so far. Lee has made three of them and Pedro made the other. In those four games the Phillies starters allowed two earned runs in 31 1/3 innings. They allowed 16 hits and three walks, throwing to an 0.57 ERA and an 0.61 ratio. That will do some nifty things for your team numbers for starting pitchers.

In the other five starts, Phillies starters have thrown to a 6.46 ERA and a 1.56 ratio.

The bullpen hasn’t been the same in the playoffs in ’09 as it was in ’08. It was pretty spectacular in ’08, though. The relievers have kept their ERA down in the playoffs in ’09, but they have allowed a lot of base-runners. In 25 innings they’ve allowed 25 hits and 11 walks. Sure wish they would get that walk rate down, but it’s been bad all year and it might be bad all post-season, too. The Phillies bullpen walked about 4.08 batters per nine innings in the regular season and have walked about 3.96 batters per nine innings in the post-season.

Phils split with the Dodgers, ability to hit, pitch in relief and throw the ball from second base

Nobody had much of an idea what to expect from Pedro Martinez in game two of the NLCS. Pedro has always seemed like a bit of an outsider on this squad, a guy focused on proving to the baseball world he’s still got it on a team full of players with a history of putting the team first. Whether that’s fair or not, it was the Phillies who let Martinez down in this game, not the other way around. Martinez was brilliant, spinning a two-hit shutout over seven innings. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t hit Vicente Padilla, couldn’t get an out on a bunt, couldn’t turn a key double-play and walked in the winning run in a disastrous eighth inning that cost them the game.

Martinez exited after seven innings having thrown 87 pitches and allowing two singles and no walks. The Phils hit for him in the top of the eighth and things fell apart in the bottom of the inning. They hit for him cause the plan on the day was to limit Pedro to 90 pitches. If that was the plan they executed it brilliantly. What they didn’t do was win the game, which makes you wonder where the plan and the 90-pitch number came from in the first place.

Howard put the Phillies up 1-0 with a solo shot off of Padilla in the top of the fourth. Taking over for Pedro, Park started the eighth and gave up a single off the glove of Feliz. Ronnie Belliard bunted and the Phils couldn’t get an out. Russell Martin hit a throw-it-in-the-dugout ball and the Phils executed beautifully for the second straight day, getting one at second before Utley threw the ball into the first base dugout. Juan Pierre scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1. A single and a walk loaded the bases before JA Happ walked Andre Ethier, forcing in the run that put LA on top to stay at 2-1.

The Phils and Dodgers are tied at a game apiece after splitting the first two games of the NLCS. They head now to Philadelphia for game three on Sunday.

Pedro Martinez got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing two singles, no walks and striking out three. He also hit a batter.

Pedro faced a lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Kemp (CF/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Blake (3B/R) (7) Belliard (2B/R) (8) Martin (C/R). Kemp moves to two after hitting fourth against the lefty in game one. Ethier to three from two. Ramirez three to four. Blake and Loney switch spots in the order. Like Ruiz, Martin starts in the day game after a night game.

The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.

Pedro threw a 1-2-3 first. Furcal flew to left on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Kemp hit a 2-2 pitch softly to Rollins. Ethier got ahead 2-0, but popped a 2-2 pitch to Utley in short center for the second out.

Ramirez, Loney and Blake went down in the second. Manny got ahead 2-0 before popping to Howard in foul territory 2-1. Loney grounded an 0-1 pitch to first with Martinez covering. Blake got ahead in the count and then flew softly to right 3-1.

Belliard led off the third and flew to Ibanez in right-center for the first out. Martin was next and he blooped a 2-2 pitch in center for a single, the first runner of the game for LA. Padilla tried to bunt and fouled two off before getting it down. It moved Martin to second with two outs. Furcal grounded to second on a 2-0 pitch to leave him stranded.

He started the fourth with a 1-0 lead. Kemp led off with an infield single on a ball that Martinez deflected, but Ruiz gunned Kemp down stealing with Ethier at the plate for the first out before Ethier flew to center on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Manny popped to Howard to end the inning.

Loney popped to third to start the fifth before Martinez struck Blake and Belliard both out swinging.

In the sixth, Martinez got ahead of the leadoff batter Martin 2-0 before hitting him with a 2-2 pitch. Padilla bunted Martin to second, but Furcal flew to center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out and Kemp flew to left to leave Martin stranded.

Ethier grounded to second 1-2 to start the seventh. Ramirez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Loney hit the ball well to center, but Victorino took it for the third out.

Exit Pedro, enter the bullpen and the nightmare.

Park started the eighth with the Phils still up 1-0. Blake led off with a ground ball deflected off the glove of Feliz and into left field for a single. Juan Pierre ran for Blake at first. Belliard was next and bunted on the first base side of the mound, but nobody could make the play and he was safe with a single that moved Martin to second. Martin was next and he got ahead 3-0 before hitting a double-play ball to third. Feliz threw to second for the first out, but Utley’s relay to first was way off target. Pierre scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1. Martin held first with one out and Jim Thome hit for the pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo. Thome singled to right, putting men on first and third. Juan Castro ran for Thome and Madson came in to pitch to Furcal. Furcal walked to load the bases. Madson got a big strikeout next, getting Kemp swinging 1-2 for the second out. Happ came in to pitch to the lefty Ethier. He got ahead 1-2 before delivering three straight balls to walk Ethier, forcing in Martin to make it 2-1. Ball four was very close and may have been a strike. Durbin replaced Happ and got Manny on a popup to third on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Awful inning for the Phils. Very close pitch by Happ 3-2. At least they had a righty pitching to Furcal in a big spot late this time. Good job again by Durbin, getting Ramirez for the last out with the bases still loaded.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla 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) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.

Rollins led off the game and took ball one before flying to left for the first out. Victorino flew to right on an 0-1 pitch, but Utley hit a 2-1 pitch into right for a single. Howard swung at the first pitch and popped to Furcal near the foul line in short left field.

He set the Phils down in order in the second. Werth went down looking 1-2. Ibanez grounded 1-2 pitch to first. Feliz struck out swinging 0-2.

Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Martinez was next and popped up the bunt for the first out. Loney tried dropping it on purpose, but the umps didn’t go for it. Rollins got behind 0-2 and Padilla came way up and in. Rollins hit the 1-2 pitch into right, which Ethier took running in for the second out. Ruiz stole second before Victorino popped to Furcal to end the frame.

Utley grounded a 1-1 pitch to first for the first out of the fourth. Howard was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phils up 1-0. Werth struck out swinging 1-2 and Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2.

In the fifth, Feliz grounded to short, Ruiz flew to right and Pedro lined to second.

Rollins struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out of the sixth. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit the ball hard, but Loney took it for the second out. Utley also swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Howard singled to right to start the seventh with the Phillies still up 1-0. Werth got behind in the count and hit into a double-play to short on a 1-2 pitch, clearing the bases. Ibanez swung and missed three straight pitches to set the Phillies down.

Feliz grounded to short to start the eighth. Ruiz was next and he got behind 1-2, but came back to work a walk. Pedro was due to hit next, having thrown a two-hit shutout through seven innings and needing on 87 pitches to do so, but the Phils called on Dobbs to hit for him. The lefty Kuo came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Kuo got Francisco to ground into a double-play on a 1-1 pitch.

The Phils started the ninth down 2-1 with righty Jonathan Broxton on the mound for the Dodgers. Rollins took the first pitch for a strike and then grounded to second. Victorino grounded a 2-2 pitch to short. Utley was the last hope and he flew to right on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and is 1-for-9 in the series.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game. 2-for-9 in the series.

Utley 1-for-4 in the game, 1-for-8 with a walk in the series. He’s having huge problems throwing the ball to first base.

Howard 2-for-3 with a home run in the game. 3-for-6 with a double, a home run and two walks.

Werth 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. In the at-bat when he didn’t strike out he hit into a double-play. 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts so far.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 and struck out twice, too. 2-for-7 with a home run.

Feliz has been just terrible with the bat. 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the game. 0-for-6 with a walk in the series.

Ruiz 1-for-2 with a walk in the game. 3-for-5 with a home run and two walks.

Francisco was 0-for-1 in the game.

Lefty Cliff Lee faces righty Hiroki Kuroda in game three.

The 34-year-old Kuroda threw 117 1/3 innings for the Dodgers this year, pitching to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. He was the Dodger’s opening day starter, but missed a lot of the early part of the season with an oblique problem and some time recently with a neck issue.

Kuroda doesn’t walk anyone. Just 24 in 117 1/3 innings for the season. He walked just six of the 250 right-handed batters he faced for the year. Overall, he was almost as good against lefties as he was righties this year. Lefties hit 233/294/419 against him and righties 253/272/371.

He made one start against the Phils this year, which came on June 6. He threw six shutouts innings that day, holding the Phils to two hits and three walks. Ethier homered off of Blanton in the fourth to put LA up 1-0. Stairs had a two-run single off of Belisario in the seventh to put the Phils up 2-1. Furcal homered off of Lidge with one out in the ninth. 2-2. Ethier homered off of Durbin with two outs in the twelfth. LA wins 3-2.

Kuroda started game three of the NLCS against the Phillies last year and pitched very well, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. Howard and Utley doubled against him in that game and LA won 7-2 as they lit up Moyer. Kuroda threw a ball near Victorino’s head in that game, setting of a bench-clearing incident.

None of the Phillies have big numbers of at-bats against him over their careers in the regular season. Howard 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. Rollins 0-for-6. Victorino 0-for-5. Utley’s had some luck, 2-for-7 with two walks. Werth 2-for-7 with a double.

Lee went 14-13 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 ratio in 34 starts for the Indians and Phillies in 2009. He doesn’t walk anyone, almost literally when it comes to lefties. He walked six left-handed batters all season. Lefties hit just 241/263/320 against Lee with eleven extra-base hits for the season. Righties had a lot more luck, hitting 283/321/414.

Lee was brilliant in July and August, making 11 starts between the Indians and Phils in which he threw to a 2.06 ERA with an 0.98 ratio. Opponents posted a .590 OPS against him over those 11 starts. Things have been ugly since the end of August. In his last six starts of the season Lee had a 5.45 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. Opponents hit .317 against him.

He started games one and four against the Rockies in the NLDS and was fantastic twice. In 16 1/3 innings he pitched to a 1.10 ERA with an 0.86 ratio.

He didn’t face the Dodgers this year.

Manny has some scary career numbers against him: 6-for-14 with three doubles, two home runs and six walks (429/571/1.071). Kemp 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Furcal 2-for-3 with a homer. Ethier and Loney are both 0-for-3.

Hollywood beginnings

Cole Hamels faces Clayton Kershaw tonight in game one of the NLCS in Los Angeles.

Kershaw is a 21-year-old lefty and was a first round pick of the Dodgers in 2006. He went 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in 171 innings for the Dodgers this season. In 171 innings he allowed 119 hits. That one seems important, so I’ll say it again — in 171 innings he allowed 119 hits. If that seems impossible, I understand, but I did double-check like four times and encourage you to do the same. His 6.26 hits allowed per nine innings was the best mark for any pitcher in either league. Tim Lincecum was second in either league and he allowed 6.71 hits per nine innings. In this context the difference between 6.26 and 6.71 is big.

Kershaw also does not allow home runs. He gave up just seven on the season, six of which were hit by righties. What he does do is walk right-handed batters. 119 hits in 171 innings is sick, but he walked way too many righties. Eighty walks to righties in 547 plate appearances for the year. Eleven to lefties in 154 plate appearances. He walked 4.79 batters per nine innings for season overall, which is too many. No other pitcher on either the Phils or Dodgers who threw at least 70 innings this season walked that many hitters per nine innings.

He faced the Phils twice this year and the Phils fared pretty well. Kershaw was 0-2 against the Phils with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.45 ratio. On May 12 in Philly he allowed four runs on four hits and four walks over five innings as the Phils won 5-3. Ibanez had a big two-run double off of him in the fourth inning of that game. He faced Hamels on June 4 and pitched better, but the Phils won 3-0 anyway as Hamels threw a complete game shutout. Kershaw went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks. Feliz, Ibanez and Utley all had doubles against Kershaw.

He pitched the second game of the NLDS with the Cards and was very good, allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He walked just one in the game. He allowed a home run to Matt Holliday in the game, but I wouldn’t get used to that. Between June 4 to August 19 Kershaw had a stretch of 15 starts where he threw 83 2/3 innings without allowing a home run.

He made two appearances in the NLCS last year, both in relief. In game two he threw a 1-2-3 seventh with the Phils up 8-5, setting down Feliz, Rollins and Victorino. In game six he started the sixth with a 3-2 lead and didn’t fare as well. Howard led off with a walk, Burrell singled to left and Victorino bunted the runners along before Kershaw was replaced.

Utley is the only Phillie with a home run off of Kershaw for his career. 3-for-10 with a double, a homer and two walks. Werth 3-for-10 with a walk. Rollins 3-for-11 with a double. Feliz 2-for-4 with a double and two walks. Victorino 1-for-8. Howard 1-for-8 but with three walks. Ibanez 2-for-5 with two doubles and three strikeouts.

Given that the home run may not be coming against Kershaw it might seem like trying to run on him may be the way to go. Or maybe not — six stolen bases against for the season and seven caught stealings.

Hamels went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.29 ratio over 32 starts in 2009. He went into the All-Star break with an ugly 4.87 ERA, but threw to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.19 ratio in 15 starts after the break. He was also much better at home this year than away from Citizens Bank Park. 3.76 ERA and a 1.12 ratio at home and a 4.99 ERA and a 1.48 ratio away. He was tough on lefties this year (242/295/416). Righties hit .282 against him, but he didn’t walk many of them, holding their line for the year against him to 282/320/447.

He made two starts against the Dodgers this year in which he allowed one earned run in 16 innings with an 0.81 ratio. On May 14 he and Billingsley both pitched great. After the Dodgers got an unearned run early, Loney homered off of Hamels in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead and the Dodgers went on to win 5-3 in ten innings with the help of a pair of runs off of Durbin in the tenth. On June 4 Hamels started against Kershaw and threw a complete game shutout, allowing five hits without walking a batter, and the Phils won 3-0.

Hamels most recent start was game two of the NLDS and he didn’t pitch especially well, allowing four runs on seven hits over five innings as the Rockies topped the Phils 5-4. For Hamels it was the first time in seven post-season starts that he did not make a quality start. In his seven playoff starts he’s 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA and an 0.99 ratio. In game two of the NLDS Hamels was also pitching on the day his wife went into labor, although the story goes that he was not aware of that until he was out of the game.

He made two starts against LA in the NLCS last year and was named series MVP, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 1.14 ratio. In game two he allowed two runs over seven innings and the Phillies won 3-2. Ramirez had an RBI-double against him in the first in that game. He was great in game five, allowing a run over seven innings as the Phils won 5-1. Ramirez got him in that game, too, hitting a solo homer in the sixth for the lone Dodgers run.

Hamels has fared pretty well against Ramirez in the regular season over his career. Manny is 2-for-8 against him with a walk. Ronnie Belliard is the guy on the Dodgers who has seen Hamels the most. Belliard is 7-for-26 (.269) against him, but with two home runs. Kemp is 4-for-12 with a double but no walks. Martin 3-for-11 with a home run. Furcal 1-for-7. Ethier 1-for-10.

This from Todd Zolecki suggests that Blanton and Happ are available to pitch in relief tonight and Pedro Martinez will start game two.

Snow way

Game three has been postponed till Sunday night at 10:07 due to weather.

JA Happ will now start the game for the Phils. With the game cancelled today I would have much rather seen Blanton get the start. Even before Happ had the ball smashed off his leg in game two I think Blanton was the better choice.

Suggestion that the wife of one of the Rockies pitchers level the playing field by going into labor during game three seems to fall largely on deaf ears

Righty Pedro Martinez faces 27-year-old righty Jason Hammel tomorrow in Colorado as the Phils and the Rockies play game three of the NLDS.

Hammel appeared in 34 games this season for Colorado, making 30 starts. In 176 2/3 innings he threw to a 4.33 ERA with a 1.39 ratio. He was brutal at Coors Field — in 81 2/3 innings at home in 2009 he pitched to a 5.73 ERA and a 1.62 ratio. Lefties and righties posted very similar lines against him. Lefties hit 289/344/441 while righties hit 290/322/441. Hammel made two starts and a two-inning relief appearance to end the season, throwing to a 4.05 ERA and a 1.20 ratio over 13 1/3 innings.

Two appearances against the Phillies this season. On April 11 he pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief of Jorge De La Rosa, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. Ibanez homered off of him in that game. He also started a game against the Phils in Philadelphia on August 4. He went 6 2/3 innings in that game, allowing three runs on nine hits. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter as the Rockies pounded Moyer and won 8-3. Rollins hit a home run off of Hammel in that game and Ibanez had a double.

Hammel spent three seasons with Tampa Bay before pitching for Colorado this season, so Ibanez and his fellow American Leaguer Matt Stairs are the Phillies who have seen him the most. Ibanez is 4-for-8 with a double and a home run, Stairs 5-for-8 with a double and two home runs.

The 37-year-old 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 Pedro 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 has a ton of post-season experience. He has appeared in thirteen post-season games and started eleven, overall throwing to a 3.40 ERA with a 1.12 ratio over 79 1/3 innings. He last appeared in the post-season in 2004.

Fellow veteran Jason Giambi has seen Martinez a ton over the years, going 8-for-50 with a double and a home run against him in his career (160/276/240). No other Rockie has more than four at-bats against Martinez.

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