Tag: Phillies bullpen

Look! Closer!

Still on the theme of differences between the 2007 and 2008 teams. One of the differences is that the combination of scoring many fewer runs while hugely improving the bullpen meant that, based on the average number of runs they scored and allowed in wins and losses, the Phils were playing in closer games in 2008 than they were the year before.

Here’s the number of runs that each of the teams scored in the games that they won and the games that they lost:

Runs scored in wins
Year W R R/G
2007 89 645 7.24
2008 92 587 6.38
       
Runs scored in losses
Year L R R/G
2007 73 247 3.38
2008 70 212 3.03

And here’s the differences in the runs they allowed in games they won and lost:

Runs allowed in wins
Year W RA RA/G
2007 89 304 3.42
2008 92 274 2.98
       
Runs allowed in losses
Year L RA RA/G
2007 73 517 7.08
2008 70 406 5.80

In 2008, the won 92 games and in those games they scored 587 runs and allowed 274 runs. In the 89 games they won in 2007, they scored 58 more runs but allowed 30 more as well.

Not only did the Phillies improvements at preventing runs help them to win more games with fewer runs, it also meant that, going by the average number of runs they scored and allowed, they played in closer games in 2008 than in 2007. Comparing the average number of runs they scored and allowed in wins and losses, when they lost they lost by less by almost a full run:

In losses

Year AVG Runs
scored
AVG Runs
allowed
Difference
2007 3.38 7.08 3.70
2008 3.03 5.80 2.77

And when the won in 2007, going by the average number of runs, they won by more:

In wins

Year AVG Runs
scored
AVG Runs
allowed
Difference
2007 7.24 3.42 3.82
2008 6.38 2.98 3.40

Todd Zolecki, now writing for MLB.com, reviews the Phillies options as they search for a right-handed hitter now that Ty Wigginton has signed with Baltimore. Options two and three are pretty bad — the Phils could really use a right-handed hitter.


Chanward Ho

As a group, Phillies relievers combined to throw 483 innings in 2008 and were charged with 191 runs.

Here’s how many innings each pitcher threw in relief, how many runs they were charged with, the percentage of the team’s relief innings that were thrown by that pitcher, the percentage of the relief runs allowed by that pitcher and the difference between the percentage of innings he threw and the runs he allowed:

Player IP RA % of IP % of RA Diff
Chad Durbin 87.7 33 18.2 17.3 0.9
Ryan Madson 82.7 29 17.1 15.2 1.9
Brad Lidge 69.3 17 14.4 8.9 5.5
Clay Condrey 69 26 14.3 13.6 0.7
JC Romero 59 18 12.2 9.4 2.8
Rudy Seanez 43.3 24 9.0 12.6 -3.6
Tom Gordon 29.7 19 6.1 9.9 -3.8
Scott Eyre 14.3 3 3.0 1.6 1.4
Les Walrond 10.3 7 2.1 3.7 -1.5
JA Happ 8 7 1.7 3.7 -2.0
RJ Swindle 4.7 4 1.0 2.1 -1.1
Adam Eaton 3 3 0.6 1.6 -0.9
Andrew
Carpenter
1 0 0.2 0.0 0.2
Kyle Kendrick 1 1 0.2 0.5 -0.3

If you arrange the group by the difference between their percentage of innings thrown and runs allowed from best to worst, the list goes like this: Lidge, Romero, Madson, Eyre, Durbin, Condrey, Carpenter, Kendrick, Eaton, Swindle, Walrond, Happ, Seanez, Gordon.

If Durbin, Madson, Lidge, Condrey and Romero were all to throw the same number of innings in relief in 2009 as they did in 2008, that would put the Phillies at 367 2/3. Eyre threw just 14 1/3 innings for the Phils in 2008 — he seems sure to give them more this year. Over the past three seasons, he’s thrown about 46 innings a year on average. That puts the Phillies at about 413 2/3 innings for the year. It leaves, if the Phillies as a team were to throw the same number of innings in relief in 2009 as they did in 2008, with about 69 1/3 innings that will be need to be thrown by someone else. Again, if everyone stays healthy, Chan Ho Park seems like the guy the Phillies will be going into the season hoping to pitch those innings, picking up many of the ’08 innings thrown by Seanez and Gordon.

Sounds like a plan, if everybody stays healthy. They won’t, of course, so the biggest challenge for the Phillies pen might be figuring out what to do once they don’t.

First day of arbitration filing for those eligible, including Phillies Hamels, Howard, Werth, Victorino, Madson, Blanton, Durbin and Dobbs. The filing period ends January 15 and the hearings will be held between February 1 and February 21.

This suggests the Rays will sign Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract. This suggests that Burrell turned down two years, $22 million from the Phillies at the end of October.

Update 1/6/09: News from late last night suggests that Romero will be suspended 50 games for use of a banned substance. Romero denies wrongdoing.

Ad: NFL Playoff tickets at TicketCity.


And when it’s well-rested the pen is so much mightier than the sword that sometimes the sword doesn’t even show up cause it thinks it might embarrass itself

Coming off a brilliant two-game set in Colorado, the Phils bullpen starts the day with an ERA of 2.76, the best in the NL and second-best in all of baseball behind only Tampa Bay. Here’s what the bullpen has done over the last ten games the Phils have played:

 
IP

ER

H

BB
4/22 2 0 1 0
4/21 4 0 1 3
4/20 4 0 3 3
4/19 3 2 2 2
4/18 2 0 3 1
4/17 2 1 3 0
4/16 2 0 0 1
4/15 3 0 2 2
4/13 5 1 3 4
4/12 2 1 2 1
         
Total 29 5 20 17

Five earned runs in 29 innings (1.55 ERA) with a 1.28 ratio. Over the last three games the Phils are 3-0 and the pen has allowed five hits and six walks in ten scoreless innings.

Not only has the bullpen been spectacular for the Phils in the early going, it hasn’t been overused. So far this season, Phillies’ relievers have thrown just 65 1/3 innings. Only two NL teams have had their bullpen throw fewer innings. Assist to Cole Hamels on that front — Hamels has gone at least seven innings in each of his four starts and will try to get the pen some rest again tonight.

65 1/3 innings over 21 games is about 3.11 innings per game or 504 innings over a 162 game season. Last year the Phils pen threw 520 innings, about 3.20 innings per game. The Diamondbacks pen threw the fewest innings, 483 or about 2.98 per game, while the Nats pen threw the most, 590 2/3 or about 3.23 innings per game.


At least you can stop Laheying up at night thinking about it

The eleventh pitcher on the Phillies appears to be right-hander Tim Lahey, who the Phils claimed off of waivers today. Barring another move, which seems at the very least possible, Wes Helms would be the fourteenth hitter and final man on the 25-man roster. Snelling and Olmedo were sent to Triple-A. Lahey is right-handed — unless the Phils trade Helms for a left-handed pitcher it appears they will go into the season with Romero as the only lefty in the pen.

Lahey turned 26 in February and was taken by the Twins in the 20th round of the 2004 draft as a catcher. In 2005 he was converted into a closer. After spending 2005 and 2006 in the low minors, Lahey spent most of ’07 in Double-A and threw three innings at Triple-A. Between the two levels in ’07 he went 8-4 in 52 games with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.44 ratio and 14 saves. In 81 1/3 innings he gave up 82 hits and 35 walks while striking out 59.

The Devil Rays took him with the first overall pick in the 2007 Rule 5 draft and almost immediately traded him to the Cubs. He pitched in 11 games for the Cubs this spring, throwing 11 innings in which he allowed 11 hits and eight walks (1.73 ratio) and struck out seven while throwing to a 6.55 ERA.

It’s kind of hard to find the element in all of that you would focus on if you were trying to make the case he’s sure to help the Phillies on the field next month. We’ll see, but if it turns out to be pretty there are going to be some surprised people.

Article about him here.

This article linked in the first paragraph also says that the Phils signed Chris Woodward to a minor league contract. Woodward has gotten 1,598 major league at-bats with the Mets, Braves and Blue Jays and has a career 243/299/375 line. He turns 32 in June.


Phils glad to have Chad, but the numbers are a tad bad

Just about everybody has Chad Durbin down as the fifth guy in the Phillies bullpen as spring training gets underway. It’s not that I don’t believe ‘em, but it just doesn’t make nearly as much sense to me that Durbin would be a sure thing as the other four guys, Lidge, Madson, Gordon and Romero. All the confidence there seems to be about Durbin winning a place on the roster may have something to do with the $900,000 contract he signed.

The righty Durbin turns 31 in December and has pitched eight seasons in the majors, appearing for the Royals, Indians, Tigers and Diamondbacks. He was drafted by the Royals in the third round of the ’96 draft and made his debut in 1999.

He has pitched virtually all of his career in the American League, but his career numbers are still pretty unexciting. Here’s what he’s done overall in his career and as a starter and a reliever:


G

GS

IP

ERA

Ratio
Career 114 75 465.0 5.75 1.57
Starter 75 75 399.2 5.83 1.57
Reliever 39 0 65.1 5.23 1.55

Curiously, Durbin has been a little better against lefties than righties over his career. Righties have hit .292/.364/.508 against him (.872 OPS) and lefties .285/.355/.466 (.801 OPS).

He has also had a problem with giving up the home run. He didn’t pitch in the majors in 2005, but going back to the 2004 season he has allowed 33 home runs in his last 194 1/3 innings.

If you’re looking for a bright spot, here’s what he’s done in Inter-League action:

 
G

GS

IP

ERA

Ratio
  8 7 47.2 3.02 1.20

Not a lot of innings, but that’s much better. His numbers are just about a sure thing to be better in the National League than they’ve been over the last year or two in the NL. Hopefully a lot better.

There’s something else that’s very odd about Durbin’s career numbers. If you look at what hitters have done against him based on how many pitches he’s thrown, he’s way better after he’s thrown a lot of pitches.

Look:

 
AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Pitches 1-75 1500 .289 .363 .494 .857
Pitches 76+ 355 .285 .348 .406 .754

That’s odd enough you have to wonder if it’s right. Take a look at Baseball-Reference or Yahoo!.

I certainly don’t have an explanation for that. Not a ton of at-bats, so maybe it’s a coincidence. The difference in the OPS is mostly about the slugging percentage — the home runs are especially odd. Baseball-Reference suggests that in pitches 1-25, over his career Durbin has allowed 30 home runs in 666 plate appearances. That’s one every 22.2 plate appearances. In 299 plate appearances in pitches 76-100 he’s allowed four. That’s one every 74.75 plate appearances.

The flip side of that is that it’s hard to feel like he’s that well suited for a role in relief. If you look at the Yahoo! stats, they suggest that over his career on pitches 1-30 he’s thrown 164 1/3 innings and allowed 135 earned runs — that’s a 7.39 ERA.

Ryan Howard’s arbitration case is today.

Jose Reyes says he plans to tone down his on-field exuberance this season.

This article from the Phillies web site lists Condrey as one of the guys who can go more than one inning in relief, which may be relevant to the Phils if they try to go with 11 pitchers and keep Helms on the roster. Condrey got at least four outs in 15 of his 39 appearances for the Phils last year and wasn’t charged with an earned run in 13 of them. The other two he was bombed, charged with five earned runs in each (June 1 (Feliz himself hit a three-run shot off of Condrey that game) and August 22).


On the plus side you can get a mean kielbasa

While the 2008 version of the Phillies’ pen looks sure to be improved, chances are good that you’ll still be able to look directly at without risking any type of eye injury. Better without being real good seems like a safe guess. One of the problems that’s worse than a weak bulllpen is a weak bullpen that has to pitch a lot, and I think you have to wonder to what degree pitching at Citizens Bank Park ensures that the Phils will have to call on their relievers to throw more innings than they would like.

It makes intuitive sense that at Citizens Bank Park your starting pitchers would not be able to pitch as long, forcing your relievers to throw more innings. That may or may not be true. What is true is that in the first four years they’ve played at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils have called on their relievers to throw more innings than they did the four previous years. This could be caused by other factors, of course, worse starting pitchers, better offenses on other teams, different strategic approaches by the manager about when to use the bullpen among them, but here are the numbers for innings pitched, NL rank in innings pitched, run allowed and NL ranked in runs allowed by relievers for the Phils over the last eight seasons:


Year

Park

Manager

IP

NL Rank

RA

NL Rank
2007 CBP Manuel 520 8 285 13
2006 CBP Manuel 539 4 243 5
2005 CBP Manuel 478 7 253 11
2004 CBP Bowa 540.1 2 246 8
2003 Vet Bowa 474.2 10 211 T-3
2002 Vet Bowa 500.1 T-8 237 8
2001 Vet Bowa 484.2 6 226 7
2000 Vet Francona 434.1 13 299 14

The good news proves to be that it’s possible to have a reliable bullpen even at Citizens Bank Park. In two of the four years that the Phillies have played there they’ve been in the top half of the league in runs allowed by relievers.

The bad news may be that shorter outings by the starters mean more innings for the relievers. This could be caused by factors other than the park (worse starting pitchers, for example), but if you look at the last eight seasons the Phils have had their relievers throw a lot more innings in the years they played at CBP than the years where they played at the Vet.

In the four years they’ve played in Citizens Bank Park, Phillies relievers have thrown 2,077 1/3 innings, an average of 519 1/3 innings per season. In each of the four years they have been in the top half of innings pitched by relievers for every year. In the four years previous, they threw 1,894 innings, or 473 and a half innings per year.

In his four years managing the Phils, Bowa used his bullpen the most in his only year managing in Citizens Bank Park. In the three years before the 2004 season, Bowa had called on his relief pitchers the most in 2002 when they tossed 500 1/3 innings. In his first year managing in Citizens Bank Park, Bowa’s relievers threw 40 more innings, 540 1/3.

The transition to Citizens Bank Park and the toll it took on starting pitchers is arguably telling if you look at the guys who pitched for Bowa in both 2003 and 2004. Kevin Millwood, Brett Myers and Randy Wolf all pitched for Bowa both in 2003, the last year at the Vet, and 2004, the first year at Citizens Bank Park. In 2004, all three 1) had worse ERAs 2) had worse ratios and 3) threw fewer innings than they had in 2003 (although for Millwood and Wolf that may have been compounded by health issues). Myers was the most dramatic of the three. In 2003 he went 14-9 with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.46 ratio in 193 innings. In 2004 he had the worst year of his career. He threw just 176 innings and posted a 5.52 ERA with a 1.47 ratio.

On a separate note, here is the Phillies’ pitcher that threw the most innings in relief each of the last eight seasons:


Year

Pitcher

IP
2007 Geary 67.1
2006 Geary 91.1
2005 Madson 87.0
2004 Cormier 81.0
2003 Cormier 84.2
2002 Silva 84.0
2001 Mesa 69.1
2000 Gomes 73.2

I again want to point out that the Phils may miss Geary this season after he led the team in innings pitched in relief for two straight seasons. The Phillies have not had a reliever throw more than the 91 1/3 innings that Geary threw in ’06 since 1998.

Hard to imagine things didn’t turn out for the best in 2000, what with Wayne Gomes chucking a team-high 73 2/3 innings of relief. In Gomes’ defense, he was pretty solid that season, throwing to a 4.40 ERA with a 1.45 ratio.

Carlos Delgado agrees the Mets are the team to beat in the NL East.

They’ve already busted out “speed never goes into a slump” when talking about Michael Bourn in Houston. Didn’t take long.

Rod Barajas says he never worked at a gas station.

Wes Helms doesn’t really sound in love with his time in Philly. Pat Burrell’s dog is apparently too fat for his condo.

This article suggests that Odalis Perez will sign with the Nationals or the Red Sox.


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