Tag: Phillies rotation

Support report

As well as he pitched last night, Joe Blanton didn’t need a lot of help from the Phillies offense. He got it, though, getting big blasts from Howard and Werth. Based on his history with the Phils, you have to believe that Blanton goes to the mound expecting the Phils are going to put a lot of runs on the board — he has benefited from tremendous run support in his time with the team.

In 23 games this season, the Phillies have scored 135 runs. That’s about 5.87 runs per game. Not all their starting pitchers have benefited equally from the offense. In 2008, the Phillies scored about 4.93 runs per game. Here’s the average number of runs the Phillies have scored in games started by starting pitcher for 2009 and 2008:

Pitcher Runs
scored per start 2008
Runs
scored per start 2009
Moyer 5.21 7.80
Myers 4.33 4.40
Hamels 4.61 4.50
Blanton 5.62 6.80
Park - 5.50

In both 2008 and 2009, the Phillies have scored fewer runs than their team average overall for the year in games started by Myers and Hamels. For Blanton and Moyer they have scored more runs than their average in both years. Moyer has gotten fantastic run support in 2009, the Phillies have scored 30 runs over his last three games. After scoring none in his first start of the year, the Phils have put up 9, 11, 13 and six over his last four starts.

More important, or at least more useful, than the total number of runs a team has scored in games started by a particular pitcher is how regularly they score a large number of runs in games started by a pitcher (because if a team’s going to score 24 runs over three starts by a starter, the starter is better off if they score eight runs three times than score 22 in the first game and one in each of the next two).

Here’s how the categories below shape up for 2009:


Pitcher

0 to 3 RS

%

4 to 7 RS

%

More than 7

%

Moyer
1
20.0
1
20.0
3
60.0

Myers
2
40.0
2
40.0
1
20.0

Hamels
2
50.0
2
50.0
0
0.0

Blanton
2
40.0
1
20.0
2
40.0

Park
0
0.0
4
100.0
0
0.0

Total
7
30.4

10

43.5
6
26.1

So, for example, if you compare Blanton and Park for 2009, the Phillies have scored more runs overall in the games started by Blanton. In five of his starts they have put up 13, 12, 2, 1 and now six runs. That’s an average of 6.8 per game, which is better than the 5.87 per game the Phils have scored on average. On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to win a game when you score two runs or one run — the Phils lost both of those starts by Blanton. Park, on the other hand, has gotten 7, 5, 6 and four runs in his four starts and the Phillies have gone 3-1. Overall he’s received just 5.5 runs of support per start, which is worse than both Blanton’s mark and the team’s average for the year. What he hasn’t had is the two starts with the very low run support than makes it very hard to win (or, for that matter, the two starts with the very high run support, which makes it very hard to lose).

Here are how the categories broke down for 2008 for the four guys in the ’09 rotation that pitched for the Phils last year (by percentages of their starts that fall into each category):

Pitcher 0 to 3
runs scored
4 to 7
more than
7
Moyer 36.4 39.4 24.2
Myers 43.3 43.3 13.3
Hamels 39.4 45.5 15.2
Blanton 30.8 38.5 30.8
       
Whole team 36.4 44.4 19.1

Myers seems to have the best case for lack of support. The Phillies have scored more than seven runs in a game he has started five times since the start of 2008 (he has made 35 starts). As I mentioned above, they’ve done it three times in the last four starts made by Moyer. They’ve also scored more than seven in six of the 18 starts than Blanton has made as a Phillie.

Chan Ho Park has apparently lost his freedom from his thoughts. That doesn’t sound good. He’s made it a little hard for him to escape freedom from Phillies fans’ thoughts as well.


Desperate search for that guy selling O’s for a nickel finally pays off

Here’s hoping last night’s O’s didn’t cost the Phillies a lot more than a nickel.

An ankle injured kept Cole Hamels from making it out of the fifth inning last night as the Phillies won their fifth-straight game. What he did do before he left, though, was keep the Nationals off the board. For the Phillies it was the first time this season that their starting pitcher did not allow a run in a game.

Phillies’ starters have held opponents under three runs in just three of 19 games this season. Two of those were games pitched by Hamels in which he left with an injury before the end of the fifth inning. By comparison, in 2008 Phillies starters allowed less than three runs in 76 of the team’s 162 starts (about 47%). You win a lot when you’re starting pitching holds the other team to less than three runs — the Phillies went 55-21 in those games.

As well as things have been going for the Phils, the starting pitching has been a mess. It started out bad and hasn’t gotten a lot better.

Brett Myers allowed four runs over six innings on opening day. At the end of the game the Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year had a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. The bad news is that things have gone up from there — a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio are both the best marks for the starting pitchers as a group at the end of a game for the season.

The chart below shows the ERA and ratio for Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year at the end of each game of the season so far. The blue line is ERA and the red line is ratio.

era_rat.jpg

Again, the team’s ERA and ratio for the starting pitchers for the season has yet to dip under the 6.00 ERA and 1.50 ratio from the first game of the season.

After 19 games, Phillies starters have a 6.46 ERA, which is the worst of any team in either league. Their ratio is 1.67. They have walked just 34, which is the lowest number of walks issued by an NL team. The 28 home runs and 136 hits they have allowed are both the worst marks of any NL team.

Hamels says he doesn’t expect to miss a start. While I’m sure the Phillies respect his medical opinion, I’m guessing they’ll involve a healthcare professional at some point.

This article points out that the Phils could use a long outing by Myers tonight. With Lidge sidelined and Durbin having thrown 42 pitches last night, it may mean that Madson and Condrey are the only right-handed relievers available to the Phillies tonight. Myers also threw 119 pitches in his last start, which is the most by any Phillies’ pitcher this season.

The situation would be a lot worse if Durbin hadn’t been so fantastic last night.


And if they could get the starters getting some people out, maybe the Phillies would only need one grand slam a game

If you say it out loud — Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Park — it sure doesn’t sound like the Phillies should have the worst starting rotation in baseball. And yet so far in 2009, almost inarguably, they have. Opponents have hit .326 against Phillies’ starters, the worst mark in all of baseball. The rotation has a 6.75 ERA and the starters have allowed 28 home runs. Again, the Phillies are the worst of all teams in either league in both categories.

As they demonstrated last night, the Phils are more than capable of winning with their offense, no matter what the starting pitching (or relief pitching for that matter) does. But for how long? The Phils have scored 111 runs in 18 games. That puts them on pace to score 999 for the season. That’s not going to happen. They have a nifty four-game win-streak going, but they’ve needed to score 39 runs to get it. They’ve won just two games this season when they’ve scored less than seven runs.

All five of the starters in the rotation have allowed runs, hits and home runs at a higher rate so far in 2009 than they have over their careers. As a group they are walking fewer hitters and striking out more.

For each of the five, here’s how their rates for runs, hits, walks, strikeouts and home runs for 2009 compare to what they’ve done over their career:

hamels.jpg

Hamels has been walking fewer hitters in 2009, allowing just two walks in 13 innings, but everything else is up. Opponents are hitting .397 against him, they’ve hit .237 against him for his career. His strikeouts are down and his home runs are way up.

myers.jpg

Myers had struck people at a higher rate and allowed more walks while giving up hits at about the same rate. In terms of the rate at which he’s being charged with runs, his ’09 numbers are the closest of the group to his career numbers (Moyer is pretty close behind him).

blanton.jpg

Everything’s up for Blanton, even his strikeout rate. Over his career, his rate of preventing home runs has been the best of the group — he’s allowed just 0.9 home runs per nine innings. Hamels and Myers have both allowed the long ball at a higher rate this season, but if you compare everyone’s own career numbers to what they’ve done so far this year Blanton’s home rate has increased the most.

moyer.jpg

More hits, fewer walks, more strikeouts and more home runs.

All five of the pitchers in the starting rotation have allowed home runs at a higher rate in 2009 than they have over their careers. Moyer’s rate of allowing home runs is the closest to his career mark and he’s allowed home runs at 1.75 times his career average. Over his career he’s allowed 469 in 3769 2/3 innings (1.12 per nine). This year he’s allowed five in 23 innings, or 1.96 per nine.

park1.jpg

More hits, more home runs, less walks and less strikeouts. Glad to see his walk rate down, but I am a little surprised that the strikeout numbers are so low given the rate he was striking people out in spring training.

For each of the five categories, here’s how many of the pitchers in the rotation that are doing worse this year compared to the numbers they have put up over their careers (they are arranged from biggest difference to smallest difference, so the pitchers that have been worst compared to their own career numbers are at the top of the list):


Runs (5)

Hits (5)

Walks (2)

Strikeouts (2)

HR (5)

Hamels

Hamels

Myers

Park

Blanton

Blanton

Blanton

Blanton

Hamels

Hamels

Park

Park

Myers

Moyer

Moyer

Park

Myers

Myers

Moyer

Ruiz was scratched from the IronPigs lineup last night when he had discomfort in his right oblique. That would seem to suggest his return is not imminent.

Madson closed last night’s game because Lidge is day-to-day with a knee problem. This suggests Lidge will be unavailable for a couple more days.


And hopefully eight is enough

With the signing of Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal, at this point it’s looking like virtually all of the starts the Phillies make this season will be made by a group of nine pitchers that includes Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park, JA Happ, Rodrigo Lopez and Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco has yet to appear in a major league game, so his stats are not included here.

In comparing the other eight pitchers, it’s important to remember that they have not all played in the same leagues through the years. Several of them have spent their whole career in the National League, while others have been mostly in the American League, which is like baseball but instead of the pitcher batting for himself they wake up David Ortiz and ask him to hit the ball to next Thursday:

alnl425.jpg

Hamels, Myers, Kendrick and Happ have been in the NL for their whole careers. Moyer, Blanton and Lopez have pitched primarily in the AL and Park has seen more time in the NL than the AL.

Here are the career ERAs and ratios for the group:

eraratio425.jpg

And here is what opposing hitters have done against the eight at the plate:

aos425.jpg

For me, the most surprising thing from the chart above is how impressive Chan Ho Park’s career numbers are relative to the rest of the group, especially the batting average and slugging percentage. By OPS that opposing hitters have put up against the group over their careers, Hamels has the best mark at .685, Blanton is next at .732 and Park is third with .742 (the rest of the list goes Moyer (.744), Happ (.748), Myers (.767), Lopez (.783) and Kendrick (.821)).

The Phillies have played three spring training games since the last post, going 1-2 to put their spring record at 4-5.

Today they lost to Atlanta, 7-2.

Blanton got the start and held the Braves to a run over four innings, but Carrasco followed and was hit hard again. Carrasco was charged with five runs on six hits over two innings. Happ and Park seem to be flying high in the battle for fifth starter these days, with Kendrick scuffling. If you thought Carrasco had a chance to be the guy when spring training started it’s hard to see that happening the way things have been going recently. Still a long way to go — unless the Phils acquire another left-handed reliever before the start of the season I still think it’s likely Happ starts the year in the pen.

Mayberry had a rough day today, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Donald was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. He has his spring average up to .238. Giles continues to see a lot of time. Today he played third and went 2-for-4 with an error. Paulino was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Yesterday the Phils beat the Tigers 8-2.

A huge day for Happ and another home run from Mayberry were the story of the game. Moyer got the start and allowed a run in four innings, but after that Happ came on and stuck out seven in three scoreless frames. Happ allowed just two hits and didn’t walk a batter. Koplove also threw another perfect inning, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00.

Offensively, Mayberry hit a three-run homer off of Edwin Jackson in the first to put the Phils up early. Howard hit a three-run homer of his own in the fifth. Donald 1-for-3. Giles 0-for-1 and made an appearance in left field — he has never played in the outfield in a major league game.

On Friday the Phils lost to the Blue Jays, falling 4-3.

Park made the start for the Phils and allowed a run on two singles and a double over four innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. Gary Majewski threw another two perfect innings, striking out two.

Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a double and drove in all three Phillies runs. Ozuna 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Dobbs 2-for-4. Paulino 0-for-3 and struck out twice. Giles played third again and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch.

Earlier in the day Brett Myers was hit hard in a B-game, allowing five runs on six hits, including two home runs, and two walks over three innings.

The Phillies play the Reds tomorrow with Cole Hamels expected to pitch.

Ruiz left Panama’s game with Puerto Rico with a neck injury on Saturday, but is okay.


Support report

I modified the Start Log to include the number of runs the team has scored by pitcher that started the game.

Here’s a look at how many games have been started by pitcher, the team’s record in those games, the number of runs the Phillies scored in those games and the runs scored per start for each of the pitchers:


Pitcher

Starts

Team record

Runs Scored

RS/G
Hamels 31 18-13 (.581) 146 4.71
Moyer 30 19-11 (.633) 155 5.17
Kendrick 29 17-12 (.586) 170 5.86
Myers 28 12-16 (.429) 118 4.21
Eaton 19 8-11 (.421) 75 3.95
Blanton 11 7-4 (.636) 62 5.64
Happ 2 2-0 (1.000) 7 3.50

Overall for the year, the Phils have scored 733 runs in 150 games. That’s about 4.89 runs per game.

The Phils are 17-12 in the 29 games started by Kendrick, but that’s got a lot to do with how many runs they’ve scored with him on the mound. They did score 20 against the Cards on June 13 with Kendrick starting, but even if you take that game out of the equation they still scored 150 runs in 28 starts or about 5.36 runs per game.

Blanton has also enjoyed tremendous offensive support when he’s been on the mound.

Myers and Eaton, not so much.


Funk shrunk

Evidently the collective funk the Phils found themselves in earlier this month was as easy to fall out of as it was to fall into. All it took was a National League team to play.

A lot of things have gone right for the Phillies in Atlanta. Last night they got an early three-run bomb from Howard that put them up 4-0 in the third. Adam Eaton wasn’t great, but he was good enough. The bats have come alive and twice in two games they got huge outs from their pen. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-8 with two walks in the first two games against the Braves after going 3-for-26 in six games against the A’s and Rangers.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 last night. With the win they improve to 46-39 on the year and ensure they will win their first series out of their last seven. The Phillies have won five in a row against the Braves.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and five walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

Yunel Escobar singled with one out in the first. Chipper Jones followed with a ground out to second that moved Escobar to second. Eaton got Mark Teixeira on a popup to short for the third out.

Eaton walked Kelly Johnson with one out in the second. He struck Jeff Francoeur out swinging for the second out and got Mark Kotsay on a pop to third.

Gregor Blanco singled to center with one out in the third. Escobar flew to right for the first out before Eaton walked Chipper and Teixeira back-to-back to load the bases for the lefty Brian McCann. McCann flew to center for the third out to leave the bases loaded.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Eaton started the fifth up 5-0. Ruben Gotay hit for the pitcher Jorge Campillo to lead off the frame and lined a 2-2 pitch just out to right over the glove of Werth. Blanco followed with a walk. Escobar was next and he smashed a ball back up the middle, but Rollins made a fantastic play to start a double-play. Chipper grounded to third for the third out.

Great play by Rollins changed the inning.

Teixeira led off the sixth with a double. Eaton walked McCann on five pitches to put men on first and second before Johnson loaded the bases with a single to right. With the righty Francoeur at the plate Manuel called on Durbin. Durbin got Francoeur to hit a double-play ball to short. Teixeira scored to make it 5-2. Durbin got Kotsay looking at a 2-2 pitch to leave McCann stranded at third.

Great job by Durbin, who came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero started the eighth. Chipper was the first to face him and hit a 1-1 pitch just out to center. 5-3. Teixeira walked on four pitches before Romero struck McCann out swinging for the first out. Johnson was next and chopped a ball high to first. Howard fielded and tagged out Johnson for the second out as Teixeira went to second. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Francoeur and struck him out swinging to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth, pitching for the second straight day in a non-save situation. He struck out Kotsay for the first out before Greg Norton hit for Royce Ring and singled to center. Blanco was next and hit a ball to Howard that Howard didn’t handle for an error. With runners on first and second, Lidge struck out Escobar for the second out. Chipper was next and hit a ground ball between first and second. Howard cut in front of Utley and didn’t make the play. He was charged with another error, his second in three batters and ninth on the season. It loaded the bases and brought Teixeira to the plate as the tying run, but Lidge struck him out swinging at a 3-2 pitch out of the strike zone to end the game.

Lidge strikes out the side, allowing a hit and working around two errors to post a scoreless frame. The pen allowed one run in four innings while striking out six. Durbin was fantastic. He threw 22 pitches, Lidge 28 with an assist to Howard, Romero 19 and Madson six.

Lidge and Romero were pitching for the second straight day.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jorge Campillo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Werth again in right despite the righty and a couple of hits from Jenkins the night before. Coste catches Eaton. Howard stays at four and Burrell at five. With two switch-hitters and two lefties in the lineup the Phils have four righties in a row five through eight.

Utley doubled to right with two outs in the first. Howard grounded to first for the third out.

Feliz doubled to left with two outs in the second. Coste was next and hammered a double to left center. Feliz scored and the Phils led 1-0. Eaton followed with a single to left and Coste tried to score from second. Blanco’s throw was strong but a little up the third base line. McCann took it and made a nice tag to nail Coste to end the inning.

Rollins started the third with a single. Victorino flew to right before Rollins stole second. Utley walked and it brought Howard up with two men on. Howard got up 2-1 and then hit one out to left-center for a three-run shot that put the Phils up 4-0. Burrell flew to right and Werth grounded to short.

Coste singled with one out in the fourth and Eaton bunted him to second. Rollins walked to put men on first and second with two down, but Victorino popped to short to end the frame.

With two outs in the fifth, Burrell got ahead 3-1 and then pulled a ball on the outside of the plate out to left to put the Phillies up 5-0. Werth popped to first for the third out.

Feliz started the sixth with a single but Coste hit into a double-play behind him. Eaton struck out for the third out.

Rollins started the seventh with an infield single but Victorino, Utley and Howard went down in order behind him.

Werth singled with one out in the eighth. Feliz flew to left for the second out before Werth stole second. Coste grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

Bruntlett, who had entered the game in left in the bottom of the eighth, started the eighth with a walk. Rollins followed with a triple to right-center that scored Bruntlett and put the Phils up 6-3. Victorino struck out for the first out before Utley singled to left, scoring Rollins to make it 7-3. Utley stole second before Howard walked. It put men on first and second with one down. Taguchi hit for Madson and hit into a double-play.

Bad strikeout by Victorino with nobody out and a man on first. Utley picked him up.

Rollins was 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Victorino 0-for-5 and left five men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-21.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Howard 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk.

Burrell 1-for-4 with his 21st home run.

Werth 1-for-4.

Feliz 2-for-4 with a double.

Coste 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Cole Hamels (8-5, 3.38) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (8-3, 2.94) tonight. Over his last three starts Jurrjens has not allowed an earned run in 21 2/3 innings. He’s allowed just five home runs in 98 innings on the year. Opponents are hitting just .248 against him, but he’s walked too many, 37 in 98 innings. He’s just 22 so you might as well get used to him. Hamels has allowed six home runs in his last four starts but has gone at least seven innings in all of them.

This suggests that JA Happ or Brian Mazone will get a start this weekend against the Mets.


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