Tag: Phillies rotation

Doubles trouble

Kyle Kendrick hasn’t been fantastic this season, far from it. But he is managing to survive despite the low strikeout rate and the inability to get lefties out. I theorized that the secret to his success had to do with preventing extra-base hits, so I thought I’d look into it.

Through 55 games the Phillies have used just five starting pitchers, which is quite a feat. They’re the only NL team that hasn’t used more than five starters. Through 55 games of the 2007 season the Phils had used seven starting pitchers (Myers, Hamels, Eaton, Moyer, Segovia, Garcia and Lieber). Each of the five starters has made 11 starts, and here’s how many runs, hits, walks, strikeouts and extra-base hits they have allowed this season per 100 batters they have faced:

 
Runs

Hits

Walks

Strikeouts

XBH
Myers 15.4 27.5 8.4 17.4 12.8
Hamels 9.5 19.6 7.2 21.2 7.5
Moyer 12.2 29.0 5.4 11.8 10.4
Eaton 13.0 24.5 9.6 12.6 7.7
Kendrick 14.4 26.6 6.8 10.3 9.1

So much for that. Compared to the other guys in the rotation for the Phils, Kendrick hasn’t actually allowed an unusually low number of extra-base hits. If anything it’s Eaton’s rate of allowing extra-base hits along with the low walk rate for Moyer that was the most surprising thing to me about those numbers.

Not only are Kendrick’s numbers in terms of preventing extra-base hits compared to the other guys in the Phillies’ rotation not extraordinary, but this season Kendrick is allowing extra-base hits at about the same rate that he did last year. Compared to 2007, Kendrick is allowing more hits (25.9 per hundred batters in ’07), more walks (5.0) and more runs (10.6), but just about the same number of extra-base hits (9.0).

The not-a-lot-of-extra-base-hits theory clearly is no good, but one thing that is true is the this season Kendrick has seen a higher percentage of the extra-base hits that he has allowed go for doubles (which is kinda like saying that he doesn’t allow a lot of home runs). Here’s what the five guys in the starting rotation have done this season in terms of the percentage of the extra-base hits they have allowed that have gone for doubles:

 
2B

XBH

% 2B
Myers 21 38 55.3
Hamels 15 23 65.2
Moyer 20 29 69.0
Eaton 12 20 60.0
Kendrick 18 24 75.0
       
All PHI 113 174 64.9

Brett Myers (2-6, 5.79) faces lefty Mark Hendrickson (7-2, 4.14) tonight as the Phillies play the first of three against the Marlins. Hendrickson hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in any of his last four starts, throwing to a 5.12 ERA in those appearances. Righties are hitting .291 against him, lefties .191. You may have noticed from the XBH column above or a large number of other sources, but Myers is getting hammered this year. He hasn’t allowed a long ball in his last two starts, but opponents are hitting .311 against him for the season, righties .333. His five starts at home have been better than his five starts away. At home he’s 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA, away from Citizens Bank Park he’s 0-5 with a 7.15 ERA.


Back, problems

As the Phillies opened spring training there was a lot of discussion about a competition for the role of fifth starter that many saw as simply lip service. Whether it was or not, they’ve got one now. Adam Eaton struggled again yesterday. Over two spring training starts he’s allowed seven runs in four innings on ten hits. And there’s something wrong with his back.

If Eaton’s opened the door, nobody has knocked it down in the early going. No Durbin, Chad or JD. No man, Outman or Youman. Blackey’s been good. And Segovia. Carrasco’s been good but he’s probably too young. Benson won’t have to do much on his start against minor leaguers tomorrow to get people excited. But you have to believe he’s still a long way away.

The Phils lost to the Devil Rays yesterday, falling 6-4 in a game that was shortened by rain to five and a half innings. They are 4-5 in spring training.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and Akinori Iwamura hit his second pitch out for a solo home run. Eaton would go two innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Four of the five hits went for extra-bases. Iwamura’s home run, two doubles and a triple. Chad Durbin followed Eaton and went three innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Given his experience you would think that Chad Durbin would be near the top of the list of guys who could capitalize on Eaton’s struggles, but early the numbers just haven’t been good.

Offensively the Phillies got two-run homers from Coste and Utley. They played what I guess their opening day lineup would be against a righty in slots one through seven — Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Jenkins, Feliz. Ruiz would be next in the eighth spot is my guess. Howard had two more hits, he’s hitting .455 in the early going.

The Phils play Tampa Bay again today. They will also play three more innings to make up for the ones the lost yesterday.

This article says that Eaton still has the inside track to be the fifth starter. It also says that Charlie Manuel sees guys falling off of buildings. Every day? Can other people see the guys falling of the building? Not sure if that’s like seeing dead people or what, but hopefully someone in the Phillies’ organization has dead Bruce Willis on speed-dial just in case.

This seems to suggest it’s a mystery to Don Fehr why the Phillies don’t pay Cole Hamels more than they have to. I, on the other hand, am having little problem understanding that. The fact that Hamels will make about one-sixteenth of what Adam Eaton makes this season is preposterous. But it’s the fault of the system. The suggestion the Phillies should give their employees hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars that they don’t have to in a please-like-me gesture doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.


Just give someone else the damn ball

If the Phillies had their lives to live over I’m hoping there’s at least one thing that they would have done differently about the 2007 season. They just let Adam Eaton pitch and pitch and he wound up with a line that was ridiculous. He went into the All-Star break with a 5.69 ERA and just got worse in the second half, making 12 second-half starts in which he threw to a 7.38 ERA. He ended the season with a 6.29 ERA in, amazingly, 30 starts. Over the past seven seasons only one other NL player has thrown to a worse ERA in a year he got at least 30 starts. Eric Milton threw to a 6.47 ERA with the Reds in 34 starts in 2005. The Reds, you may remember, didn’t win their division in 2005. They finished fifth, 27 games out of first place in the NL Central.

I’m working towards a couple of points and it’s going to take a while to get there, so I’ll just tell you what they are:

1) The thing that’s worse for a team than having a pitcher having a terrible season is having a pitcher having a terrible season who pitches a lot.

2) The Phillies off-season has been pretty unexciting. But the biggest problem the Phillies has doesn’t require a bold off-season move as a remedy. Thirty starts from Adam Eaton with a 6.29 ERA is the biggest problem the Phillies have to solve for 2008, and the solution for that may even be Adam Eaton. And if it’s not, it’s hard to believe that improving on that is going to require a move that knocks anybody’s socks off.

The Phillies used 28 pitchers in 2007. As a group they got 4,375 outs and were charged with 821 runs.

Obviously, some pitchers pitched more than others and some allowed more runs than others. Here’s how many outs each of the 28 pitchers got (the column to the far right is outs by that pitcher over outs by the team (4,375)):



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outs outs/team outs
Moyer 598 0.13669
Hamels 550 0.12571
Eaton 485 0.11086
Kendrick 363 0.08297
Lieber 234 0.05349
Myers 206 0.04709
Geary 202 0.04617
Durbin 194 0.04434
Lohse 183 0.04183
F Garcia 174 0.03977
Madson 168 0.03840
Condrey 150 0.03429
Alfonseca 149 0.03406
Gordon 120 0.02743
Mesa 117 0.02674
Romero 109 0.02491
Rosario 79 0.01806
Zagurski 64 0.01463
Hernandez 46 0.01051
Sanches 44 0.01006
Castro 36 0.00823
Davis 34 0.00777
Ennis 23 0.00526
Segovia 15 0.00343
Happ 12 0.00274
Smith 12 0.00274
Bisenius 6 0.00137
A Garcia 2 0.00046
Total 4375

 

So Jamie Moyer, at the top of the list, got 598 outs. 598/4,375 is .13669, which also means that Moyer got about 13.7% of the outs recorded by Phillies’ hurlers. The numbers in the far right column add up to one.

And here’s how many runs each of the pitchers allowed (the number on the far right is runs allowed by that pitcher over the total runs allowed by the team (821)):

(continue reading…)


If there’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear

The Winter Meetings rarely fail to disappoint and this year was no exception. The Phillies leave Nashville will all the same problems they arrived with and a little less time to find solutions. Their right field, center field and third base situations remain murky, but they’re small problems compared to the Phillies’ need to add at least one and hopefully two quality pitchers before the season starts in April.

As if not on cue, the Phillies picked up pitchers Travis Blackley and Lincoln Holdzkom in the Rule 5 Draft.

Blackley is a 25-year-old lefty from the Giants organization who was 10-8 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.38 ratio in 28 PCL starts in ’07. He walks a lot of hitters, 67 in 162 1/3 innings this season, which is 3.77 per nine innings. In Phillies’ starters terms that would put him between Moyer, who walked 2.95 per nine innings this season, and Eaton, who walked 3.95. He’s made eight career starts at the major league level in which he’s gone 1-3 with a 9.35 ERA. Righties have hit 336/433/664 against him. He missed the 2005 season after shoulder surgery.

The linked article suggests he’s in the mix for fifth starter, but I would guess there’s little chance that he starts the season in that role. The Phils already have five starters in Myers, Hamels, Kendrick, Moyer and Eaton for one thing. I would guess that when one of those guys goes down, and it’s not going to take long, Durbin would get the first shot given the choices the Phillies have now.

The other addition is Lincoln Holdzkom, a 25-year-old right-handed reliever. He strikes out a ton of hitters but walks way too many. Between Double-A and Triple-A in the Red Sox organization this season he threw to a 2.97 ERA in 63 2/3 innings. Opponents hit just .231 against him but his ratio was 1.54 cause he walked 44 in those 63 2/3 innings. Over his minor league career he’s walked 5.19 per nine innings. He had Tommy John surgery in 2003.

This article says the Phils will be one of nine teams to watch Kris Benson pitch on December 17 in Arizona. Not the whole team, though.

This article says the Devil Rays are interested in Houston’s Luke Scott who you would guess would also be of interest to the Phillies.

This article suggests that it hasn’t been a real good couple of weeks for the Mets. It hasn’t been for the Phillies, either. It has been for the Braves.

This article suggests it’s the Phils, White Sox and Rangers in the hunt for Rowand and that Texas will not give Rowand five years, $75 million.

This article suggests the White Sox would be better off trying to add Juan Pierre than Rowand. I’d really like that to be true so I’m trying hard to see that one, but it’s just not happening.

This article says that the Yankees are discussing a one-year deal with LaTroy Hawkins for about $3.5 million. Nearly all the talk has been about a starter for the Phils, but they need help in the pen as well.


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