Tag: Phillies starting pitching

And maybe after Pedro we can find someone to take over for that Utley guy

The Phillies appear to be on the brink of signing Pedro Martinez to bolster the struggling starting rotation. The rotation has been awful this season. The starters have thrown to a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than all but four of the 30 teams in the Major Leagues. The 91 home runs the starters have allowed is the most of any team in either league and Phillies starters have thrown fewer innings than every NL team except for the Padres.

Partly they’ve thrown fewer innings than other NL teams because they’ve played fewer games. The Phillies have played just 86 games at the break, which ties them with the Cubs for the fewest played. The 5.78 innings per start they have thrown is ninth most of the 16 NL teams. In 2008 the starters went about 5.97 innings per start, which was fourth most in the league.

So as a group they have a miserable ERA, give up a ton of home runs and don’t pitch deep into games. What they haven’t done, though, is struggle recently. The starting pitching started out awful but has gotten better every month this season — so far in July the starting pitching has been excellent. Here’s what the starters have done by month in 2009:

  ERA Ratio K/9 BB/9 H/9
April 6.35 1.68 7.19 3.09 12.04
May 5.53 1.39 6.95 2.91 9.63
June 4.10 1.39 6.71 2.72 9.77
July 3.70 1.09 5.62 1.67 8.12
           
Total 4.98 1.41 6.72 2.70 9.97

The ERA, ratio and rates of hits and walks allowed for the starters have gone down steadily. Oddly, however, the starters were striking hitters out a lot more regularly earlier in the season. For example, they struck out 86 in 107 innings in a miserable April (7.19 per nine) but have been much better overall so far in July and struck out just 47 in 75 1/3 innings (5.62 per nine).

The Phillies clearly need to get help in the rotation — it’s just a little odd that it looks like it’s finally coming just as the rotation starts to pitch a whole lot better.

This suggests the Phillies will sign Pedro Martinez if his passes his physical. The physical is supposed to be today.

Ryan Howard hit 15 home runs in last night’s home run derby, which was won by Prince Fielder.

Raul Ibanez and Pat Gillick are best friends forever and Lou Piniella didn’t care for Ibanez.


Phillies doing everything they can to bring excitement back to the popup

Two games, two times a popup did its best to steal the show.

A day after Jimmy Rollins took an early seat after not running his popup out, the Phils were down to their last out in the ninth last night when Chris Coste popped a ball into shallow right. Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson lined it up but simply failed to catch it. The Phillies tied the game and won it in the tenth.

The dropped popup might have given the Phillies another chance to win the game, but it was Shane Victorino who capitalized on it. Victorino drove in a run in the top of the tenth with his second triple of the game to put the Phillies up. With the Phillies up 4-2 with outs in the bottom of the tenth, Yunel Escobar lined a single into center and Victorino made an amazing throw to the plate to nail the trail runner and end the game.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 4-3 in ten innings to improve to 37-26 on the season. They are 11 games over .500 for the first time this year.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, a triple and a home run. He struck out four.

Over the last four games, Phillies’ starters have allowed four earned runs in 28 1/3 innings (1.27 ERA).

Chipper Jones singled to right to start the first with the Phils up 1-0, but Moyer struck Teixeira out to end the inning. Teixeira didn’t like the call, but the pitch looked pretty good to me.

Brian McCann walked with one out in the second. Omar Infante was next and hit a ground ball to second. Probably would have been a double-play, but Utley bobbled briefly and the Phils had to settle for forcing McCann at second. Gregor Blanco grounded to short for the third out.

Kelly Johnson walked with two outs in the third and Jones followed with a ground-rule double down the right field line. Moyer walked Teixeira to load the bases, but Jeff Francoeur hit a 2-2 pitch into center that Victorino took for the third out.

Moyer hit McCann to start the fourth but got the next three behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Teixeira started the sixth with a ball hit hard and off the glove of Rollins for a single Francoeur tried to bunt and then popped to Rollins in shallow left-center for the first out. McCann was next he hit a 3-2 pitch out to right, putting the Braves up 3-2. Infante was next and hit a ball that landed on the track in left for a triple. With the lefty Blanco at the plate, Manuel brought Durbin in to pitch to him. Blanco got ahead 2-0 and the Braves put the squeeze on. The pitch was outside, but Blanco got his bat on it. The ball died right in front of the plate and Coste chased Infante back to third and tossed to Feliz who tagged him out. The pitcher Hudson hit for himself and flew to center for the third out.

Manuel must have been pretty sure Moyer was done to bring in the righty Durbin to pitch to the lefty Blanco. Worked.

Durbin returned to start the seventh and walked Yunel Escobar to start the inning. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Kelly Johnson and Johnson bunted Escobar to second. Chipper was walked intentionally and Teixeira hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Francoeur. Francoeur hit a 1-2 pitch that Burrell took in shallow left. Escobar tried to score, but Burrell threw him out by a lot for the third out.

Madson started the eighth. Blanco singled with two outs and pitcher Will Ohman hit for himself and drew a walk. The 0-1 pitch to Escobar got away from Coste and the runners tried to move up, but Coste picked up the ball and threw Ohman out at second for the third out.

The Braves obviously wanted the lefty Ohman to pitch to Howard, but letting him hit there is just a gift to the Phillies. Madson walked him. That’s terrible.

Gordon started the ninth with the game tied at 2-2. Johnson ripped a double into the right field corner with one out and Gordon walked Chipper intentionally. Teixeira struck out swinging for the second out. Francoeur got ahead 3-1 but popped to first for the third out.

Lidge started the tenth with the Phils up 4-2. Josh Anderson singled with one out and Blanco followed and bunted for a single with Anderson moving to third. Blanco stole second, putting the winning run on second, before Lidge struck Greg Norton out on three pitches for the second out. Escobar lined an 0-1 pitch into center that Victorino charged. Anderson scored, but Victorino’s throw to the plate was a strike in the air. Coste applied the sweep tag just as Blanco arrived. Blanco was out and the game was over. Just an amazing throw by Victorino. Strong and accurate.

The Phils stole that one. One run in 4 2/3 innings for the bullpen. Gordon threw 23 pitches and Madson 22. Romero, Seanez, Durbin and Lidge all threw 13 or fewer.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Jenkins in right against the righty. Coste continues to see his time against right-handed pitchers expand. Rollins back in the lineup after taking an early seat on Thursday.

Victorino tripled with one out in the first. The Braves played the infield back and Utley grounded out to second. Victorino scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard flew to center for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second.

Coste singled to start the third and Moyer bunted him to second. Moyer has been great at getting his bunts down lately. Rollins walked to put men on first and second, but Victorino lined to first and Utley grounded to first for the third out.

Howard started the fourth with a single but Burrell struck out and Jenkins hit into a double-play.

Second straight inning the Phils had their leadoff man on base but couldn’t score.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth.

Victorino walked with one out in the sixth. Utley flew out for the second out. Victorino took off for second on the first pitch of Howard’s at-bat, but the Braves pitched out and McCann threw him out on close play at second. Victorino didn’t like the call, but he looked out to me.

Burrell singled with one out in the seventh. Jenkins followed and he hit a ball the opposite way down the left field line for a double. Burrell went to third. Feliz was walked to load the bases, but Coste hit into a double play.

Victorino walked with two outs in the eighth, but lefty Will Ohman came in and got Utley to ground to second for the third out.

Ohman struck Howard out swinging to start the ninth. Righty Blaine Boyer got Burrell on a ground ball to short and stayed in to pitch to Jenkins and walked him on four pitches. Bruntlett ran for Jenkins at first and stole second without a throw as the count went 1-1 on Feliz. Feliz got a great pitch to hit 3-2 but fouled it off before he drew a walk. It brought up Coste with men on first and second. Coste hit a high popup behind first base. Johnson had it lined up, but the ball went off the heel of his glove for an error. Bruntlett scored to tie the game at 2-2 and Feliz tried to score too, but was thrown out at the plate for the third out.

Just a miserable error by Johnson. Jenkins gets on base and Bruntlett scores the tying run because the Braves pitch around Jenkins rather than bring a lefty in to pitch to him. The Braves presumably were trying to avoid using lefty Royce Ring because he had thrown two straight days.

Snelling hit for Gordon to start the tenth and doubled to right-center. Taguchi ran for Snelling at second and Rollins bunted him to third. Victorino hit a ball over the head of Francoeur in right and Taguchi scored to put the Phils up 3-2. Royce Ring did come in to the game at that point, but Utley hammered a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner and Victorino scored. 4-2. Howard flew to left for the second out and righty Buddy Carlyle came in and walked Burrell intentionally. Bruntlett popped to first for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino 2-for-3 with two triples, two walks and an RBI.

Utley 1-for-5 with a double and two RBI.

Howard 1-for-5.

Burrell 1-for-4 with a walk.

Jenkins 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Feliz 0-for-2 with two walks.

Coste 1-for-4.

Kyle Kendrick (5-2, 5.00) faces lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (2-3, 4.78) tonight. Reyes has made seven starts for the Braves and struck out 34 in 37 2/3 innings. He’s allowed just four home runs on the year, but opponents are hitting .279 against him. He started against the Phils on May 13 and was hit hard, allowing five runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings after the Braves put him up 3-0 in the top of the first. The Phils have won eight of the last nine games that Kendrick has started. He gave up two home runs in his last start, which was against the Reds on Monday, but they are the only two he has allowed in his last 24 2/3 innings. He started against Reyes in the May 13 game.


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