Tag: Philliesflow

I got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat and a brand new pair of confused outfielders

Not sure exactly the nature of Charlie Manuel’s problem with Shane Victorino, but whatever it is it almost cost the Phillies a game last night. With both Victorino and Jayson Werth in the starting lineup, Manuel put Victorino in right and Werth in center. That’s just a terrible decision even if it doesn’t cost you. It almost did — with two outs in the ninth, Werth misplayed Brian McCann’s fly ball into a double and gave two Braves a chance to come to the plate as the go-ahead run. If Manuel has a message for Victorino he should deliver it, but if his message is that the team is better defensively with Werth in center it’s going to be a hard one for anybody to take seriously.

One guy not to blame is Werth, who is at least an adequate if not better defensive center fielder. There are a whole lot of guys in the league that can’t play defense like Victorino. Werth more than made up for his miscue in the field with his bat last night, driving in four of the five Phillies’ runs.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 5-4 to improve to 22-18 on the season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. All six hits were singles and he struck out two. After allowing three runs on three hits in the first, Kendrick was very good. He put up five shutout innings in a row in which he allowed just three singles and three walks. Ruiz helped him get a huge out with two men on in the sixth by picking Kelly Johnson off of second base.

In his three starts at home this season, Kendrick has allowed just three extra-base hits. Opponents are slugging .315 against him at home.

Yunel Escobar started the first with a single and went to second on a passed ball before Mark Kotsay drew a walk. Chipper Jones singled to center and Escobar scored to put the Braves up 1-0. Kotsay went to second. Brian McCann grounded to first and the runners moved to second and third with one down. Kendrick got Greg Norton on a popup to shallow center for the second out, but Jeff Francoeur followed and singled into right. Both runners scored and Atlanta led 3-0. Kelly Johnson flew to right for the third out.

Kendrick walked Gregor Blanco to start the second. The pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes tried to bunt him to second but struck out for the first out. Escobar followed with a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Rollins couldn’t handle it and Escobar was safe on the error. The Phils weren’t going to get a double-play anyway, but the possibility may have made Rollins rush. Kotsay was next and hit another ball to Rollins’ right. This time Rollins made a nice diving play to take a hit away from Kotsay, forcing Escobar at second for the second out as Blanco went to third. Chipper was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Kendrick got McCann to pop to right-center to end the frame.

Francoeur singled with one out in the third. Johnson followed and grounded to short, Francoeur was forced at second for the second out. Blanco grounded back to Kendrick for the third out.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He started the fifth down 3-2. Chipper singled to start the inning, but McCann followed and hit into a double-play. Norton grounded to short to end the frame.

Johnson singled with one out in the sixth and Blanco followed with a walk. Reyes hit for himself and took the first pitch for a strike. Ruiz threw to second and Johnson was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out for the second out. Blanco went to second in the ugly rundown for the Phils. Reyes shattered his bat grounding back to Kendrick to end the frame. Great job by Kendrick to field the comebacker as the barrel of the bat bounced right at him.

Huge play by Ruiz behind the plate to pick off Johnson with one out and two men on base.

Romero started the seventh up 4-3 and got the first two before Chipper singled and McCann followed with a walk. Romero struck out Norton to set the Braves down.

Gordon started the eighth up 5-3. Johnson singled with one out and Blanco followed with a ground ball to second. Johnson was forced at second for the second out. Switch-hitter Ruben Gotay hit for the pitcher Jorge Camillo and struck out for the third out.

Gordon’s ERA for the season is down to 3.63. He’s allowed two runs in his last 16 innings while striking out 16.

Lidge started the ninth up 5-3. He struck out Escobar to start the inning before he walked Kotsay on four straight fastballs. It brought up Chipper as the tying run. Kotsay took second on defensive indifference before Chipper hit a 2-1 pitch deep to left. Bruntlett, seeing his first action in the outfield this season after pinch-running for Burrell in the seventh and staying in to play left, took it on the warning track for the second out. McCann was next and he hit a fly ball to center field that should have ended the game. It didn’t. Werth froze, then came in before realizing the ball was over his head. It landed behind him for a double. Kotsay scored and it was 5-4 with a man on second and two outs for Norton. Norton walked to put men on first and second for Francoeur. Lidge got ahead of him 0-2 before Francoeur hit a 1-2 pitch into right-center that Victorino took to end the game.

With an assist to the Werth misplay, Lidge had to throw 26 pitches on the night. Romero 18 and Gordon 15 coming off an off-day on Monday.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Jo-Jo Reyes went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth started in center with Victorino in right for the Phils. To have both Victorino and Werth in your outfield and put Victorino in right and Werth in center is a poor idea. Ruiz catches. We’re going to see a lot of Werth in the series with the Braves scheduled to throw three lefties.

Victorino doubled with one out in the first and the Phils down 3-0, but Utley grounded to second and Howard struck out to end the inning.

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

Rollins reached on an error by Escobar with two outs in the third, but Victorino flew to left to end the inning.

Utley singled to start the fourth and Howard followed with a blast over the head of Kotsay in center and off the base of the wall for a double that moved Utley to third. Burrell struck out looking for the first out, but Werth laced a single back through the middle and both runners scored to cut the Atlanta lead to 3-2. Feliz moved Werth to second with a single, but Ruiz grounded to second and Kendrick struck out to leave both men stranded.

With one out in the fifth, Victorino singled and stole second. Utley grounded to second for the second out and Victorino went to third. Howard singled into right and Victorino scored to tie the game at 3-3. Burrell moved Howard to second with a single before Werth singled into left. Howard scored to put the Phils up 4-3 and Burrell went to second. Feliz popped to third to end the inning.

Ruiz singled to start the sixth but the Phils went in order behind him. Taguchi hit for Kendrick and bunted into an out for the first out of the frame.

Burrell doubled to right with two outs in the seventh and Bruntlett ran for him at second. Werth blooped a single in front of a diving Blanco and Bruntlett scored to put the Phils up 5-3. Burrell might not have scored on the play even with two outs, but I would have rather seen him stay in the game anyway. Feliz grounded to second for the third out.

Rollins doubled with two outs in the eighth. Victorino grounded to second behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a double and stole his sixth base of the season. 3-for-his-last-18.

Utley was 1-for-4.

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

Burrell 2-for-4 with a double.

Werth was 3-for-4 with four RBI.

Feliz 1-for-4.

Ruiz 1-for-4.

Brett Myers (2-3, 5.56) faces lefty Tom Glavine (0-1, 4.03) tonight. Glavine has made six starts on the year and allowed two runs or fewer in five of them. The Reds hit him hard on May 4 and he was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings. In his other five starts on the season he’s thrown to a 2.59 ERA. Lefties are hitting .360 against him on the season and have hit two of the three home runs he’s allowed — lefties have actually hit him better over his career, but not at a .360 clip (lefties have hit .263 against him in his career). The former Met made five starts against the Phils in 2007 and went 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. April 12, April 17, June 5, August 28 and September 14. Myers has allowed 19 runs in 24 innings over his past four starts. Twelve home runs in his last 44 innings. Righties are hitting .325 against him. He’s not pitching well. He went 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA, a 1.30 ratio and four saves in eight appearances against Atlanta last season.

Manuel talks about starting Werth in center last night here.

Eight is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little bit

A two-run homer from Steve Holm I can live with, but intentionally walking Omar Vizquel three times in a game is a little bit tougher. That’s just indefensible for a lot of reasons, but the big ones are that he’s 41-years-old and on-based .305 and slugged .316 last season.

And yes, I do remember that after each of the three intentional walks to Vizquel in Sunday’s game the pitcher struck out the next Giant to end the inning. It’s not that kind of a thing.

Indefensible or not, there’s got to be something going on. Turns out it might be that what part of it is is that the Phils are getting shelled by eight hitters this season. Here’s what guys in the eight hole have done against the Phillies so far:




309 405 434 839

If that looks bad, well, it is. The .839 OPS that opponents eight hitters have posted against Phillies hurlers is the worst in the NL. By a lot. Not including yesterday’s game, Colorado had been second-worst against eight hitters using OPS as a measure. They had posted a .775 OPS against them.

Overall for the season, opponents have hit 264/333/422 against the Phils, a .756 OPS — eight hitters have been significantly better than other hitters in the lineup.

The .309 batting average eight hitters have posted against Phils’ hurlers is the worst in the league. The Phillies have struck out opponents eight hitters 17 times this season, also (tied for) the worst in the league. The Reds have struck out the eight hitter the most times — again, not counting yesterday’s games, 43. The Phils have walked the eight hitter intentionally six times, the most in the NL.

Put it all together and you’ve turned the molehill of the eight-spot into a mountain. Here’s what Phillies’ pitchers have done overall against hitters in each of the non-pitchers spot in the order so far this season, and their rank compared to the other NL teams using OPS as the measure (still doesn’t include yesterday’s games. Really, nothing in this post includes anything from yesterday’s games):

# in order

OPS against

NL Rank
1 .829 14
2 .675 5
3 .913 12
4 .882 9
5 .806 7
6 .749 9
7 .745 9
8 .839 16

Using OPS as the measure, not only have the Phillies been the worst team in the NL against eight hitters, but #8 hitters in the order have been more effective against them than leadoff men, #2, #5, #6 and #7 hitters.

Eight NL teams, that’s half, have thrown to a lower OPS against their opponents #3 hitters than the Phillies have to their opponents’ #8 hitters (ie, eight NL teams have thrown to an OPS lower than .839 against #3 hitters).

In 2007, eight hitters hit 285/366/374 against the Phillies pitchers. That was bad, 11th worst in the NL, but not quite as bad as the Phils were overall. Overall in 2007 the Phils’ pitchers threw to the 13th-best OPS in the league.

In 2007 the Phils still walked the eight hitter a lot. The 68 walks to the eight hitter were third most in the league (overall the Phils were tied for allowing the eighth-most). They intentionally walked the eight hitter 17 times. Only two teams intentionally walked the eight hitter more than that, Colorado and Arizona both walked the eight hitter 18 times in ’07.

All these huge numbers for eight hitters this year must at least one someone and probably more on the Phillies’ pitching staff is getting bombed by guys in the eight hole. And someones are. Among the guys in the rotation, eight hitters are 7-for-19 with a double and three walks against Myers (368/455/421 with an .876 OPS). That’s bad, but Kendrick and Moyer have been even worse. Eight hitters are 5-for-15 with two doubles, a home run and two walks against Kendrick (333/444/667, 1.111 OPS). 7-for-16 with four doubles, a triple and two walks against Moyer (438/500/813, 1.313 OPS).

Some of that is surely just bad luck that will even out along the way. The thing the Phillies can definitely control is how often they pitch around the eight hitter and how often they walk him intentionally. I’d go with a lot less. It’s just one that doesn’t need to be over-thought. There’s a reason that the guy is hitting eighth and the chances are pretty good that it’s there are seven guys in the lineup that can hit better than he can. Try to get him out.

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