Tag: pitching

All things being equal, I’d rather they not be in Philadelphia

It’s been a miserable couple of weeks for the Phillies as they’ve struggled badly at home and against teams from the American League. The runs they’ve scored as a team are down compared to the first two months of the season:

  Runs
scored
Games R/Game
April 119 20 5.95
May 148 28 5.29
June 89 19 4.68
       
Season 356 67 5.31

Compared to the rest of the season, or at least last month, the pitching has been bad but not that much worse:

  Runs
allowed
Games RA/Game
April 112 20 5.60
May 133 28 4.75
June 91 19 4.79
       
Season 336 67 5.01

Allowing 4.79 runs per game is still bad, it’s just not terrible compared to what the team had done the rest of the season. If the Phillies allowed 4.79 runs per game over 162 games they would give up 776 for the year. In 2008 they allowed 680 runs. Five NL teams allowed more than 776. Their best month of the year in terms of preventing runs so far has been May. In May they allowed 4.75 runs per game — if they allowed runs at that rate over 162 games they would allow about 770 over 162 games, which is still 90 more than they allowed in 2008.

Finally, given how awful the recent home stand was it is easy to forget that the Phillies started the month with a 7-3 road trip in which they got fantastic pitching. The hitting wasn’t real impressive in the nine games at home, but the problems the Phils have had winning at Citizens Bank Park this season still have a lot more to do with pitching than they do with hitting. Here’s how the runs the Phils have scored and allowed at home and away break down for June:

  G RS per game RA per game
Home 9 38 4.22 60 6.67
Away 10 51 5.10 31 3.10
           
Total 19 89 4.68 91 4.79

It’s real tough to win when you allow more than six runs per game. On the other hand, the Phils have scored more than five runs a game on the road and the pitching has been outstanding in the games away from Philly. In ten games the Phillies have allowed 31 runs.

Condrey was put on the DL and Escalona called up.

This says the Phillies are hopeful that Howard will be able to play today.


No place like home for a Phillies pitcher, but not in a good way

The Phillies have been amazing on the road this season and struggling badly at home. As you can probably guess, they are scoring more runs on their games on the road. The chart below shows how many runs they have scored overall, in their games at home and on the road and the total number of runs they would score if they produced runs at that rate over 162 games for each category:

  G RS RS/G RS/G*162
Total 61 337 5.52 895
Home 29 145 5.00 810
Away 32 192 6.00 972

And, as you have also probably guessed, they have been much better at preventing runs on the road than they have at home:

  G RA RA/G RA/G*162
Total 61 298 4.89 791
Home 29 161 5.55 899
Away 32 137 4.28 694

Clearly the Phillies have been better at both scoring and preventing runs on the road. One of those areas has been a much bigger issue than the other, though. To give you a hint, the thing where they’re scoring five runs a game at home isn’t so much a problem.

Not counting yesterday’s games, here’s how many runs the teams in the NL have scored per games this season (ordered by the number of runs they’ve scored):

Team G R RS/Game
Philadelphia
LA Dodgers
Colorado
Florida
Milwaukee
NY Mets
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Washington
Arizona
Atlanta
Cincinnati
Houston
Chicago Cubs
San Francisco
San Diego
61
64
63
65
63
61
64
63
62
64
62
62
62
60
62
62
337
321
318
307
288
284
279
278
277
274
263
262
260
253
248
241
5.52
5.02
5.05
4.72
4.57
4.66
4.36
4.41
4.47
4.28
4.24
4.23
4.19
4.22
4.00
3.89

The Phillies have been awful at home this season in terms of wins and losses. They’ve scored a run a game more on the road than they have at home, but they’re still scoring five runs a game at home. Five runs a game is a lot. There are 15 teams in the NL that aren’t the Phillies. Two of them have scored five runs a game or more this season. If the Phillies played 162 games and scored runs at the rate they are scoring them at home, they would score 810 runs. That’s more runs than they scored in 2008. In ’08 there was only one NL team that scored more than 810 runs for the season — the Cubs scored 855.

So while the Phillies may be scoring less runs at home than they are on the road, they’re still scoring a ton of runs at home.

The bigger problem is the rate at which they are allowing runs. Here’s the number of runs allowed by NL teams this season:

Team G RA RA/Game
Washington
Florida
Arizona
San Diego
Colorado
Philadelphia
Houston
Atlanta
Milwaukee
Pittsburgh
St. Louis
NY Mets
Cincinnati
Chicago Cubs
LA Dodgers
San Francisco
61
64
63
61
62
60
61
61
62
62
63
60
61
59
63
61
355
324
304
301
295
292
290
271
267
267
266
265
259
243
237
232
5.82
5.06
4.83
4.93
4.76
4.87
4.75
4.44
4.31
4.31
4.22
4.42
4.25
4.12
3.76
3.80

Again, 15 teams in the NL that aren’t the Phillies. Just one of them, the miserable Nationals, are allowing more runs per game for the season than the 5.55 that the Phillies have allowed at home. If the Phils allowed 5.55 runs per game over 162 games they would allow about 899. No team in the NL allowed that many runs in 2008. The Pirates allowed the most runs and they gave up 884.

Joe Savery is pitching well at Reading.


Every count counts

In 2008, Phillies pitchers faced 6,229 hitters. 160 of them, or about 2.6%, hit home runs. That’s a home run every 38.9 plate appearances. Opposing hitters weren’t as likely to hit home runs in all counts, of course. The chart below shows how many plate appearance ended with a pitch delivered on that count, the percent of the plate appearances for the year that represents, the number of home runs hit on pitches delivered on that count, the percent of the total home runs allowed by the Phils for the year that is and the plate appearances that ended on that pitch between home runs for each of the counts:


Count

PA

% of PA

HR

% of HR

PA per HR

0-0

778

12.5

35

21.9

22.2

1-0

432

6.9

17

10.6

25.4

2-0

156

2.5
6
3.8

26.0

3-0

159

2.6
1
0.6

159.0

0-1

562

9.0

23

14.4

24.4

1-1

531

8.5

15

9.4

35.4

2-1

363

5.8

17

10.6

21.4

3-1

291

4.7
5
3.1

58.2

0-2

473

7.6
2
1.3

236.5

1-2

873

14.0

13

8.7

67.2

2-2

822

13.2

14

8.8

58.7

3-2

789

12.7

12

7.5

65.8

More home runs came on the first pitch of the plate appearance than any other — for one reason every plate appearance has an 0-0 pitch. Not every plate appearance has a 3-1 (for example) pitch. The difference between the percentage of the home runs allowed and the percentage of plate appearances is also largest for the first pitch.

Hamels and Myers were the biggest culprits at giving up first pitch home runs. They each gave up eight. Hamels gave up 28 home runs the year overall, Myers 29. So for Hamels about 29% of the home runs he allowed came on the first pitch and for Myers about 28% of the home runs he allowed came on the first pitch.

In 2007, Phillies pitchers faced 6,385 hitters and 198 of them homered. That’s 3.1% or a home run every 32.2 plate appearances. Here’s the counts they came on:


Count

PA

% of PA

HR

% of HR

PA per HR

0-0

817

12.8

43

21.7

19.0

1-0

465

7.3

27

13.6

17.2

2-0

169

2.6

14

7.1

12.1

3-0

181

2.8
2
1.0

90.5

0-1

582

9.1

19

9.6

30.6

1-1

567

8.9

14

7.1

40.5

2-1

345

5.4

17

8.6

20.3

3-1

308

4.8
3
1.5

102.7

0-2

480

7.5
6
3.0

80.0

1-2

893

14.0

12

6.1

74.4

2-2

843

13.2

21

10.6

40.1

3-2

735

11.5

20

10.1

36.8

Joe Blanton didn’t allow any home runs yesterday, on the first pitch or any other pitch. He was fantastic as the Phils topped the Marlins 5-1. With the win they are 8-10 in spring training.

Blanton allowed one hit, a single, over six shutout innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Condrey pitched the eighth and gave up a run on two hits to raise his spring ERA to 1.69.

Ozuna went 0-for-4 with a walk to drop his spring average to .379. Donald 1-for-4 with a walk and an error. Mayberry 0-for-1 with a walk. Giles played third and went 1-for-3 with a double and an error, raising his average to .161. Coste 1-for-3 with a walk.

The Phillies play St Louis today with Carrasco expected to pitch.

Chan Ho Park has a sore left hamstring, but it should not keep him from pitching.

The article linked above also says that Hamels may throw off of a mound tomorrow. My guess is that the idea that the Phils would carry 14 hitters and 11 pitchers for the first few games of the season is unlikely, in part because of the health status of Park and especially Hamels.

Team USA will play Japan on Sunday in the World Baseball Classic. The winner of that game will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Venezuela and Korea in the finals. The US lost to Venezuela on Wednesday, 10-6, in a non-elimination game that was used to determine seeding for the final round. Rollins was 1-for-5 and left seven men on base. Victorino 0-for-4.

Philliesflow got a Twitter page.


And the hits just keep on coming, sometimes a little too close together

Yesterday I wrote about how often Kendrick, Eaton and Hamels allowed hits and extra-base hits last season. Here’s what those numbers look like for all the pitchers that faced at least 40 hitters for the Phils in ’08 (they’re ordered by the number of batters they faced):

  PA H XBH PA per hit PA per XBH
Hamels 914 193 75 4.74 12.19
Moyer 841 199 64 4.23 13.14
Myers 817 197 82 4.15 9.96
Kendrick 722 194 66 3.72 10.94
Eaton 478 131 43 3.65 11.12
Durbin 365 81 17 4.51 21.47
Madson 340 79 23 4.30 14.78
Blanton 305 66 24 4.62 12.71
Condrey 303 85 26 3.56 11.65
Lidge 292 50 13 5.84 22.46
Romero 255 41 14 6.22 18.21
Seanez 189 38 11 4.97 17.18
Gordon 139 31 14 4.48 9.93
Happ 138 28 7 4.93 19.71
Eyre 53 8 6 6.63 8.83
Walrond 49 13 4 3.77 12.25

The single biggest surprise in those numbers for me were the extra-base hits allowed by Durbin. Durbin faced 365 batters in 2008 and allowed just 17 extra-base hits, which is one every 21.47 plate appearances. That was the second-best rate on the team after Lidge.

Seanez was very effective at preventing hits. He allowed a hit every 4.97 plate appearances, which was fourth-best on the players listed above after Lidge, Romero and Eyre (who only faced 53 hitters). His rate of giving up extra-base hits was also very good, behind only the rates for Lidge, Romero, Durbin and Happ. His walk rate was very bad, however. If there was a column for plate appearances per walk, Seanez’s rate would be near the very bottom of the list for these pitchers, along with Romero and Gordon.

Condrey gave up a ton of hits, one every 3.56 batters, which was the worst rate of the group. The rate at which he gave up extra-base hits was better than having-an-off-seasoners Kendrick and Eaton, but not by a whole lot. Condrey threw to a 3.26 ERA in 2008. Eaton 5.80, Kendrick 5.49.

Scott Eyre faced just 53 hitters as a Phil, but oddly prevented hits at the best rate of the 16 pitchers and, in what’s just about surely a tiny sample size coincidence, allowed extra-base hits at the worst rate. Opponents went just 8-for-49 against Eyre, but six of the eight hits went for extra-bases (five doubles and a homer).

Finally, Brett Myers gave up a lot of extra-base hits last year. Notably he allowed 49 doubles — only three NL pitchers allowed more. Overall, he allowed 82 extra-base hits to 817 batters. Durbin, Lidge, Romero, Seanez, Gordon, Happ and Eyre also combined to allow 82 extra-base hits, but they allowed theirs in 1,431 plate appearances.

The Phillies made lefty Will Ohman an offer last week. This suggests the Phils are not likely to get Ohman.

The Phils play Team Canada today, with Cole Hamels scheduled to pitch. The linked article also explains that Coste has been limited to one at-bat so far due to a hamstring problem.


Home improvement

I wrote recently that while the Phillies were very good at both producing and preventing runs in 2008, when you compare what they did overall last season to the past few years, the change in the number of runs they allowed last year was much more dramatic than the change in the number of runs they scored.

In 2008, the Phillies allowed just 680 runs after allowing 821 runs the previous season.

Here’s how many runs they allowed, innings they pitched and runs they allowed per inning in each of the past two years:

Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 680 1449.7 .469
2007 821 1458.3 .563

So overall in 2008, the Phillies allowed an average of .469 runs every inning they pitched. In 2007, they had allowed .563 runs every inning they pitched. The difference between the two is .094 runs per inning.

I wanted to try to identify the pitching areas where the Phils improved the most from 2007 to 2008, so I took a look at some splits trying to find splits where the ’07 to ’08 difference for that split was larger than the difference between the ’07 and ’08 numbers overall. The splits that had a difference that was larger than the overall difference of .094 I put in bold.

 
Left-Right
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 vs left 297 581.7 .511
2007 vs left 330 538 .613
      Difference: 
.103

 
Left-Right
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 vs right 383 868 .441
2007 vs right 491 920.3 .534
      Difference: 
.092

A brief pause to emphasize exactly what we’re looking at. While the difference in the average number of runs the Phillies allowed against lefties was better than the difference in the average number of runs they allowed against righties, they arguably benefited more by improving against righties since they faced so many more of them. They allowed 108 fewer runs against righties and just 33 fewer against lefties.

Again, what I’m trying to do is find the areas where they improved the most, not the areas where the improvement was most important. In the case of the splits above, they improved more against lefties, even though the improvement against righties might have more important to the pitching staff overall.

 
Home-Away
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Home 338 748 .452
2007 Home 421 738 .570
      Difference: 
.119

 
Home-Away
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Away 342 701.7 .487
2007 Away 400 720.3 .555
      Difference: 
.068

And here are the Starter-Reliever splits:

 
Starter-Reliever
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Starter 489 966.7 .506
2007 Starter 536 938.3 .571
      Difference: 
.065

 
Starter-Reliever
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Reliever 191 483 .395
2007 Reliever 285 520 .548
      Difference: 

.153

And pre and post All-Star:

 
Pre/Post All-Star Break
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Pre
All-Star
403 860 .469
2007 Pre
All-Star
463 791.7 .585
      Difference: 
.116

 
Pre/Post All-Star Break
Year RA IP RA/Inning
2008 Post
All-Star
277 589.7 .470
2007 Post
All-Star
358 666.7 .537
      Difference: 
.067

On that last set of splits it’s interesting to note that by average number of runs allowed per inning, the Phillies were almost exactly as good before and after the All-Star break in 2008. They threw to a 3.90 ERA with a 1.36 ratio before the break and a 3.85 ERA with a 1.37 ratio after the break.

Eight splits, four of which are better than the overall rate at which the Phillies improved at preventing runs from ’07 to ’08, and four that are worse. In order of the most improvement to the least they go:

Split Difference
Reliever .153
Home .119
Pre All-Star .116
Vs left .103
Vs right .092
Away .068
Post All-Star .067
Starter .065

The Phillies continue their impressive series of deals with arbitration-eligible players.

They have agreed to a deal with Jayson Werth, believed to be two-years, $10 million. Chad Durbin’s deal is one-year, $1.65 million.

Victorino, one year, $3.125 million. Blanton one year $5.475 million.

That leaves Ryan Howard. He wants $18 million and the Phillies want to pay him $14 million.


Pitch switch

When you think of the Phillies, you probably think more of the big bats of Utley, Howard, Rollins and Burrell and less of Joe Blanton and JC Romero. But it was almost inarguably the pitchers that played a bigger role in bringing the Phils their first World Series trophy since a breathless nation learned who shot JR (with apologies to those of you who are 28 years behind on your Netflix TV series DVD queue, it was Kristin Shepard).

I’d also like to say for the record something I think we’ve all known for a while: queue is an odd little word that seems like it shouldn’t be possible. I think it thinks nobody’s watching, but we are. It would be nothing without Netflix. And England. It seems like it somehow got through committee and should be up for review any time now. I’ve been waiting for news of a recall for years now, but, so far, nothing.

In 14 post-season games in 2008, the Phillies scored 64 runs and allowed 44. That’s a rate of about 4.57 runs scored per game and about 3.14 runs allowed per game. They scored runs at a rate lower (worse) than they did during the regular season (in the regular season they scored 799 runs in 162 games, about 4.93 runs per game) and allowed runs at a lower (better) rate (they allowed 680 runs in 2008, about 4.19 runs per game).

The 3.14 runs per game allowed in the post-season for the Phils is outstanding. Over the regular season this year the team in all of baseball that allowed the fewest runs was the Toronto Blue Jays. They allowed 610 runs in 162 games, about 3.77 per game.

The Phillies got ten quality starts in 14 post-season games, including five quality starts in the five games of the World Series (here’s the post-season Start Log). Cole Hamels has made six post-season starts for the Phils between 2007 and 2008, all six of which have been quality starts.

As a group, the Phillies bullpen threw to a 1.79 ERA in the 2008 post-season.

The Phillies used four starting pitchers in the post-season. Here’s what they did during the post-season, what the same group did during the regular season and what all of the Phillies starters (including Hamels, Myers, Moyer and Blanton) did during the regular season:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Hamels 35 1.80 0.91 30
Myers 19 4.74 1.32 12
Moyer 11.2 8.49 1.63 10
Blanton 17 3.18 1.29 18
         
Total
post-season
82.2 3.70 1.19 70
         
Total regular
season (this group)
684.1 3.79 1.27 531
         
Total regular
season (all PHI SP)
966.2 4.23 1.36 670

They were better in the post-season than they were during the regular season. Moyer had two miserable starts and one good one and Myers struggled twice, but Hamels and Blanton were both fantastic.

Moyer and Hamels have a bigger impact on the “Total regular season (this group)” than Blanton and Myers. They threw 423 2/3 innings with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.20 ratio. Blanton and Myers combined to throw just 260 2/3 innings with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.38 ratio.

Here’s what the seven relievers did during the post-season, and what all Phillies relievers did as a group in 2008:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Lidge 9.1 0.96 0.96 13
Madson 12.2 2.13 0.87 12
Romero 7.1 0.00 0.68 7
Durbin 3.1 2.70 3.00 3
Condrey 1.2 5.40 2.40 1
Eyre 3.0 3.00 1.33 2
Happ 3.0 3.00 2.00 2
         
Total 40.1 1.79 1.21 40
         
All PHI
relievers 2008 regular season
483.0 3.19 1.38 411

Lidge and Madson have been widely recognized as having played a crucial role for the Phillies in relief, but Romero belongs in that group as well. Romero, Madson and Lidge combined to give the Phils 29 1/3 innings in the post-season, throwing to a 1.23 ERA with an 0.85 ratio while striking out 32.

The Phillies won three one-run games in the World Series, taking game one 3-2, game three 5-4 and game five 4-3.

Rollins and Victorino won Gold Gloves. The best defensive players on the Phils not to win Gold Gloves were Feliz and Ruiz. David Wright won at third base and Yadier Molina at catcher.

The 2008 World Series Film will debut in Philadelphia area theaters on November 24. Ticket information and information about the DVD is available here.


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