Tag: Placido Polanco

Walking haul

In 2012, NL batters walked in about 7.9% of their plate appearances. Right-handed hitters like Delmon Young walked in about 7.3% of their plate appearances. In their chances against righties they drew walks about 6.9% of the time and in their chances against lefties they walked about 8.0% of the time.

Delmon Young walks less than that and he always has.

The table below shows Young’s walk percentages for every year of his career except 2006. In 2006, he got 131 plate appearances and walked once (0.8% walk rate). Not saying it matters, but the walk came against righty Huston Street.

Year BB% vs L vs R
2007 3.8 4.1 3.7
2008 5.6 7.5 4.8
2009 2.9 2.2 3.2
2010 4.6 6.7 3.6
2011 4.6 5.6 4.2
2012 3.3 2.1 3.8
Career 4.1 4.7 3.8

His walk rate has just about always been bad. The years when it’s been really atrocious are 2009 and 2012. As I mentioned yesterday, in 2012 there were 222 players other than Young across both leagues with at least 350 plate appearances and 221 of them had a better walk rate than he did. In 2009 his 2.9% walk rate was 249th of 252 players across both leagues with at least 350 plate appearances.

In both of those years, Young’s walk rate against lefties was down super low, almost to 2%. You’ll notice that in 2010, his walk rate against righties was similar to his walk rate in ’09 and ’12, but he got his overall walk rate up to 4.6% thanks to walks in 6.7% of his plate appearances against lefties.

Young’s best walk rate of his career was 2008 when he walked in about 5.6% of his plate appearances. That still isn’t good. In Phillies context, among the players with 100 plate appearances in 2012, Polanco walked in about 5.5% of his PA and Pieree in about 5.2%. They were all below the team rate of 7.4%. And the team rate of 7.4% was terrible.

Brian Schneider seems to be retiring at age 36. Schneider spent the last three years of his career with the Phillies, hitting 212/295/327 over 384 plate appearances.

MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list is now available. It includes left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle at number 60 and right-handed pitcher Ethan Martin at number 80. Given that there are 30 MLB teams, having your best prospect on the list appear at number 60 isn’t a good sign.

Don’t walk

The last post suggested that if Ben Revere is going to continue to hit for (almost literally) no power, he’s going to need to dramatically improve his walk rate if he’s ever going to post a wOBA above league average. He could also try hitting like .340 or so, but let’s just assume that’s not going to happen.

There are, though, guys who walk at the rate Ben Revere has, 5.2% of his plate appearances in 2011 and about 5.4% in 2012, and still post a wOBA better than league average.

Here’s the list of the guys over the past five seasons who have gotten enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and walked in between 5.2% and 5.4% of their plate appearances as well as their FanGraph‘s calculated wOBAs.

% BB wOBA League average wOBA ISO
Pierzynski ’12 5.4 .351 .321 .223
Hardy ’12 5.3 .290 .321 .151
Boesch ’12 5.2 .288 .321 .132
Cozart ’12 5.2 .298 .321 .153
Montero ’12 5.2 .295 .321 .126
Viciedo ’12 5.2 .321 .321 .188
Suzuki ’11 5.4 .281 .316 .064
Infante ’11 5.3 .306 .316 .105
Soriano ’11 5.3 .326 .316 .225
Guerrero ’10 5.4 .364 .321 .196
Polanco ’10 5.3 .322 .321 .088
Cabrera ’10 5.2 .292 .321 .091
Callaspo ’10 5.2 .297 .321 .109
Aybar ’09 5.4 .340 .329 .111
Byrd ’09 5.3 .346 .329 .196
Polanco ’09 5.3 .321 .329 .112
’08 — no players - - - -

So there are 16 instances over the past five seasons of a player with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title who also walked in 5.2% to 5.4% of his plate appearances (like Ben Revere).

Of those 16, seven had a year in which their wOBA was league average or better.

If you’re never going to walk, or walk about 5.4% of the time or so, the two most likely ways to do that are to hit for a monster average or hit with monster power. Or a combination of the two.

Adrian Beltre, who does not appear on the table above, is the king of posting huge wOBA numbers with a low walk rate. He does both. In 2012, Beltre was ninth among the 143 qualified players across both leagues with a .388 wOBA despite a walk rate of just 5.5%. He hit .321 with 33 doubles and 36 home runs. In 2011 he walked in just 4.8% of his plate appearances but was 22nd across both leagues in wOBA, thanks to hitting .296 with 32 homers.

Ben Revere is never, ever going to hit for monster power.

Of the seven guys who got to average or better, five of them did it showing very good isolated power. Those five are: Pierzynski in 2012, Viciedo in ’12, Soriano in ’11, Guerrero in 2010 and Marlon Byrd in 2009. Of that group of five, the worse isolated power mark is Dayan Viciedo’s .188 in 2012 — he hit 25 home runs in 543 plate appearances for the White Sox last year. The best isolated power mark of that group of five is the .225 for Soriano in 2011.

The other two guys who fill out the list are Placido Polanco in 2010 and Erick Aybar in 2009. Those guys made it to league average or better (although just barely in Polanco’s case) for wOBA despite not walking and not hitting for power.

Polanco hit 298/339/386 that year with an isolated power of .088. Revere can hit .298 and can even on-base .339. We’ll have to wait and see, but an isolated power of .088 seems like it might require a little wishful thinking. Polanco didn’t steal any bases in 2010, just five for the year. So that’s an element Revere could bring to his wOBA to deliver a ’10 Polanco-like year without as much power if he does not improve his walk rate.

Aybar hit .312 in ’09, posting a 312/353/423 line with a .340 wOBA that put him well above league average. His isolated power of .111 for the year was even better than Polanco’s and seems well out of reach for Revere.

So, if Revere’s going to get to league average or better in wOBA, it looks like there’s a bunch of things he’s going to have to do in combination to have a chance to get there — hit for a real high average, steal a whole lot of bases without getting caught hardly at all, increase his walk rate and do as much as possible to deliver some more power. The power from year to year is probably going to be a fluke — you’re not going to see him hit the ball out of the yard ten or five or probably even three times in a season. What you might see is a bunch of weird bounces that give him five or seven doubles in a year that turn into triples, which would do good things for his isolated power.

Recent Phillie rumors include 1) the Phillies are interested in Alfonso Soriano and may have offered Domonic Brown straight up for him and 2) the Phillies have offered Josh Hamilton a three-year deal.

The linked article points out that if Josh Hamilton was willing to take a three-year deal there would be a whole lot of teams interested in giving him one.

The White Sox got Jeff Keppinger on a three-year, $12 million deal.

This article mentions Joe Saunders, Chris Young, Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, John Lannan, Jair Jurrjens, Kevin Millwood, and Chien-Ming Wang as the type of player the Phillies might target to fill out their rotation. Both Pavano and Jurrjens were awful in 2012, but they seem to me to be the guys on the list with the biggest upside for 2013.

Sandy, the pitching angels have lost their desire for us

Bruce Springsteen. Sort of.

The table below shows, for each of the past five years, the four pitchers who have gotten the most starts for the Phillies that season and their WAR for the year as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

Year Pitcher Starts WAR
2012 Hamels 31 4.2
2012 Lee 30 4.2
2012 Kendrick 25 1.3
2012 Halladay 25 0.7
2012 Total for group 101 10.4
2011 Halladay 32 8.5
2011 Lee 32 8.3
2011 Hamels 31 6.2
2011 Oswalt 23 2.0
2011 Total for group 118 25.0
2010 Halladay 33 8.3
2010 Hamels 33 5.3
2010 Kendrick 31 0.2
2010 Blanton 28 -0.2
2010 Total for group 125 13.6
2009 Hamels 32 1.7
2009 Blanton 31 2.4
2009 Moyer 25 0.1
2009 Happ 23 4.0
2009 Total for group 111 8.2
2008 Hamels 33 4.0
2008 Moyer 33 2.5
2008 Myers 30 0.4
2008 Kendrick 30 -1.7
2008 Total for group 126 5.2

Important to note is that the WAR for the pitcher includes all of his appearances for the season, not just his starts. So, for example, Kendrick made 37 appearances in 2012 and only 25 of them were starts. His WAR for the year was 1.3 and that includes all 37 appearances, not just the 25 starts.

Again, the Phillies went to the World Series in 2008 and again in 2009 and they did it without outstanding starting pitching. This message will repeat. Happ (in 2009) and Hamels (in 2008) were the only two pitchers, starter or relievers, to post a WAR for the season better than 2.5 in either year.

Led by Hamels and Halladay, the top four was a lot better in 2010. Halladay, Hamels and Lee all had superb years in 2011.

Halladay was, as you may have noticed, way off in 2012. Hamels wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011 or 2010. Lee wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011, but the top for of the rotation were still better than they been in 2009 and a lot better than they had been in 2008.

It’s easy for some of us (by which I mean me) to forget that Lee didn’t throw a pitch for the Phillies in 2010. They Phillies have only had two years where Halladay, Hamels and Lee comprised the core of the rotation. One of those years was great for the Phillies until they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. The other was 2012, which is best forgotten if at all possible.

Halladay came into 2012 having not put up a WAR worse than 5.9 since 2008 — in ’08 he was an All-Star, finished second in Cy Young voting in the AL (losing to Indian and 22-game winner Cliff Lee) and seventh in WAR for pitchers across both leagues. Last year his WAR was 0.7, which is the worst mark of his career since he threw to a 10.64 ERA as a 23-year-old with the Blue Jays in 2000.

Rollins won his fourth Gold Glove.

The Phillies picked up the $5 million option on Ruiz and declined the $5.5 million option on Polanco. They will pay Polanco a $1 million buyout. The same article suggests that free agent Juan Pierre is not likely to be back with the Phillies.

This article suggests that Worley will stay in Philadelphia to rehab his elbow coming off of surgery.

This article suggests the Phillies have $135.35 million committed to ten players for next season, including Lee ($25 million), Halladay ($20 million), Howard ($20 million), Hamels ($19.5 million), Utley ($15 million), Papelbon ($13 million), Rollins ($11 million), Ruiz ($5 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million).

That’s $40 million committed to Halladay and Howard. In 2012, Howard’s Baseball-Reference calculated WAR was -1.2 and Halladay’s was 0.7.

This article quotes Amaro suggesting that that center field will have to be addressed externally. The writer goes on to list possible candidates, including Bourn, Pagan, Upton, Victorino, Hamilton, Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dexter Fowler.

This article looks at potential corner outfielders, including free agent Juan Pierre, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Torii Hunter, Ryan Ludwick, Jonny Gomes, Rual Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki, Delmon Young, Josh Willingham and Alfonso Soriano.

After eight hints

Looking for a sign of life from the Phillies? The Phillies need a spark and the last two games against the miserable Rockies make you wonder if they might have found it. After pounding Colorado in the series opener, the Phillies rallied for two late last night for a 7-6 win.

Trailing by a run with two outs and nobody on in the ninth, five straight Phillies reached base against Colorado closer Rafael Betancourt. Ty Wigginton, who came into his at-bat 3-for-his-last-31, singled to left and came around to tie the game when Pence blasted a double high off the wall in the left field corner. Ruiz was walked intentionally before Victorino hit a ground ball to short that should have sent the game to extra-innings, but a hustling Victorino beat Marco Scutaro’s throw to first to keep the frame alive. Polanco followed and hit another ground ball to short and again wound up just safe, this time on Todd Helton’s error as the Colorado first baseman’s foot couldn’t quite find the bag in time.

It was the first time this season that the Phillies had won a game they were losing after eight innings.

The bad news is that Joe Blanton was awful again, allowing five runs, all five of which scored on the three home runs he allowed in the first four innings of the game. Blanton pitched to a 2.96 ERA in his first eight starts of the year. Since then he has made seven starts in which he has thrown to a 7.44 ERA, allowing 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings. He has allowed at least five earned runs in six of his last seven outings.

The Phillies are 33-37 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 7-6 last night. They have won two in a row, but remain in last place in the NL East, eight games behind the first-place Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all home runs. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six.

Carlos Gonzalez singled to center with two outs in the top of the first, but Blanton got Michael Cuddyer on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

The Phillies were up 1-0 when Blanton started the second. Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson singled back-to-back with one out, putting runners on first and second for Wilin Rosario. Rosario hit an 0-1 pitch out to center, putting Colorado up 3-1. Blanton struck pitcher Alex White out swinging for the second out and Tyler Colvin out swinging for the third.

Blanton started the third up 4-3. He got the first before Cuddyer hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Todd Helton grounded to first for the third out.

Second time in two innings Blanton gave away the lead by allowing a home run.

With one out in the fourth and the game still tied, Chris Nelson homered to center. 5-4 Colorado. Blanton got the next two.

First time in one inning Blanton gave away the tie by allowing a home run.

With the score tied at 5-5, Blanton set the Rockies down in order in the fifth.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth and struck out Rosario and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in the seventh.

Bastardo started the eighth. Switch-hitter Dexter Fowler hit for the lefty Tyler Colvin and walked. Scutaro lined to third before Gonzalez moved Fowler up to third with a single to right. Bastardo struck Cuddyer out swinging 1-2 for the second out before Gonzalez stole second. Helton fouled out to Polanco to leave the runners at second and third.

Huge strikeout for Bastardo to get the righty Cuddyer with one out and runners on first and third. He was pitching for the first time since June 13 and has allowed one run on five hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings over his last seven appearances.

Papelbon started the ninth with the game still tied. He got the first two batters before Rosario doubled to right. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle and was walked intentionally. Pitcher Josh Outman ran for Giambi at first. Fowler was the next hitter for Colorado and he singled to right, scoring Rosario to put Colorado up 6-5 with men on first and third. Fowler stole second before Papelbon struck Scutaro out to leave runners on second and third.

Great job by Manuel to bring Papelbon into a non-save situation, but again Papelbon doesn’t pitch well. In 17 innings in save situations this year, Papelbon has yet to allow a run, pitching to an 0.00 ERA and an 0.58 ratio. In 10 1/3 innings in non-save situations, he has thrown to a 6.10 ERA with a 1.65 ratio.

Bastardo threw 31 pitches in the game and Papelbon 23.

The Phillies lineup against righty Alex White went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Martinez. Pierre in left and Mayberry at first. Ruiz hits cleanup. Martinez at second with the lefty Fontenot on the bench.

Pierre tripled to left with one out in the bottom of the first and came in to score on a ground out by Pence, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz lined to right for the third out.

Polanco singled to center with one out in the second and the Phillies down 3-1. Mayberry followed that with a walk, bringing Martinez to the plate with two men on. Martinez hit a 1-0 pitch out to center, putting the Phils up 4-3. Blanton and Rollins both grounded out behind him to end the inning.

Martinez is a really bad hitter, don’t let the homer fool you, but a big swing there puts the Phils back on top after Rosario’s three-run shot in the top of the second puts them behind.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the bottom of the third and the game tied at 4-4. Victorino bunted for a hit, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco grounded to the pitcher for the third out.

Mayberry doubled to right to start the fourth with the Phillies down 5-4. White got Martinez and Blanton on a pair of ground balls before lefty Matt Reynolds took over for White. Rollins blooped a double to right, scoring Mayberry to tie the game at 5-5. Pierre grounded to second for the third out.

Rollins’s double didn’t look like much, dropping just in front of a changing Cuddyer in right, but it got things even again. Mayberry delivers another extra-base hit that helps get the Phillies a run.

Righty Jeremy Guthrie set the Phillies down in order in the fifth.

Polanco led off the sixth and reached on an error by Scutaro at short, but Mayberry, Martinez and Blanton went in order behind him.

Scutaro was awful in the game and his defense would be a big factor on two plays in the ninth-inning rally. Polanco’s ball was hit in the hole between short and third and he didn’t backhand it cleanly.

Guthrie set the Phillies down in order in the seventh.

Righty Matt Belisle hit Ruiz to start the eighth. Victorino bunted him to second with the first out and Polanco was walked intentionally. Mayberry struck out swinging for the second out and Martinez grounded to first to leave the runners stranded.

Walking Polanco intentionally is a poor idea. The hot Mayberry can’t come through that time, striking out for the second out in a tie game with two men on.

The Phillies were down 6-5 when they started the ninth against righty Rafael Betancourt. Thome hit for Papelbon and grounded out hard to Helton at first for the first out. Rollins grounded to third for the second before Wigginton, who entered the game at first in the top of the eighth, singled to left. Pence was next and he ripped a 1-1 pitch down the line and off the top of the wall in left for a double. Wigginton scored to tie the game at 6-6. Ruiz was walked intentionally to pitch to Victorino. Victorino hit a ground ball to first, but beat Scutaro’s throw for an infield single that loaded the bases. Polanco was next and he hit a ball to short. Scutaro fielded moving towards second and threw to first. The throw was a little high and when Helton tried to get his foot down he missed first base. Polanco was safe, Pence scored and the game was over.

Big two-out hit for Wigginton, who has been struggling terribly. Pence hits a rocket off the wall to tie the game. Victorino’s ball wasn’t hit hard, but Scutaro stayed back on it a little bit. Great job by Victorino to run hard and beat it out. Scutaro’s throw on the ball Polanco hit to end the game was good enough, Helton should have made the play to send the game to extra-innings.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the game. 14-for-his-last-35 (.400).

Pierre 1-for-4 with a triple. 9-for-his-last-25 (.360).

Pence was 1-for-5 with a game-tying double with two outs in the ninth and two RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-25.

Ruiz went 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Victorino 2-for-4. Big infield single in the ninth-inning rally. 8-for-his-last-36 (.222).

Mayberry 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and two strikeouts. 9-for-his-last-24 with seven extra-base hits.

Martinez 1-for-4 with a three-run homer to raise his average on the year to .182 after 33 at-bats.

Worley (3-3, 2.80) faces lefty Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46) tonight. Worley has allowed one earned run in 13 innings over his last two starts. Francis has made just two appearances on the season, both starts and both of which didn’t go well. He’s allowed 18 hits in 8 2/3 innings and opponents are hitting .439 against him.


The Phillies have lost three in a row, dropping the first two in their recent funk because of their starting pitching and last night’s game in spite of it. Kendrick was better than good enough in the opener with the Nationals, holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings, but the Phils frustrated at the plate and on the bases as they fell 2-1.

The 4-5-6 hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-for-9 with 16 men left on base in the game. The base-running issues peaked in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Phillies failed to score after putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Pence got the first chance to bring the runners home and hit a ball into center, but Rick Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out with Polanco too far off of third to tag up and score a run the Phils would need desperately.

On the plus side, the bullpen has quietly been excellent as the Phils dropped three straight, throwing 8 2/3 scoreless innings in those games. Last night Raul Valdes tossed two perfect frames in relief of Kendrick, dropping the bullpen ERA for the year to 4.88 (29th of 30 MLB teams).

The Phillies are 21-22 on the year after losing to the Washington Nationals 2-1 last night. The Phils have lost three games in a row and are 1-3 against the Nats this year.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out four and dropped his ERA on the year to 5.23. He has a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts and the Phillies have lost three of those games. The Phillies are 1-9 for the year in which Kendrick has appeared (five starts and five relief appearances).

Bryce Harper singled to center with one out in the top of the first, but Kendrick got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a double-play behind him.

Kendrick got Adam LaRoche to fly to center for the first out in the second, but Ian Desmond was next and Desmond hit the first pitch he saw from Kendrick out to center, putting the Nats up 1-0. Kendrick got Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel on a pair of ground balls behind Desmond.

Kendrick has allowed five home runs in 32 2/3 innings on the year, which is the worst home run rate for any of the team’s starters other than Worley. Worley has allowed seven home runs in 44 innings.

Jesus Flores led off the third with a single to center and the pitcher Gio Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Steve Lombardozzi was next and flew to right. Flores tagged and moved up to third with two down. Harper was the next batter and Kendrick’s 2-2 pitch to him was in the dirt and got away from Ruiz. Flores tried to score from third, but Ruiz threw to Kendrick covering home and Kendrick tagged Flores out on a close play at the plate to end the frame.

Harper led off the fourth with a single and stole second before Kendrick struck out Zimmerman for the first out. He walked the lefty LaRoche on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Desmond and Desmond singled into left, scoring Harper to make it 2-0 and moving LaRoche up to second. Kendrick walked Espinosa on five pitches to load the bases, but struck Ankiel out swinging for the second out and got Flores on a ground ball to third to set Washington down.

Two walks in the innings for Kendrick, but the strikeout of Ankiel with one out and the bases loaded was huge. Two RBI for Desmond through four innings in a game in which the Phillies would score one run.

Kendrick set the Nats down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Mayberry made a fantastic play for the second out of the inning in the sixth, diving to his right to field a ball hit hard by LaRoche and flipping to Kendrick covering first to record the out.

Raul Valdes started the eighth and got pinch-hitter Xavier Nady, Lombardozzi and Harper in order.

Valdes got Zimmerman, LaRoche and Desmond in order in the ninth.

Third appearance of the year for Valdes. He has allowed one hit and no walks while striking out six over 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw 19 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Gio Gonzalez went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Fontenot. Rollins out of the lineup after the birth of his first child. Galvis starts at short with Fontenot at second. Pierre plays left against the lefty. Polanco returns to the lineup. Wigginton needs to start against left-handed pitching and Pierre should not.

Pierre and Polanco struck out as the Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

The Phillies were down 1-0 when Pence walked to start the bottom of the second. Ruiz struck out for the first out before Pence took second on a wild pitch. Mayberry struck out for the second out and Galvis struck out for the third.

Fontenot and Kendrick both struck out for the first two outs in the third before the Phillies loaded the bases on singles by Pierre and Polanco and a walk to Victorino. Pence grounded to short to leave them loaded.

Ruiz was hit by a pitch to start the fourth with the Phillies down 2-0. Mayberry struck out again for the first out and Galvis grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Polanco walked to start the sixth and moved to third when Victorino followed with a double. Pence was next and hit the ball well to center, but Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out. Polanco was way off third and unable to get back to tag and score. Ruiz was next and hit a ball to first. This time Polanco did try and score, but LaRoche threw home and he was tagged out for the second out. Mayberry flew to right for the third out.

At least Mayberry didn’t strike out this time. That’s some miserable base-running by Polanco, who has to score on Pence’s ball whether it is caught or not.

No runs for the Phils after putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Righty Craig Stammen set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Orr hit for Kendrick and struck out for the third out.

Polanco and Victorino singled back-to-back off of Stammen with one out in the eighth, putting runners on first and second for Pence. Pence popped to Zimmerman at third for the second out and Ruiz grounded to short for the third.

Righty Henry Rodriguez started the ninth for Washington with the Nats still leading by two runs. Mayberry led off and walked on four pitches. Galvis flew to right for the first out before Mayberry took second on a wild pitch. Fontenot was next and singled into center. Mayberry looked like he might have been able to score, but held third, putting men on first and third with one down. With the righty Rodriguez still pitching, Wigginton hit for Valdes. A second wild pitch by Rodriguez moved Fontenot up to second and lefty Sean Burnett took over on the mound. Burnett got Wigginton on a fly ball to right, deep enough for Mayberry to tag and score from third. That cut the lead to 2-1 with two outs and Fontenot on second for Pierre. Luna hit for Pierre against the lefty and walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco lined to second to end the game.

I think it was nutty for the Nats to bring in a lefty to pitch to Wigginton in the middle of his at-bat, even after two wild pitches, but it worked out well for them. Mayberry should have scored on Fontenot’s single, but it didn’t matter as he scored anyway.

Mayberry draws a walk to get things started. After walking once in his first 77 plate appearances for the year, he has now walked five times in his last 38 plate appearances. Over the first 77 plate appearances he hit .240 and on-based .247. Over his last 38 plate appearances he hit .242 and on-based .342, proving once and for all that walks are our friend.

Pierre was 1-for-4 with a single in the game. Doesn’t belong in the lineup against a lefty, especially if the Phillies are going to play Mayberry at first and put Wigginton on the bench. Pierre is 1-for-his-last-12 and 5-for-his-last-26 (.192). 174/208/174 against lefties for the year.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk and some ugly work on the bases. 351/383/468 over his last 83 plate appearances.

Victorino 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. 6-for-his-last-11 with two walks and two doubles. 296/380/444 in May.

Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk and left seven men on base. Should have had an RBI on the ball Ankiel caught in the sixth. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-24.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a strikeout and five men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-8.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and four men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-7, but hitting 271/333/390 in May. That’s not good, but considering he hit 204/204/245 in April, remember it could be a lot worse. He made a truly excellent defensive play for the second out in the sixth, robbing LaRoche of a hit.

Galvis 0-for-4 with three men left on base. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-28.

Fontenot 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 3-for-7 with three singles with the Phils so far.

Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) faces righty Jordan Zimmerman (2-4, 2.58) tonight. Halladay’s ERA jumped from 1.95 to 3.40 when he allowed eight runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Braves on May 2. Since then he’s made three starts, going 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA and an 0.95 ratio. After walking ten hitters in five starts in April he has walked two so far in four May starts. Zimmerman threw to a 1.33 ERA in his four starts in April, but has cooled a bit in May. He has a 3.91 ERA in his four May outings. He faced the Phils on May 6 and allowed three runs over six innings — that’s the game where Hamels hit Harper.

The next update to Philliesflow will be around May 29.

Eat at Joe’s, but don’t even think about trying to hit there

Joe Blanton had yet another strong outing for the Phillies last night, pitching into the eighth inning and holding the Astros to a single run as the Phils topped Houston 5-1.

Over his last four starts, Blanton has thrown to a 2.10 ERA and averaged seven and a half innings per start. Through eight appearances (seven starts) he has walked one right-handed batter this season. His walk rate is the best it has been since 2007. His hit rate is the best it has been since 2005. He has allowed two home runs in 48 2/3 innings for the year, which gives him the best home run rate of his career.

Placido Polanco notched his 2,000th career hit in the game as well and did it in style, popping out a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, providing some much-needed insurance runs for a team that still sports the worst bullpen ERA in baseball.

The Phillies are 17-19 on the year after beating the Houston Astros 5-1 last night. They have won three of their last four games.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run in the top of the eighth. He struck out seven.

On April 12, Blanton walked Hanley Ramirez with one out in the top of the sixth. He hasn’t walked a right-handed batter in his six starts since.

He walked Jed Lowrie with two outs in the top of the first. Carlos Lee was next and blooped a single into center, moving Lowrie up to third. Blanton struck Brian Bogusevic out to leave both runners stranded.

Chris Snyder singled to left with two outs in the second. Blanton got pitcher Lucas Harrell on a ground ball to second to set the Astros down.

Blanton set the Astros down in order in the third. Jordan Schafer tried to bunt for a single, but Blanton threw him out for the second out.

Lee led off the fourth with a single to left, but Blanton set the Astros down in order behind him.

He got three ground outs in the fifth.

The Phillies led 1-0 when Blanton started the sixth. He got the first two before Lee singled again, this time to center. Blanton struck Bogusevic out swinging to leave Lee at first.

It was 3-0 when he set the Astros down in order in the seventh.

Switch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez hit for pitcher Fernando Abad to start the eighth and homered to right, cutting the lead to 3-1. Jose Altuve followed that with a single and Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Schafer. Rigthy Justin Maxwell hit for Schafer. Bastardo struck out Maxwell and Lowrie behind Maxwell before Qualls came in to pitch to the righty Lee. Qualls got Lee on a ball hit well to right to leave Altuve at first.

Bastardo and Qualls get the job done after Blanton has a rough start to the frame, facing three hitters and retiring all three.

Bastardo was pitching for the second day in a row and dropped his ERA on the year to 1.64 with the outing. He has made eight appearances in May in which he has allowed one hit and three walks over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He ended April with a 5.40 ERA through his first seven appearances.

Qualls hasn’t been charged with an earned run over his last four appearances, but has given up three hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings. Lefties are hitting 292/370/464 against him for the season.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 5-1 lead after the Phils scored two in the bottom of the eighth. Chris Johnson singled on a ball that could have been an error on Polanco, but Papelbon struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Papelbon has made 15 appearances on the year and been charged with a run or more in two of them. Three of the four runs he has allowed for the season came on one swing, Jordany Valdespin’s three-run homer on May 7.

Great night for the pen in which they go two scoreless frames, allowing one single and striking out five.

Papelbon has thrown for three days in a row. He threw 14 pitches in the game. Bastardo has thrown two days in a row and threw eleven. Four pitches for Qualls.

The Phillies lineup against righty Lucas Harrell went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Galvis. Pierre in left against the righty. Mayberry at first for a Phils team without Thome or Nix, but hitting behind Polanco. Galvis at second with the lefty Orr on the bench.

Rollins, Pierre and Victorino all hit the ball well in the bottom of the first, but all three went down on line drives. Rollins and Pierre lined to left and Victorino lined to third.

Pence reached on an infield single to start the second, but Ruiz hit into a double-play behind him. Polanco drew a walk, but Mayberry struck out swinging to leave him at first.

The Phillies went in order in the third. Galvis led off and tried to bunt for a single, but Johnson handled it and threw him out at first.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

Ruiz led off the fifth and was hit by a pitch. Polanco was next and hit a ball that Harrell handled, throwing to second to force Ruiz for the first out with Polanco safe at first. Mayberry was next and hit a ball to short that Lowrie didn’t handle for an error, putting men on first and second with one down. Galvis followed with a single into center, scoring Polanco to out the Phils up 1-0 and moving Mayberry up to third. Blanton bunted Galvis to second with the second out. Harrell got behind Rollins 3-0 and then put him on intentionally, loading the bases for Pierre. Pierre grounded to first to end the inning.

Big hit for Galvis helps make the Astros pay for the Lowrie error.

Victorino tripled to center to start the sixth. Pence popped up to second behind him for the first out, but Ruiz followed with a single into center, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 2-0. Polanco grounded to short with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. Mayberry was next and lined a double to left, putting men on second and third for Galvis. Righty Wilton Lopez came in to pitch to Galvis and Galvis singled into left. Polanco scored to extend the lead to 3-0, but Mayberry was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

No RBI for Pence with nobody out and a runner on third. Big hits in the inning from Ruiz and Galvis.

Lefty Fernando Abad set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Blanton hit for himself to start the inning and popped to first.

The lead was cut to 3-1 when the Phillies hit in the bottom of the eighth. Righty David Carpenter struck out Victorino and Pence before Ruiz singled into left. Polanco was next and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left-center for a two-run homer, the 2,000th hit of his career, putting the Phils up 5-1. Mayberry and Galvis followed that with back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second for Qualls. Lefty Mike Fontenot, called up on Friday, hit for Qualls and flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average on the year to .225. He’s 8-for-his-last-42 (190/261/310 over his last 47 plate appearances).

Pierre was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. Of the 104 NL players with at least 100 plate appearances, his .387 on-base percentage is 12th. He’s hitting .387 over his last 34 plate appearances.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple. He’s 6-for-his-last-16.

Pence was 1-for-4 and struck out twice. He’s hitting 198/237/429 over his last 97 plate appearances. It wasn’t a factor in last night’s game, but for the season he’s hitting 179/233/357 against left-handed pitching.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He’s 6-for-his-last-12 with a walk. He (.583) and Nix (.587) are the only Phillies slugging better than .450 for the season. He, Nix and Pence (.450) are the only Phillies slugging better than .429 for the season.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer. 354/382/492 over his last 70 plate appearances.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double to up his average to .247. 346/379/538 over his last 29 plate appearances — 9-for-26 with two walks, two doubles and a home run. After striking out in 20 of his first 60 plate appearances on the season, he has struck out in just three of his last 29. His power for the year against righties is still virtually non-existent. His double off of Harrell in last night’s game was just his second extra-base hit of the year against a righty. For the season he’s hitting 224/269/265 against righties and about 58.4% of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitching.

Galvis was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Over his last five starts he’s gone 8-for-18 with two walks, three doubles, a triple and seven RBI, upping his line on the season from 189/215/289 to 231/265/361.

Cliff Lee (0-1, 2.17) pitches this afternoon against a Houston starter TBD. Lee has made just one start since returning from the DL, holding the Mets to two runs over six innings. The team is 0-4 in the games he has started this season, despite Lee’s 2.17 ERA and 0.76 ratio.

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