Tag: Randy Wolf

Hopefully there’s a third site out there somewhere that thinks they won it all last year

I’ll keep looking.

The last post looked at the Baseball-Reference calculated WAR for the top two Phillie pitchers in recent years relative to the accumulated WAR for all pitchers on the team. In this post I’ve done the same using WAR data calculated by FanGraphs and the results are even less impressive. Using the FanGraphs data, you have to go back more than twenty years to find a year in which 1) the percentage of the WAR generated by the top two Phillie pitchers relative to the total WAR generated by all the team’s pitchers was as high as it was in 2013 or 2) the combined WAR for all Phillie pitchers other than the top two was as low as it was in 2013. Both of those things last happened in 1992.

The data on the top two pitchers by WAR and the combined WAR for the others on that year’s staff are below. There’s a good chance it includes names you haven’t thought about in the context of leading the Phillie pitching staff in WAR for a long time, probably ever, including Cory Lidle, Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, Robert Person, Curt Schilling, Carlton Loewer, Mark Portugal, Mark Leiter, Sid Fernandez, Danny Jackson, Heathcliff Slocumb, Tommy Greene and Terry Mulholland.

Year Top 2 fWAR P Total P fWAR fWAR top 2 Top 2 % other P
’13 Lee (5.1), Hamels (4.2) 10.5 9.3 89 1.2
’12 Lee (4.9), Hamels (4.5) 19.0 9.4 49 9.6
’11 Halladay (8.1), Lee (6.5) 26.2 14.6 56 11.6
’10 Halladay (6.1), Hamels (3.5) 16.2 9.6 59 6.6
’09 Hamels (3.6), Lee (2.3) 11.5 5.9 51 5.6
’08 Hamels (4.3), Moyer (2.5) 14.1 6.8 48 7.3
’07 Hamels (3.7), Moyer (1.8) 8.2 5.5 67 2.7
’06 Myers (3.3), Hamels (2.4) 12.1 5.7 47 6.4
’05 Lidle (3.3), Myers (3.1) 13.9 6.4 46 7.5
’04 Millwood (2.6), Wolf (1.5) 11.0 4.1 37 6.9
’03 Millwood (4.5), Padilla (2.5) 15.5 7.0 45 8.5
’02 Wolf (3.7), Padilla (3.3) 11.3 7.0 62 4.3
’01 Wolf (3.3), Person (1.6) 12.6 4.9 39 7.7
’00 Person (3.4), Wolf (2.9) 10.6 6.3 59 4.3
’99 Schilling (3.4), Loewer (1.6) 8.5 5.0 59 3.5
’98 Schilling (8.3), Portugal (1.5) 12.2 9.8 80 2.4
’97 Schilling (8.4), M Leiter (2.0) 13.3 10.4 78 2.9
’96 Schilling (4.7), S Fernandez (1.7) 14.3 6.4 45 7.9
’95 Schilling (2.8), Quantrill (2.2) 11.4 5.0 44 6.4
’94 D Jackson (3.9), Slocumb (1.6) 10.6 5.5 52 5.1
’93 Greene (5.0), Schilling (4.9) 20.4 9.9 49 10.5
’92 Schilling (4.3), Mulholland (4.0) 8.4 8.3 99 0.1

From 1993 to 2012, the pitchers on the Phillies other than the two pitchers with the best fWAR for the team that season averaged about 6.4 fWAR. The combined fWAR of the top two pitchers on the team average about 7.3, which was an average of about 54% of the total fWAR for pitchers on the team.

Just about the only good news on the table above for the ’13 Phillies is that, relative to their own results over the last 22 years, the production of their two best pitchers is still very good. The 9.3 mark for Lee and Hamels combined in 2013 is topped in just six of the 21 years previous to ’13 — each of the last three years, two years in the late 90′s when Schilling was fantastic and 1993 when Schilling and Tommy Greene were both good.

The Schilling-led staffs of ’97 and ’98 came close, both in terms of percentage of total WAR by the top two and combined WAR for everyone other than the top two, but they didn’t get to 2013 levels in either category. That last happened in 1992.

The ’92 Phillies were miserable, going 70-92 to finish sixth in the six-team NL East. They had a fantastic offense that scored 686 runs, which was second-best in the NL that year. The pitching was terrible, allowing 717 runs in a season in which the second-worst team at preventing runs in the league, the Astros, allowed 668. Schilling, Mulholland and Ben Rivera were just about the only positives on the staff for the Phils that season.

If it makes you feel any better, you may remember that the 1993 Phils turned things around. Led by Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton, John Kruk and Dave Hollins, they continued to pound the ball offensively, leading the NL with 5.41 runs scored per game in a year in which teams averaged 4.49. On the pitching side, Schilling and Mulholland again pitched well and got a lot of help from Danny Jackson, Larry Anderson and Tommy Greene. They were far from great at preventing runs, but did improve to eighth-best in the 14-team NL in ’93. The combination of great hitting and middle of the pack pitching proved to be enough to top the Braves in a six-game NLCS before dropping the World Series against the Blue Jays in six. The pitching didn’t exactly excel in the World Series that year as the Phils failed to hold a 14-9 lead going into the eighth inning in game four and a 6-5 lead going into the ninth inning of game six.

The Phillies signed outfielders Tony Gwynn Jr and Dave Sappelt to minor league contracts with invites to spring training. The 31-year-old Gwynn struggles with the bat and spent 2013 in the minors, but put up bWARs in the 2.2 to 2.9 range from 2009 to 2011 thanks in large part to solid defense in center field. In 2011, Gwynn played a lot more left than center for the Dodgers, but was very good defensively in left as well. Ben Revere‘s bWAR in 2013 was 0.8. Sappelt’s offensive numbers are also offensive, but again with good defensive numbers, primarily at the corner positions in limited time. Playing Tony Gwynn Jr in center is a much, much better idea than playing John Mayberry or Cesar Hernandez in center, especially if Gwynn can still produce defensively at the position. The problem with that is that the last time anyone gave him significant innings in center was 2012 and, at least according to UZR/150 as calculated by FanGraphs, his defense was way down. Whether Gwynn is part of the answer or not, Hernandez and Mayberry combined to start 68 games in center field for the Phillies in 2013, which is something the team might want to try not doing again for the rest of recorded time. Forty appearances for Frandsen at first should probably go on that list as well.

The Phils also signed catcher Lou Marson to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. He’s 27 now and has hit .219 in 882 major league plate appearances. He hit 314/433/416 in 395 plate appearances for Double-A Reading in 2008 before being traded to Cleveland in the deal that brought Cliff Lee to Philadelphia for the first time.

They also designated Sebastian Valle for assignment in order to make room for Roberto Hernandez on the 40-man roster. Wasn’t expecting that one. Valle hit 203/245/359 in 379 plate appearances at Reading in 2013.


Deja Voodoo

Another day, another miraculous finish for the Phillies. This time the nearly-impossible-to-believe drama came from Jimmy Rollins, who roped a two-out double to right-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to turn a Dodgers’ lead into a walkoff win for the Phillies.

Ryan Howard put the Phils up 2-0 in the first with yet another home run, this one off of LA starter and former Phil Randy Wolf. Blanton was perfect through three innings, but the Dodgers got to him in the fourth when LA scored twice on RBI-singles by James Loney and Russell Martin to tie game at 2-2. A Matt Kemp homer off of Blanton in the fifth put LA up 3-2 and a throwing error by Feliz helped open the door in the sixth as LA tacked on an unearned run to extend the lead to 4-2. Wolf had lulled the Phils offense to sleep since the Howard homer — between the first inning homer from Howard and the start of the sixth inning the Phils managed just one two-out walk by Ruiz in the fifth. Victorino snapped the team out of it with a one-out triple down the left field line. Utley followed with a single to right that cut the lead to 4-3. Wolf left after 5 1/3 and the mighty LA pen shut the Phils down after that, for a while at least. Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth to protect the one-run lead. Stairs drew a pinch-hit walk with one out and Ruiz followed and was hit by a pitch. With two outs and men on first and second, Dobbs popped a ball to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and Rollins delivered, splitting the gap in right-center to clear the bases and give the Phils a 5-4 win.

It was hard not to think of what had happened in game four of the NLCS between the same two teams the year before. In that game the Phillies got to Broxton, too, as a two-run homer by Stairs in the eighth broke a 5-5 tie.

The Phillies lead the best-of-seven NLCS with the Dodgers three games to one after winning game four last night 5-4.

The Dodgers lineup against Blanton went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Kemp (CF/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Belliard (2B/R) (7) Martin (C/R (8) Blake (3B/R). That’s similar to the lineup that Pedro faced in game two until you get to 6-7-8. In game two it went Blake-Belliard-Martin, but Blake was dropped to eighth for this game. It sure doesn’t seem like Loney, who hit 13 home runs, should be your five-hitter protecting Manny against righties if you want to go to the World Series. He slugged .396 against righties. Loney is having a good series for LA, though.

The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.

Furcal led off the game and flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Kemp grounded to third 2-2 for the second. Ethier hit a ground ball to first 1-2 and Howard took it to the bag for the third.

Eleven pitches in the inning for Blanton, eight of which were strikes.

He set LA down in order again in the second, pitching with a 2-0 lead. Manny grounded to short on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Loney struck out looking 0-2 for the second. Belliard flew to left on a 1-2 pitch to set LA down.

Ten pitches in the inning for Blanton. 21 for the game.

Martin started the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center, but Werth took it on a run for the first out. Blake grounded to short 2-1 for the second out. Wolf got behind 1-2 and hit the ball hard, but Howard took it at first and beat Wolf to the bag to end the frame.

Blanton was perfect through three. Eleven pitches in the inning, 32 for the game. Twenty-three strikes.

Furcal started the fourth and grounded to Howard on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Blanton got ahead of Kemp 1-2 but lost him, walking him on a pitch outside to give LA their first runner of the game. Ethier was next and he crushed a 2-2 pitch to center, but Victorino tracked it down just in front of the wall for the second out. Ramirez was next and he ripped a 1-2 pitch down the third base line. Kemp would have scored easily if it had gotten to the corner, but it didn’t. It bounced off of the stands in left field and Kemp held third with Ramirez safe at first with a long single. Loney was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2 before Loney laced a single to right. Kemp scored to cut the lead to 2-1 with Ramirez taking second. It brought up Belliard with two outs and two men on. Blanton walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was low and outside to load the bases. Martin lined a single to left and everyone moved up a base. Ramirez scored and it was 2-2. Blanton got Blake to ground to second on a 3-2 pitch to leave the runners stranded. Utley made a strong and accurate throw, but there were some nervous Phillies fans as he did.

Long inning for Blanton. Thirty-seven pitches. Nineteen strikes and 18 balls. He had thrown 69 pitches in the game.

Wolf flew to left for the first out of the fifth. Furcal followed and he grounded to Utley. Kemp hit a 2-0 pitch just out to center, putting LA up 3-2. Ethier hit a 1-2 pitch hard, too, but Utley snared the line drive that looked ticketed for center field for the third out.

Blanton was up to 84 pitches after throwing 15 in the inning. Kemp, who got things going with a walk in the fourth, is the guy who got him again.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a ground ball to deep third. Feliz fielded and threw in the dirt to Howard. Howard tried to scoop the ball but didn’t come up with it and Ramirez was safe on the error by Feliz. Loney flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Belliard was next and he blooped a ball into shallow left-center field. Rollins went back and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch but couldn’t come up with it. Belliard had a single and Ramirez went to second. Martin struck out looking 1-2 for the second out, but Blake followed and he singled into right. Ramirez scored to make it 4-2 with Belliard going to third. Blake stole second with Wolf at the plate, but Wolf flew to center 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Twenty-one and 105 for Blanton. Third straight inning that Blanton had been charged with runs. Two plays that could have been made hurt him in the inning, but the catch by Rollins would have been a fantastic play. The Phils let Blanton hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth.

Park started the seventh with the Phils down 4-3. Furcal hit a ball back to the mound for the first out. Kemp struck out swinging 2-2 for the second. Ethier walked on a 3-2 pitch that was in the strike zone, putting a man on for Ramirez. Park got ahead of Manny 1-2 and Ruiz gunned Ethier down to end the frame as the count went 2-2 on Manny.

Great throw by Ruiz, but it meant that Manny would lead off the eighth.

That wasn’t a problem for Madson, who pitched the eighth for the Phils still down a run at 4-3. Madson struck Ramirez out on three pitches to start the inning. Loney was next and Madson got ahead of him. He struck him out 1-2 and didn’t get the call, struck him out 2-2 and didn’t get the call before Loney reached on an infield single back up the middle. Belliard got behind 0-2 and hit a ground ball to short with Loney forced at second for the second out. No chance for a double play as Rollins had to come in on the ball. Belliard stole second as the count went 3-0 on Martin. He was actually out, too, as his leg was caught on Utley’s foot and Utley put the tag on in time despite an offline throw from Ruiz, but LA got the call. Martin walked to put two men on, but Madson struck Blake out swinging 1-2 to leave them both stranded.

Eyre started the ninth, facing switch-hitter Orlando Hudson who had been double-switched into the game in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson lofted a high fly ball to right that Werth took at the foul line for the first out. Furcal was next and he singled into center. Lidge came in to pitch to Kemp and Furcal stole second as Kemp struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Lidge’s 1-2 pitch to Ethier was in the dirt and blocked by Ruiz, allowing Furcal to take third. Ethier struck out looking 2-2 to leave Furcal stranded.

Fantastic day for the pen in relief of Blanton. They went three shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks.

Loney and Martin are the only regulars for LA who have an OPS of .800 or better for the series so far. Loney is 5-for-14 with a homer and a walk. Martin is 4-for-12 with a double and a walk. Blake and Furcal are a combined 4-for-31 with four singles. Manny is 4-for-16 without a walk in the series. Ethier is the only player on LA with more than one walk — he has two. LA has outhit the Phils in the series, getting 30 hits so far to 28 for the Phils. The Phillies have six home runs to the Dodgers’ three, though, and 19 walks to nine for LA.

Kemp’s home run is the only extra-base hit the Dodgers have against Phillies pitching in the last three games.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Wolf went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.

Rollins swung at Wolf’s first pitch in the first and singled to left. He was running on the 1-1 pitch to Victorino, but Victorino popped it up to second. Ethier took it right behind second base for the first out and Rollins had to hurry back to the bag. Utley swung at the first pitch and popped to first for the second out. Howard was next. Wolf didn’t get the call on a 2-1 pitch that had a lot of the plate and Howard hit the 3-1 offering out to right for a two-run homer that put the Phils up 2-0. Werth flew to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Wolf threw 18 pitches in the first.

He set the Phils down in order in the second. Ibanez flew to left 2-2 for the first out. Feliz popped to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Furcal made a very nice play for the third. Ruiz broke his bat hitting a ball that Furcal bare-handed behind second base on a big hop. Furcal made a strong throw to get Ruiz at first and set the Phillies down.

Seventeen pitches in the game had Wolf at 35.

Blanton led off the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right for the first out. Rollins got ahead 3-0 on three pitches that all could have been called strikes before he flew softly to right on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and popped out to Blake in foul territory on a 3-1 pitch.

13 and 48 for Wolf through three.

Utley led off the fourth with the score tied at 2-2 and flew to right on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Howard struck out looking 1-2. Werth struck out swinging 0-2.

After throwing 12 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 60 for the game.

Ibanez flew to center for the first out of the fifth with the Phils down 3-2. Feliz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and fouled out to Loney. Ruiz was next and he drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch that probably was a strike. Despite two weak innings in a row, with Happ warming in the pen, Blanton hit for himself and grounded softly to short with Furcal fielding and tagging second to force Ruiz and end the inning.

After throwing 13 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 73 for the game. Ruiz’s walk broke a string of twelve in a row set down by Wolf.

The Phils trailed 4-2 when they hit in the sixth. Rollins grounded to third for the first out. Victorino was next and he tripled down the left field line. Manny missed the cutoff man, but I don’t think they would have had Victorino at third anyway. Utley followed with a single into right, scoring Victorino to cut the LA lead to 4-3. Howard drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch to put men on first and second. That was it for Wolf and righty Ronald Belisario came in to pitch to Werth after throwing 28 pitches the night before in game three. Werth shattered his bat grounding an 0-1 pitch to third. Blake threw to second for one but Belliard dropped the ball and the Dodgers were unable to turn the double-play. With two outs and men on first and third, lefty Hong-Chih Kuo came in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez swung at the first pitch and lined a ball to left, but Ramirez took it at his shoestrings to leave the runners stranded.

Kuo was back to pitch the seventh and set the Phillies down in order. Feliz struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ruiz hit a ground ball to short for the second out. Francisco hit for Park and got ahead 3-1 but flew to left field for the third out.

Lefty George Sherrill started the eighth for LA with a 4-3 lead. Rollins worked the count full but grounded out on a nice play by Blake at third for the first out. Victorino was hit in the back foot by a 2-2 pitch. Utley got ahead and swung at a terrible 3-1 pitch that was outside and in the dirt. He missed, but Victorino took second on the pitch. Utley walked and it put two men on for Howard. Howard struck out swinging 1-2. Righty Jonathan Broxton came in to pitch to Werth and Werth flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Broxton was back for the ninth with a 4-3 lead. Ibanez got ahead 1-0 and grounded out to second for the first out. Stairs hit for Feliz, setting up a rematch of last season’s confrontation with Broxton, and walked on four pitches. Bruntlett ran for Stairs at first. Ruiz was next and Broxton’s first pitch to him drilled him, putting men on first and second for the pitcher’s spot and Dobbs hit for Lidge. Dobbs fisted an 0-1 pitch softly to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and he lined a 1-1 pitch into right-center. The ball rolled all the way to the way as Ethier chased. Bruntlett and Ruiz roared around the bases and each of them scored without a throw. 5-4.

Wow. Great inning for Manuel among other things. Stairs for Feliz and letting Ruiz hit was a great move. Again Stairs gets it done against Broxton, starting the rally with a walk. He’s been on the team all year long for a very tiny number of big at-bats. That was one of them and it worked out pretty well.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a game-winning double and two RBI. He’s 4-for-19 with two doubles in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the series. He’s 5-for-15 with a triple and a home run in the series. Big hit for him in the sixth to break Wolf’s spell over the Phils.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 4-for-15 with four singles and three walks in the series. Good throws from him all night long.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer. 5-for-13 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the set. Eight RBI for the Phils in the series. Nobody else on the team has more than four.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-14 with a home run in the series.

Werth 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-14 with a home run and two walks in the series. The Phils have scored 16 runs in the last two games and Ibanez and Werth have combined to go 1-for-14, although the one was a big homer from Werth off of Kuroda in the first inning of game three.

Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and is 1-for-13 in the series. Werth, Ibanez and Feliz are a combined 4-for-41 in the series.

Ruiz 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch in the game. 5-for-10 with a double, a home run, four walks and a .667 on-base percentage in the series.

Stairs had a huge at-bat in the ninth, drawing a walk off of Broxton.

Francisco got a pinch-hit at-bat in the game and flew to left against Kuo. He’s 0-for-3 in the series.

Dobbs 0-for-1 in the game and the series.

No game today. Game five is tomorrow.

Here is a post from the end of last year that has the Phillies post-season pitching stats for 2008.

And here’s a post with the post-season hitting stats from 2008.


Frenemies

Joe Blanton faces lefty Randy Wolf tonight in game four.

The 33-year-old Wolf was very good for LA this season, throwing to a 3.23 ERA and a 1.10 ratio over 34 starts. In 214 1/3 innings he allowed just 178 hits. He was tenth in the NL in innings pitched. Lefties were helpless against him this year, posting a 159/217/200 line for the season. They had four extra-base hits, two doubles, a triple and a home run, on the year.

Wolf was better away from Dodger Stadium than he was at it. 7-4 with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.06 ratio in 16 starts away from home and 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 18 starts at home.

He faced the Phils twice this season. He was good the first time but not the second. On May 13 he held the Phils to a run over six innings as the Dodgers rolled to a 9-2 win over Moyer and the Phillies in Philadelphia. On June 7 Ruiz and Victorino both hit homers off of him in LA as the Phils won 7-2. Wolf allowed six runs in 6 1/3 innings in that game, which was his only start on the year in which he allowed six or more runs.

Wolf started game one of the NLDS against the Cardinals and allowed two runs on six hits and five walks over 3 2/3 innings in the only post-season start of his career. He had not walked five batters in a game in any start in the regular season.

The Phillies took Wolf in the second round of the 1997 draft. He pitched for the Phils from 1999 through 2006. His won 16 games and went to the All-Star game in 2003, but his best year may have been 2002 when he went 11-9 with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.12 ratio over 31 starts. After the 2006 season he signed with the Dodgers and made 18 starts for LA in ’07. It looked like the Phillies were about to sign him as a free agent in December of 2007, but it didn’t happen. Gillick came up with this memorable quote about Wolf and the situation after it had become apparent that Wolf would sign with the Padres: “Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. We went after him a couple times, and it didn’t work out last year and this year. So, it’s pretty evident that he doesn’t want to play for our team. If someone doesn’t want to be part of the team, it’s better if he plays somewhere else.” Wolf made 21 starts for the Padres in 2008 before they traded him to the Astros. He made 12 starts for the Astros before signing with the Dodgers again for the 2009 season.

Feliz is the Phillie who has faced Wolf the most over his career. He’s 5-for-17 with three home runs against him. Ruiz 4-for-6 with two doubles and a homer. Howard 1-for-9 with a double and four strikeouts. Utley 1-for-8 with four strikeouts. Werth 1-for-9 with a home run and three walks. Victorino 3-for-9 with a double and a homer. Rollins 3-for-6 with a home run. Ibanez 3-for-11 with two doubles.

Blanton made 31 starts for the Phillies this season, going 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.32 ratio over 195 1/3 innings. He allowed 30 home runs, which was a career high.

He made one start against the Dodgers this season. On June 6 he pitched well, holding LA to a run on five hits and a walk over six innings, but Kuroda was a little better and LA won 3-2 on a twelfth inning home run that Ethier hit off of Durbin. Ethier also homered off of Blanton in that game, giving LA the only run they would manage off of him.

Blanton has made two appearances in the post-season for the Phillies this year, both in the NLDS against the Rockies. In game two he threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the Phillies down 4-0 in relief of Hamels. He also pitched in game three. In that game he entered in the bottom of the fourth in relief of Happ and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits.

He was great in the 2008 post-season, making three starts in which he went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio. The worst of his three ’08 playoff starts came against the Dodgers. He started game four against Derek Lowe, which is the game where Victorino tied it with a late home run and Stairs homered off of Broxton. Blanton didn’t pitch very well in the game, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks over five innings.

Fellow former American Leaguers Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez have both faced Blanton a ton over their careers. Blake is an ugly 1-for-21 with three walks against him and Manny an ugly in a different way 14-for-25 with a double and a home run (560/600/720). Ethier 5-for-11 with two home runs. Kemp 2-for-11 with a double. Loney 5-for-8 with a walk. Martin 2-for-7 with a double.


Good news for Phillies fans as Howard’s lease on 0-for-4 with two strikeouts appears to have been month-to-month

The bad news would be if he had decided to sublet to Pat Burrell, but the early results are encouraging.

Ryan Howard had a miserable April, but April is over. Last night after driving in the Phils’ first run with an RBI-double in the third, Howard blasted a mammoth shot out to right in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be the game winner for the Phils.

The Phillies only scored three runs on the night, but thanks to a nice outing by Eaton and three hitless, shutout innings from the amazing Phillies bullpen, three was enough.

The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres last night, winning 3-2 to improve to 16-13 on the season. The Phils take the series two games to one. For the second time in seven games the Phils get a win in a game where they scored three runs, so a word of thanks to the pitching, and the bullpen especially, is in order. Last year the Phils were 4-16 in games when they scored three runs and 4-41 in games where they scored less than four runs. So far this year they’re 2-2 in games where they score three runs and 2-9 in games where they score less than four.

The Phillies start the day in first place in the NL East, a half game ahead of the Marlins and the Mets.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies against his former team and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out two. Eaton was hit hard early but pitched better as the game went on.

Tad Iguchi singled to left with one out in the first and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a home run to right. 2-0. Eaton got the next two.

Jim Edmonds singled with one out in the second. Josh Bard smashed a line drive to third for the second out. Pitcher Randy Wolf hammered a ball to deep right, but Werth caught it with a jump on the warning track to end the frame.

Brian Giles started the third with a walk and Iguchi moved him to second with a single. Gonzalez hit a line drive to second that Utley caught and glove-hand flipped to second to double Giles off. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a single that sent Iguchi to second with two outs. Khalil Greene swung at a 3-2 pitch low and outside and lined to first on a nice jumping play by Howard to leave both runners stranded.

Edmonds walked with one out in the fourth and the game tied at 2-2, but Eaton got the next two.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth. Nice play by Bruntlett to take a hit away from Giles on a ball up the middle for the first out of the fifth.

Madson started the seventh and got the first two before lefty Paul McAnulty hit for Wolf. McAnulty walked on four pitches and Manuel called on Romero to pitch to the lefty Giles. Third straight day for Romero after throwing 23 pitches on Wednesday. He struck Giles out swinging at a 3-2 pitch.

Gordon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

Lidge started the ninth up 3-2 in his first appearance since Sunday. He got Greene on a fly ball to center, struck out pinch-hitter Tony Clark and got Edmonds on a ground ball to short to end the game.

Three scoreless innings, one walk for the bullpen. Madson threw 13 pitches, Romero seven, Gordon nine, Lidge 12. Phils should try hard to keep Romero out of tonight’s game. The pen allowed two runs in the three-game set, which came on a home run against Madson with the Phils up 7-2 in the ninth in game one of the series.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Randy Wolf went (1) Victorino (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Victorino gets the start in center. He should start again tonight with another lefty on the mound of the Giants and Jenkins, presumably, again on the bench. Ruiz catches Eaton.

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

Burrell singled with one out in the second. Feliz popped to short for the second out before Bruntlett moved Burrell to second with a single. Ruiz walked to load the bases, but Eaton struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

Victorino doubled to start the third, but Werth and Utley both struck out behind him. Howard doubled to left-center to score Victorino, getting the Phils on the board at 2-1. Burrell followed with another double and Howard scored. 2-2. Feliz flew to left for the third out.

Ruiz walked with one out in the fourth. Eaton tried to bunt him to second, but Bard took the bunt and threw to second to force Ruiz for the second out with Eaton safe at first. Victorino walked before Werth struck out again, ending the inning.

Utley singled to start the fifth, but Howard, Burrell and Feliz struck out behind him.

With two outs in the sixth Taguchi hit for Eaton and was robbed of yet another hit by a fantastic defensive play, this one by Greene at short. Taguchi has been victimized by a ton of great defense and he’s got a .205 batting average to prove it.

Victorino walked to start the seventh and was running on the pitch as Werth lined to center. Victorino couldn’t get back in time and was doubled-off. Utley struck out for the third out.

Howard led off the eighth and got ahead 2-0 before he hit a long home run to right, putting the Phils up 3-2. Burrell, Feliz and Bruntlett went down behind him.

Victorino was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. He was 1-for-4 in the series and is hitting 235/316/294.

Werth was 0-for-4, struck out twice and left four men on base. 1-for-11 with a triple in the series and 0-for-his-last-7 with five strikeouts. 1-for-his-last-15 has him at 265/354/530 on the year.

Utley was 1-for-4 and struck out three times. 4-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. 357/424/748.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI. 3-for-11 in the series and 184/303/388 on the year.

Burrell was 2-for-4 with a double. 2-for-10 in the series. 333/454/677.

Feliz was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 2-for-11 with a double in the series. 200/255/347.

Bruntlett was 1-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-10 with two walks in the series. 228/282/278.

Ruiz 0-for-1 and walked twice. 2-for-5 with a big double in the series. 203/276/261.

Jenkins was 4-for-7 in the series. 265/307/349.

Taguchi was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 205/244/256 on the season.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with a double in the series. 333/400/556.

Coste was 1-for-4 in the series. He’s hitting 350/435/600.

Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.15) faces lefty Patrick Misch (0-0, 3.00) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with San Francisco. Misch appeared in 18 games for the Giants last season, including four starts. Overall in ’07 he went 0-4 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.46 ratio. Righties hit .316 against him and lefties just .238. He’s made just one appearance in ’08 for the Giants, which came in long relief against the Reds on Sunday. After Zito got bombed and exited after just three innings, Misch came on to toss six innings in which he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk. Kendrick’s numbers are pretty bad on the year and he’s actually pitched worse than his numbers look at first glance as seven of the 22 runs he’s allowed have been unearned. Lefties are hitting .356 against him after hitting .321 against him last year. He didn’t face the Giants last season.


Phils pitching looking more likely to run out of glass to break than emergencies

If the minor league stats or how-low-can-you-go strikeout rates don’t worry you when it comes to Kyle Kendrick, how ’bout a bad spring training start? Keeping with an early trend that has seen key Phils’ hurlers struggle early this spring, Kendrick took it to another level with a miserable outing against the Braves yesterday as the Phils fell to Atlanta, 10-1. With the loss the Phils are 3-3 in spring training.

Kendrick was pounded for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. He allowed nine hits, seven singles and two doubles, and walked a batter. Over his 20 career starts Kendrick has allowed more than eight hits in a start just once despite the fact he generally pitched deep into games — he went less than five innings just once.

The games won’t matter till they matter, but there are going to be a lot of people looking for signs of a Kendrick collapse. I don’t think a collapse is inevitable, but at the same time I don’t think it’s reasonable to count on Kendrick to put up his ’07 numbers again over 30-plus starts in 2008. The whole thing just has to make you nervous. The fact that he won’t turn 24 till August. The comparison of his minor league numbers to what he did in ’07. The .321/.379/.549 that lefties hit against him last season. Above all is the lack of options if he does struggle — the Phils have a weak rotation with a solid Kendrick. They’ve already had their emergency, already broken the glass and came up huge. But the well where you call up the 22-year-old from Double-A and he goes 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts isn’t one you want to count on going to very often.

Kendrick is going to get a lot of chances this season and he’s earned them. I don’t think the question is whether his ’08 numbers are going to be worse than his ’07 or not. It’s how much worse. And while a replication of his ’07 numbers seems unlikely, it’s important to remember that he could be significantly less effective in ’08 and still be the Phillies’ third best-starter.

In yesterday’s game, after Kendrick got hammered Rosario came in and was brilliant, which would have been the story of the day had it not been for the early innings run-the-bases day for the Braves. The out of options Rosario threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings, holding the Braves to two hits while striking out four. Vic Darensbourg followed with a scoreless frame before Gordon started the bottom of the eighth with the Phils down 7-1 and had another bad outing. He gave up three runs on three hits, including two doubles and a walk. Due to an error by Dobbs, only one of the runs was earned.

Dobbs’ error was one of three the Phillies made on the day.

Despite all the warning signs about Kendrick, if you only have time to worry about one guy and have to choose between Gordon and Kendrick, I don’t think you can go wrong with picking Gordon.

At the plate the Phils scored their only run on an RBI-single by Howard in the first. Victorino had two hits, including a double, which was the only extra-base hit for the Phils on the day. Bruntlett stayed hot with another hit in his lone at-bat, he’s hitting .467 early.

Split-squad action today against the Blue Jays and Tigers. This lists the Phils expected to pitch in each of the games.

This suggests that Kendrick’s outing yesterday wasn’t as bad as the numbers suggest.

Smoltz suggests Hamels “just pitch.”

Ruben Amaro says he thinks Randy Wolf didn’t want to play in Philadelphia in this article.


The Wolf man stay awayeth

This article says that Randy Wolf has agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres. That one’s a surprise to me — I either thought he’d wind up with the Phils or it would take a little longer.

The Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. Schneider is a fantastic defensive player and has had some big games against the Phils over the last two years. Among the 21 NL players that had 200 plate appearances as a catcher, however, his OPS was 18th.

Church can hit and his numbers will benefit from leaving the Nats, but I would be surprised if the Mets use him as an everyday right fielder. He played no games in right for Washington last year after playing just 14 in 2006. He hit 229/316/339 in 136 plate appearances against lefties in 2007.

This article says that Rowand says he hasn’t heard much from the Nationals. The Twins have contacted his agent. Rotoworld points out that if the Yankees trade Melky Cabrera to get Santana, Rowand could be high on their list of replacement center fielders.

The Phillies offered Rowand arbitration. Rowand wants a five-year contract and this article suggests the Phillies may be hesitant to give him more than three.

The Rangers did not offer arbitration to Brad Wilkerson. Chris Snelling is one of a pretty small group of left-handed hitting corner outfielders who is actually more injury prone than Wilkerson. Despite his left-handed outfielderness, Wilkerson can’t be real high on any lists for the Phillies given his miserable numbers over the past two years.

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