Tag: Rodrigo Lopez

Okay, then, stay in my yard

By almost any measure, the Phillies had the best bullpen in the National League in 2008. Phils’ relievers pitched to an NL-best 3.22 ERA and allowed fewer runs per inning than the relievers for any other team in the league.

But what was it that they did that was exceptional relative to the other bullpens in the league? Not that they necessarily had to do any one thing — they could have been a little bit better than average in a lot of ways. I mentioned yesterday that one thing that wasn’t exceptional about the pen in ’08 was the number of walks they issued. They actually walked more batters than the average bullpen in the league. They also didn’t prevent hits at an exceptional rate. Here are the rates that the average NL bullpen recorded hits, walks and strikeouts per nine innings in 2008 along with what the Phillies did:


The Phillies relievers did do a better job of preventing hits than the average NL bullpen, but not by a whole lot. They walked more batters and struck out more. Here it is in a chart that shows the average rates for NL bullpens for 2008 for hits, walks and strikeouts along with the rates for the Phillies and their rank in the NL in those categories relative to other NL relief corps:

  NL pen
H per 9
8.72 8.50 7 0.97
BB per 9 3.83 3.93 9 1.03
SO per 9 7.57 7.66 5 1.01

So per nine innings pitched, the Phillies relievers allowed about 97% of the hits, 103% of the walks and got 101% of the strikeouts that the average pen would have gotten. They were the fifth-best in the 16-team league at striking hitters out, but the numbers for allowing walks and hits were near the middle of the pack.

What is exceptional relative to the other bullpens in the NL last year is this:

  NL pen
XBH per 9
2.89 2.53 3 .88
HR per 9 0.96 0.69 1 .72

Again, per nine innings pitched, the Phils allowed 88% of the extra-base hits of an average NL pen and 72% of the home runs. Their rate of allowing extra-base bases hits was third-best in the league and the rate of allowing home runs was the best.

The overall success at preventing extra-base hits has a lot to do at how good the Phillies relievers were at preventing home runs. Compared to the other NL teams, their rate of preventing doubles and triples was not nearly as outstanding as their rate at preventing home runs.


And here it is in table form:

  NL pen
XBH per 9
2.89 2.53 3 .88
2B + 3B per 9 1.93 1.84 7 .96
HR per 9 0.96 0.69 1 .72

The rate at which they prevented doubles and triples simply wasn’t as extraordinary as the rate at which they prevented home runs. While they were third overall among NL pens at preventing extra-base hits, they were just seventh in preventing doubles and triples. None of this is to say there was any one factor that made the bullpen great overall in 2008, or that all of the areas mentioned in the post are equally important, but in some areas the Phils’ relievers were much more dominant than others.

Yesterday the Phillies lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 to drop to 4-8 in spring training. Another nice outing by Happ was the best news of the day for the Phils.

Moyer got the start and went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk. Happ followed Moyer and allowed a run in three innings, giving up four hits and a walk. The run that Happ allowed came on a solo homer by Gabe Kapler.

Moyer called the outing his worst appearance of the spring. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed he’s not losing his marbles.

Offensively, the Phillies had three hits. Andy Tracy hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth to get the Phillies within a run. Cairo was 2-for-3 with two singles, raising his spring average to .318. Mayberry 0-for-3. Donald 0-for-2 with a walk. Paulino 0-for-2, dropping his average to .200. Coste 0-for-1.

Werth was supposed to start the game in center but was scratched with a groin issue. He is expected to play today. I think you should be concerned but not surprised by all the problems Werth is having getting on the field this spring — the roster puts the Phillies in a spot where they’re going to have problems if Werth isn’t ready to go once the season starts. There’s still a lot of time, though.

Burrell was at DH for the Rays and went 1-for-3. He’s hitting .333 this spring.

The Phillies play the Pirates this afternoon.

In the World Baseball Classic, Rodrigo Lopez did not pitch yesterday as Cuba beat Mexico 16-4. Mexico plays Korea on Sunday and Cuba plays Japan.

Winners walk

Chan Ho Park has walked a lot of hitters over his career — that’s been true of the years when he’s been successful as well as they years when he hasn’t.

Arguably, the best years of his career have been 1997, 2000 and 2001. In those three years combined, Park went 47-29 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.21 ratio in 652 innings. Opponents hit a meager 214/308/352 against him.

Notably, however, even when Park was at his best he was still walking a lot of guys. During those three seasons he walked 285 in 652 innings, which is 3.93 hitters per nine innings. That walk rate is higher than the walk rate of many of the other starting pitchers in the organization. Again, the chart below compares Park’s walk rate during three of his best years to the walk rate for other pitchers in the organization over their entire careers:


Park did get his walks per nine innings down to 3.40 working mostly as a reliever in 2008, but he’s almost sure to keep walking hitters this year. And while it may seem like it’s good news that Park can be successful when he walks hitters at a high rate, the bad news may be that while that is true he would need to hold hitters to a very low batting average to do so. It doesn’t need to be .214, but .280 is going to be a problem. Opponents hit .264 against Park in 2008, which was the lowest mark for him since 2001. Since 2001, opponents have hit .279 against him.

This suggests that Happ and Park are now the co-favorites to win the fifth starter job.

Brad Lidge will pitch an inning in an intrasquad game today.

The Phils did not play yesterday. They will play the Braves this afternoon. Kyle Kendrick is scheduled to pitch in what will be an important outing for him coming off a weak showing against Team USA.

Team USA, featuring Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, plays Venezuela today in the World Baseball Classic. Mexico faces Australia (Harman et all) and Puerto Rico (Romero) and the Netherlands square off.

And hopefully eight is enough

With the signing of Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal, at this point it’s looking like virtually all of the starts the Phillies make this season will be made by a group of nine pitchers that includes Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park, JA Happ, Rodrigo Lopez and Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco has yet to appear in a major league game, so his stats are not included here.

In comparing the other eight pitchers, it’s important to remember that they have not all played in the same leagues through the years. Several of them have spent their whole career in the National League, while others have been mostly in the American League, which is like baseball but instead of the pitcher batting for himself they wake up David Ortiz and ask him to hit the ball to next Thursday:


Hamels, Myers, Kendrick and Happ have been in the NL for their whole careers. Moyer, Blanton and Lopez have pitched primarily in the AL and Park has seen more time in the NL than the AL.

Here are the career ERAs and ratios for the group:


And here is what opposing hitters have done against the eight at the plate:


For me, the most surprising thing from the chart above is how impressive Chan Ho Park’s career numbers are relative to the rest of the group, especially the batting average and slugging percentage. By OPS that opposing hitters have put up against the group over their careers, Hamels has the best mark at .685, Blanton is next at .732 and Park is third with .742 (the rest of the list goes Moyer (.744), Happ (.748), Myers (.767), Lopez (.783) and Kendrick (.821)).

The Phillies have played three spring training games since the last post, going 1-2 to put their spring record at 4-5.

Today they lost to Atlanta, 7-2.

Blanton got the start and held the Braves to a run over four innings, but Carrasco followed and was hit hard again. Carrasco was charged with five runs on six hits over two innings. Happ and Park seem to be flying high in the battle for fifth starter these days, with Kendrick scuffling. If you thought Carrasco had a chance to be the guy when spring training started it’s hard to see that happening the way things have been going recently. Still a long way to go — unless the Phils acquire another left-handed reliever before the start of the season I still think it’s likely Happ starts the year in the pen.

Mayberry had a rough day today, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Donald was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. He has his spring average up to .238. Giles continues to see a lot of time. Today he played third and went 2-for-4 with an error. Paulino was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Yesterday the Phils beat the Tigers 8-2.

A huge day for Happ and another home run from Mayberry were the story of the game. Moyer got the start and allowed a run in four innings, but after that Happ came on and stuck out seven in three scoreless frames. Happ allowed just two hits and didn’t walk a batter. Koplove also threw another perfect inning, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00.

Offensively, Mayberry hit a three-run homer off of Edwin Jackson in the first to put the Phils up early. Howard hit a three-run homer of his own in the fifth. Donald 1-for-3. Giles 0-for-1 and made an appearance in left field — he has never played in the outfield in a major league game.

On Friday the Phils lost to the Blue Jays, falling 4-3.

Park made the start for the Phils and allowed a run on two singles and a double over four innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. Gary Majewski threw another two perfect innings, striking out two.

Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a double and drove in all three Phillies runs. Ozuna 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Dobbs 2-for-4. Paulino 0-for-3 and struck out twice. Giles played third again and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch.

Earlier in the day Brett Myers was hit hard in a B-game, allowing five runs on six hits, including two home runs, and two walks over three innings.

The Phillies play the Reds tomorrow with Cole Hamels expected to pitch.

Ruiz left Panama’s game with Puerto Rico with a neck injury on Saturday, but is okay.

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