Tag: Scott Eyre

And coming soon, runs allowed per batter faced based on who is watching

After looking at how the runs allowed per plate appearance changed by catcher for 2009, I thought it might be interesting to look at how they changed depending on who was pitching.

The table below shows, for each player who pitched for the Phillies in 2009, the rate at which the pitcher allowed runs per batter faced and the rate at which all Phillies pitchers other than that pitchers allowed runs per batter faced. The rightmost column shows the second column over the third.

Player RA per Batter Rest of Team
Scott Eyre 0.047 0.115 0.409
JA Happ 0.080 0.117 0.686
Tyler Walker 0.080 0.114 0.701
J.C. Romero 0.082 0.114 0.723
Ryan Madson 0.091 0.114 0.792
Steven Register 0.091 0.113 0.803
Pedro Martinez 0.094 0.114 0.828
Clay Condrey 0.098 0.114 0.859
Kyle Kendrick 0.098 0.114 0.865
Joe Blanton 0.106 0.114 0.930
Cliff Lee 0.107 0.114 0.942
Sergio Escalona 0.117 0.113 1.031
Cole Hamels 0.117 0.113 1.035
Chan Ho Park 0.119 0.113 1.052
Chad Durbin 0.121 0.113 1.073
Brett Myers 0.125 0.113 1.110
Jack Taschner 0.126 0.113 1.114
Jamie Moyer 0.130 0.111 1.172
Antonio Bastardo 0.170 0.112 1.513
Rodrigo Lopez 0.175 0.112 1.566
Brad Lidge 0.180 0.110 1.637
Andrew Carpenter 0.219 0.113 1.941

For example, Scott Eyre faced 128 batters in 2009 and was charged with six runs, or .047 runs per batter. The entire Phillies team faced 6,261 batters and allowed 709 runs. If you subtract Eyre’s work from that, all Phillies pitchers besides Eyre faced 6,133 batters and allowed 703 runs. That’s about .115 runs per batter faced. If you put .047 (Eyre’s runs allowed per batter) over .115 (the rest of the team’s runs allowed per batter) you get .409, which also means that Eyre allowed about 40.9% of the runs per plate appearance that the rest of the pitchers on the team allowed.

One thing that was surprising to me about the list was how close to the middle Cliff Lee wound up. One thing to remember is that, given how much he pitched, Lee allowed a bunch of unearned runs. Five of the 35 runs he allowed were unearned, which is 14.3%. Overall for the team, 5.1% of the runs allowed by Phillies pitching was unearned. Condrey, Eyre, Lopez and Romero also all had more than 10% of the runs they allowed in ’09 go as unearned.

Curious also to me is that Blanton’s runs allowed per batter was a tiny bit better than Lee’s. Forgetting ERA, Lee still had a better runs allowed per nine innings than Blanton did — 3.95 for Lee and 4.10 for Blanton. That means Blanton must have faced more batters per inning. And he did. Blanton faced about 4.28 batters per inning in ’09 while Lee faced about 4.10 batters per inning while with the Phils.

Finally, I’ve said this before but I am worried about the Phillies bullpen. They didn’t come in especially important situations, but the Phils got good relief work from Eyre, Condrey, Walker, Park and Moyer last year. It’s not clear to me how they plan to make up for those guys with the players that currently seem to be set up to pitch out of the bullpen. A better year from Lidge should help, but I think they’re going to need more than that.

This article looks at the players the Phillies will have at spring training.

It seems to me there’s little to find out about the offense in spring training. It looks pretty set with 13 hitters: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Schneider, Castro, Gload, Dobbs and Francisco.

The pitching seems like a whole different story. It looks like Moyer is the fifth starter if he’s healthy and I’d guess it’s Kendrick if he’s not, but the bullpen is a mess. Madson, Durbin, Baez and Contreras are the only guys I think we should be counting to be on the team on opening day. Lidge and Romero are in if they’re healthy, but I’m guessing we go 0-for-2 on that front. Bastardo and Escalona look like they will battle for a job as a lefty out of the pen, but it seems like two slots to start the year are pretty wide open when things get going (assuming Lidge and Romero start the year on the DL). I keep waiting for the Phillies to sign a reliever and it keeps not happening. Assuming Romero isn’t able to start the year it seems like Escalona and Bastardo could both be pitching out of the pen to start the year. My guess at this point is that the 12 pitchers on the opening day roster for the Phils are: Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, Madson, Durbin, Baez, Contreras, Escalona, Bastardo and Kendrick.


What if they threw a bullpen and nobody came?

It sure seems like the Phillies are going to need to find a bunch of fellas to pitch out of their bullpen in the next couple of months. Right now it looks like they have five (Madson, Durbin, Lidge, Baez and Romero). Of those five, two, Lidge and Romero, may not be ready for the start of the season.

There were 18 players who pitched in relief for the Phillies in 2009. The table below shows the percentage of the team’s innings they each threw in relief and the percentage of the batters the Phils faced in relief that were faced by that pitcher. For the pitchers that appeared solely as relievers (didn’t start any games), the aLI column shows the average leverage index for the pitcher while pitching in relief as calculated by Baseball Reference. The site talks a little about what that stat means here, but basically it reflects the fact that Brad Lidge pitched in much more important situations for the Phils last year than Sergio Escalona or Steven Register — one is average, above one is more important situations and closer to zero is less important situations. Here’s the list, which is ordered by the percentage of innings in relief that were thrown by the pitcher:


Player

% IP

% batters faced

aLI

Madson

15.7

14.9

1.626

Durbin

14.2

14.7

0.828

Lidge

11.9

13.2

2.064

Park

10.2

9.6

Condrey

8.5

8.1

1.061

Walker

7.2

7.0

0.412

Eyre

6.1

6.0

1.133

Taschner

6.0

6.7

0.614

Happ

4.4

4.2

Moyer

3.8

3.3

Romero

3.4

3.4

1.601

Kendrick

3.0

2.9

Escalona

2.8

2.8

0.430

Myers

1.4

1.4

Lopez

0.5

0.8
 

Register

0.4

0.5

0.015

Carpenter

0.3

0.4
 

Bastardo

0.2

0.2
 

To the degree that there’s good news there, the Phillies will bring back the three guys they used most in relief in 2009 for the 2010 season. The bad news is that of those three, one, Lidge, was absolutely terrible last year and another, Durbin, was pretty bad.

The other thing that sure seems worrisome is that after Lidge there’s a group of five guys, Park, Condrey, Walker, Eyre and Taschner, who all seem sure or almost sure not to return for 2010. So far the Phillies have brought in Danys Baez to help fill in for those guys, but that’s not going to be enough.

Baez isn’t left-handed, either. Hopefully Romero is back and can be counted on early in the season, but it doesn’t seem like a sure thing. Lefties combined to throw 131 innings in relief for the Phillies in 2009. Here’s how those innings were divided up:

  % IP
Eyre 22.90
Taschner 22.39
Happ 16.54
Moyer 14.25
Romero 12.72
Escalona 10.43
Bastardo 0.76

Of that group, Eyre and Taschner look like locks not to return. Moyer and Happ will be back, but I’m not sure you want to count on either of those guys carrying a big load in relief in 2010. Let’s hope JC Romero can be the guy, but that’s another thing I don’t think you want to be counting on. Escalona looks likely to see an expanded role in 2010, but even if he does the Phillies are going to need more.

Right-handed relievers threw 361 innings for the Phils. Here’s how those innings broke down:

  % IP
Madson 21.42
Durbin 19.30
Lidge 16.25
Park 13.85
Condrey 11.63
Walker 9.79
Kendrick 4.16
Myers 1.94
Lopez 0.74
Register 0.55
Carpenter 0.37

Again, Madson, Lidge and Durbin are back, but it’s not clear who is going to make up for the 127 1/3 innings that Park, Condrey and Walker combined to throw in relief in 2009. They were really good, too, combining to throw to a 2.83 ERA and 1.18 ratio. Baez again is surely a big part of the answer — he did throw 71 2/3 innings last year, but didn’t pitch at all in 2008 and had a 6.44 ERA in 2007. I don’t know how much or how well he’s going to pitch in 2010, but I’m guessing against 127 1/3 innings with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. It would solve some problems, though.


First things first

In 2009, Phillies pitchers faced 3,492 batters with the bases empty and allowed 112 runs on 111 solo homers and one fluke play. Against the Mets on August 24, Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first and popped a ball to second. Utley misplayed it. Pagan went for second and Utley threw the ball into left field. Pagan came all the way around to score and Utley was charged with two errors on the play.

Nice hustle by Pagan, but it’s not really the kind of thing you want to build your offense around. Turns out it’s actually pretty tough to score when you come to the plate with the bases empty, especially if you don’t hit a home run.

The Phillies faced 2,769 batters in 2009 with at least one man on base. Those 2,769 plate appearances resulted in 597 runs.

Overall for 2009, the Phillies pitchers faced 55.8% of the batters for the year with the bases empty and those batters accounted for about 15.8% of the runs they allowed. The 44.2% of the batters that they faced with at least on man on base accounted for 84.2% of the runs that they allowed.

Which brings me back to the post from earlier this week about the Phillies pitchers that were most likely to walk a batter when the bases were empty. That’s the kind of thing you want to avoid.

Obviously not all situations with men on base are the same. A man on first is better for the pitching team than having the bases loaded. Still, the difference between the number of runs the Phillies allowed in 2009 when pitching with the bases empty and with a man on first base is pretty significant. Here is the number of batters that the Phillies faced in 2009 with the bases empty and a man on first and how many runs resulted from those plate appearances:

 
PA

R

Bases empty

3,492

112

Man on first

1,160

104

In 2,332 fewer plate appearances with a man on first, the Phillies allowed eight fewer runs than in the plate appearances when the batter came to the plate with the bases empty. Had the Phillies faced the same 3,492 batters that they faced with the bases empty with a man on first and allowed runs at the same rate they would have allowed about 313 runs instead of 104. That’s about 2.8 times as many as they allowed with the bases empty.

Clearly how bad a walk is with the bases empty depends on how many outs there are in the inning. I’m pretty sure it’s hardly ever good, though.

The Phillies were better than average compared to the NL average in terms of allowing walks with the bases empty in 2009. The average NL pitcher walked about 8.0% of the batters he faced with the bases empty. The Phillies walked about 6.6% of the hitters they faced with the bases empty.

Here are the Phillies pitchers who walked more than the league average of 8% of the batters they faced with the bases empty (pitchers in bold faced less than 150 hitters for the Phils for the year):

  % of batters
walked with bases empty
Lidge 8.2
Bastardo 9.5
Kendrick 10.6
Durbin 11.0
Carpenter 13.3
Taschner 14.0
Eyre 16.7
Romero 17.2
Register 33.3

And here is the list of pitchers who walked less than 8% of the batters they faced with the bases empty:

  % of batters
walked with bases empty
Martinez 1.9
Escalona 3.4
Lee 3.7
Walker 3.8
Blanton 5.1
Moyer 5.4
Park 5.6
Hamels 5.9
Lopez 6.0
Madson 6.5
Happ 6.7
Condrey 6.9
Myers 7.6

The other thing you want to try to avoid with the bases empty is allowing a hit. Overall in the NL in 2009, pitchers allowed hits in about 23.3% of the plate appearances with the bases empty. The Phillies allowed them at a little higher rate, about 24.7%. Here’s the list of the Phillies pitchers that allowed hits to more than 23.3% of the batters they faced with the bases empty in 2009:

  % of batters
reach on hit with bases empty
Eyre 23.3
Escalona 24.1
Lidge 24.5
Happ 24.7
Madson 25.3
Hamels 25.6
Blanton 25.6
Moyer 26.2
Myers 26.5
Lee 27.3
Taschner 28.1
Martinez 29.8
Carpenter 33.3
Lopez 37.3
Register 66.7

That’s a long list. Much longer than the list of pitchers on the bad side of allowing walks with the bases empty.

It leaves just seven guys for the list of pitchers who allowed a hit to less than 23.3% of the batters they faced with the bases empty:

  % of batters
reach on hit with bases empty
Condrey 16.8
Romero 17.2
Bastardo 17.5
Durbin 18.0
Kendrick 18.2
Park 20.2
Walker 20.5

Again, that list is less impressive than the list of the guys who allowed walks to a lower percentage of hitters with the bases empty than the league average.

There are just three of the 22 pitchers on the team that allowed both hits and walks with the bases empty at rates that were lower than the average for the league: Condrey , Park and Walker.

When you combine hits and walks there were nine pitchers who allowed hits plus walks with the bases empty at a rate that was lower than the league average. Here’s a list of all 22 players, along with the average for the NL for 2009 and their rank on the team:


0.075 Clay Condrey 1
0.069 Tyler Walker 2
0.055 Chan Ho Park 3
0.043 Antonio Bastardo 4
0.037 Sergio Escalona 5
0.025 Kyle Kendrick 6
0.022 Chad Durbin 7
0.006 Joe Blanton 8
0.003 Cliff Lee 9

NL AVERAGE

 
-0.001 J.A. Happ 10
-0.002 Cole Hamels 11
-0.003 Jamie Moyer 12
-0.004 Pedro Martinez 13
-0.005 Ryan Madson 14
-0.014 Brad Lidge 15
-0.028 Brett Myers 16
-0.032 J.C. Romero 17
-0.087 Scott Eyre 18
-0.108 Jack Taschner 19
-0.120 Rodrigo Lopez 20
-0.154 Andrew Carpenter 21
-0.687 Steven Register 22

So, for example, with the bases empty Clay Condrey faced 101 batters. 17 of them (16.83%) got hits and seven of them (6.93%) walked. .1683 plus .0693 is .238. The NL average was to allow 23.3% hits and 8.0% walks, which is 31.3%. .313 minus .238 is .075, which is the best mark for the 22 pitchers on the team. At the other end of the list, Stephen Register faced just three men with the bases empty and allowed two hits and a walk.

The Phillies have signed Danys Baez to a two-year, $5.25 million contract. The righty joins a pen that includes Madson and Durbin and will likely include Lidge and Romero when they are healthy.

The 32-year old righty was miserable in 2007, missed 2008 and pitched well for the O’s in 2009, posting a 4.02 ERA with a 1.13 ratio. Believers in batting average for balls in play might want to take note of the .232 mark for Baez last year, which was the lowest for his career.

This suggests that Eyre will not be back and that Joe Biemel and Will Ohman are free agent candidates as lefty relievers in the bullpen. It also says that the Phils would like to add more depth in the rotation.

The Twins signed Clay Condrey to a one-year deal.

Scott Eyre retired.

The Phillies will invite 13 non-roster players to Spring Training, including Domonic Brown, Joe Savery, BJ Rosenberg (who had fantastic numbers last year), Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies.


Walking on empty

During the 2007 season, Phillies pitchers walked 558 batters. That’s too many. Only five NL teams walked more that year. The number of walks the Phillies issued dropped in 2008 and dropped even more in 2009. During the 2009 season, Phillies pitching allowed just 489 walks. St Louis was the only team in the NL to give up fewer walks.

So the Phillies have cut down the number of walks that they issue over the past couple of seasons, which is a very good thing. That’s not today’s point, though. Today’s point is that in 2009 some Phillies pitchers were better at preventing walks with the bases empty than others.

During 2009, Phillies pitcher walked about 6.6% of the batters they faced when the based were empty and about 9.3% of the batters they faced when there was at least one man on base. Not all Phillies pitchers saw that kind of increase in the walks they allowed, though. Some walked batters at a lower rate when the bases were empty in 2009 than they did when there was at least one man on. Of the 22 pitchers who appeared for the Phillies in 2009, nine of them were better at preventing walks when there were men on base than when the bases were empty. The chart below shows, for the nine, the walks they issued per 100 plate appearances with the bases empty, where this ranks among the 22 Phillies pitchers for 2009, the walks they issued per 100 plate appearances with men on base, where this ranks among the ’09 Phillies pitchers and how much higher their rate of walking men with the bases empty was compared to with men aboard as a percentage (pitchers who faced less than 150 batters are in bold):

Player BB per 100
empty
Rank BB per 100
men on
Rank %
Myers 7.6 13 7.6 9 100.1
Taschner 14.0 19 14.0 19 100.6
Carpenter 13.3 18 11.8 16 113.3
Hamels 5.9 8 4.4 4 134.6
Bastardo 9.5 15 7.0 6 136.5
Lee 3.7 3 2.1 2 174.7
Eyre 16.7 20 8.8 11 188.9
Kendrick 10.6 16 4.3 3 243.9
Register 33.2 22 0.0 1 -

So, for example, Cole Hamels walked about 5.9% of the batters he faced with the bases empty (which was fifth-best on the team) and about 4.4% of the batters he faced with men on base (fourth-best on the team). Overall for the year his walk rate with nobody on base was about 135% of what it was with men aboard.

At the bottom of that list, Stephen Register faced just 11 batters all year long for the Phils. He walked one of the three he faced with the bases empty, giving him the worst rate of walks per 100 plate appearances on the team with nobody aboard, but none of the eight hitters he faced with men on base.

Being on the list above doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily good at preventing walks, just that in ’09 you were at least a little bit better at it than you were when there were men on base. Eyre, for example, gave up way too many walks overall, but cut down his rate considerably when there were ducks aboard.

Hamels and Kendrick are the pitchers of that group that seem likely to impact the Phillies in the future. Hamels saw his walk rate drop in 2009 while the rest of his numbers went up. He had a lot more success in 2007 and 2008 than he did in 2009 — in each of those years he rate of walking batters was better with the bases empty than with men aboard, which is the opposite of his results for 2009 (in 2006 his rates were nearly identical).

Kendrick didn’t face a ton of hitters in 2009, but was much better at preventing walks when their were men on base than when there weren’t. His walk rate overall was lower than his miserable 2008, but worse than his mark for 2007 when he was very effective. By opponent OPS, Kendrick was the Phillies best pitcher in 2009 with the bases empty. Opponents hit 203/288/203 against him (12-for-59 with 12 singles and seven walks and a .491 OPS). By comparison, they hit 287/321/393 (.753) against Cliff Lee with the bases empty. Since he didn’t walk anyone with me on base you’d think Kendrick would be pretty much invincible, but sadly despite not walking anyone Kendrick allowed opponents to hit .375 against him with men on base, which will mess things up in a jiffy.

Here’s the numbers for the 13 pitchers who allowed walks more regularly when there were runners on base:

Player BB per 100
empty
Rank BB per 100
men on
Rank %
Romero 17.2 21 18.2 21 105.5
Madson 6.5 10 7.3 8 113.3
Moyer 5.4 6 7.2 7 133.8
Condrey 6.9 12 9.6 12 138.4
Happ 6.7 11 10.1 15 151.2
Lopez 6.0 9 10.0 14 167.5
Durbin 11.0 17 19.7 22 178.5
Blanton 5.1 5 9.9 13 193.9
Lidge 8.2 14 16.2 20 198.2
Walker 3.8 4 8.3 10 216.7
Park 5.6 7 13.4 18 241.5
Martinez 1.9 1 6.9 5 358.6
Escalona 3.4 2 12.9 17 374.2

Remember that overall the Phillies walked about 9.3 batters per 100 plate appearances with men on base and about 6.6 batters with the bases empty. So the average pitcher had a walk rate that was about 141% of his walk rate with the bases empty.

Again, being on this list doesn’t necessarily mean you issued a lot of walks. Pedro, for example, issued walks at about 3 1/2 times his bases empty rate with men on base. His rate of allowing walks with men on base was still fifth-best on the team despite how much more regularly he issued walks with men aboard.

Looking again to the guys who will impact 2010, the rates that Durbin and Lidge issued walks with men on base has to be the scariest data from the chart above. Durbin walked nearly one in five men he faced with runners aboard and Lidge was nearly as bad.

Blanton also saw his rate of walks increase dramatically. With nobody on he was among the best on the team at preventing bases on balls. When men got on base he gave up a lot more and fell to the middle of the pack. Happ started in the middle and saw his rate increase at about the rate that was the average for the team.

Romero just walks a ton of folks regardless of the situation.

Madson and Moyer both walked more with men on base, but not a whole lot more and their rates for allowing walks in both circumstances were pretty good compared to the rest of the team.

This suggests that the Phillies may announce the signing of Danys Baez if he passes his physical this week. Baez missed all of 2008 after Tommy John surgery, but threw to a 4.02 ERA and a 1.13 ratio for Baltimore in 2009.

The article linked above also says that the Phillies have made a minor league offer to Eyre.

Today is the first day that players can file for arbitration. This article talks about what we might expect to happen with Victorino, Blanton, Ruiz and Durbin.


Drop off location

Earlier this week I wrote that after leading the NL in runs allowed per nine innings by relievers in 2008, the Phils dropped to ninth in that category in 2009. Despite the big drop in 2009, opponents posted very similar batting lines against the Phillies relief pitchers in 2009 and 2008:


Year

AVG

OBP

SLG

2009

246

335

373

2008

251

333

371

Again, the ’08 pen was a lot better than the ’09 pen, but those numbers look very similar.

Curiously, you were more likely to get a hit or a walk against the ’08 guys than you were the ’09 guys.

In 2009, the Phillies pen faced 2,143 batters and allowed 457 hits (21.3% of batters) and 223 walks (10.4%). So about 31.7% of hitters got a hit or a walk. In 2008 the pen faced 2,071 hitters and allowed 456 hits (22.0%) and 211 walks (10.2%). About 32.2% of hitters got a hit or a walk against the ’08 pen.

That’s a little perplexing because opponents posted a better on-base percentage in 2009 than they did in 2008. A big part of the explanation is that Phillies relievers hit a lot more batters in 2009 than they did in 2008 — they plunked 32 in ’09 after hitting just 16 in ’08.

You were also more likely to get an extra-base hit against the ’08 pen than you were against the ’09 pen.

The ’09 pen allowed 134 extra-base hits to 2,143 hitters (6.25%) and the ’08 pen allowed 136 extra-base hits to 2,071 hitters (6.57%).

It sure seems like you should get better if you improve the rate at which you allow hits or walks while you improve the rate at which you allow extra-bases. But the Phillies bullpen got worse.

A big part of this was how bad the extra-base hits that the Phillies gave up were in 2009. Despite the fact that they allowed fewer extra-base hits overall in 2009, the extra-base hits they allowed in 2009 did more damage.

In 2008, the Phillies pen allowed 136 extra-base hits — 92 doubles, seven triples and 37 home runs. That’s 353 total bases or 2.6 bases per extra-base hit.

In 2009 they allowed 134 extra-base hits — just 79 doubles, nine triples and 46 home runs. That’s a total of 369 total bases or 2.75 bases per extra-base hit. So a better rate of preventing extra-base hits in 2009, but the extra-base hits they allowed were worse.

The most important difference between the bullpen of 2008 and the bullpen of ’09 was that the ’08 pen was outstanding at preventing home runs compared to the rest of the league while the ’09 pen was not. The ’08 pen allowed 37 home runs, which was the fewest in the NL. In ’09, only six NL teams allowed more home runs than the 46 that the Phils’ relievers gave up.

In ’08, the Phillies had seven relief pitchers who threw 20 or more innings for the team. Of those seven, Tom Gordon allowed the most home runs per nine innings. He allowed three in 29 2/3 innings or about 0.91 per nine innings.

In 2009 there were nine Phillies pitchers who threw 20 or more innings in relief. Of those nine, four, Walker, Durbin, Taschner and Lidge, all allowed more than 0.91 home runs per nine innings while pitching in relief. Eyre was almost a fifth — he allowed 0.90 homers per nine innings.

The home run problem would have been a whole lot worse for the relievers were it not for Chan Ho Park. Park pitched 50 innings in relief for the Phillies in 2009 without allowing a home run. In 33 1/3 innings as a starter he gave up five. The Braves’ Peter Moylan was the only reliever in either league besides Park to throw 35 or more innings in relief in ’09 without allowing a home run.

The charts below show the four Phillies pitchers that threw at least 20 innings in relief in each of the last two seasons and had the worst rates of allowing runs per nine innings pitched as a reliever on the team. For each of the pitchers it shows the number of innings the player threw in relief that year, the runs they allowed per nine innings and the home runs they allowed per nine innings:


2008
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Durbin 87 2/3 3.4 0.51
Condrey 69 3.4 0.78
Seanez 43 1/3 5.0 0.42
Gordon 29 2/3 5.8 0.91
       

2009
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Condrey 42 3.6 0.86
Durbin 69 2/3 4.9 1.03
Taschner 29 1/3 5.5 0.92
Lidge 58 2/3 7.8 1.69

The biggest thing about that list is that the guys at the top who were the worst among the 2008 pen in terms of runs allowed per nine innings were pretty good. Durbin was great in ’08, throwing to 2.87 ERA with a 1.32 ratio and allowing just five home runs in nearly 90 innings. Condrey wasn’t quite as good, but threw to a 3.26 ERA with a 1.51 ratio. He also was pretty good at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 0.78 homers per nine in a season when the average NL reliever allowed about 0.96.

In 2008, the Phillies had just two relievers who threw more than 20 innings for the season and allowed more than 3.4 runs per nine innings for the season. Those two, Seanez and Gordon, combined to throw 73 innings. In 2009 the Phils had four relievers who threw more than 20 innings and allowed more than 3.4 runs per inning and those four combined to throw 199 2/3 innings.

This says that the Phillies talks with Polanco are getting serious. I think it would be pretty bad news if the Phillies signed Polanco to be their third baseman.

This suggests the Phillies could have interest in John Smoltz. Please no.

The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Park or Eyre. I think both of those guys still have a chance to be back next year.

Billy Wagner is a Brave.

The Phillies signed Brian Schneider to be Ruiz’s backup.


Non-starter

The Playoff Start Log is updated and I think it says a lot about what went wrong for the Phillies in the World Series. In 2008 the Phils won it all, getting five quality starts in five World Series games. After Lee allowed one run in nine innings in game one of the NLDS against the Rockies this year, the Phils had made seven quality starts in a row in playoff games. In the last four games of the World Series this year the Phillies didn’t have a quality start and their starters threw to a 7.59 ERA. They allowed 18 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.

That probably has a lot to do with how much better the Yankees are at scoring runs than the Rockies or Rays. Still, you aren’t going to win a lot of games when your starters throw to a 7.59 ERA.

The Yankees won the World Series this year. The Phillies didn’t. The Yankees had Andy Pettitte and the Phillies had Joe Blanton. The pair didn’t play in the same league in 2009, but they had pretty similar numbers during the regular season:

  GS IP ERA Ratio ERA+
Blanton 31 195.1 4.05 1.32 106
Pettitte 32 194.2 4.16 1.38 107

If the two players had a similar year in the regular season, they didn’t in the post-season. The Yankees put a whole lot of their playoff eggs in the Pettitte basket, but Blanton was not a big part of the Phillies rotation in the playoffs. You didn’t have to watch the Phillies play too many playoff games this year before that became apparent. He was pitching in relief in the sixth inning of game two of the NLDS with the Phils down 4-0.

The Phils and Yankees both played 15 post-season games in 2009. Pettitte threw almost twice as many innings as Blanton. He threw 30 2/3 while Blanton threw 15 2/3. Blanton made two starts and two appearances in relief while Pettitte’s post-season legend grew. Pettitte made five post-season starts in ’09 and went 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Why would the Phillies do such a thing? Well, it wasn’t because Blanton hadn’t been good in the post-season. He helped them win the World Series in 2008 as he started three playoff games. The Phils won all three as Blanton went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio.

The why, apparently, turned out to be that the Phils thought their chances were better with Pedro Martinez. The Phils signed the free agent Martinez in mid-July to a contract that would have the Phillies paying him about a million dollars. Martinez made nine starts for the Phils in 2009 and pitched better than a lot of people were expecting, going 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. There were some warning signs, too, though. Opponents slugged .472 against him and he allowed eight home runs in 44 2/3 innings. That home run rate would have had him allowing about 36 over 200 innings. Milwaukee’s Braden Looper was the only pitcher in either league that allowed 36 or more home runs this season. Two of his early starts with the Phils were cut short by rain, but he threw less than five innings per start in his nine outings with the Phils.

He didn’t exactly end the regular season on a high note. He made a fantastic start against the Mets on September 13 in which he threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings. His next start was against the Braves on September 19 and he allowed three runs over three innings before leaving the game with a neck problem. He made just one more start before the end of the year and he wasn’t very good. On September 30, he faced Houston and allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over four innings.

It didn’t scare off the Phillies. They let him start a game in the NLCS and two games in the World Series. They lost all three games. In the first he pitched great but had to be pulled before he had thrown 90 pitches. In each of the next two the Phils left him in the game too long. He started the game in which they were eliminated from the World Series and was awful.

So Blanton was a solid pitcher this year, the Phils gave at least some of his playoff starts to Pedro, who not a lot of other teams seemed to want, and then they lost every post-season game that Pedro started. That sounds pretty bad and I think it was. It’s a little more complicated than that, though.

The Phillies scored a total of five runs in the three games Martinez started. Pedro didn’t pitch as well as his numbers would indicate, but his numbers were great overall for the playoffs. In the three playoff starts with the Phils, Pedro threw to a 3.71 ERA with an 0.88 ERA. Blanton, meanwhile, did not pitch well in his post-season chances. He made two starts and two relief appearances overall for the post-season, throwing to a 5.17 ERA and a 1.21 ratio.

Still, the decision to go with Martinez instead of Blanton in the post-season was critical for the Phillies. And it didn’t work.

Cliff Lee will be back with the Phils in 2010 after the Phillies picked up his $9 million option.

Brett Myers will not be back.

Feliz may or may not be back, but it’s a little less likely now that the Phillies have declined his $5.5 million option.

I think the Phils went 3-for-3 in that flurry. I think it was the right decision not to pick up Feliz’s option, but I was surprised to see them do it. Beltre, Figgins and DeRosa seem to be the names that most people are talking about as improvements at third. If he’s healthy, I think Troy Glaus would be a huge help for the Phillies offensively as well. You might notice some defensive dropoff, though. The list of free agent third basemen that would help the Phils more than Feliz isn’t that long, so hopefully they have something in mind.

Ibanez (sports hernia) and Eyre (loose bodies in his elbow) were scheduled for surgeries yesterday and Lidge will have surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.

Park, Feliz, Bako, Stairs, Martinez, Myers and Cairo have all filed to become free agents.


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