Tag: Scott Mathieson

Neck check

Day one of the Luis Castillo experiment is over and the best news is that Roy Oswalt lived through it. Oswalt was hit in the neck with a line drive off the bat of Manny Ramirez in yesterday’s game, but was able to walk off the field on his own and appears to be okay. Castillo, meanwhile, went 0-for-4, hitting the ball hard once but lining out and handling two defensive chances at second.

Yesterday the Phils fell to the Rays, losing 4-1.

Oswalt started the game for the Phillies and went three innings, allowing three runs on four hits. He started the fourth and gave up a leadoff home run to Evan Longoria before Manny smashed a ball back to the mound that hit Oswalt near the right ear. He left the game and was replaced by David Herndon.

Oswalt has now made four starts in which he’s thrown to a 4.61 ERA with a 1.17 ratio. In 13 2/3 innings, he’s walked just one batter and struck out 13.

Herndon threw two scoreless innings and was followed by Mathieson and Bastardo. Each threw a scoreless inning, but Mathieson walked the bases loaded in the sixth. Madson pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two singles and a double.

Mathieson now has a 2.00 ERA and a 1.00 ratio after seven appearances. In nine innings he’s struck out nine and allowed just three hits, but walked six.

The guys in the bullpen have been rather impressive at preventing the long ball this spring. Baez, Herndon, Madson, Mathieson, Zagurski, Contreras, Romero and Bastardo have combined to throw 67 1/3 innings without allowing a home run. Lidge has allowed one in his five innings. Were the bullpen to have that kind of success at preventing home runs over the course of the regular season, they would wind up with some impressive numbers. In 2010, Phillies relievers allowed 37 homers over 421 innings, which would be about 6.4 over 72 1/3 innings.

Martinez was the only Phillie with more than one hit. He went 2-for-4 with two singles. Rollins was 1-for-3 with a double and Orr 1-for-3 with a triple. Barfield again played center and was 0-for-3. Young 1-for-1 and Mayberry 0-for-1.

Hamels faces the Twins today.

Sidelined report

Brad Lidge is the latest sidelined Phillie. Lidge has been shut down temporarily with tendinitis in his right bicep. This article says that Lidge was expected to throw in a B-game on Thursday, but that he’ll probably be sidelined longer than that.

The same article suggests that Rich Dubee thinks Lidge will be ready for the start of the season.

The Phils beat the Astros 7-6 yesterday to improve to 12-7 in spring action.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Four of the five runs that he allowed came on home runs, he gave up three in the game. He’s now made four spring starts and thrown to a 4.61 ERA with a 1.10 ratio. He hadn’t allowed a home run in his three previous starts.

Bill Hall took exception to an inside pitch in the second inning and took a few steps towards Hamels, but order was quickly restored. Hall seemed to be holding a bit of a grudge after the game.

After Hamels left, Mathieson, Herndon, Bastardo and Tyson Brummett all got a chance to pitch and combined to throw four shutout innings. Dan Meyer didn’t fare as well, he allowed a run on three hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings and has now allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings for the spring.

Mathieson has a 2.57 ERA and an 0.86 ERA after five appearances. He has struck out eight in seven innings. Bastardo has thrown four scoreless innings in three outings. Herndon has a 4.76 ERA and a 1.76 ratio in 5 2/3 innings.

Mayberry was 2-for-3 with a double. 350/422/750 in 40 at-bats. Michael Martinez was 1-for-2. In the ninth inning, he stole second then came from second on a wild pitch to put the Phils ahead 7-6. His line is up to 265/265/382 in 34 at-bats. Barfield was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a stolen base. 476/480/667 in 21 at-bats.

Blanton will start today against the Blue Jays.

Amaro says he has no payroll flexibility to make a trade.

Spring flingers

The Phillies have allowed a total of six runs over their last three spring training games. That probably doens’t mean a whole lot, but it does make it easier to win spring training games.

The five pitchers who have started spring games for the Phils so far, Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ and Kendrick, have combined to throw to a 1.87 ERA with an 0.96 ratio and struck out 19 over 24 innings.

Yesterday Blanton and four other pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout as the Phils topped the Tigers 4-0. Blanton threw four scoreless innings and Savery two. David Herndon, Scott Mathieson and Yohan Flande each tossed a scoreless frame. Detroit had three hits in the game, all singles and all off of Blanton. Ibanez homered for the Phils and Utley and Victorino each had a pair of hits. Utley raised his spring average to .545.

Mathieson has now struck out four in two scorelss innings. Herndon has pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two walks but no hits.

Article about Herndon here.

Carpenter is trying to get Madson’s help with his change-up.

Today’s games against the Rays and Tigers have been cancelled due to awful weather.

We want a pitcher (or maybe three)

Juan Castro or not, the Phillies are going to score a whole bunch of runs in 2010. The Phils have led the NL in runs scored in three of the last four seasons.

The season of the last four when they didn’t lead the league in runs scored, 2008, they won the World Series. So if you’re thinking what the Phils need to do to improve their team overall has a lot more to do with pitching than hitting (and exactly nothing to do with getting guys who on-base .270 to take up roster spots to firm up the defense), I agree with you.

The Phillies were worse at preventing runs in 2009 than they were in 2008. Here’s the rates at which they allowed runs per nine innings, the NL average and the Phillies’ rank for each of the last two years:

Year Runs per 9
2009 4.38 4.53 6
2008 4.22 4.66 3

On average, NL teams allowed fewer runs per game in 2009 than they did in 2008. The Phillies allowed more and also saw their rank in runs allowed per nine innings drop from third to sixth. In 2009 the Phils allowed about 96.7% of the runs per nine innings as the average NL team. In 2008 they had allowed about 90.6%.

So they got worse.

Their starters didn’t get worse, though. In 2009 their starters threw 963 2/3 innings and allowed 477 runs. That’s about 4.45 runs per nine innings pitched. In 2008 their starters threw 966 2/3 innings and were charged with 489 runs — about 4.55 runs per nine innings.

Here’s how the numbers looked for the relievers:

Year Runs per 9
2009 4.24 4.35 9
2008 3.56 4.47 1

Not so good. The Phillies rate of allowing runs per nine innings was better than the league average, but they were just ninth among the 16 NL teams and near the league average. A year before the Phils won the World Series with the league’s dominant bullpen, allowing nearly a run per nine innings less than the average NL team. The 3.56 runs allowed per nine innings for the Phils’ pen in ’08 was outstanding — the Brewers had the third-best rate for the NL in 2008 and their relievers allowed 4.27 runs per nine (Milwaukee allowed more than half a run more per nine innings and still had the pen that allowed the third-fewest runs per nine innings).

So what exactly went wrong for the Phillies pen in 2009? As tempting as it may be to say it was all Brad Lidge, there’s more to it than that. In 2008, opponents hit 251/333/371 against the Phillies relievers. In ’09 they hit a very similar 246/335/373. In 2009 you were less likely to reach base on a hit or a walk against the Phillies relievers than you were in 2008 (a little more likely to get a walk and less likely to get a hit for a combined total of less likely). You were also less likely to get an extra-base hit. They allowed a lot more runs, though, and were a lot worse compared to the other teams in their league. So something was going on. More on that soon.

This suggests that Scott Mathieson could help the Phillies next year.

Today is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their players who are eligible. For the Phillies, that includes Condrey, Durbin, Blanton, Ruiz, and Victorino.

It looks like Chris Coste will be a Met.

Four??! Goodness sake

Charlie Manuel made an awful decision last night, bringing in a guy with a 6.75 ERA to pitch for the fourth straight day in a game the Phillies led by one run. It didn’t work out well. Lidge didn’t get an out and the Pirates tied the game up before Andrew McCutchen delivered a two-run walkoff homer to give Pittsburgh the win.

Lidge has a 5.23 ERA and a 1.94 ratio this year when pitching on three or more days of rest. So I’m thinking four days in a row might not be the way to go.

It’s just been a miserable season for Lidge. Here’s how his rates of striking out hitters and allowing hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs for ’09 compare to what he did in ’08 and what he’s done for his career:

  H/100 PA
BB/100 PA
(2B+3B)/100 PA
HR/100 PA SO/ 100 PA
2008 17.12 11.99 3.77 0.68 31.51
2009 24.03 12.02 5.58 4.72 20.60
Career 18.92 10.60 4.37 2.32 31.88

Lots of problems for Lidge this year if you compare his numbers to his lights out ’08 campaign. One thing that isn’t a problem is the walks — he’s issuing walks at about the same rate this year as he did last.

What he’s not issuing at the same rate as last year is home runs. He’s allowed home runs at nearly seven times the rate he did in 2008. Here’s how his rates for ’08 and ’09 compare to each other and his career rates:

  H/100 PA BB/100 PA
(2B+3B)/100 PA
HR/100 PA SO/100 PA
2009 vs 2008 1.40 1.00 1.48 6.89 0.65
’09 vs Career 1.27 1.13 1.28 2.04 0.65
’08 vs Career 0.91 1.13 0.86 0.30 0.99

So, for example, in 2009 Lidge allowed 1.40 times the hits per 100 plate appearances he did in 2008, about the same number of walks, 1.48 times the doubles and triples, 6.89 times the home runs and struck out about 65% of the hitters he struck out the previous year.

Interestingly, 2008 was Lidge’s best year by a wide margin but his rates of allowing walks and striking out hitters were both below his career levels. Compared to his career levels his hits were down a little in ’08, but what was really down was his rates of allowing extra-base hits and home runs. This is especially evident when you look at his ’09 vs ’08 rates of allowing home runs and then his ’09 rate of allowing home runs compared to his career rates. As I mentioned above, his rate of allowing home runs in 2009 is almost seven times what is was in 2008, but it’s only about two times higher than his rate of allowing home runs for his career.

The Phillies will send eight players to the Arizona Fall League, including Scott Mathieson and Domonic Brown.

Important first step is to make sure he knows that if you catch the ball in the air it doesn’t mean the pitcher is out

That’s dodgeball. Sometimes making sure of the little things can make all the difference.

Chase Utley is the undisputed king of getting hit by pitch in MLB over the past two years. In 2007 and 2008 the rate at which he was hit by pitch increased dramatically compared to the first four years of his career:

Years HBP PA % of PA
2007-2008 52 1,320 3.94
2003-2006 31 1,806 1.72

The lefty Utley has been hit at a higher rate by lefties than righties over his career, but the rate at which he has been hit by both right and left-handed pitchers has gone up in 2007 and 2008 compared to the first four years of his career:

vs LHP

vs RHP
2007-2008 30 503 5.96 22 817 2.69
2003-2006 12 467 2.57 19 1,339 1.42

Over the last two seasons, the rate at which he is being hit by lefties has more than doubled. The rate at which he is hit by righties has nearly doubled.

The number of times Utley is hit by pitch is especially alarming for a left-handed hitter. In the history of baseball there have been two left-handed hitters that have been as many or more times in a season as the 27 times Utley was plunked in ’08. Fernando Vina was hit 28 times in 2000 and Steve Evans was hit 31 times in 1910.

This could be part of Utley’s plan, the way he creates offense. If it is, though, it’s a bad plan and something he has come up with recently. During his minor league career, Utley was hit 45 times in 1,809 plate appearances. That’s about 2.5 percent of the time. The rate when down when he came to the Phillies in 2003, then skyrocketed when he was hit 25 times in 2007. Utley has just about the same number of minor league plate appearances as he had with the Phillies from ’03 to ’06 and was hit more often in the minors.

So maybe pitchers are hitting Utley because he’s killing them to the opposite field? Not in 2008 he wasn’t. Take a look at how often Utley went to the opposite field and the results (using the hit location data from Baseball Reference) when he went to the opposite field in 2008 compared to those of fellow lefty Ryan Howard, remembering that Utley was hit 27 times in ’08 and Howard three.

Player PA PA hit opp
Utley 707 54 7.6 .222 .296
Howard 700 66 9.4 .452 1.274

Howard went to left field a higher percentage of the time and with far better results. And he isn’t going to be scarred for life wondering why everybody hates him and keeps throwing things at him.

So why do pitchers do it? Could it be that Utley was less effective going to left in 2008 because throwing at him (or pitching him inside) is working? Here are Utley’s numbers going to the opposite field for 2006 and 2007:

Player PA PA hit opp
Utley 2007 613 79 12.9 .329 .592
Utley 2006 739 81 11.0 .333 .519

Tiny numbers, but Utley both went to the opposite field more regularly in ’06 and ’07 than he did in ’08 and had better results when he did.

The other thing I have to wonder is how much of a factor hitting in front of Ryan Howard is in terms of how often Utley gets hit. I’m just guessing now, but I would guess all three of these things are true: 1) for a left-handed hitter, hitting in front of another left-handed hitter means you face left-handed pitching more often than if you were hitting in front of a right-handed hitter 2) left-handed hitters are hit by left-handed pitchers at a higher rate than they are hit by right-handed pitchers and 3) a left-handed hitter is more likely to be hit by a left-handed pitcher if he is hitting in front of a left-handed hitter than if he is hitting in front of a right-handed hitter. Of that three item set, numbers one and two are almost surely true. Not as sure about number three.

This suggests that the Phillies are willing to pay $8 million of the $9 million that they owe Eaton for this season.

USS Mariner does not think the Ibanez signing was a stroke of genius for the Phils.

ESPN’s Keith Law is down on it, too. Law calls the signing absurd and says that Ibanez is a far worse defensive player than Burrell.

Three years, $31.5 million is the details of the deal for Ibanez. $11.5 million in 2010 and 2011 and $6.5 million in 2009 with a $2 million signing bonus. Linked article also reports the Phillies signed one-year deals with Bruntlett and Condrey. Rehabbing Scott Mathieson was signed to a minor league contract.

Update, 12/15: The Phillies signed Jamie Moyer to a two-year contract.

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