Tag: Travis Blackley

Duck luck?

For the 11 Phillies who got the most plate appearances in 2008, here’s how many total plate appearances each had and how many of them came with the bases empty and how many came with at least one man on base:

Player PA PA bases
empty
PA
runner(s) on
% empty % on
Utley 707 369 338 52.2 47.8
Howard 700 349 351 49.9 50.1
Burrell 645 377 268 58.4 41.6
Victorino 627 360 267 57.4 42.6
Rollins 625 406 219 65.0 35.0
Werth 482 275 207 57.1 42.9
Feliz 463 240 223 51.8 48.2
Ruiz 373 214 159 57.4 42.6
Jenkins 322 187 135 58.1 41.9
Coste 305 160 145 52.5 47.5
Dobbs 240 128 112 53.3 46.7

And here’s the same 11 players ranked by their OPS for the season and the percentage of their plate appearances that came with men on base:

  Ranked by
OPS
Ranked by
% of PA with runners on base
1 Utley Howard
2 Howard Feliz
3 Burrell Utley
4 Werth Coste
5 Dobbs Dobbs
6 Victorino Werth
7 Rollins Ruiz
8 Coste Victorino
9 Feliz Jenkins
10 Jenkins Burrell
11 Ruiz Rollins

It’s not surprising to see the leadoff man Rollins at the bottom of the list, but it’s a little surprising to me to see Burrell right above him. Feliz isn’t the guy you want getting the second-highest percentage of his plate appearances with men on base.

There’s also a big dropoff between the percentage of plate appearances with men on that Dobbs (fifth on the list) had compared to Werth (sixth on the list). 46.7% of Dobb’s plate appearances came with men aboard compared to 42.9% for Werth. There were five guys, Dobbs, Coste, Utley, Feliz and Howard, who got between 46.1% and 50.1% of their plate appearances with men on and another group of five, Werth, Ruiz, Victorino, Jenkins and Burrell, who all got between 41.6% and 42.9% of their plate appearances with men aboard. And then there’s Rollins, who was way below everyone.

Ryan Howard won’t be in the World Baseball Classic.

Former Phil Travis Blackley was signed by the Diamondbacks.

Article about Mike Arbuckle here.

Interview with Doug Glanville at Jimmy Scott’s High and Tight.

Next post will be around December 29.


Carpenter complex

Turns out that the remaining issue of spring training for the Phillies isn’t who fills out the last two spots on the roster so much as whether Andrew Carpenter should be made the fifth starter or traded for A-Rod. It’s an issue intelligent people can disagree about, so maybe they can make him the fifth starter for a while and then trade him for A-Rod.

Brett Myers and prospect Andrew Carpenter shutout the Yankees on four singles yesterday as the Phils improved to 12-15 with a 4-0 win.

Myers got the start and went five innings in his final spring tune up. He struck out three while allowing two singles and two walks to drop his ERA to 1.13. Carpenter followed Myers and struck out six in four innings, allowing a pair of singles and two walks.

Andrew Carpenter is a 22-year-old righty the Phils took in the second round of the 2006 draft. He was really good at Single-A Clearwater in 2007, going 17-6 in 27 games, 24 of which were starts. He threw to a 3.20 ERA with a 1.25 ratio. In 163 innings he gave up 150 hits and walked 53 while striking out 116.

Article about him here. A lot of people think his name is Drew Carpenter, but Phuture Phillies got to the bottom of that one and some other issues in an interview earlier this month.

Jenkins was 3-for-4 with a double for the Phils. He has his spring average up to .254. Burrell had two singles in three at-bats to raise his average to .275. Rollins drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, he was 1-for-3 on the day with a stolen base. Utley returned after missing some time for personal reasons and went 0-for-4. Werth was 0-for-4 and struck out twice, dropping his average to .159. Taguchi was 1-for-1 with a double, he’s hitting 371/488/457 in 43 spring plate appearances.

The Phillies play Detroit today.

This article says that Benson may still be back in May. It also says that Davey Lopes feels good after prostate surgery and that there is still a possibility the Phils will get Jimmy Rollins fan and left-handed pitcher Steve Kline.

This suggests that the efforts to trade for Kline fell through, that JD Durbin thinks his chances to make the team don’t look good and that Helms has an advantage over Snelling if the Phils carry a 14th hitter. Over the last couple of days several articles have suggested it’s Snelling that would have the edge over Helms. And there’s always the good chance that neither of them make the team.

Update: This suggests the Phillies put JD Durbin on waivers.

Update again: David Murphy says Travis Blackey cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A.


The 35th cut is the deepest

Opening day draws nearer and while we’re still not sure who will be on the Phillies on Monday we have some more information about who won’t. Vic Darensbourg and Gary Knotts are gone, sent to minor league camps. Travis Blackley is out of the picture as well, offered back to the Giants. It leaves the Phils with 23 players who look to be locks to make the team and, assuming you don’t think Ray Olmedo is making the team, three, Wes Helms, Chris Snelling and JD Durbin the in-house candidates to fill the two remaining positions.

13 hitters: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Dobbs, Feliz, Coste, Bruntlett, Taguchi, Jenkins

10 pitchers: Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton, Gordon, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Chad Durbin

Without a move, and you have to believe the chances that one is coming soon are big, JD Durbin gets the 11th pitching spot with the Phils carrying 14 hitters and Snelling or Helms making the team. That would be a brutal pitching staff, even with Lidge and Rosario likely to come off the DL soon and contribute. Six relievers, five of them righties and one of them JD Durbin, who would be very tough to put into a game given how terribly he has been pitching.

So maybe there’s more coming before Monday.

Let’s hope so at least.

Both this article and this article suggest that Snelling is more likely to take the 14th hitter spot than Helms if there is one.

Even if the Phils add a left-handed pitcher it will still be interesting what they do with JD Durbin. If they keep the new guy and JD Durbin it means no room for the 14th hitter. Durbin is out of options so they may lose him if they don’t. As bad as the Phillies’ pitching is, if it comes down to a decision about keeping Snelling or Durbin to start the season I think you have to hope it’s Snelling given how abysmally Durbin has been pitching.

The Phils fell to the Reds yesterday, losing Reds 5-3 to drop to 11-15 in spring training.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and was hit hard again. He went five innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and three walks. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four and his ERA dropped to 9.68. In 17 2/3 innings this spring he has allowed 31 hits. Opponents are hitting .397 against him. After Kendrick’s departure, the Phils didn’t allow a hit in the final four innings of the game. Chad Durbin gave up two walks in two scoreless innings to lower his spring ERA to 5.25. JC Romero threw a perfect eighth and Madson lowered his ERA to 1.64 with a scoreless ninth. Madson walked one hitter.

Victorino was 2-for-4 and stole a base. He has his spring average up to .254. Jenkins was 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts. Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Rollins was 0-for-4 to drop his average to .182.

The Phillies play the Yankees today.

Kris Benson did not opt out of his contract despite not being on the 40-man roster.

Blackley hit Curtis Granderson with a pitch on Saturday and broke his finger. The injury will cause Granderson to miss about two weeks of the season.

This article wonders if the Phils have a chance to set a team record for runs scored. They don’t. Their high mark was 944 in 1930. Forced to pick I would comfortably guess they will score fewer runs in 2008 than they did in 2007. At the same time I, and just about everyone else, was sure they were going to score less runs in 2007 than they did in 2006. I’m sure again.


Blackley and blue

After losing two games over the past two days the Phils are 4-7 in spring training.

Travis Blackley was the story of today’s game as the Phillies fell to Cleveland, 9-5. Blackley had a nice performance his first time out, his effort magnified by the struggles and back problems of thought-to-be fifth starter Adam Eaton. But he got hammered today, charged with five runs on four hits and four walks over 1 2/3 innings. Andy Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off of him in the second and Blackley didn’t make it out of the inning.

Condrey followed Blackley and allowed one hit in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Savery was next and threw two innings. He walked three and allowed a double to Josh Barfield. He was charged with one run on the day. Outman went two innings and allowed three runs on a three-run blast by Ryan Garko, pushing his spring ERA to 9.45 with a 1.95 ratio after three appearances. Garko’s home run was the only hit that Outman allowed, but he walked two and hit two batters. Knotts pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing a double and a walk.

Helms was 0-for-2 for the Phils, dropping his average to .182 (4-for-22 with a double). Pascucci had a triple with the help of an oddly played ball by Jason Tyner in center for the Indians. Howard was 1-for-2 with a double and walk. He’s hitting 458/500/750 in 24 at-bats.

On Friday the Phillies lost to Tampa Bay 9-1.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and allowed three runs on five hits and a walk, pushing his ERA to 12.60 after five spring training innings. Fabio Castro was next and he tossed three scoreless frames. I’d love to see Castro make the team as the second lefty out of the pen behind Romero. Carlos Carrasco was next and he got bombed, charged with six runs on 1 2/3 innings on five hits and four walks. Bisenius got the final out for the Phils to maintain his 0.00 ERA.

Offensively, Burrell drove in Bruntlett with a single in the sixth for the Phils only run. The Phils had just five hits and three walks on the day. Taguchi was 1-for-1 with a single, two walks and a stolen base.

You have to think that we’ll start to see less of Savery and Carrasco soon. They’ve thrown a lot of the innings early and I don’t think anyone really believes they have a chance to start the season with the team. Given Eaton’s struggles I think the Phils need to give those innings to guys they think might make the opening day roster.

Things apparently went well for Kris Benson as he faced minor leaguers this afternoon. This article suggests he still needs to get his velocity, which was in the upper-80s today, up.

The article linked above also says that Eaton had and MRI and CAT scan and the results will be known tomorrow.


Situational walking

Here is a chart of the 35 intentional walks that were issued to Howard last season, who the Phils were playing, what the situation was and my opinion about whether or not walking Howard in that situation benefited the team that did so for each walk (there’s not enough room for it, so it should pop-up in another window).

Whether or not the walk worked or not is obviously subjective. And it’s important to remember that not walking Howard intentionally clearly would have had poor outcomes in many cases as well. Howard hit 47 home runs in 648 plate appearances last season. Take away the 35 plate appearances in which he was not intentionally walked and he hit 47 bombs in 613 plate appearances or one about every 13 plate appearances. That’s about three home runs he would have hit in the 35 times he was intentionally walked if he continued to hit home runs at that rate.

Still, by my count, 11 of the 35 times Howard was walked intentionally it didn’t have a good outcome for the other team. And that’s with, as I wrote yesterday, miserable results for the hitters that came up behind Howard after he was intentionally walked.

Regardless of what followed after the intentional walk, I think most would agree that Howard was issued some intentional walks in unusual situations.

Six times he was walked intentionally in the first inning. For three of those walks there was no score in the game.

On April 2 against the Braves, with two outs and Victorino on second with the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, righty Bob Wickman walked Howard intentionally to pitch to Utley. Utley popped to third to end the inning, so it worked. But a hit still wins the game and Utley is more likely to bring the runner home from second with two outs than Howard (although that was before Utley had hit .332 in ’07 while Howard hit .268. Worked for the Braves, but I would have pitched to Howard).

On June 4 the Giants had lefty Barry Zito on the mound. With runners on second and third and one out in the first, the lefty Zito walked the lefty Howard with two righties behind him. They didn’t get the double-play but it worked anyway — Werth flew out and Rowand followed with a ground out.

On June 12 the White Sox walked him in the fourth inning when the Phillies were already winning by five runs. It worked, too. It put men on first and second with one out for Rowand and Rowand hit into a double-play.

On July 21 the Padres walked him with two outs in ninth and the Phils up by three runs already. Righty Cla Meredith walked Howard. Rowand followed and reached on an error — the Phils would score five times before the Padres got the third out.

It’s just a ton of intentional walks for Howard. It seems like it should cost the opponent and sometimes it does help to contribute to a big inning. But often it doesn’t, especially given how poorly Phillies’ hitters fared last year.

The other thing that’s interesting to me is the difference between the number of intentional walks Howard got last year and the number that Utley got. Utley and Howard each posted a .976 OPS, but Howard was walked intentionally 35 times and Utley was walked intentionally once. Not all hitters that post a .976 OPS are the same kind of hitter and obviously nobody is going to walk Utley with Howard hitting behind him to pitch to Howard, but that is still a fantastic difference.

One issue that may contribute to all the intentional walks for Howard is all the doubles that Utley hits. Utley had 48 last season, which tied him for third in the NL. Every time he hits a double in front of Howard it means that Howard comes up with first base open. With a righty on the mound and a righty hitting behind Howard there’s always the case to be made for putting Howard on and going after the righty.

By my count, 31 of the 35 intentional walks to Howard in 2007 came with both 1) a right-handed pitcher on the mound and 2) a right-handed hitter due to hit behind Howard. So the righty pitcher puts the lefty Howard on to get to the righty behind him. One way to prevent that is putting a lefty, Utley or Jenkins, behind Howard. I don’t think that’s a bad idea at all. But I also don’t think you can put Utley-Howard-Jenkins all in a row, either, which would let a single lefty come in and deal with all three of them. I don’t think that a lineup that went Rollins-Utley-Burrell-Howard-Jenkins one through five against a righty is a terrible idea — you’d like to see Utley coming up to bat with more runners on base a little more often than he would hitting second, but the Phils don’t really have a two-hitter anyway.

Another way to go would just be to try and hit higher than .156 after he gets walked intentionally.

The Phillies pounded the Reds yesterday, winning their exhibition opener 8-1. Travis Blackley was very good as he makes his bid for the 25-man roster. He allowed one hit in three innings and picked off the only runner he allowed to reach base. Moyer threw three scoreless innings, striking out three while allowing one hit. Carrasco threw a 1-2-3 frame with the help of two nice defensive plays. Madson gave up two singles in his inning but got out of it with a double-play. Clay Condrey is presumably also fighting for a roster spot along with Blackley. He struck out two in his inning, but allowed the Reds’ lone run on a solo homer by Adam Rosales.

Dobbs stroked a three-run homer as part of a seven-run fifth for the Phils. Feliz was 2-for-2 with a double, Bruntlett 2-for-2 with a double. Helms was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Phils play the Pirates today.

Article about the Phillies’ payroll here.

Article about Jason Jaramillo here.

Some of the Phillies turn out to have been good at other sports as well.


Taguchi acquisition apparently willing to go the extra mile to make sure you hate it

The Phillies put Matt Smith on waivers to make room for So Taguchi on the 40-man roster. Smith was due to miss much of ’08 after Tommy John surgery, but the choice is still surprising to me. TJ Bohn is on the 40-man roster for one thing, but that was already kind of a surprise in its own special way. They just added Lincoln Holdzkom in the Rule 5 draft and the chances that they aren’t going to have to offer him back to the Red Sox seem very small. Travis Blackley’s chances look a little better, but not good.

Don’t get that one, unless the Phillies just think that Smith is done. He was miserable in ’07, but was on the mound in big spots of big games at the end of 2006 for the Phils. He made 12 September appearances for the Phils in ’06 in the thick of a push for the Wild Card and wasn’t charged with a run in 11 of them. He struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings in those appearances while throwing to a 2.70 and an 0.90 ratio. The Phils still have a lefty problem in the pen — Romero helps a lot but they need another guy. Fabio Castro is going to be real good someday, I’m not as sure about Zagurski, Youman, Blackley or Happ.

Recapping the Bobby Abreu trade, the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for shortstop CJ Henry, Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and pitcher Carlos Monasterios. They’ve already released Henry (who resigned with the Yankees). If Sanchez or Monasterios are ever going to help the Phils it’s not going to be for a while.

Josh Towers signed a one-year deal with the Rockies for $400,000.


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