Tag: Wes Helms

Hamels fine as hitters try to find a New York state of mind

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later and after four tries the Phils finally got a win in a game started by Brett Myers or Cole Hamels. Hamels pitched very well for his second straight outing and Rollins got things going by leading off the game with a home run. So far this season Rollins is 5-for-7 with a double and a home run in his at-bats leading off the first inning.

Pat the Bat continues to be just that. Burrell came into the game with a 1.259 OPS for the season and drove in three runs with a pair of homers. Burrell’s blasts accounted for half of the home runs the Phillies hit on the day.

The Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon, winning 5-3 to improve to 3-4 on the season. The Phils and Reds split the four game series.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four.

Hamels started the first with a 3-0 lead and gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Freel. Juan Castro followed with a walk and, with Brandon Phillips at the plate, the runners took off on a double-steal. Feliz didn’t handle the throw at third and both runners were safe. Feliz was charged with an error, his second of the season. Phillips grounded to third and Freel scored to get the Reds on the board at 3-1 with one out. Adam Dunn fouled out to Ruiz for the second out before Jeff Keppinger singled, scoring Castro to make it 3-2. Edwin Encarnacion grounded to third to end the inning.

Hamels walked the pitcher Bronson Arroyo with two outs in the second, but got Freel to end the inning.

He started the third up 5-2 and with one out Phillips singled and stole second. Hamels struck out Dunn and got Keppinger to turn the Reds away.

Paul Bako doubled with two outs in the fourth, but Hamels got Arroyo for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Keppinger walked with one out in the sixth. Hamels got Encarnacion on a fly ball to left for the second out before Norris Hopper moved Keppinger to second with a single. Bako grounded to first to end the inning.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Tom Gordon started the eighth for the Phils after Hamels had been pinch-hit for in the top of the inning. He set the Reds down 1-2-3. Great inning for Flash, who got two fly balls and caught the lefty Dunn looking.

Lidge got his first save opportunity with the Phils in the ninth entering the game with a 5-2 lead after throwing 20 pitches on Sunday. Lidge got Encarnacion on a long fly ball to left for the first out and got Hopper to ground to third for the second. Bako drew a two out walk before Patterson popped one into shallow left. Taguchi made a long run and tried to make a basket catch, but the ball went in and out of his glove for an error. Lidge got behind Griffey 3-0 and then walked him intentionally to load the bases. Javier Valentin hit for Castro. Lidge’s 1-2 was in the dirt and Ruiz was unable to block it. Bako scored to make it 5-3 and the runners went to second and third with two down. Lidge’s next pitch was also in the dirt and Ruiz was unable to block it, but it didn’t trickle far enough away for Patterson to score from third. Valentin fouled one off before Lidge struck Valentin out looking at a pitch that seemed to be a little high and outside.

Don’t know if we’re ever going to see Gordon pitch on back-to-back days this season, but if we are tomorrow may be the day. He only needed nine pitches to set the Reds down in the eighth. Lidge threw 24 pitches and has now gone back-to-back days in which he threw at least 20 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Bronson Arroyo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Ruiz catches Hamels and Jenkins plays right against the righty.

Rollins led off the first and hit a 3-2 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino and Utley went down before Howard delivered a two-out double and Burrell followed and hit one out to left to make it 3-0. Jenkins popped out to end the frame.

With two outs in the second, Hamels and Rollins singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Victorino, who struck out for the third out.

With two outs in the third, Burrell homered to left to extend the Phillies’ lead to 4-2. Jenkins was next and he hammered a 2-0 pitch out to the opposite field for his first Phillies home run, making the score 5-2. Feliz flew to center for the third out.

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

Victorino started the fifth with a single. Utley was next and he grounded out to second with the help of a nice play from Phillips, who threw Utley out while lying on his side. Victorino went to second. Howard and Burrell both struck out to end the frame and leave Victorino stranded.

Feliz doubled with one out in the sixth. Ruiz was next and was hit by a pitch. Hamels bunted them to second and third and the lefty Jeremy Affeldt came in to pitch to Rollins and Rollins drew a walk to load the bases. Victorino grounded to third.

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

Feliz singled with one out in the eighth. Ruiz grounded to short for the second out and Feliz moved to second. Dobbs hit for Hamels and grounded out to the pitcher.

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

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run in the game. 6-for-17 in the four-game set. He’s hitting 300/344/567 on the year.

Victorino is struggling badly to start the season. He was 1-for-5 with a single, two strikeouts and five men left on base today. 3-for-17 with six strikeouts in the series. 143/172/214.

Utley was 0-for-5 in the game and 6-for-16 with two doubles in the series. 346/438/769.

Howard is off to a slow start after hitting .221 with three home runs last April. He was 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts today. 2-for-14 with a home run and seven strikeouts in the series. 208/333/375 on the season.

Burrell is on fire. 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI today. 7-for-13 with three homers, two doubles and seven RBI in the set. 435/519/957.

Jenkins was 1-for-4 with a home run today. 3-for-15 in the series. 261/320/435. His .320 on-base percentage leads the bottom three of the Phils order of Jenkins/Feliz/Ruiz. Jenkins, Feliz and Ruiz may struggle to get on base all season.

Feliz was 2-for-4 with a double today and 3-for-11 with a walk in the series. 261/292/304.

Ruiz 0-for-3 today and 2-for-11 with a double in the series. He’s at 158/200/263. Coste didn’t play today and was 0-for-4 in the series and is just 2-for-8 on the year.

Werth is the guy I wish was getting a lot more time than he is. He was just 0-for-1 in the series as the Reds threw four righties. He’s 1-for-5 on the year. The Phillies need to figure out a way to get him more time. If Victorino doesn’t turn it around soon, the Phils are going to have to act in some way, either by moving him down in the order or giving Taguchi or Werth (or, less likely, Bruntlett) some starts in center. I’m hoping that giving Werth a few tries in center if the first choice. Werth will no doubt be in right tomorrow against the lefty Perez.

Taguchi was 1-for-1 with a double in the series and is 1-for-3 on the year.

Bruntlett is still on the team but you’ll just have to take my word for it. 0-for-1 in the series and 1-for-2 on the year.

Jamie Moyer (0-0, 7.36) faces lefty Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00) tomorrow in New York as the Phils play their first of three against the Mets. Moyer was terrible in his first start of the year against Washington, allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings (only three of the runs were earned). Moyer made four starts against the Mets in 2007 and was really good. He went 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.35 ratio. He faced them on April 12, June 5, August 29 (the Marlon Anderson slide game) and September 14. Perez made his first start of the season against the Fish on Wednesday and went six scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out eight. Perez made three starts against the Phils in ’07, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and a 2.25 ratio. The Phils hit just .240 against him but he walked 18 in 13 1/3 innings. He faced the Phils on April 11, August 29 and September 16 of last year.

The Start Log is up to date.


Sigh of the tiger

Apparently you can put your Adam Eaton for Cy Young hats and party favors away. I don’t wanna be a stick-in-the-mud, but you might want to think about canceling that party altogether. After back-to-back solid spring starts, Eaton was hammered yesterday as the Phils dropped to 12-16 with a 14-5 loss to the Tigers in their final spring training game in Florida.

Eaton got the start and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and two walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, five doubles and a home run. He struck out one. Eaton came into spring training with a lot of people worried about his 6.29 ERA last season. His spring ERA puffed to 7.94 with yesterday’s outing. Of the ten pitchers sure to make the team, Eaton didn’t even have the worst day. Not even close, but more on that in a minute. Condrey followed Eaton and he was just fine. He gave up a single in 1 1/3 innings to drop his ERA to 4.05. Romero was next and he allowed a single in another scoreless frame. His ERA is a sparking 2.25.

Then came Flash. One out, six runs on three hits and three walks. Clete Thomas hit a two-run homer of him and Mike Hessman had a two-run double. The walks are almost as bad — three walks in a third of an inning isn’t the way to go, especially if you’re gonna have baseballs leaving the building at the rate Gordon has been. Gordon’s spring ERA is up to 12.38. 28-year-old righty Jason Anderson got the last two outs of the game but was charged with a run on two singles and a walk. The Phils signed Anderson to a minor league contract in May of last year and he pitched both Double and Triple-A, throwing to a combined 4.59 ERA with a 1.31 ratio in 64 2/3 innings. Anderson has appeared in 32 major league games in his career with the Yankees, Mets and Indians, throwing to a 6.39 ERA in 38 innings.

Pedro Feliz socked a three-run homer, his fifth of the spring. He was 1-for-4 on the day. Victorino had two singles in four at-bats to raise his average to .270. Helms 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Burrell 0-for-2 with two walks. Ruiz was 2-for-4 with another double, he’s hitting .372.

The Phils play the Blue Jays tonight in Citizens Bank Park and again tomorrow. Sunday they play Triple-A Lehigh Valley before opening against the Nationals in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon.

Brad Lidge pitched to a few hitters yesterday and only one of them homered.

If you’re willing to read about the details of the Phillies’ travel yesterday and Pat Gillick’s love of plane schedules, this article suggests that Chris Snelling has been put on waivers and that Wes Helms may be the 14th hitter. More on Snelling and waivers here. The Phillies will presumably have an eleventh pitcher, too. Might be JD Durbin if he clears waivers, but beyond that if you think you can pitch I wouldn’t wait another minute before giving the Phils a call. The bad news is that if you really could pitch the Phils would have called you by now.


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.


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.


Back in a flash

Brad Lidge will have surgery on his right knee and will miss three to six weeks. That’s bad news for a lot of reasons. Among them, it ensures the next round of Myers-to-the-pen talk will happen sooner than expected. Early results have Gillick saying that Myers absolutely will stay in the rotation and that the plan is for Gordon to close if Lidge misses time.

The other thing I think it means it that the chances that the Phils would carry 11 pitchers, allowing them to keep Helms on the roster, have diminished.

Regardless of whether Lidge is ready to go on opening day or not, and consensus seems to be chances are good he won’t be, the injury reinforces how precarious the pitching situation is for the Phillies. The Phils would have been weak in the bullpen if Lidge was healthy — they have a core of four guys out there most people would feel comfortable with and if this isn’t the injury that shelves one of them for a long time that injury is coming. Without a significant addition to the pen from outside the organization during the season or a major contribution from a player not currently considered to be part of the pen, the Phils’ relievers are going to struggle as a group this year. The good news, though, is that over the last couple of years the Phillies have been really good at improving their team after the season starts.

This article seems to suggest that the Phillies’ pitchers, and Myers in particular, were unsure about Ruiz last season.

Geoff Jenkins is apparently a swell fella.

In talking about Eric Bruntlett, Charlie Manuel says that he thinks he has shown that he will get people playing time if they deserve it. Insert your own Abraham Nunez joke here.

This article says that Benson had a good day throwing yesterday and that Benson thinks he’s just a week behind the other pitchers in camp. It sure seems like there’s a potential for problems with Benson if he thinks he’s ready before the Phillies do.

Aaron Rowand says was bothered by Gillick’s comments about his ability to avoid injury in this article.


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