Tag: wilson valdez

Let’s turn one! Maybe even none!

Brief aside. John Mayberry got 479 plate appearances in 2012 in which he hit into 17 double-plays. Seventeen double-plays was ninth-most among NL hitters in ’12, but virtually all of the eight players who hit into more than 17 double-plays in ’12 had a lot more plate appearances than Mayberry. Houston’s JD Martinez is the only NL player with more than 400 plate appearances to hit into double-plays in a higher percentage of plate appearances than Mayberry.

Here’s how the top of the list of players with the highest percentage of plate appearances in which they hit into double plays (for NL players with at least 400 plate appearances in ’12):

Player PA GDP % PA GDP PA per GDP
JD Martinez 439 18 4.10 24.4
John Mayberry 479 17 3.55 28.2
Chris Johnson 528 18 3.41 29.3
AJ Ellis 505 17 3.37 29.7
David Freese 567 19 3.35 29.8
Chipper Jones 448 15 3.35 29.9
Michael Morse 430 14 3.26 30.7
Ryan Zimmerman 641 20 3.12 32.1
Buster Posey 610 19 3.11 32.1
Ian Desmond 547 17 3.11 32.2

Overall in the NL in 2012, batters grounded into 1,840 double-plays in 98,063 plate appearances. That’s about 1.87% or one GDP per 53.3 PA. The Phillies overall grounded into 114 double-plays in 6,172 plate appearances, which is 1.85% of their PA and one about every 54.14. The Phils other than Mayberry registered GDP in just 1.7% of their PA or one every 58.7.

The good news for Mayberry and the rest of the Phillies is that none of them are likely to eclipse Wilson Valdez’s double-play pace from 2010, hopefully for a long time. In 2010, Valdez got 363 plate appearances and hit into 20 double-plays. That’s about 5.51% of his PA and once every 18.15 times to the plate.

This article looks at position battles for spring training and offers a projected lineup that looks like this:

  1. Rollins, SS
  2. Utley, 2B
  3. M Young, 3B
  4. R Howard, 1B
  5. D Young, RF
  6. TBD, LF
  7. Ruiz, C
  8. Revere, CF

Again, I still think Delmon Young won’t see much time in right and will play mostly in left when he plays. I think Revere will hit higher than eighth, especially against righties. I think Brown will be a regular guy at one of the corner positions — I’m hoping left, but think that right is more likely.

This article reviews the NRIs for the Phils.


Catch! Rising Star

Point for today is that Domonic Brown has been an atrocious defensive outfielder over the past two seasons. In 2010 his UZR/150 was -37.9 and in ’11 it was -26.0. How bad is that? In 2011 there were 62 NL players who played at least 450 innings as an outfielder — Brown’s -26.0 was the worst mark of those 62. In 2010 he only played he only played 112 defensive innings, but his UZR/150 of -37.9 was 185th-best of the 192 players across both leagues who played at least 100 innings in the outfield.

FanGraphs has UZR data starting in 2002. Among Phillie outfielders who played at least 100 innings in each of the last ten seasons, here’s who posted the best and worst UZR/150 and the number of innings they played that year:

Year Best UZR/150 Innings Worst UZR/150 Innings
2011 Mayberry 9.4 474 1/3 Brown -26.0 451
2010 Victorino 2.8 1265 1/3 Brown -37.9 112
2009 Francisco 12.6 181 1/3 Mayberry -22.6 127
2008 Werth 28.5 966 Burrell -12.3 1198 1/3
2007 Werth 30.5 575 2/3 Burrell -29.6 1028 1/3
2006 C Roberson 24.6 103 2/3 Abreu -16.9 848
2005 J Michaels 32.8 635 1/3 E Chavez -8.9 185
2004 R Ledee 51.1 175 1/3 M Byrd -18.4 753 1/3
2003 J Michaels 25.4 179 2/3 R Ledee -19.0 491
2002 D Glanville 8.7 891 1/3 R Ledee -21.5 371 2/3

And you thought you might go your whole day without thinking about Chris Roberson or Ricky Ledee even once, didn’t you?

In 2007, Pat Burrell put up an UZR/150 of -29.6 while stumbling about in left field for the Phils. That’s the only outfielder for the team, though, that played 100 innings in the outfield in a season over the past ten years and posted a mark worse than the -26.0 that Brown put up over 451 innings in 2011. No outfielder on the team over the past ten seasons has played at least 100 innings for the Phils with an UZR/150 worse than his -37.9 in 2010.

Over the last ten years combined, the Phillies have 15 players who played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Of those, Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 is fifteenth. By a lot. Ricky Ledee has the second-worst mark at -8.8.

Notably, Burrell, the poster boy for awful defensive outfielders in recent Phillie history, has an UZR/150 of -8.0 over 8,140 innings as an outfielder with the Phils since the start of 2002, considerably better than Brown, but also better than Ibanez (-8.6) or Ledee (-8.8) and the same as Francisco (-8.0). Unlike Brown, whose defensive numbers early in his career have been hideous, Burrell’s defensive numbers weren’t awful early in his career but got bad when he got older. From 2002 to 2004, his age 25, 26 and 27 seasons, Burrell played 3,629 2/3 innings in the outfield for the Phils with an UZR/150 of -0.1.

Ibanez, while we’re on the subject, also had a terrible UZR/150 of -21.8 while playing left field for the Phillies in 2011 (topped in defensive feebleness on the list above only by Brown (twice), Burrell in 2007 and Mayberry in 2009, although Mayberry did a whole lot less damage being terrible in 127 innings in 2009 than Ibanez did in 1,196 2/3 in 2011).

Since the start of 2002, there are 242 NL players that have played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 tops only one of them (Lucas Duda of the Mets).

The Phils traded Wilson Valdez to the Reds for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst. In the linked article, Amaro mentions Michael Martinez and Freddy Galvis as players who give the Phils utility depth, but also suggests that Galvis will start the year at Triple-A. Valdez should be pretty replaceable, but trying to replace him with Michael Martinez sure seems like a move that would make the Phillies worse. The article also mentions Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna as options.

The Valdez era ends with Valdez having hit 254/300/351 in 663 plate appearances with the Phils in 2010 and 2011 combined. Valdez got at least 300 plate appearances with the teams in each of those years. Prior to coming to the Phillies, he had never gotten 150 plate appearances in a season.

On October 6, 2010, Valdez started at third for the Phils in game one of the NLDS against the the Reds, which was somehow overshadowed by Halladay throwing a no-hitter. On October 23 of the same year, he was the pinch-runner at second for Polanco when Brian Wilson struck Howard out looking to end game six of the NLCS with the Giants having topped the Phillies 3-2 to take the series.

Three Phillie pitchers made MLB.com’s list of the top 100 pitching prospects. Righty Trevor May was 54th, lefty Jesse Biddle 78th and righty Brody Colvin 80th.

I think this says that Larry Bowa will be shocked if the Phillies don’t go to the World Series. Hoping for the best, but I will not be shocked if the Phils don’t go to the World Series.

This suggests that Brad Lidge and the Nats have agreed to a deal.


Half and better half

The Phillies played 82 games from the start of the season to the end of June, going 51-31. In those 82 games, they were eighth in the NL in runs scored. After June, the Phils played 80 games, going 51-29. They led the league in runs scored in those 80 games.

Here’s a look back at what the offense did by position, breaking the season down into two halves — the 82 games through the end of June and the 80 games after the start of July.

Catcher:

Ruiz served as the primary catcher for the Phils in both the first and second half of the season. He was simply much better during the second half (after the end of June) than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 221 3 16 243 348 333
July to End 251 3 24 317 391 425

Ruiz played a little more in the second half and showed more power, but mostly just got a lot more hits, hitting .317 in the second half after hitting .243 in the first. He actually walked a little less regularly in the second half, about 9.2% of his plate appearances compared to about 11.3% in the first half, but his on-base percentage was a whole lot better thanks to the much better batting average.

First base:

At first, Howard fared about as well after the end of June as he had in the first 82 games of the year:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 353 17 64 254 354 488
July to End 291 16 52 252 337 488

Very similar numbers for Howard in both halves. He walked more regularly in the first half, but hit for nearly the same average with about the same power.

The Phils did see a benefit at the position in the second half of the year thanks to John Mayberry. Mayberry started just ten games at first the whole year, but nine of those starts came after the end of June. Mayberry crushed the ball in 2011 while playing first for the Phillies — in his 45 plate appearances while playing first he put up a monster 409/422/682 line.

Second:

Second base was an offensive disaster for the Phils in the early part of the season. Chase Utley returned at the end of May and hit .222 in 27 May at-bats, but followed that up with a fantastic June in which he hit 297/387/470. He was even better in July as he hit 293/369/550. From August 1 to the end of the regular season he hit a meager 227/305/343. Here’s what his numbers first and second half look like:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 140 3 16 280 381 449
July to End 314 8 28 250 328 414

Utley was simply not good after the end of June, hitting just .250 and on-basing .328. As uninspired as those numbers are, they still were a significant improvement for a team that struggled to find offense from the position while Utley was out.

Here’s the numbers of games started at second base for the Phils in the first and second halves of the year:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Utley 31 (37.8%) 69 (86.3%)
Valdez 31 (37.8%) 2 (2.5%)
Orr 16 (19.5%) 4 (7.5%)
Martinez 4 (4.9%) 3 (3.7%)

So Utley started about 38% of the games at second through the end of June and about 86% of the games after June. And even though he wasn’t hitting particularly Utley-like, that’s still important. Cause even a sluggish Utley is a whole lot better offensively than those other guys. Here’s what the four guys who started games for the Phillies at second did offensively while playing that position in 2011:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Utley 451 257 340 423
Valdez 126 246 289 307
Orr 82 213 280 240
Martinez 30 241 267 379

Even an Utley way off his game was way better than the rest of those guys, most notably out on-basing the second-best on-base percentage in the group (Valdez) by more than fifty points.

After Utley returned to the Phillies on May 23, the Phils led the NL in runs scored the rest of the way. That was despite the fact that the offense wasn’t good at all in June, though, as the Phils finished eleventh in the NL that month. Because the offense was so terrible in June (despite a monster 297/387/470 line for Utley for the month) it’s hard for me to see his return as the turnaround point for the offense. The offense was best in the NL after that date because 1) they were fantastic in July, better than any other NL team, and very strong in August and September and 2) in the nine games from May 23 to the end of May, the Phils played nine games and scored 51 runs or 5.67 runs per game.

Third base:

Polanco, you may have noticed, was atrocious in 2011. He didn’t start out that way, though. He hit nearly .400 in April, putting up a 398/447/524 line over 114 plate appearances. After that he hit 243/304/287 the rest of the way.

He played a lot less in the second half of the season, and without the huge April his numbers were a lot worse:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 340 4 39 288 339 363
July to End 183 1 11 258 328 294

When he did play in the second half, Polanco’s walk rate rose a little (8.7% of plate appearances compared to 7.6% in the first half), but his average was way off and his power nearly gone altogether. He had four extra-base hits from July 1 to the end of the year.

Here’s who started at third for the Phils through the end of June and after the start of July:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Polanco 76 (92.7%) 39 (48.8%)
Valdez 6 (7.3%) 15 (18.7%)
Martinez 0 (0%) 24 (30.0%)
Orr 0 (0%) 2 (2.5%)

Polanco got more than 90% of the starts in the first 82 games of the year for the Phils. After the start of July, Valdez, Martinez and Orr combined to start more often at third than he did.

Here’s what the guys did offensively while playing third for the Phils this year:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Polanco 513 280 337 343
Martinez 104 231 304 352
Valdez 84 253 286 354
Orr 7 000 000 000

Unlike second base, there was not a huge improvement at the position when the Phils got their starter on the field. For the year, Valdez and Martinez both offered significantly more power from the position while getting on base a little less. Not to be forgotten is that Polanco hit 243/304/287 for the year after the end of April — both Martinez and Valdez gave the Phils more offense at third when they played than Polanco did after his strong April.

Short:

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins was a much better offensive player in the second half of the year than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 352 7 31 254 327 368
July to End 279 9 32 286 351 437

More hits and more power for Rollins in the second half of the season than the first. His walk rate was down, but just a tiny bit, and thanks to all the hits his on-base percentage was up to .351. From June 26 through August 20, Rollins hit 298/372/461 over 215 plate appearances.

He didn’t play nearly as much in the second half as he did the first. Valdez made 20 starts at short on the season and 15 of them came after the start of July. Valdez had solid numbers while playing short for the Phils in 2011, though, posting a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. That’s very similar to the 272/340/417 line that Rollins put up while playing short in 2011.

While playing short for the Phils in 2011, Valdez posted a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. He got 219 plate appearances as something other than a shortstop. In those plate appearances he hit 239/277/313.

Left field:

Ibanez didn’t play as much in left field in the second half of the season, but when he did he was a little better:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 309 9 34 235 285 393
July to End 266 11 50 256 293 448

He was still terrible at getting on base, but Ibanez did show a bit more power in the second half of the year.

Ibanez started in left in 72 of the first 82 (87.8%) games of the season for the Phils. After the start of July the Phils played 80 games and he started just 59 (73.7%). The other 21 second-half starts were made by Mayberry (12) and Francisco (nine).

Both of those guys were fantastic in the second half. Here’s what the two did after the start of July (at all positions, not just left field):

PA AVG OBP SLG
Mayberry 179 301 358 607
Francisco 65 322 354 407

Mayberry was absolutely fantastic in the second half, hitting 12 home runs in 179 plate appearances while on-basing .358. That’s a lot of home runs — at that pace he would hit about 37 over a season of 550 plate appearances. For the season, he actually hit 15 over 296 plate appearances, which would have him at about 25 over 550 plate appearances.

Francisco hardly played at all after the start of July, but when he did he hit .322. That’s more than a hundred points higher than the .220 he hit in 228 plate appearances in the first 82 games of the season when he had a chance to cement his status as an everyday player. Just a tiny number of chances for Francisco in the second half, but I do think it’s curious that he seemingly forgot all about try to walk and hit .322. In the first 82 games of the season he walked in 12.7% of his plate appearances and in the last 80 he got just 65 plate appearances but walked in only 6.2% of them.

As bad as Francisco was with the Phils in 2011, he on-based .340 for the season, which was a career high. I think there’s a good chance that the Phils are going to regret having given him away.

Center Field:

Victorino played about as much in center the first and second halves of the season with about the same results.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 288 9 31 289 359 504
July to End 298 8 30 270 351 479

More hits in the first half, more walks in the second with about the same power all season long. Victorino started 63 of the 82 first half games (76.8%) and 63 of the 80 second-half games (78.5%). He really only had one month of the season where he wasn’t an outstanding offensive player in 2011 and that was September. After going 2-for-4 with a walk against the Fish on September 2, Victorino was hitting a silly 308/384/542 for the season. He would hit 163/237/288 in 115 plate appearances the rest of the way. Curiously the Phils kept playing him and playing him down the stretch, even after they clinched and he continued to slump. Victorino got 125 plate appearances in September, which led the team and was also the most he had in any month in 2011.

There were 34 games for the Phils in 2011 when Victorino didn’t start at center. Mayberry started 26 of them and Martinez eight. Martinez was predictably terrible, going 5-for-39 with five singles and no walks (128/128/128).

Overall for the year, Mayberry didn’t get on base a whole lot in his 115 plate appearances as a center fielder, but he did show a ton of power. He posted a 236/296/472 line in center for the season.

In his 13 starts in center field in the first half of the year, Mayberry was wretched. In those 13 games he hit 191/255/277. In the second half he started 13 games as well, but with much different results, posting a 291/328/673. In 13 second-half starts in center, Mayberry went 16-for-55 with 12 of the 16 hits going for extra-bases — seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. Four home over 13 starts is impressive, but so is seven doubles. At that pace, over 162 starts you would tally about 50 home runs and 87 doubles.

Right field:

Hunter Pence was traded from the Astros in late July and played his first game with the Phils on July 30. He was great in August (340/413/600) and almost as great in September (317/385/550).

For the 2011 season, Pence hit 325/396/563 in 235 plate appearances as the right field fielder for the Phillies.

This is what the guys for the Phils other than Pence who played right field for the Phils did in 2011 while playing right field:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Francisco 208 232 335 367
Brown 205 240 332 391
Mayberry 26 318 423 727
Gload 10 300 300 300
Bowker 2 000 000 000
Moss 2 000 000 000

Mayberry had some nifty numbers in 26 plate appearances and Gload went 3-for-10, but those guys were bad overall. Most notably, Brown and Francisco combined to get 413 plate appearances in which they hit a meager 236/333/379 combined.

To summarize:

  • In right, Pence arrived at the end of July and was not just good but great, hitting 324/394/560 over 236 plate appearances with the Phils.
  • At second, the first half production was miserable. Utley returned on May 23 and gave the Phils an enormous boost, replacing at-bats by Valdez, Orr and Martinez with Utley at-bats. He didn’t have a Chase Utley-like performance after the start of July, hitting just 250/328/414 from the start July to the end of the season, but it was still enough to give the Phils a huge boost at the position.
  • At catcher, Ruiz was a better hitter after the start of July. Getting about the same playing time in both halves, Ruiz hit 243/348/333 before the start of July and 317/391/425 from the start of July to the end of the regular season.
  • At short, Rollins, like Ruiz, was just better at offensively during the second half, hitting 286/351/437 after the start of July having ended June with a 254/327/368 line.
  • In left, Ibanez was bad both halves, but did get better in the second half and showed more power. He also played less in the second half as Francisco and Mayberry combined to make 21 starts in left. Francisco was good in limited time in the second half and Mayberry was great, hitting 301/358/607.
  • In center, Victorino had similar numbers both halves with a little drop off after July. Mayberry started the same number of games in center in the first and second halves (13), but had much better numbers in his 13 starts in center after July than before it. In 13 starts in center before the end of June he hit 191/255/277. In his 13 starts in center after the start of July he hit 291/328/673.
  • At first base, Ryan Howard had similar numbers in both halves. The Phils got a small bump at the position from Mayberry at the second half when Mayberry started nine of the ten games he started at first for the season. For the year, Mayberry hit a silly 409/422/682 as a 1B.
  • At third, Polanco, awful with the bat in 2011, did see less time at third during the second half of the year, but his fantastic April plus the fact that the guys who replaced him at third when he didn’t play in the second half didn’t do much of anything to help the Phillies.

Again, the Phils got a huge boost from Mayberry in the last 80 games, helping out in left, center and at first base.

A big question about the second-half surge seems to be whether Utley’s return or Pence’s arrival was a bigger factor. My thinking is that Pence was a bigger factor from July to the end of the year, but Utley’s return was likely a bigger factor for the year. More on that soon.

The comments close two weeks after a post is published, which is why we could not continue the discussion from the previous about whether or not David Wright is coming to the Phils. He’s not. Or at least a lot of people are going to be real surprised if he is.


Phils apparently looking to make up for what they missed with roster expansion with lineup expansion

The Phils continued to roll last night, beating the Brewers 7-2 to win for the ninth time in their last 11 games, winning the game with a wackadoo starting lineup that didn’t include Rollins, Utley, Howard or Ibanez. They did just fine without those guys as Valdez, Pence, Mayberry and Francisco combined to go 8-for-18 in the game and drive in six runs.

Hamels gave the Phils another fantastic start, throwing a complete game and holding the Brewers to a pair of runs on two solo homers. If you’re looking for something to worry about in the complete game effort, I’d go with the rising home run rate for Hamels — he was great at preventing the home run early in the season, but has been a lot less great recently. In his first 17 starts he allowed six in 116 innings (about 0.47 HR per nine innings). Over his last 11 starts he has now allowed eight in 78 innings (about 0.92 HR per nine innings).

The Phillies are 92-48 on the year after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 last night. They are 44 games over .500 for the first time in the history of the organization and lead the NL East by ten games over the Braves.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both solo home runs. He struck out two.

He set the Brewers down in order in the first, getting Corey Hart on a fly ball to right, Jerry Hairston on a ground ball to short and Ryan Braun on a popup that Martinez handled.

Prince Fielder grounded to second for the first out of the second. Casey McGehee was next and he singled to left, but Hamels got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Hamels struck Jonathan Lucroy out swinging for the first out in the third. Carlos Gomez tried to bunt for a hit, but Mayberry retired him for the second. The pitcher Chris Narveson grounded to second.

Hamels walked Hairston with one out in the fourth, but got Braun and Fielder to leave him stranded.

McGehee grounded to third for the first out of the fifth. Betancourt was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left center to put the Brewers up 1-0. Hamels got Lucroy and Gomez behind Betancourt.

He started the sixth with a 6-1 lead. Nyjer Morgan flew to center for the first out, but Hart was next and he lined a 3-1 pitch out to right center, cutting the lead to 6-2. Hamels got Hairston and Braun behind Hart.

Fielder singled to right to start the seventh. McGehee popped to Martinez for the first out. Betancourt was next and he went down on a soft ground ball handled by Hamels, with Fielder moving up to second with two down. Lucroy walked on five pitches and righty Josh Wilson hit for the pitcher Tim Dillard. Wilson grounded to third to end the inning.

Hamels set Morgan, Hart and Hairston down in order in the eighth.

Up 7-2, he got Braun, Fielder and McGehee in the ninth. He threw 111 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Chris Narveson went (1) Victorino (2) Valdez (3) Polanco (4) Pence (5) Mayberry (6) Ruiz (7) Francisco (8) Martinez. Valdez at short with Rollins, who was activated before the game, on the bench. Martinez at second with Utley having his head checked and rested. Mayberry at first against the lefty with Howard resting. Ibanez resting with Francisco in left. Francisco starts just his third game since July 22. July 22 was the 98th game of the year for the Phils — last night’s game was number 140. Polanco drops to three in the order with Valdez hitting second.

The Phils didn’t have a base-runner until Hamels walked with two outs in the third. Victorino flew to center to leave him at first.

They went in order in the fourth.

Mayberry started the fifth with a single. Ruiz fouled out to the catcher and Francisco hit into a double-play behind him.

This might not even be Francisco’s favorite year in professional baseball.

The Phils were down 1-0 when Martinez and Hamels both struck out to start the sixth. Victorino was next and hit a ball to left that almost left the yard, hitting high off the very top of the wall and bouncing back onto the field for a double. Valdez was next and doubled just over the head of Gomez in center, scoring Victorino to tie the game at 1-1. Polanco followed with a walk that put men on first and second for Pence. Pence hit a ball to the gap in right-center that Gomez misplayed badly. Pence should have had a double, but wound up at third with Valdez and Polanco both scoring to put the Phils up 3-1. Mayberry was next and reached on an infield single with Pence scoring. 4-1. Mayberry stole second before Ruiz brought him home with a double to left. 5-1. Francisco singled to left and Ruiz scored. 6-1. Righty Tim Dillard came in to pitch to Martinez and Martinez singled to right where the ball was mishandled by Hart for an error, allowing Francisco to go to third. Hamels struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Looked like the misplay of Pence’s ball that gave him an extra-base was going to cost Milwaukee a run when Mayberry followed with an infield single that brought Pence home from third, but he would have scored on Ruiz’s double anyway. Gomez didn’t have a good inning in center either way.

The lead was cut to 6-2 when the Phils hit in the seventh. Polanco singled with two outs, but Pence grounded to the pitcher behind him.

Francisco singled with two outs in the eighth and stole second before Martinez drew a walk. It put men on first and second for Hamels. Hamels hit for himself and struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Valdez singled with one out in the ninth and Polanco went down on a fly ball to right behind him. Pence was next, though, and he doubled to right with Valdez scoring to extend the lead to 7-2. Mayberry walked before Ruiz grounded to third for the third out.

Victorino went 1-for-5 with a double, dropping his average on the year to .299. That’s the first time he’s ended the day with an average under .300 this year since July 28.

Valdez 2-for-5 with a double. He’s 7-for-19 with three extra-base hits to start September.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a walk. He has one extra-base hit, a double, in his last 155 plate appearances over 36 games.

Pence 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI to raise his line with the Phillies to 311/383/541.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-his-last-8 with three walks.

Ruiz 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 321/390/420 since the All-Star break.

Francisco 2-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-7 with a double and two walks in his last two starts.

Martinez 1-for-3 with a walk. Five walks in 26 plate appearances in September.

Roy Halladay (16-5, 2.49) faces righty Shawn Marcum (12-5, 3.11) tonight. Righties have hit just 181/230/301 against Marcum for the year. Lefties have fared better at 257/313/390. He made one start against the Phils this year, allowing an unearned run on April 18. Halladay hasn’t allowed a home run in his last eight starts. Halladay has made one start against Milwaukee this year and it was pretty much his worst outing of the season. On April 19 he was charged with six runs in 6 2/3 innings in Philadelphia and the Phils lost 9-0. Halladay’s line was bad for the night anyway, but got worse when Herndon took over for him with two outs and two on in the seventh and gave up a three-run shot to Casey McGehee.


Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves

The Phils added Hunter Pence to the mix this weekend and kept right on winning, sweeping the Pirates to end July 17-8. The offense roared to life in July for the Phils, scoring more than five and a half runs a game after scoring about 3.73 runs per game in May and June combined.

On Friday the Phils scored eight runs in the first two innings on their way to a 10-3 win. Utley delivered a home run, a triple and four RBI in his first two at-bats of the game. Halladay threw seven shutout innings and Carpenter allowed three runs in the eighth on three hits and a walk, pushing his ERA on the year to 7.71.

Pence made his debut with the Phillies in game two, which the Phils won 7-4. Homers by Howard and Rollins and an RBI-double by Howard had the Phils up 3-0 after three innings. Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer off of Lee in the fourth, cutting the lead to 3-2, but singles by Lee, Rollins, Utley and Howard got the Phils two more runs in the bottom of the frame and extended the lead to 5-2. Ruiz doubled Polanco home in the seventh to make it 6-2, but Lee yielded a pair of runs in the top of the eighth on three singles and a walk before Bastardo came on to strike out Alvarez with the score 6-4. Victorino started the ninth with a triple and Pence singled him home to make it 7-4. Madson struck out the side in the ninth for his 18th save.

Yesterday the Phillies won 6-5 on a tenth inning walkoff double by Ibanez to complete the sweep.

The Phillies are 68-39 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 yesterday afternoon. The Phils sweep the three-game series and remain in first place in the NL East, six games ahead of the Pirates.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

He got the first two batters in the first before Andrew McCutchen doubled to right. Worley struck Neil Walker out to leave McCutchen at second.

He struck out the side in the second, getting Pedro Alvarez and Brandon Wood swinging and Lyle Overbay looking.

He started the third with a 1-0 led and got the first two batters before Xavier Paul singled into center. Worley got Garrett Jones on a fly ball to right to leave Paul at first.

He set the Pirates down in order in the fourth.

Wood singled to center with one out in the fifth and moved to second when Eric Fryer singled to left behind him. The pitcher Jeff Karstens bunted the runners to second and third with the second out. Paul was next and he singled to left, scoring Wood and Fryer and putting the Pirates up 2-1. Worley got Jones to fly to left to set the Pirates down.

The Phils were ahead again when Worley started the sixth, this time with a 3-2 lead. Walker singled with one out, but Worley struck Alvarez out behind him for the second out. It brought Overbay to the plate. Worley got ahead of him 0-2, but the lefty hit a 1-2 pitch out to right for a two-run homer, putting the Pirates up 4-3. Worley got Wood to line to third on a nice play by Martinez for the third out.

Lidge started the seventh and walked the leadoff man Fryer on five pitches. Karstens bunted him to second with the first out before Paul flew to center for the second. Jones lined a double to center and Fryer scored, extending the Pittsburgh lead to 5-3. Lidge got behind McCutchen 3-0, but struck him out swinging 3-2 to leave the runner at second.

Manuel continues to put Lidge into close games, which suggests he has a lot more confidence in him than I do at this point. Walking the leadoff man often doesn’t work out for the pitcher, but nice to see Lidge come back and get McCutchen.

Perez started the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Walker, but got Alvarez on a fly ball to right for the first out struck Overbay out for the second. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Wood and struck him out looking to leave Walker stranded.

Madson started the ninth with the score tied at 5-5. He allowed a one-out single to pinch-hitter Matt Diaz and Pedro Ciriaco ran for Diaz at first. Madson struck Paul out swinging for the second out before Ciriaco stole second. Madson got the lefty Jones on a ground ball to first for the third out.

Bastardo started the tenth with the score still tied and set the Pirates down in order.

Four innings for the pen in which they allow a run on three hits and a walk. Lidge threw 23 pitches in the game and Herndon 11. Everyone else was under ten. Bastardo and Madson have both pitched two days in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Karstens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Martinez. Polanco on the bench with Martinez at third and Victorino hitting second. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench.

Rollins bunted to start the bottom of the first, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch out to center with one out in the first, putting the Phils up 1-0. Schneider and Martinez went down behind him.

Worley started the third with a single, but Rollins, Victorino and Utley went down behind him.

Pence and Ibanez struck out as the Phillies went in order in the fourth.

The Phils trailed 2-1 when Schneider started the fifth with a double to right. Martinez was next and he singled to left, moving Schneider to third. Worley bunted Martinez to second with the first out before Rollins singled to right, scoring both runners and putting the Phils up 3-2. Rollins was thrown out trying to steal second before Victorino walked. Utley followed that with a single that sent Victorino to second. Howard flew to right to leave both men stranded.

The caught stealing by Rollins probably cost the Phils a run. Worley singles in the third then gets the bunt down in the fifth.

The Phils were losing 4-3 when Pence started the sixth with a walk. Ibanez flew to right for the first out before Schneider grounded to second with Pence moving up to second. Martinez grounded to second to leave Pence stranded.

Down 5-3, the Phils went in order in the seventh. With the righty Karstens still on the mound for Pittsburgh, Francisco hit for Lidge and was called out looking at a ball out of the zone for the first out.

Howard doubled off of lefty Joe Beimel with one out in the eighth. Righty Jose Veras came in to pitch to Pence and Pence hit a ground ball to short with Wood fielding and throwing to Alvarez at third when Howard was tagged out for the second out. The righty Veras stayed in to pitch to Ibanez and Ibanez hit his first pitch to him out to left for his second home run of the day, tying the game at 5-5. Schneider flew to right for the third out.

Pence hitting after Howard and means Veras comes in to pitch to Pence, but the Pirates leave the righty in to face Ibanez and Ibanez makes them pay.

Martinez flew to left for the first out in the ninth. With righty Chris Resop pitching for Pittsburgh, Gload hit for Madson and flew to right for the second out. Rollins drew a walk and stole second before Victorino walked. It put men on first and second and lefty Tony Watson took over for Resop. Rollins and Victorino pulled off a double-steal before Watson got Utley to fly to center, leaving both runners stranded and sending the game to extra innings.

Watson struck Howard out to start the tenth, but Pence followed that with a double to left. Ibanez ripped a 1-0 pitch into right for a double. Pence scored easily to give the Phils a 6-5 win.

Turns out the lefty didn’t fare much better against Ibanez after all.

Rollins was 2-for-4 in the game with a walk and two stolen bases. 6-for-13 with two walks, two home runs and five RBI in the series. He is hitting 269/339/408 for the year after hitting 312/375/523 in July.

Victorino 0-for-3 with two walks and a steal. 5-for-13 with a double and two triples in the set. He also walked twice. 302/378/521 for the year.

Utley 1-for-5. 5-for-14 with a triple and a home run in the series. 381/447/810 over his last 47 plate appearances. 286/376/493 on the year.

Howard 1-for-5 and struck out twice. 6-for-13 with four doubles, home run and a walk in the series. 253/343/476 for the season.

Pence 1-for-4 with a walk and a double. He’s 2-for-9 with a double and a walk in his first two games with the Phils. 306/355/468 for the year.

Ibanez 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and four RBI. 4-for-12 with three walks, a double and two home runs in the series. 247/293/434 for the year. 306/344/600 over his last 90 plate appearances.

Schneider 1-for-4 with a double in his only action of the series. 179/247/308 for the year.

Martinez 1-for-4 in the game and in the series. 219/264/314 for the year. He’s 2-for-his-last-19.

Hamels (12-6, 2.61) faces righty Jhoulys Chacin (8-8, 3.50) tonight in Colorado. The 23-year-old Chacin has been great all year, but slightly less great over his last three starts, throwing to a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings. He does give up a lot of home runs — in 133 2/3 innings for the year so far, he’s allowed 18. Hamels has had one bad start in his last 12, when he allowed seven runs to the Mets on July 16. In each of the other 11 starts he’s allowed two runs or less.

The Phils sent Domonic Brown back to Triple-A. Valdez and Martinez is a lot of guys like Valdez and Martinez to have on the roster at the same time. Valdez has gotten 556 plate appearances with the Phils over the last two seasons in which he has on-based .295.


Six of won, none of the other

The Phils swept a double-header with the Fish yesterday, winning the afternoon game in an 8-1 blowout and getting a walkoff single from Ruiz in the bottom of the tenth to win 5-4 last night.

The Phils now won six games in a row for the first time this season. In the six games they have outscored their opponents 40-15. You need a lot of guys contributing the score 6.7 runs a game, but the most welcome sight in the offensive display has been the emergence of Chase Utley. Utley has gone 9-for-23 with seven extra-base hits in the last six games, posting a 391/489/913 line in 27 plate appearances.

The Phillies are 43-26 on the year after winning both games of a double-header with the Florida Marlins yesterday. They have won six in a row and are 17 games above .500 for the first time on the year. They have the best record in baseball and lead the second-place Braves by five games in the NL East.

Last night the Phils won the second game 5-4 on a walkoff single by Ruiz in the bottom of the tenth.

Halladay got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a solo home run. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.

He had a rough first inning, allowing a pair of runs that gave Florida an early 2-0 lead. Hanley Ramirez led off the game with a double and came around to score on a pair of ground outs. Gaby Sanchez homered to right-center with the bases empty for the second run.

The Phils scored a run in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 2-1. Halladay kept Florida off the board in the second and the third, hitting Greg Dobbs with a pitch in the third and allowing a one-out single to Chris Coghlan in the third.

Florida scored two more in the fourth. Dobbs and Jose Lopez doubled back-to-back with one out, putting men on second and third for John Buck. Buck went down to get a 2-2 pitch and dumped it into center, scoring both runners to extend the Fish lead to 4-1.

Halladay didn’t allow a base-runner in the fifth, sixth or seventh. In the seventh he struck out the side, getting Buck and pitcher Anibal Sanchez looking and Ramirez swinging.

The Phils had added another run in the fifth, so Bastardo started the eighth with the Phillies down 4-2. He got the first two batters he faced and Stutes came in to get the righty Sanchez to ground to short for the third out.

Bastardo lowered his ERA on the year to 1.05 with the outing. In his last ten appearances he’s thrown 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and four walks. Opponents are hitting .129 against him for the season.

Stutes pitched the ninth with the Phils still down 4-2. He walked Mike Stanton to start the inning, but got Dobbs on a fly ball to left behind him. He hit Lopez with a pitch, putting men on first and second for Buck. Stutes got Buck on a popup to Utley for the second out and pinch-hitter Omar Infante on a ground ball to short.

Stutes has thrown 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his last four appearances.

Madson pitched the ninth. He allowed a leadoff walk to Ramirez, who was bunted to second. Logan Morrison lined to second for the second out. Madson walked Sanchez intentionally and struck Stanton out to leave both runners stranded.

Three shutout innings from the bullpen in the game in which the relievers don’t allow a hit but walk three. Stutes threw 24 pitches in the game, Madson 22 and Bastardo ten.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Polanco (6) Ibanez (7) Brown (8) Ruiz. Ruiz catches the night game after Sardinha started the day game. Polance, an unusual choice to hit fifth, came into the game having hit 243/293/294 over his last 151 plate appearances.

The Phils trailed 2-0 when they hit in the first. Rollins led off with a walk and, with one out, Utley sliced a double into the left field corner. Rollins rounded third and slid in safe safe ahead of Buck’s tag on a close play, cutting the lead to 2-1. Utley went to third on the play at the plate, but the Phils couldn’t bring him home to tie the game. Howard grounded to first with Utley holding and Polanco grounded to second.

No RBI for Howard with one out and a man on third.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the second, but Halladay struck out swinging behind him.

The Phils went in order in the third.

They trailed 4-1 when they hit in the fourth. Howard led off with a single and Polanco walked behind him. Ibanez struck out swinging for the first out and Brown grounded to second for the second. It put men on first and third for Ruiz, who was walked intentionally to get to Halladay. Halladay again struck out, leaving the bases loaded.

They did score in the fifth. Victorino singled with one out and stole second before Utley hammered a triple to the gap in right-center. Victorino scored to make it 4-2. Again the Phillies couldn’t bring the runner home from third with one out. Howard struck out swinging and Polanco flew to right.

Again no RBI for Howard with one out and a man on third.

The Phils didn’t have a runner in the sixth or seventh.

Polanco doubled to center with two outs in the eighth, but Ibanez struck out behind him.

They started the ninth down 4-2 with righty Leo Nunez on the mound for the Marlins. Ruiz singled with one out and Gload hit for Stutes and singled as well, putting men on first and second with one out for Rollins. Martinez ran for Gload at first. Rollins hit a ball hard off of Nunez’s foot, but Nunez took it and went to first for the second out with the runners moving up to second and third. Victorino hit a 2-1 pitch just out of the reach of a diving Lopez and into center field. Ruiz and Martinez both scored and the game was tied at 4-4. Victorino stole second and took third when Buck’s throw to second wasn’t handled, but Utley flew to left to leave him there.

Howard was hit by a pitch to start the tenth, but Polanco and Ibanez went down behind him. Brown drew a two-out walk, though, moving Howard up to second. Ruiz was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch into center for a single. Emilio Bonifacio charged and didn’t field the ball cleanly. Howard scored to give the Phils a 5-4 win.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk in the game. He’s 4-for-14 in the series so far with two home runs and six RBI.

Victorino 2-for-5 with two RBI. 6-for-his-last-15 with two doubles.

Utley 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBI. He’s 8-for-his-last-19 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. He was hitting 195/298/293 after going 1-for-5 against the Pirates on June 4. After last night’s game he’s hitting 275/383/500 for the year in 94 plate appearances.

Howard was 1-for-4 last night and 2-for-7 with a walk and a double in the double-header. Twice in last night’s game he couldn’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.

Ibanez 0-for-5 and struck out three times. 1-for-his-last-13.

Brown was 0-for-4 with a walk. 0-for-7 with two walks in the double-header. 3-for-his-last-29 with three homers.

Ruiz 2-for-3 with two walks and a game-winning RBI. 3-for-7 with two walks in the series.

The Phils won the opener 8-1 behind a strong performance by Kendrick and a six-run third inning that featured a three-rule triple by Valdez and a three-run homer by Rollins.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA to 3.12 for the year.

Kendrick allowed a solo home run to Morrison in the top of the first as well as a walk and a single, but held the Marlins to a single run.

He gave up a single in the second, but threw a 1-2-3 third and started the fourth up 8-1.

Dobbs reached on an error by Brown in the fourth, but that was the only base-runner for the Marlins in the fourth, fifth or sixth.

In the seventh, the allowed back-to-back single with one out. It put men on first and second with one out, but Kendrick struck out Brett Hayes for the second out and got Wes Helms to ground to Rollins to keep the Marlins off the board.

Romero threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Baez pitched the ninth with a seven-run lead. He allowed a two-out single to Dobbs, but got Omar Infante on a ground ball to second to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Elih Villanueva went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Brown (6) Francisco (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Francisco plays left with Ibanez on the bench. Sardinha catches with Ruiz on the bench. Valdez at third with Polanco on the bench.

Down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first, the Phils tied the game at 1-1 on doubles by Victorino and Howard.

Francisco and Kendrick both walked in the second and Rollins delivered a two-out single, scoring Francisco to put the Phils up 2-1. Victorino struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded at first and second.

The Phillies scored six times in the third. Valdez hit a three-run triple after Utley was hit by a pitch, Howard walked and Francisco was walked. That put the Phils up 5-1 with Valdez on third and one out. Sardinha walked behind Valdez, putting men on first and third. Kendrick struck out trying to bunt Sardinha to second, but Rollins was next and hit a three-run homer. 8-1.

The Phils didn’t score any more runs in the game. Brown walked in the fourth, Valdez had singles in the fifth and the seventh and Martinez singled in the seventh.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game with a home run and three RBI.

Victorino 1-for-5 with a double.

Utley 0-for-3 with a strikeout and was hit by a pitch.

Howard 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk.

Francisco 0-for-2 with two walks.

Valdez 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI.

Sardinha 0-for-3 with a walk.

Cliff Lee (6-5, 3.41) faces righty Javier Vazquez (3-6, 7.09) this afternoon. Vazquez has allowed 13 runs in 7 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Lee has allowed one run in 15 innings over his last two starts.


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