Tag: wilson valdez

And this little IronPiggie cried ‘Whee! Whee! Whee!’ all the way home

After a miserable start against the Cardinals on July 19 in which he allowed seven runs in five innings, Kyle Kendrick was sent to Triple-A. He wasn’t there long, though, and you kind of get the feeling he doesn’t want to go back. The Phils are 2-0 in the two games he’s started since and he pitched into the seventh in both of them, allowing two runs over 13 1/3 innings.

Last night Kendrick held the Diamondbacks to a run over 6 1/3 innings and the Phillies managed a 3-2 win in eleven innings. The Phils got another big hit from Ibanez in the game, a solo homer in the sixth, but mostly it was the bottom of the order that got it done as Howard and Werth went 0-for-10 and struck out five times. Ransom, Ruiz and Valdez combined to go 7-for-14 out of the 6-7-8 spots in the order. With the scored locked at 2-2 in the eleventh, Ransom led off with a walk and moved to second on a hit by Ruiz before Valdez delivered the game-winning single into center.

With the win the Phillies extended their winning streak to eight games. The Phillies have put the run together despite missing several core pieces of their offense — Rollins, Victorino and Utley have all been unable to play in some or all of the games in the streak. It’s also impressive because the Phillies simply never get a day off and a chance to rest their pen. Last night they played for the fifteenth day in a row. They will play three more in a row against the Nats before finally getting a day off on Monday.

The Phillies are 56-46 on the season after a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in eleven innings last night. The Phils sweep the three-game series and have won eight in a row. They are in second place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 4.44.

Kelly Johnson singled to left with one out in the first and Justin Upton walked behind him. Kendrick got Adam LaRoche to pop to Polanco at second and Miguel Montero on a ground ball to first.

Mark Reynolds walked to start the second and Stephen Drew popped out to Howard in foul territory behind him for the first out. Gerardo Parra was next and hit a double-play ball to second. Polanco went to short for the first out, but Howard didn’t handle the relay from Valdez at short and was charged with an error. With two outs and a man on first, pitcher Joe Saunders flew to Werth to set the Diamondbacks down.

Chris Young walked to start the third. Johnson hit into a double-play behind him and Justin Upton grounded to third for the third out.

Montero singled to left with one out in the fourth, but Ibanez threw him out trying to stretch it into a double. Kendrick struck Reynolds out swinging for the third out.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He was up 1-0 when he threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

He started the seventh with a 2-0 lead and struck out LaRoche to start the inning. Montero was next, though, and he hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to cut the lead to 2-1. Reynolds was next and lined a single into center and that was it for Kendrick. Durbin came in to pitch to the lefty Drew. Drew singled and Reynolds moved to third, putting runners on the corner with one out for Parra. Parra grounded into a double-play to turn Arizona away.

Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with a 2-1 lead.

He, not Lidge, was back to start the ninth with the Phils still up by one. Upton led off and got way behind in the count before lining a double to right on an 0-2 pitch. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty LaRoche and LaRoche singled to right, moving Upton to third. Montero, another lefty, was next, and Romero stayed in to pitch to him. Montero hit a high chopper to third. Valdez made a very nice play, bare-handing the ball and making a strong throw to first for the first out of the inning as Upton scored to tie the game at 2-2. It brought the righty Reynolds to the plate with one out and a man on second. Rusty Ryal ran for LaRoche at second and Romero walked Reynolds intentionally. The lefty Drew was next and Romero walked him unintentionally, loading the bases with one out for the lefty Parra. Romero got Parra to hit into a double-play to end the frame. The play at first with Howard taking the relay from Valdez was very close. Parra slammed his helmet to the ground after being called out and was ejected from the game.

No Lidge in the frame, but that didn’t work out real well for the Phils. Madson gets to pitch to a righty and the righty doubles. Romero faces five batters, four of which are lefties, and allowed a single, a walk and walks a batter intentionally. He also got a nice play from Valdez for the first out.

Lidge did pitch the tenth and struck out two as he set the Snakes down in order.

Contreras pitched the eleventh. He walked Montero with two outs, but got Reynolds on a fly ball to right behind him.

Thanks to the complete game from Halladay the day before, nobody in the pen was pitching for a second day in a row. Contreras threw 19 pitches in the game and Romero 17. Everyone else was 12 or fewer.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Joe Saunders went (1) Polanco (2) Ibanez (3) Francisco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ransom (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez plays short with Rollins out with a foot problem. Polanco at second and leading off. Ransom at third against the lefty. Francisco in right with Werth playing center and Victorino on the DL. Brown on the bench against the lefty.

Polanco started the first with a double and moved to third when Ibanez flew out to center for the first out. Francisco struck out swinging for the second out. Saunders’s 1-1 pitch to Howard was in the dirt and got away from the catcher. Polanco tried to score from third but was thrown out to end the inning.

No run for the Phils after the leadoff double. Francisco strikes out with one out and a man on third.

Ransom singled with two outs in the second. He was picked off first, but made it to second with his first stolen base of the year. Ruiz flew to left to leave him there.

Kendrick singled with one out in the third. Polanco hit into a double-play behind him.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

Ransom singled with one out in the fifth and game into score when Ruiz followed with a double into the left field corner. It put the Phils ahead 1-0. Valdez was next and blooped a single into right, moving Ruiz to third. Kendrick bunted Ruiz to second with the second out. Polanco grounded to short to leave both men stranded.

Ibanez led off the sixth and lined a 2-2 pitch out to right-center. 2-0. Francisco followed that with a single and stole second. Howard struck out, Werth flew to right and Ransom grounded to short.

Like in the first, no run for the Phils after they put a man on second with nobody out.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when the Phillies hit in the seventh. Valdez singled with one out. With the lefty Joe Saunders still on the mound for the Diamondbacks, the lefty Brown hit for Durbin and flew to left. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

Manuel didn’t chose to lead Brown hit against the lefty there. He had four lefties and switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins on his bench to start the game. Rollins, the only option that wasn’t left-handed, didn’t play in the game.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

The game was tied at 2-2 when they went in order in the ninth.

Polanco doubled to center with two outs in the tenth. Righty Esmerling Vasquez was on the mound for Arizona and he walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally behind Polanco, putting men on first and second. Francisco walked to load the bases. Howard got to hit against the righty Vasquez, but Vasquez struck him out swinging 0-2 to end the inning.

Two outs, but that’s still a huge strikeout for Howard against the righty. He’s 0-for-his-last-9 with six strikeouts.

Ransom walked with one out in the eleventh and moved to second when Ruiz followed with a single. Valdez singled into center on a 1-0 pitch and Ransom slid into home just ahead of the throw from Young to give the Phils a 3-2 win.

Polanco was 2-for-5 with two doubles in the game and 5-for-15 with three doubles in the series. He’s hitting 318/347/439 for the year.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and his ninth home run in the game. 5-for-11 with a double, a home run and four walks in the series. 263/349/423 on the year. 375/462/571 over his last 65 plate appearances.

Francisco was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 1-for-5 in the series. 246/313/398 on the year.

Howard was 0-for-5 and struck out twice. 2-for-13 with a home run and two walks in the series. 295/358/533 for the year.

Werth was 0-for-5 and struck out three times in the game. 5-for-12 with two doubles, two walks and a home run in the series. 290/382/516.

Ransom was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored the winning run. 3-for-7 with a walk and a home run in the series.

Ruiz 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the game. 7-for-12 with a walk, three doubles and five RBI in the series. 286/397/392 for the season.

Valdez was 3-for-5 and won the game with an RBI-single in the eleventh. 3-for-11 with a walk in the series. He’s hitting 239/268/361 on the year.

Roy Oswalt (6-12, 3.42) makes his debut for the Phillies tonight against righty Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50) in Washington. Oswalt was hit hard by the Reds in his last start, allowing six runs in five innings. Opponents are on-basing just .279 against him for the season. Righties are hitting .211 against him, lefties .249 with a little more power. Stammen hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh in any of his last four starts, throwing to a 6.86 ERA and a 1.73 ratio in those appearances. Righties have hit him harder than lefties so far this season (308/363/527 for righties and 286/318/423 for lefties).


Hey Joe, where you going with that bat in your hand?

The Phillies needed to shake things up their lineup and they did. It didn’t work, though, and it was rather dramatic about not working. The Phils dropped the slumping Rollins out of the leadoff spot and stacked their lineup with righties against lefty Jaime Garcia. They scored one run in the game and found themselves without a solid right-handed bat off the bench late in the game. They’ve scored two runs in two games, lost four in a row and six of seven since the All-Star break.

Joe Blanton pitched great. For a while. The game was knotted at 1-1 when the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh. With the lefty Garcia still on the mound for St Louis, Manuel let Blanton hit for himself and Blanton struck out on three pitches. The Phillies didn’t score again and the Cardinals went on to plate four more runs.

The decision sure looks bad right now. But Manuel had four lefties and Wilson Valdez on his bench, the Phils were playing game seven of 18 games in 18 days and had gotten one inning from their starter the day before.

Whether you like what Manuel did last night or not, the problems for the Phils are a lot bigger than one decision or even the results of one game. The Phils are in third place in their division and the fourth-place Marlins are just two games behind. They have the ninth-best record in the 16-team National League. If they don’t start playing a lot better soon, it’s not going to matter that they have nothing like the ninth-most talent.

The Phillies are 48-46 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 5-1 last night.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned. He struck out three and has a 6.03 ERA for the season.

He set down the first six St Louis batters before Yadier Molina started the third with a walk. The pitcher Jaime Garcia was next and he bunted Molina to second with the first out. Brendan Ryan flew to right and Felipe Lopez grounded to second to leave Molina stranded.

Jon Jay doubled to start the fourth and came in to score when Pujols followed with a single to left. 1-0. Matt Holliday flew to left for the first out before Pujols stole second. Blanton struck Colby Rasmus out swinging 2-2 and Ruiz picked Pujols off of second to end the inning.

Molina singled to left with one out in the fifth and the game tied at 1-1. Garcia tried to bunt him to second again, but this time Ruiz jumped on the ball and threw to Rollins where Molina was forced for the second out. Ryan grounded to short for the third out.

Jay singled with one out in the sixth, but Blanton got Pujols to hit into a double-play behind him. Ransom made a really nice play on the ball hit by Pujols, diving to his right to field the ball and start the double-play.

Holliday hit Blanton’s first pitch of the seventh out to left, put the Cards up 2-1. Blanton got the next three hitters behind him.

Aaron Miles started the eighth with a single. Ryan was next and he bunted. Ruiz again fielded the ball, but this time his throw was wild for an error and St Louis had men on second and third with nobody out. Lopez was next and he split the gap in right center with a bases clearing double. 4-1. Romero took over for Blanton and the lefty Jay bunted Lopez to third with the first out. Romero walked the righty Pujols intentionally and Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Holliday and hit him to load the bases. Rasmus was next and he hit a ball to right deep enough for Lopez to tag and score, making it 5-1 St Louis. Contreras stuck out pitcher Ryan Franklin for the third out.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Polanco (2) Victorino (3) Francisco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ransom (8) Ruiz. Ransom starts at second for the first time this year. Ibanez on the bench against the lefty with Francisco in right. Rollins dropped to sixth in the order with Polanco hitting leadoff and Victorino batting second. It left the Phillies with lefties Dobbs, Gload, Schneider and Ibanez on the bench and just one righty in Valdez.

The Phillies didn’t have a base runner in the first four innings.

They started the fifth down 1-0. Howard led off an hit an 0-1 pitch out to right, tying the game at 1-1. Werth and Rollins both flew out behind him before Ransom singled to left. Ruiz flew to center to leave Ransom stranded.

With two outs in the sixth, Victorino singled and stole second. Francisco grounded to third for the third out.

Werth walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Rollins followed with a single. Ransom struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out before Ruiz walked to load the bases. Manuel left Blanton in to hit for himself with the bases loaded and the score still tied at 1-1. Blanton swung and missed at the first three pitches he saw to leave all three runners stranded.

The Phils were down 2-1 when they hit in the eighth. Righty Kyle McClellan got Polanco on a fly ball to right for the first out. Victorino was next and hit a ball to second that went under Skip Schumaker’s glove for an error. Victorino was running hard all the way and wound up on second. He moved to third on a ground out by Francisco and lefty Trever Miller came in to pitch to Howard. Miller walked Howard to put men on first and third for Werth. Righty Ryan Franklin came in and got Werth on a ground ball to second to leave both men stranded.

Rollins, Ibanez and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs went in order in the ninth with the Phils down 5-1.

Polanco was 0-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Francisco 0-for-4. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.

1-for-12 with a single for the top three in the order.

Howard 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. He’s hitting 319/380/681 in July.

Werth 0-for-3 with a walk.

Rollins 1-for-4.

Ransom 1-for-3 with two strikeouts, including a big one in the seventh. He also made a very nice defensive play in the sixth to start a double-play.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.63) faces righty Adam Wainwright (14-5, 2.02) this afternoon. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last four starts. In those outings he’s thrown to a 2.20 ERA. He’s allowed more than three earned runs just one in his last 14 times out. Wainwright is still fantastic. He has allowed one earned run in 29 1/3 innings over his last four starts. Opponents are hitting .214 against him for the season.


Moyer misery for the Phils

Even when things are at their lowest, at least we still have that “Moyer” and “more” kind of almost rhyme.

Let’s hope that’s enough. It might have to be.

Another day, another ugly loss for the Phils who are now 1-5 since the All-Star break and seven games back in their division.

Last night’s loss came with yet another injury as Jamie Moyer threw just one inning before leaving the game with a strained left elbow. Even in the best of circumstances, losing your starter after one inning in a stretch where you play 18 games in 18 days would be tough. These are far from the best of circumstances for the Phils, though, and the relief corps and the offense both struggled after Moyer’s exit last night.

The Phils are suddenly leaking pitchers. Two of the five guys in the starting rotation need to be replaced since Kendrick was sent to Triple-A yesterday before Jamie Moyer was injured last night. JA Happ is almost surely part of the mix to fill out the rotation, but that still leaves them one starter short. The bullpen threw seven innings last night and allowed seven runs and the Phils still have to play 12 more days in a row before getting a day off.

Finally, Danys Baez got blasted again and you have to wonder how much longer the Phils are going to stick with him. Over his last 14 appearances he has thrown to a 7.30 ERA with a 2.27 ratio. He’s walked nine in 12 1/3 innings and opponents have hit .380 against him in those games.

The Phillies are 48-45 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 7-1 last night. They remain in third place in the NL East, seven games behind the Braves and a half game behind the second-place Mets. They are 1-5 since the All-Star break.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and threw one scoreless inning before leaving the game with a strained left elbow. He allowed two singles and didn’t walk anyone or strike anyone out.

He got the first two in the bottom of the first before Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday singled back-to-back. Pujols and Holliday pulled off a double-steal with Allen Craig at the plate, but Moyer got Craig to line to Victorino for the third out.

Andrew Carpenter took over for Moyer in the second. Aaron Miles singled with one out and the pitcher Chris Carpenter bunted him to second with the first out. Carpenter got Brendan Ryan on a fly ball to center for the third out.

Felipe Lopez started the third with a single. Randy Winn was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to right center for his second homer in two games, putting St Louis up 2-0. Carpenter got the next three.

Yadier Molina started the fourth with a double. Miles lined back to the mound for the first out, but the pitcher Carpenter singled softly into center and Molina moved to third. Carpenter uncorked a wild pitch with Ryan at the plate, allowing Molina to score (3-0) and Carpenter to take second. Ryan went down on a fly ball to Werth for the second out. Carpenter struck out Lopez for the third.

Baez took over in the fifth. He walked the leadoff man Winn and Winn stole second before Pujols walked. Holliday was next and he blasted a 1-2 pitch out to center for a three-run homer that made it 6-0. Baez got Craig on a ground ball back to the mound before Molina and Miles singled back-to-back. It put men on first and third with one down, but Baez got Carpenter to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

We’ve got to be near the end of the Baez era at this point.

Herndon pitched the sixth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan and Lopez to get things started. It put men on first and second for Winn and Winn hit a fly ball to center deep enough to move Ryan to third. Herndon then struck Pujols out swinging 3-2 and Ruiz threw Lopez out trying to steal second to end the inning.

Contreras pitched the seventh with the Phils down 6-1. He struck Holliday out for the first out. Lefty Colby Rasmus hit for the righty Craig and singled to center, but Contreras got Molina and Miles behind him to keep the Cards off the board.

Madson came on for the eighth, pitching for the second day in a row. He got the first two batters before Lopez doubled to center. Winn followed that with an RBI-single and the St Louis lead was up to 7-1. Pujols grounded to short for the third out.

Long day for the pen with Moyer only going one inning. They didn’t pitch very well, allowing seven runs in seven innings.

Carpenter threw 49 pitches. Baez 28, Madson 20, Contreras 18 and Herndon 15.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Carpenter went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Victorino (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez at second with Utley on the DL, making his 49th start of the season. There have been a whole lot of events this season that the Phillies couldn’t control, but nobody can make you start Wilson Valdez in 49 of 93 games.

1-2-3 in the first.

Werth reached on an infield single with one out in the second, but Victorino hit into a double-play behind him.

Ruiz reached on a throwing error by Lopez at third to start the third. Valdez walked behind him to put men on first and second. Carpenter was next and he got the bunt down, but Molina fielded and went after Ruiz who was retired for the second out. Rollins hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

Nothing for the Phils after putting their first two men on base to start the inning.

Polanco led off the fourth with the Phils down 2-0 and singled to right. Ibanez, Howard and Werth went down behind him.

Down 3-0, the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Valdez grounded to third to end the fifth. Cody Ransom took over for him at second in the bottom of the inning with the new pitcher Baez moving into the eight-hole in the lineup. That’s a great move by Manuel, but it sadly didn’t help as Ransom went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in the game.

With the current roster I think it makes sense for Ransom to start at second base a lot against lefties. At least until he demonstrates he can’t play second. I’m even up for a Dobbs/Ransom platoon at second for a while.

Polanco tripled with two outs in the sixth and the Phils down 6-0. Ibanez was next and hit the ball well, but Pujols reached for the ball at first and got it to retire the side.

Werth and Victorino doubled with one out in the seventh, cutting the lead to 6-1. Ruiz grounded to second for the second out with Victorino holding second. With the righty Carpenter still on the mound for St Louis, Dobbs hit for our Carpenter and grounded to first.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Down 7-1, Howard doubled with one out in the ninth. Werth flew to right behind him for the second out and Victorino struck out swinging to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-24 and hitting 178/263/277 in 114 plate appearances since returning from the DL.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a triple. He’s 6-for-18 since coming back.

Ibanez 0-for-4.

Howard 1-for-4 with a double.

Werth 2-for-4 with a double. He’s still on pace to hit 50 doubles. 6-for-his-last-14 with four walks.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-3.

Valdez 0-for-1 with a walk. I think the combination of the Valdez walk plus the Moyer injury puts an end to the great Valdez/Moyer walkoff of 2010. Valdez leads 6-3 now and that lead may be insurmountable given that Moyer didn’t get a chance to hit last night and looks likely to miss significant time. Valdez is hitting 150/209/225 over his last 43 plate appearances.

Blanton (3-5, 6.21) faces lefty Jaime Garcia (8-4, 2.27) tonight as the fun continues. Blanton has had an awful year and has a 6.27 ERA and a 1.50 ratio over his last three starts. Opponents are hitting .300 against him and he’s allowed 16 home runs in 87 innings. Garcia turned 24 this month and had pitched very well this year. He has allowed more than two earned runs in two of 18 starts and given up just four home runs in 103 innings.

Trade rumors abound. The loudest seem to be around two possible moves, trading for Roy Oswalt and trading Jayson Werth. Oswalt would be a great addition, but even with the injuries the problems with this team are mostly about their ability to score runs and not their ability to prevent them. A lot of the offensive problems have to do with hitters that should and will hit simply not hitting. Not all of them, though. See, for example, the thing about Wilson Valdez starting more than half the games for the Phils this season.

Moyer is apparently headed to the DL, maybe for a long time.


Shawon of the dead

Wilson Valdez has gotten 178 plate appearances this year. In those plate appearances he’s walked four times and grounded into 14 double-plays. That means he’s hit into a double-play 3 1/2 times more than he’s walked this season.

That seems a little unusual. I thought I would go on a hunt to see when the last time a player in either league a) got at least 150 plate appearances in a season and b) hit into a double-play 3 1/2 or more times than he walked.

The chart below shows players who have gotten at least 150 plate appearances in a season and grounded into double-plays more than 1 1/2 times as often as they walked since the start of 2000:

Year Player GDP/BB
2010 (so far) Wilson Valdez 3.5
2009 Robinson Cano 1.53
2007 Jose Castillo 1.83
2007 Ivan Rodriguez 1.78
2007 Howie Kendrick 1.67
2006 Mike Redmond 2.25
2005 Ivan Rodriguez 1.75
2001 Jorge Fabregas 1.67
2000 Devei Cruz 1.92
2000 Shawon Dunston 1.83

So it doesn’t happen all that often. None of those guys in the ten previous seasons are close to Valdez’s rate. Redmond is the closest with his effort in 2006 when he got 190 plate appearances for the Twins, walked four times and hit into nine double-plays.

How far back do we have to go to find someone to top Valdez? Not quite as far as you might think, cause it’s Shawon Dunston to the rescue in 1999. Between the Mets and the Cards he got 255 plate appearances in which he walked just twice while hitting into eight double-plays. That gives him a four for GDP over BB, topping Valdez’s 3.5 at least for the time being.

Valdez still has seventy-fives games to go, though.

The next update to Philliesflow will be next week.


Seventh wonder

The Phils come into the All-Star break with the seventh-best winning percentage in the National League. Since 2007, the Phillies have never ended the season with the league’s best winning percentage — the Dodgers topped them last year, the Cubs in ’08 and Arizona and Colorado both did in 2007.

Compared to the 2009 season, the Phillies have actually gotten a little bit better at preventing runs overall in 2010. The problem is that the offense has gotten worse at a rate that exceeds those improvements.

In 2009, the Phils sported the league’s most dominant offense. They scored 5.06 runs per game. The Rockies had the second-best mark for runs per game at 4.96 and nobody else was very close. Eleven of the teams in the NL scored less than 4.6 runs per game.

The thing that’s easily forgotten is that compared to the rest of the league, the Phillies still have a good offense in 2010. It’s just not as good as it was last year. Only four NL teams, the Reds, Rockies, and Dodgers, have scored more than the 4.71 runs per game that the Phillies have scored this season.

Offense in the league is also down this year, but just a little. In 2009 the average NL team scored about 4.43 runs per game and in 2010 they have scored about 4.39 runs per game so far.

Still, the dropoff for the Phillies is bigger than the dropoff overall for the league:

Year RS/G NL AVG
RS/G
PHI/NL AVG
2009 5.06 4.43 1.142
2010 4.71 4.39 1.073

So the ’09 Phillies scored about 114.2% of the runs per game as the average NL team while the ’10 Phillies are scoring about 107.3% of the runs per game as the average NL team.

If the Phils wanted to stay about as good as they were before overall, it would be helpful if they could make up the difference with improvements in preventing runs. And they have gotten better in 2010, but not enough to make up for the offensive dropoff.

The Phils were sixth in the NL in runs allowed per game in 2009 and are sixth again in 2010. You have to look a little further inside the numbers than that to see the improvement.

Year RA/G NL AVG
RA/G
PHI/NL AVG
2009 4.38 4.49 .9755
2010 4.16 4.44 .9369

So the Phils allowed about 97.6% of the runs per game as the average NL team did in 2009 and about 93.7% of the runs per game as the average NL team in 2010.

That’s better. It’s just not enough better to cancel out the drop off from the hitters.

Still, it’s good news that the Phillies are better at preventing runs than they were last year. I think it’s also reasonable to conclude that even if the Phillies continued to be the fourth-best team in the league at scoring runs and the sixth-best team at preventing them they would wind up with better than the seventh-best record overall after enough games were played.

The best news for the Phils, though, is that the offense can be so much better it has been in the first half of the year. If you’re looking for places to improve, I’d start with the 312 plate appearances that the Phils gave to Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro in the first half in which the duo combined to on-base .258. If they can give most of those opportunities in the second half to Utley, Rollins and Polanco and avoid injuries to key hitters, the offense is a lock to get better.

The second place I’d look would be with Raul Ibanez, who seems likely to improve on his 243/326/397 line for the year after the break.


Who’s still on third?

The Phils got two extra-innings to try to beat the Atlanta Braves last night. The problem isn’t just that the Braves were better than the Phils in those innings, it’s that they have been playing better than the Phillies for a long time now. Since the start of August, 2009, the Braves are 83-60 in the regular season and the Phillies are 77-66. During those games the Braves have scored 133 more runs than they have allowed and the Phillies have scored 78 more runs than they have allowed.

The offense managed three hits last night as they tried to back a solid start from Hamels. Ibanez homered early, Howard tripled in the seventh and Victorino singled with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh with the Phils down by three runs. With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh, the Phils couldn’t bring Howard in from third with nobody out. Atlanta pulled ahead 4-3 with a single and a double off of Herndon to start the eleventh and extended the lead when Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer off of Zagurski three batters later.

The Phillies are 43-39 on the season after losing to the Braves 6-3 in eleven innings last night. They have lost four of six to start July. In six of their last nine games they have scored three runs or less.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight.

Martin Prado led off the top of the first with a single. Omar Infante was next and he bunted for a single, putting men on first and second for Chipper Jones. Chipper walked to load the bases. Hamels got Troy Glaus to hit into a double-play with Prado scoring to put Atlanta up 1-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right for the third out.

Hamels started the second up 2-1. Matt Diaz led off with a single. Hamels struck David Ross out behind him and got Gregor Blanco to hit into a double-play to set the Braves down.

Prado walked with one out in the third. Hamels got Infante and Chipper behind him.

Diaz doubled with two outs in the fourth. Ross followed him and singled into left center. Diaz scored to tie the game at 2-2. Blanco flew to left for the third out.

Infante singled with two outs in the fifth. Hamels struck Chipper out behind him for the third out.

Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Diaz followed him with a ground ball to short and Escobar was forced at second. Ross flew to right for the third out.

He struck out Blanco and the pitcher Jair Jurrjens to start the seventh. Prado was next and Hamels got ahead of him, but Prado lined a 1-2 offering out to left to put Atlanta up 3-2. Hamels struck Infante out to end the frame.

Contreras started the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. Chipper and Glaus singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Brandon Hicks ran for Glaus at first. Escobar chopped a ball to third. Castro fielded and threw home and the Phils were able to get Chipper for a critical first out. With men on first and second, Diaz popped out to Valdez for the second out. Lefty Brian McCann hit for Ross and Romero came in to pitch to him. Romero got McCann on a ground ball to Valdez to end the frame.

Big play on the ball hit by Escobar helps the Phils escape men on first and third and nobody out. Contreras wasn’t charged with a run in the game but got lucky. Over his last six appearances he has been charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings.

Lidge set the Braves down in order in the ninth, striking out Blanco and Hinske.

Herndon needed six pitches to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He was back to start the eleventh and gave up a leadoff single to Escobar. Diaz was next and fouled off a bunt attempt before ripping a double into right center that scored Escobar and put Atlanta up 4-3. Zagurski took over for Herndon and struck out the lefties McCann and Blanco for the first two outs of the inning before Hinske hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to make it 6-3. Zagurski struck Prado out for the third out.

Herndon has a 4.08 ERA for the season, which makes it easy to overlook his 1.60 ratio. Opponents are hitting .345 against him for the year. The Phils have a bunch of problems in the pen with injuries they can’t control. Trying to keep Herndon on the roster isn’t one of them.

Zagurski threw 19 pitches in the game. Everyone else was 12 or fewer. Nobody was pitching for the second day in a row thanks to the complete game by Halladay in the first game of the set.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha catches his fifth straight game in brutal weather. Ibanez continues to hit third with Utley on the DL. Dobbs at third against the righty. Valdez plays second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Rollins led off with walk and stole second as Victorino struck out. Ibanez was next and hit a 1-2 pitch out down the line in right, putting the Phillies on top at 2-1. Howard and Werth went down behind him to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the second and third.

The game was tied at 2-2 when they went in order in the fourth.

Dobbs started the fifth with a walk, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Sardinha struck out.

They went in order in the sixth.

Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Howard was next and hit a ball high off the wall in left that Diaz nearly caught but didn’t get. Diaz couldn’t find the ball right away and it allowed Howard to wind up on third with a triple. Peter Moylan took over for Jurrjens and struck out Werth for the first out. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Francisco flew to Blanco for the second out with Howard holding. Valdez grounded to third to end the inning with the game still tied.

Phils can’t get another run with a man on third and nobody out. Werth saw five pitches in the at-bat, taking three called strikes without swinging the bat.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero and flew to left for the second out.

They went 1-2-3 in the ninth, too.

Castro walked with one out in the tenth and moved to second when Valdez followed and hit a ground ball fielded by the pitcher. Sardinha flew out to left to leave Castro stranded.

They were down 6-3 when they hit in the eleventh. Victorino singled off of Billy Wagner with two outs and took second without a throw, but Ibanez struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-12.

Victorino 1-for-5 and struck out twice.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 1-for-4 with a triple.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a huge strikeout in the seventh.

Dobbs 0-for-1 with another walk. He’s hitting 313/353/563 in 16 July at-bats after a miserable first three months.

Valdez 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-15 and has a .269 on-base percentage for the year in a career-high 165 plate appearances. Utley getting hurt is almost completely out of the Phillies control — who they give 165 plate appearances isn’t.

Sardinha 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jamie Moyer (9-7, 4.13) faces righty Kris Medlen (5-1, 3.01) tonight. Moyer has allowed more than two runs in one of his last seven starts. Medlen is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and an 0.95 ratio over his last four starts.

Happ was activated and sent to Triple-A. Madson could be back as soon as today.


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