Merely two games into their matchup with the Giants and the Phillies are already making me eat crow.
Leave it to Chris “Wheels” Wheeler, the Phillies’ color commentator, to put a positive spin on a 14 – 2 shellacking at the hands of the Miami Marlins. In the eighth inning, when the score was only 10 – 0, he said: “The last thing [the Phillies] needed today was to use three, four, five [relief] pitchers and right now they’ve only had to use two.” I beg to differ, Wheels. The last thing the Phillies needed today was for Doc Halladay to prove to Phillies’ fans that he’s washed up and done. Doc, I’d say mission accomplished. But this posting isn’t about the fact that Doc, a once-feared ace of a pitching staff, has become a mere shell of himself. It’s about how much worse it can get in the next week.
If it seems the Phillies’ hitters have been less patient at the plate in recent years, that’s because they have. First, I’ll present the plate discipline indicators, as defined by FanGraphs.com. Then, I’ll show you a chart of 2013 National League averages for these indicators compared to how the 2013 Phillies stack up against the NL averages. Finally, I’ll illustrate how the Phils’ plate discipline has been a downward spiral.
Last year, the Phillies’ didn’t have a reliable arm in the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning. Mike Adams has filled that role nicely this year overall, except for last night. Aside from the Phils’ bullpen’s less-than-stellar performance, here are a couple of other observations from last night’s game. Click on the attached images for larger versions of last night’s scorecard.
Roy “Doc” Halladay won his 200th career game today in a 2 – 1 victory over the Miami Marlins. That’s good news for Phillies’ fans. More good news is that Phillies pitchers gave up a total of four runs in the three-game series, which the Phils took two games to one. Now for the bad news. They scored a total of six runs in the three games. Continue reading
I love calculating lesser-known baseball statistics just because. I know what you’re thinking: “Pump the brakes, bro, they’re just numbers.” Point taken. The truth is I never took a single statistics course in school but I know this much: while baseball statistics aren’t solely intended to predict future performance, they can provide a glimpse into developing trends.
The Philadelphia Phillies (8-11-1) take on the Tampa Bay Rays (12-7) in about 40 minutes or so. Here are some things I’ll be watching in today’s game:
John Lannan, who was signed as a free agent for the back of the rotation, is making his fourth start of the spring and second start against the Tampa Bay Rays. In his first outing against Tampa, he gave up four runs on five hits in four innings pitched. He struck out three batters and didn’t allow a walk. After his outing on March 9th, Lannan said he had some trouble working out of the stretch. If and when he has runners on base today, I’ll be looking to see if he works out of the stretch, how effective he is if he does, or if he just pitches out of the wind-up.
Let’s see if Ben Revere can continue his torrid spring. He leads the team in at-bats this spring (47) and he’s hitting .340, to go along with his four stolen bases. He was 3-for-4 with an RBI in the last game against the Rays. I like the way this guy plays the game. If he makes the same plays in this video in the regular season, he’ll be an instant fan favorite in Philly in no time.
Which bullpen will show up for the Phils today? The one that pitched four scoreless innings on March 8th, scattering two hits and walking one or the one that pitched five innings, surrendering five earned runs on 11 hits on March 9th? Over the last four games, the bullpen has pitched much better. They’ve given up five earned runs in 211/3 innings for an ERA of just over 2.00. I think that trend of good relief pitching from the bullpen will continue today against Tampa.
Prediction: Phils 8, Rays 3
What do you think? Will the Phils win the game? Who will be the player of the game? Leave a comment below.