Tag Archives: phillies

Phils’ Relievers Keeping Hitters Off-Balance With High K/9

Most baseball experts would agree that the strikeout is the worst possible result for a team batting – an out is recorded, no runs score, and no base runners advance. While ERA is the “sexy” pitching stat, it’s strikeouts-to-innings pitched that can tell you how effective a relief pitcher is at keeping runs off the board and base runners where they stand.

Rick Ingalls, a scout with the Cincinnati Reds, prefers strikeouts-to-innings pitched, or K/9, to similar metrics to gauge the efficacy of relief pitchers. “It means there must be a fastball or a slider or split-finger, whatever the pitcher throws, [and] he’s missing bats,” said Ingalls. “If a reliever has a plus fastball (velocity) and a plus slider, they have a chance to pitch out of the bullpen in the big leagues because their stuff is above average.”

Of course a team’s relievers’ K/9 metric won’t determine overall success or failure, but the Phillies relief corps has been a surprising bright spot this season. So I wanted to see where the team’s relievers stood in K/9 through March/April this season and last season, with respect to the March/April National League averages.

Source: Fangraphs

As you can see from the chart, the Phillies relievers are above average so far this year for K/9, ranking third in the NL behind the Cubs and Mets.

While not taking any credit away from the Phils, their relievers’ K/9 may be slightly inflated. They’ve pitched against two teams so far (Brewers and Padres) whose plate appearances end in a strikeout a quarter of the time (25.9% and 25.3% respectively). These numbers are also worst in the NL.

Can the Phils’ relievers keep this pace up with respect to K/9, or will it normalize to league average by the All Star break? Let me know what you think.

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It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, But Which Phan Club You’re In

Howard struck out three times with runners in scoring position? Bummer. But you were sitting with The Asche Trays when Cody Asche drove in the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. #phanclubsareback #losingcanbefun

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When Will This MLB Craziness End?!?

The news hit me hard, real hard.

How could a baseball team suffer this much pain? Would the sport of baseball ever be able to recover from this? Will the integrity of the game be tarnished for good?

Days earlier, Ryan Braun, a rising young star in MLB was suspended for the remaining 65 games of the season for “unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.”

Wait. You thought I was talking about him? No, no, no. I’m talking about the news that Michael “Babe Ruth” Martinez had his contract selected by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro and is now a member of the 25-man roster … again! What’s the big deal, you ask? I’ve come up with a brief FAQ sheet that should help clear up why this is such a poor (yet not surprising) decision by the former 1993 Philadelphia Phillies’ utility player (aka Ruin Tomorrow – tip of the hat to Philly.com for that one).

Q: Who is Michael Martinez?
A: He’s 31 years old, holds a career .186 batting average, and is by Major League Baseball standards a below-average fielder.

Q: The Phillies aren’t going anywhere this year. Aren’t there younger players in the Phillies’ minor league system that could benefit from some extra playing time?
A: There sure are. Freddy Galvis (23 years old) and Cesar Hernandez (22 years old) are both playing second base for the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Cesar Hernandez has also stolen 30 bases in 36 attempts while hitting .316 in 89 games. In 2012, he hit 12 triples at Lehigh Valley in 133 games while batting .291. But who wants an infielder on a major league team with that kind of crappy production.

Q: Michael Martinez made the majors via the Rule V draft. Wasn’t former Phils’ All Star Shane Victorino a Rule V draft selection too?
A: So was David Herndon. I rest my case.

Q: Martinez is an infielder. So why was he playing CF against St. Louis?
A: Excellent question. Because the team is missing Ben Revere in centerfield for the foreseeable future, Amaro could have done the smart thing and brought up centerfielder Jermaine Mitchell. Sure he’s only hitting .258, but he does have 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts. What’s the worst that happens? He stinks and you send him back down. What’s the best that happens? He performs so well that he earns a spot on the big club when rosters expand in September, and maybe he gets an invite to Spring Training next season.

The Phillies are not making the postseason this year, even in a weak National League East, even with two wild card spots up for grabs. If they don’t start bringing up the young guys, guys like Galvis, Hernandez, Mitchell, and third baseman Cody Asche, astute fans like myself are going to think the organization is trying to cover up just how bad the minor league talent really is. The Philies’ minor league talent might not be that bad, but that’s how Phillies’ fans will perceive this situation.

Bottom line: I don’t trust Ruben Amaro to accurately judge the talent for a high school talent show, let alone to discern a team’s strengths from its weaknesses, or the wants from the needs of a multi-billion-dollar major league franchise. He got us into this mess and he’s surely not the one to get us out of it.

Thoughts and Predictions — the Short, Short Version

Yes I haven’t blogged in awhile.

No I’m not watching the All Star Game.

Yes I like that the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series.

No my team will not be in the World Series so why should I care.

No I am not a bandwagon fan.

No I did not watch the Home Run Derby.

Yes we have already heard Chris Berman say ‘back, back, back’ before.

No it’s not cute anymore.

Yes I am concerned about the Phillies.

Yes I wish the team’s GM wasn’t a moron.

No I don’t know who else I would want as a GM.

No I would not be a ‘buyer’ for a bullpen arm.

Yes I would trade Michael Young.

No I would not trade for a centerfielder.

Yes I would trade Chase Utley.

Yes the GM is going to get fleeced again on July 29th aka ‘Trade-A-Phillie’ Day.

No the Phillies will not play .600 baseball to make the postseason.

Yes I am looking forward to football season.

Yes I think the Eagles’ offense will be exciting to watch.

No I am not convinced the Eagles’ defense will be any better this season.


Yes the 20 statements above count as one blog post

Yes I Googled ‘do 20 statements count as a blog post?’

Thoughts?

Two Words for You Domonic Brown: Mea Culpa

“When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong.”

It’s the phrase uttered by the late Jerry Orbach in the classic ’80s flick, Dirty Dancing. It’s also a completely apropos statement relating to Phillies’ outfielder Domonic Brown. Thanks to a home run barrage by Brown in May, he’s made bloggers like me look plain silly. Continue reading

Scorecard: Strasburg On Fire as Nationals Take Series 2 – 1

The Washington Nationals beat the Phillies on Sunday 6 – 1. Here are a few of my observations from the game.

Phillies scorecard against NationalsCan you find a ‘BB’ on the Phillies scorecard? I bet you can’t. Wanna know why? The Phillies don’t work counts enough to take walks. Yes, Nationals pitcher Steven Strasburg was ‘on’ yesterday, but Phillies hitters could have fouled off pitches when they got behind in the count. The Nationals’ hitters made Cole Hamels’ pitch count go up that way, why couldn’t the Phils’ hitters do the same to Strasburg?

Nationals scorecard against PhilliesThe Phillies 3-4-5 hitters — Michael Young, Delmon Young, and Domonic Brown — were up a total of 11 times yesterday. They struck out a combined six times (two looking and four swinging). On the up side, these three only stranded one in scoring position. On the down side, these three only stranded one in scoring position.

Lastly, on the Nationals’ scorecard you’ll see a note in the bottom margin: *De Fratus should be pitching to Lombardozzi in the 7th. I made that notation based on the sequence of plays before the Nationals’ second baseman came to the plate: Zimmerman single, LaRoche single, Desmond sacrifice bunt, Moore walk, Solano safe on fielder’s choice, throwing error on third baseman Michael Young. At this point, two runs scored on Young’s throwing error and it was clear to every Phillies fan watching the game that Hamels’ pitches were no longer effective. Right-handed reliever Justin DeFratus was warming up in the bullpen. Why the hell would you let Hamels, a lefty, pitch against a righty who had hit the ball hard the entire series? Phils’ manager Charlie Manual left Cole in there rather than playing the right-right matchup (right-handed pitcher vs. right-handed hitter). As you can see from the scorecard, Hamels was up third in the Phils’ half of the eighth. I guess Manual didn’t want to use DeFratus knowing he’d have to pinch hit for him, especially if the Phils’ first two hitters got on base? That tells me Manual didn’t have enough confidence in his bench. I can’t imagine why a manager wouldn’t have confidence inserting John Mayberry Jr., Erik Kratz, or Michael Martinez into a lineup. #rubenamarolovestheseguys

I would have rather used DeFratus in this scenario and then used my pinch hitter with the highest on-base percentage, which is John Mayberry. Yet another case where the team’s lack of a solid bench hamstrings a manager who already makes terrible in-game decisions.

What stands out to you from either scorecard? Leave a comment below.

Phillies Successful Versus N.L. West as Visit From the Tribe Looms

Despite scoring a combined 10 runs in their four games (2.5 runs per game) against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Philadelphia Phillies split the series and finished the seven-game road trip at 4 – 3. It’s beyond comical to say, at this point, but the offense is still inconsistent.

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