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Saturday, June 14, 2008

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It was a complete game. You gotta love when your staff stays in the game and holds the opponent to 2 runs despite the rout. Kendrick's pitch-count was low the entire game. I don't think he even hit 100 pitches after 7 (94 pit, 61 strikes.)

Kendrick did have two hits in one inning. In the same inning Rollins had two walks, which I thought was special as well.

I drove 7 hours to North Carolina last night and listened to the game on XM. Quite entertaining to say the least. The most entertaining thing was when Russ Springer hit Ryan Howard the the Cardinals announcers were all over the umpire for poor judgement. However, I knew they were full of crap when they started saying the only reason Howard got hit is because he crowds the plate. Are you kidding? Crowds the plate? They're obviously homers when they start saying retarded stuff like that because we all know Howard stands a good 2.5-3 feet off the plate.

Since the Phillies always seem to score 20 runs when sophist goes to the games, maybe the Beerleaguers can get together and buy him tickets for all of this year's playoff games.

Since June 13, 2007:

Kyle Kendrick 16-6, 4.13

Cole Hamels 15-9, 3.30

Amazing how wrong some posters have been about KK (yes Jack & kdon I'm talking about you.)

I smell a 1-0 game tonight.

After Ruiz takes a bashing here before the game then comes up w/ some RBIs. Who need a pick me up? Rollins?

clout: You didn't mention me, but I'll volunteer that I was pretty skeptical of Kendrick too. It's not impossible to be a decent major league pitcher while striking out only 3.5 batters per 9 innings, not having an extreme GO/FO ratio, and yielding a .280-ish opponents batting average. But it is difficult.

The key to Kendrick's success lies in the following numbers:

Oppopnents Batting Average:

With RISP: .216
Men on: .256
Man on 2nd: .229
Man on 3rd: .083
1st & 2nd: .233
1st & 3rd: .263
Bases loaded: .176
Man on 3rd, 2 outs: .188

By contrast, Kendrick has a .346 career opponents' batting average against hitters leading off the inning.

One wonders: is there something systematically different about pitching with men in scoring position? Or is it just a matter of his bearing down and concentrating better in these situations? Or are these numbers just a statistical fluke? If one interprets the numbers as a statistical fluke, then there is still some reason for doubt about Kendrick's long-term prospects (unless he improves in some areas which, admittedly, he does seem to be doing).

I'm just asking the questions. I honestly don't know how to interpret the splits.

Interesting factoid - As much as its known that Howard tends to rake against his hometown team, Utley hasn't been too bad either (from today's DN): [Utley raised his] hitting streak against the Cardinals to 21 games (the last time Utley failed to hit safely against St. Louis was Aug. 24, 2003, his rookie season).

One more tidbit on the Utley hitting streak: Utley is batting .402 (39-for-97) with three homers, eight doubles and 20 RBIs during a 21-game hitting streak against the Cardinals.

BAP: You left out the most important split of all:

Career vs. RHB .243 BA, .282 OB, .647 OPS
K/BB ratio: 50/12

Those are dominating numbers.

To put it another way, every righthanded batter who faces Kyle Kendrick is Pedro Feliz. So most nights he faces a lineup of 5 or 6 Pedro Felizes.

BAP - Great idea. I'll be at today's game as well, but I have a feeling my streak will end. Yesterday was a different day with an injured pitcher on the mound and then some back of the pen guys. Lohse will be better.

But Pujols is still out. Good to see Kendrick, Seanez and Condrey keep Ludwick hitless.

clout: I actually thought Kendrick's lefty-right splits were somewhat of a fluke last year, as he never had such splits in the minors. But he has actually been even better against right-handers this year -- and even worse against left-handers.

The lefty-righty splits also help explain his strong numbers with RISP. He sort of works his way through the lineup, yielding a few hits along the way, until he works his way to a right-hander or two -- and then he slams the door. Of course, the lefty-right splits still don't explain why he yields such a high batting average against hitters leading off the inning.

Maybe Kendrick would be better off pitching solely from the stretch if he's leading off so many hitters.

One of my favorite comments from last night...

"bap: I'm happy to see Howard have a big game, but I definitely don't want to read any proclamations about "turning the corner." The sign of turning the corner is when you start hitting pitchers who aren't woefully ineffective."

I knew someone would try to rain on Ryan's parade, especially after the Kingman-bashing from yesterday. But maybe bap doesn't realize the season Wellemeyer was having coming into the game:

7-1, 2.93 ERA, lefties hitting just .222 against him with a 73 OPS+. Wellemeyer had actually been tougher on lefties than righties this season. It's clear he wasn't on top of his game last night, but giving up back-to-back-to-back jacks in the first has a way of doing that. Great hitters can make any pitcher look bad.

I hope this is a corner-turning moment for Ryan Howard. We'll just have to wait and see.

Chooch is hitting .333 over his last 6 games with a 1.066 OPS. Of course, he had an 0-9 stretch in the middle there, so I'm not sure we can call this a corner-turning moment either.

It sure was nice to see him swing the bat that well last night, however.

CJ: That was your single most strained defense of Howard to date -- and that's no small feat. Wellemeyer may have good numbers, but: (1) he hadn't pitched in a week due to elbow soreness; and (2) he allowed 8 runs in 3 innings last night. And, since you seem to think that career numbers are the sole index of a player's worth, take a look at Wellemeyer's career numbers, which are thoroughly mediocre -- and actually somewhat worse against left-handers than right-handers.

Seriously, you must be Ryan Howard's agent. With your endless apologies for his miserable season, you have become to Ryan Howard what Sir Alden is to Pat Gillick. "Great hitters?" Do you seriously think Ryan Howard has been a "great hitter" this year? And do you seriously think I was trying to "rain on Howard's parade" by urging caution, before we go proclaiming -- for the 8 zillionth time -- that maybe he's finally coming around? If I had any desire to "rain on his parade," I'd set out my thoughts in a personal letter; I wouldn't write it on Beerleguer, which -- no offense to your excellent site, jason -- he probably doesn't have a whole lot of time to read.

I'd love it if last night really did represent some sort of turning point. But Howard also had 3 hits a few days ago also, and he followed it up by going 0 for Florida. So you'll excuse me if I'm a little hesitant to giddily declare his season turned around because he had a few hits off some pitchers who couldn't possible have been more ineffective.

Maybe LaRussa, in his excitement, finally had an epiphany that he doesn't actually *need* sunglasses at 10pm...

CJ: My comments were:

"I'm happy to see Howard have a big game, but I definitely don't want to read any proclamations about "turning the corner." The sign of turning the corner is when you start hitting pitchers who aren't woefully ineffective."

I'm really at a loss to figure out what about that statement is even the slightest bit controversial, offensive, or even negative.

Personally, I think BAP was right on with his statement. Howard's had these huge games before this season and we all go nuts thinking he's turned the corner only to see him suck horribly for a week straight. That doesn't bash last nights effort but I'm not gonna be confident in Howard turning any corners as he's done this before.

yeah, I don't count my chickens before they've hatched. He is in St. Louis, a place where he has a history of success. So I'd like to see him have a good, solid series... and then continue that success every where else.

Howard is 4th in RBI in the NL, while hitting .212. Imagine how many runs this team would score with an effective hitter batting cleanup.

He bats .252 with Runners on and .299 with RISP. Howard is very effective as long as guys get on in front of him.

Yeah, he'd have only a few more RBIs due to solo HR.

That, of course, is hyperbolic, but I think about right. Howard has good numbers with men on. It's not as if he's batting 202 with men on. Though you wonder if he'd have even better RISP no if he were hitting 250 with no one on.

Howard might end up being the most effective .212 hitter in history.

That'd be a good backwards strategy for his agent to use in arbitration next year: "Look, it's arguable that my client sucked, and he STILL was top 5 in homers and RBIs. Give us 12 million dollars."

Or this:

"It's not my client's fault that the guys in front of him weren't on all the time. If they were on he woulda hit .350!"

And come on, guys, we're supposed to do some Jimmy bashing today.

"I think it's time to give Jason Donald his shot. I mean really, he can go 0 for whatever swinging at the first pitch just as easily as the ex-MVP."

Like that. Or...

"I bet Loria would love to part with Ramirez' future salary requests. Now's the time to trade up!"

Anyone? Anyone?

There is DEFINITELY something special about this team. Not in my 60 years on this earth and my 50 years as a cognizant Phillies fan, have I seen a Phillies team score 20 runs twice in a season, let alone twice in 17 days. Everyone recalls that they pulverized the Rockies and then went on a 45 run 3 game spree sweeping the Rox. Hopefully, they haven't burned out the offense this time and that we see another Phillies sweep. 43-28 would look awfully good headed home to play the Red Sox.

BAP was right, of course. Odds are against this signaling some kind of turnaround.

Howard last night also struck out with the bases loaded - there was a few extra rib's he could of had.

Some good news. On MLB.com, in the PHI preview for today's game, CM signals how important keeping Gordon fresh is during June and July. He's going to keep his appearances down in the middle of the season.

We'll probably be seeing more Madson.

Nice and hot out here in STL today. Let's shell Lohse.

Blah. FOX 25 in Boston showing Red Sox/Red, figures.

Howard's 33 RBI over the last 10 games is tied for the amjor league lead.

I know he hasn't had a very good year, but the guy really is one of the best run producers in the game.

I get the sense that people are more upset with his 10 million dollar arbitration deal, than his production. If he had been awarded the 7 million the Phils were offering, this site would be more tolerant of his difficult season.

BAP:
The statistics on hitters facing Kendrick are interesting. Could the low averages with runners on third have to do with a hitter trying to hit an SF against a sinkerball pitcher? I have no stats to prove this.

i meant 30d, not 10 games. my bad.

Oh great, Marc Grace.

Glad that Kendrick has panned out this season so far but the 16-6 record since last year if pretty deceiving considering the run support that Kendrick has received.

For whatever bizarre reason, the Phils have continued where they left off last season and continued to put runs on the board at a ridiculous clip again this season.

birds: "If he had been awarded the 7 million the Phils were offering, this site would be more tolerant of his difficult season."

Truer words have never been written.

Birds, doesn't that have a whole lot to do with how Victorino and Utley have hit in the past 30 days? Shane's had a .400 OBP in that span and so has Utley. I suspect a lot of hitters could put up 33 RBI's in those circumstances.

Tray, don't get me wrong; I am not saying that he is having an all-star year.

Vic has been great since he became the back-up CF, and Utley is - well - the man. But, Howard has a job to do when those guys get on base, and he is pretty good at it.

I think that there is too much bashing, and it has to do with his 10 million dollars as much as his performance.

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