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Monday, May 18, 2009

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please please let it be Happ and not Park. I don't want my 4 expensive Yankee Stadium tickets to be spent in vain

TNA - So my premise that there are more "hitters' counts" being seen is incorrect; there are less. There are more strikes being thrown than normal, percentage-wise (which means fewers balls). And yet there are more walks per game than any time in the 20th century and this one up til now.

Pitchers are getting ahead, throwing more strikes, and therefore walking more batters.

Forget the "new strike zone;" how about the "new reality?"

Why would I want to follow Beerleaguer on Twitter? When I want to see what's going on in Beerleaguer, I go to Beerleaguer. As Plato once said, "Twitter this!"

I, too, am on the Happ and not Park bandwagon for Yankee Stadium, although Park did pitch his gem game in NY.

I'll be at the new Yankee Stadium on Saturday as well and would really prefer to see no Chan Ho Park. Reminds me of 2007 when all the games I had tickets to just happnened to have Adam Eaton starting.

Yuck.

If Park pitches, just hope that magical jet stream to right is flowing only for the Phightins...

I think we'll really know if Moyer is done when he faces the Marlins again: if he gets lit up even by them, then it really will be time to hang it up.

"Why would I want to follow Beerleaguer on Twitter? When I want to see what's going on in Beerleaguer, I go to Beerleaguer."

But ... but ...

Okay you got me. I have no clue why I'm doing it.

This is going to be a tough week for the Phillies. If they are in a similar position this time next week as they are now I will consider it a success.

On the "new strike zone": I realize that all stadiums now have a QuesTec type system in place but wasn't it just a few years ago that Selig was worried games were running too long and he told umpires "to look for strikes." Unless Bud suddenly thinks longer games provide more value for fans' hard- earned and shrinking dollars, you would think he'd be pushing for bigger zone, not smaller one.

This is one of those "no brainers" that any fan would instantly agree with. Every sport has key matchup issues but matching starters in baseball is right up there as a key matchup in sports.

Andy -
well, there's a discrepancy with what's happening league wide and what's happening with the Phillies. and your premise that there a lot more hitters counts being seen this year is on the mark.

a first cut at the numbers show that:
(1) the phillies (and astros and brewers) are disproportionately having less strikes called for them as opposed to the rockies, mets and braves.
(2) as a league, there are a lot more walks being issued.
(3) as a league, the NL is seeing a statistically significant systemic increase in 2-0 and 3-1 counts.
(4) the phillies have a dramatic decrease (but not unusual given the year-to-year variability over the past 5 years) of 2-0 and 3-1 counts.

What this tells me is that the phillies pitchers are throwing it across the heart of the plate due to an inability to get strikes called and getting hammered before reaching hitters counts.

But for our purposes, the problem is one of bias and there seems to be some bias in this system (against the phillies, brewers and astros -- perhaps those are the staffs that have the pitchers that rely on the black which has been taken away from them?).

so before the Phils hit the big apple they're going to need to add a RH bat...who's it gonna be? Mayberry? Cairo?

seems to early for a trade, no? and even if Mark DeRosa becomes available soon, i'd rather see the club save their bullets for pitching acquisitions in case Moyer, Park and Blanton can't right themselves...

Cholly would be a fool not to try Happ on Saturday. He'll probably do the right thing and skip Park. Chooly seems to be managing with a greater sense of urgency ever since he blew that 3-2 game, by pitching Tachner in a high leverage situation.

It's hard to imagine Cairo coming back. Why recall a guy no one notices has been missing? He had zero impact in 34 games. By way of contrast, his first 2 replacements have 2 wins in 2 games.

It would be nice to let Mayberry DH this weekend, but they may stick Stairs in there instead.

Given how mediocre our pitching staff is, I would consider keeping the additional reliever around. For all practical purposes, we added a guy to the bench when we dispensed with the Burrell/defensive caddy arrangement.

I'm not a guy to go all split happy... but here's the Yankees split vs. LHP and RHP:

vs. LHP: .906 OPS
vs. RHP: .787 OPS

No matter which arm the opposing pitcher throws with, please Charlie, don't PH Bruntlett for Stairs.

checking the yankees' website... looks like the Yanks will throw Burnett (RHP), Pettite (LHP) and Sabathia (LHP) in the series. so while the DH (aka, stupidest rule in baseball) may make the bench less important for the Yanks series, i'd rather have a RH bat for the weekend then an extra arm...

Few thoughts:

- Worst thing to happen to the Phils' rotation the last few weeks was Park's start in the Santana game. It convinced the Phils that Park might be a legit option to remain in the rotation when the reality is that he is more likely to implode or give them a mediocre start. Phils are likely better off with Happ who would give them a bit more consistency.

- Normally a 13-man pitching staff would be ridiculous but this rotation has been an unmitigated disaster so far:

10 wins (tied for 21st in MLB)
5.33 IP/start (27th in MLB)
6.35 ERA (last in MLB)
1.63 WHIP (28th in MLB)
.546 SLG against (last in MLB)
.921 OPS (last in MLB)
239 hits allowed (tied for 24th in MLB)
42 HRs allowed (last in MLB and on pace to potentially be one of the all-time worst in MLB history)

Basically this is placing a huge burden on the bullpen and a bunch of relievers are on a ridiculous pace:

Durbin (on pace to pitch 91 IP)
Condrey (on pace to pitch 83 IP)
Happ (on pace to pitch 87 IP)

Even Madson and Lidge are on pace to both throw over 70 IP.

Inevitably Durbin, Condrey, and Happ will likely hit a dead arm point in the 2nd half that leads to general ineffectivness or they will end up on the DL. You can't have relievers throw that many G and IP.

- Getting a right-handed bat would be nice for the Yanks series but it is critical for the 2-week interleague stretch that begins in mid-June. Gillick was usually able to tinker to make things work and if Amaro doesn't address this with someone better than Cairo he failed a pretty imporant in-season task.

On a lighter note:

In Sports Illustrated's pop culture grid, RHP Matt Garza said the body part he'd steal from a teammate belongs to Joe Nelson: "He knows what it is."

@Myers -- its funny you say the DH rule is stupid... I was thinking the opposite this weekend.

Especially watching Park strike out on 3 straight pitches. It just seemed so simple and easy and allowed Zimmermann (did they make him add the extra n so people wouldn't confuse him with Ryan?) to get through the second quickly, after the Phils hung 3 on him in the first. I was just bummed out after seeing there.

Even though I've had the pleasure of watching Moyer or Myers or Hamels or even the MIGHTY Joe Blanton help themselves with great plate appearances and huge hits, it gives opposing pitchers an unnecesary advantage (although that advantage is shared by both teams). The ultimate disadvantage is when NL teams travel to AL ballparks for interleague play. Most NL rosters don't have no field all hit DH'ers. (We fortunately have at least one of those -- Stairs)

And of course the great Jim Thome-Ryan Howard problem would have been solved with the DH rule. This of course allows the AL to benefit from aging NL'ers having lengthier careers while the NL'ers get virtually zero in return.

I feel like I'm a traditional fan, but I'd rather see a 9th batter (not named Eric Bruntlett) than having to worry if Cholly can properly double switch.

Yeah I know ERA is flawed to evaluate a pitcher's performance but:

- Myers 4.50 ERA (tied 60th out of 104 qualified starters)
- Hamels 5.07 ERA (79th out of 104 starters if he qualified)
- Blanton 6.86 ERA (99th out of 104 qualified starters)
- Park 7.08 (101st if he qualified)
- Moyer 8.15 (Dead last at 104/104 if he qualified)

Even the O's with the likes of Eaton/Hendrickson/insert generic 5th dude have been notably better. It's that bad and for once people aren't going overboard with how terrible the starting pitching has been.

Mike C - I largely hate the DH-rule for many of the reasons you didn't mention. It takes a large degree of strategy out of the game and it decreases the importance of bench players. Plus, it always increases scoring. I would much rather see a well-played 4-3 NL game then a 9-7 AL slugfest with a dozen pitchers.

MG - Only reason I like the DH-rule is that it allows aging sluggers who were usually fan favorites can still really hit to stick around for another few years. Too often though, it is filled by a middle of the road hitter who isn't somebody who aren't really that interested in seeing hit.

"I would much rather see a well-played 4-3 NL game then a 9-7 AL slugfest with a dozen pitchers." Damn, MG this season must be killing you. And for the record, I agree.

donc - Not really since the Phils are still winning and a very interesting team but it was hard to really enjoy the Carpenter/Cabrera start on Sat. night in DC I went to. Just a poorly played game all around and two guys who aren't MLB starting pitchers.

Phils on pace for 90 wins.

What does that tell you about a team with, seemingly, the worst starting rotation in baseball?!?

I'm not prepared to pass judgement on Carpenter based on his starting debut. He sat around all day thinking about it, I'm sure he was nervous. Does he look like the best farmhand since Hamels? Certainly not, but I could see him back with the club in September with a shot to make the team next spring.

CJ - Simple. This team is averaging a ridiculous 5.75 RS/game which translates into 932 runs in the season.

Not only is that a ridiculous figure but it would shatter the '07 run total. If this team scores 900+ runs, the pitching staff would have to be epically bad for this team to not make the playoffs again.

CJ: It tells me they've played an inordinate number of games against the Marlins and Natinals. MG: It's funny that we are talking about this now. Just this morning I was thinking about the Phillies and how the record isn't that bad. And I thought, "but damn I've watched a lot of butt ugly baseball this year". If we hadn't just played 4 games against a AAA team, things would look pretty bleak around here. But I am tired of watching slugfests in general. Every once in a while is fun, every night is indicative of putrid pitching. That's no fun.

CJ: The Phils are on pace for 90 wins but Ibanez is on pace for 60 HR, 162 RBI and 153 R.

Everyone all at the same time: Not gonna happen!

Jason: I was impressed. I think his first inning was the product of adrenaline. He was overthrowing his sinker and that flattened it out. I think he may have the right kind of stuff for CBP. Hamels? Of course not. But a possible place in this rotation? Perhaps.

I'll be interested to see how he pitches in the minors the rest of this year.

JW - Yeah you can't judge Carpenter by one start but his stuff (along with Cabrera's) was not MLB-caliber on Sat. night. It was downright painful to watch both of those guys try to throw a strike when they needed even on basic 4-seem fastballs.

One of friends who I went to day the game with (Nats' season ticket holder) said it was even a pathetic starting pitching display on a team has been filled with pathetic starting pitching all season.

Let the AL keep the DH and the NL bat the pitchers. Eliminate interleague play, I could care less about the All-Star game (though DH for both makes sense), and the World Series is short enough that the hot team will probably win regardless of DH or no DH.

I don't care for the DH. I prefer the NL style to be sure. But it mystifies me why the two leagues play by two different sets of rules. It's not as if its just a matter of the umpires chest protectors here. I don't think interleague play is a bad idea in general, but because there are two different sets of rules, I don't think interleague play is fair. And that's to say nothing of the unbalanced schedule. DH. No DH. I don't care that much. But it has to be uniform. When it comes to the biggest prize in baseball, every game has one team or the other at a decided disadvantage. I just don't understand it.

Phillies had scored 29 runs and were 48-253 (.190 avg) over the past 8 games. However, this weekend they unloaded for 33 runs and went 49-151 (.325 avg).

The discrepancy makes baseball unique, I don't know any other American professional sport that has separate rules for each League/Division. I'm happy with keeping it that way despite the inherent flaws when the two Leagues meet. Interleague has served its purpose (rejuvenating interest after the strike) and I'd rather see it removed.

How many World Series has the DH or non-DH has definitively influenced the outcome of the series?

"Yankees split vs. LHP and RHP:

vs. LHP: .906 OPS
vs. RHP: .787 OPS"

But Happ & Hamels both rely on a change-up as their out-pitch. Like most change-up pitchers, they have reverse lefty-righty splits. That makes them good matchups against the Yankees.

With the new nitro zone wind pattern to RF at the New Yankee Stadium I think I'd be a lot more comfortable with Happ pitching that Saturday game. I'd thought that Park had turned the corner in his last couple of starts before yesterday.... but he totally crapped the bed yesterday. The home plate ump didn't help on that pitch to Willingham, but Park is 35 and should know better.

I don't like the DH on the usual grounds - baseball is a 9 man game, not a 10 man game. AS for this team winning 90 games based on current trends, the suggestion reminds me of the 1930 team. They scored 944 runs that year. Of course, they surrendered 1199 and had a 6.71 team ERA. An extreme example (Baker Bowl), sure, but it doesn't seem like there are many precedents for teams slugging their way to a pennant.

bap: Ah, thanks for the update on Happ.

Happ has fared much better against RHB (.421 OPS against in 09) than LHB (.842 OPS against in 09) this season and in his career. Interestingly, however, he has a much better K/BB ratio against LHB.

@MG -- I understand your point. And I get it. But I'm not sure how enjoyable it is to watch Cole Hamels blow away Santana with a change up. How is that enjoyable? How does that make the game better more fun?

Anyway... the difference in runs scored between the AL won't change much... You are looking at an extra run scored once every 3 or 4 games compared to the NL (per team). Or in 2008 an average of 41 more runs scored (per team).

I'm not sure how much that would affect your enjoyment of ball games. You probably wouldn't notice it over a 162 games.

Bah... The DH rule blows.

It's not baseball. It's beer league softball. (Of course, on a site called Beerleaguer, that may be a complete.)

complete = compliment, obviously

TNA - I misread your "hitters' counts" numbers. Now it does make sense. Some teams' pitchers would rather give up the walks. Some try to force strikes. And some of the Phillies pitchers are just lost up there.

But I would say that the "hitters' counts" thing, along with more walks, is what shows a "new strike zone." The higher strike percentage just shows that the pitchers are ending up throwing meatballs that they really don't want to. And when it warms up, perhaps, fewer hitters will be missing them.

This is the year for the Phils to go for 1000 runs.

It is especially incumbent upon Chollie in the game against Sabbathia to DH Brett Myers - even lead him off. He might not get out of that first inning in fewer than forty pitches.

@Andy... While I have already been on record here opposing the Pitcher's batting (although to be honest this is a new feeling and really only hit me yesterday -- whatever).

Having Bret lead off... would be awesome. And the worst result probably no different than the first 30 games of JROLL.

Yo, new thread

Happ(2.49 ERA,1.09 WHIP)should pitch against the Yankees instead of Park(7.08 ERA,1.69 WHIP).

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