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Monday, August 17, 2009

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"got cold feet and summoned beerleagueredi closer Brad Lidge."

/fixed.

Maybe it wasn't what everyone wanted, but at least Manual seems open to alternatives to the "Brad Lidge Death March". I don't know if the cheapy save "ROOGY" is the way to go, though. The ESPN guys were baffled. They couldn't get over the fact that Manuel had Lidge warm up but didn't use him immediately in the 9th. Apparently they thought Manuel's hesitation was due solely to Lidge being used twice in a row and not due to his being the worst closer in baseball.

Oops, Manuel. Manual works, too, as in "Brad Lidge Manual Override".

I think they understood full well why Cholly was hesitant to use Lidge. They were referring to what Cholly might say to the press after the game. UC did the right thing by giving Eyre a chance.

Ah, it's games like these which make me rather happy that we didn't pull the trigger on Halladay. Loving JA going deep into games, and loving his WHIP/ERA lately... had Lidge ... eh, well, we won all 3, even if the win column doesn't say it.

While JA Happ has been nothing short of fantastic this season, I think we all realize he’s pitching a bit over his head. I decided to see what his peripherals looked like this year compared to other pitchers in his ERA range and perhaps see what we can expect in the future from similar pitchers. The results were encouraging.

Out of all pitchers in the NL with an ERA under 3.00, Happ has the least starts (16) and IP (128.2). He’s not too far behind Chris Carpenter (19 and 130.2) and Clayton Kershaw (24 and 136), though, which speaks to his value as an innings-eater. He has the second lowest lowest K/BB ratio at 1.96, with Kershaw worse at 1.87 and Cain (2.25) and Jurrjens (2.02) comparable. He’s basically tied for the 7th best WHIP with Cain, at 1.15 and 1.16 respectably (Kershaw and Jurrjens are tied with 1.26).

So Happ isn’t on the level of Lincecum, Carpenter, Haren, Johnson, or Vazquez. We knew that already. Along with Kershaw, Jurrjens, and Cain, it looks like he’s overperforming. The good news is that out of those pitchers he seems most similar statistically to Matt Cain and his 3.49 ERA. If that’s what we can expect out of his future we should be very happy to have held onto him! He just needs to work on those walks…

It's not that Happ is pitching over his head, it's that he's not pitching over the plate! Hehehehehe.

My favorite stat when it comes to starting pitchers is that their team tends to win when they pitch.

Before the series, Braves fans were all over thegoodphight.com telling us how super awesome their pitching was, and that our pitchers couldn't compete with theirs.

Funny, in their park our pitchers looked OK (Lidge aside).

Well, it was a good game. Vasquez the mighty was excellent, the best player by far on the diamond. But the damnable Ryan Howard, refusing to take off his WFC ring at bat, reflected light into the pitcher's eyes and the superlative Vasquez made a slight mistake ... twice. Other than that the Braves win easily. No question. Against the talentless Phillies? Of course.

“We could have won all three games,” Bobby Cox said.

Tell us about it. Or whine about your ballpark again. Or ours. Whatever, just keep chugging along in third place.

EF, what a great point: "in their park".

It's an especially poignant comment after Bobby Cox whined after the first game about their own ballpark and how they would have had 2-4 more HR.

I have to say, I respect Cox for what he's done in the game, 14 straight division winners is impressive no matter how you look at it.

HOWEVER, to make a comment like that, especially since his pitchers/team benefits all season from being in that park (31-26 home; 30-29 road) is more than a bit disingenuous, and to an extent, wishing for a double standard.

Hey Bobby, how about looking at it this way: You won 14 straight division titles because you had an ownership that didn't care about the budget and spent freely regardless of how many fans showed up. As a result, the teams you managed had considerably more talent that any of the others in the division. Despite mwking the playoffs for 14 straight, you only won 1 WS...that's right...only 1. Now, you have owners that actually care how many fans show up at the ballpark (OR DON'T SHOW) and spend accordingly. Now, there are others teams in the division equally or more talented - and you haven't won.

Hmmmmm?
____________________________________________________________________

Very good road trip ("great" would have been 6-0).

If we weren't playing in a bandbox like Turner Field, then Howard would never have hit 2 HRs last night.

Or perhaps they should update their scouting report to include the following:

1. Do not hang a changeup to Ryan Howard
2. High fastball up on the outer half is a BAD idea.

Every other team in baseball already knows these things...apparently Bobby Cox does not.

Oh, and since I turned off my laptop before the end of the game:

That's Lidgetastic!

"Every other team in baseball already knows these things...apparently Bobby Cox does not."

Does that make him a Cox sucker.

I seriously felt like I was watching a Cardinals game last night...3 pitchers to record the final 4 outs...UC is at the point where he's terrified to bring in the bullpen (as evidenced by using Happ into the 8th when he was clearly struggling to locate all night long.)

They should have just let Madson get the 4 out save as he didn't bat in the top of the 9th. But clearly UC was trying to build Lidge's shattered confidence back up step by step.

I'm wondering if the great pitching of Blanton and Happ might be why Hamels is struggling the way he is...

I feel when Chan Ho was in the rotation and Blanton was pitching poorly, Hamels felt like he was the ace. Now since Blanton has been great and Happ more than any one could have hoped for, Hamels looks awful and he feels the pressure and is trying to get back his 'ace' status...

He down right gets PISSED when he gives up a walk/hit/HR because I think hes taking his teammates success and pressuring him self with it instead of going out there and pitching his own game... Just watching the games, everytime he goes out he seems to get more flustered. It might just be frustrations building up, but the Blanton's run and Happs emergence have coincided with Hamels below average performance this season...

Is it me or is Howard a few inches closer to the plate? He actually seemed to get jammed a little on the first homer. Man, if he can do a little of that and cut down on the low-and-away flailing...of course, maybe I'm just seeing things.

****Is it me or is Howard a few inches closer to the plate?****

Its not just you...he's crowding the plate a bit more recently. He's also letting the ball come to him instead of reaching out for it...he tends to do that when he's hot (and has more confidence in himself).

Rollins is up on the plate as well lately (as was pointed out by Joe Morgan several hundred times last night.).

This is NOT, I repeat, this is NOT a comparison of Happ to Cliff Lee (ok, it is, but Lee is still the better pitcher), but since the Phillies traded for Lee, this is their respective lines:

Lee:

3-0, 24 IP, 1.12 ERA, 8.63 K/9, .917 WHIP, .193 BAA

Happ:

2-0, 22.2 IP, 1.19 ERA, 6.35 K/9, 1.15 WHIP, .168 BAA

Not too shabby for young Mr. Happ.

"I'm wondering if the great pitching of Blanton and Happ might be why Hamels is struggling the way he is..."


Hey, Cipper, would you care to provide an explanation for that comment? I'm not challenging you, I'm just curious what you mean.

Coolest thing is Howards pre-bat meditation ritual. His face emerges, serenely violent, like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

He has seen the future. He will be trotting around the bases.

Thank goodness Ryan Howard hit his 2nd HR of the game in the 6th inning and not the 7th. That way B_A_P can continue his nonsense that Ryan Howard is "useless" from the 7th inning on.

Jack: since you say Howard "only crushes bad RH pitching", I guess Javier Vasquez sub-3 ERA qualifies as a "bad RH" pitcher.

awh, I have been wondering something similar to what Cipper said- if bringing in Cliff Lee has been hard on Hamels.

I think what Cipper is asking is if last year it was easier for Hamels to stay confident and pitch relaxed, as he was clearly The Ace. This year, there has been more talent from the other guys, so perhaps he feels more pressure and that's hurting his game.

I don't think it could be the ONLY reason for his struggling, but I have also wondered if it has been a factor. Especially bringing in Superstar Cliff Lee. Who knows?

Hope I haven't put word in your mouth, C.

I've watched Hamels every start since his major league debut at Great American Ballpark.. Hamels isn't in a funk, I don't care what anyone on here says, he's a won-it-all young Champion that is slugging around playing lazy because he knows how good he is and how good the team around him is. The biggest thing with him is his focus. During the regular season throughout his career he has, and will continue to pitch lazily (leaving a couple hanger out there and giving up the long ball) it almost seems to me like he gets a kick out of giving up the long ball sometimes and also out of the media reaction.. I think these guys are just putting on a good show for us (Lidge too) and that this is in all actuality the scariest team in Baseball History... Lidge just needs to tighten the nasty slider he has up a bit and that will make all of the difference in the world if he can start locating it again, he's a ground ball pitcher when he does. Hamels is the Ace, he's just on a mental vacation from the game right now. I guarantee shutout baseball down the stretch. The only games this team will lose down the stretch are Pedro or Blanton starts, and Blanton has been very good. Pedro is still an ex-Met/Expo and can't be trusted. We all forget how effective Moyer can be for a couple of innings. I believe that this team if any ever has the composition to sweep the Playoffs (11-0). You heard it phirst!

Hamels has the stuff he had last year in the Playoffs, he is just hiding it from everybody and will use the weapon in the post season and go undefeated again. He, unlike Happ and the others has pride in his stuff and won't allow other teams, fans or media to get any chances reading his book. Hamels is probably going to go down in History as the best BIG GAME PITCHER of ALL-TIME. I'll take a Playoff Hamels over Lincecum, Halladay or anyone else in the bigs and what is cary is the kid is only still has 7 years left till his prime.

The 14 straight division title meme also conveniently ignores the 1994 season. Who knows if the Braves would have made up their 6 game deficit that year?

Wow Brohamel, I like the optimism, but that rivals Davtom's mancrush on Coste.

Nice post JWeitz. The Worldwide Leader indicated that Happ had faced the Bravos earlier this year, giving up 2 hrs. I would interpret that to mean they have a book on him.

I'm not overly concerned about the walks. I think the strike zone is slowly shrinking into oblivion. Happ and Vazquez - both accurate pitchers - struggled to find the zone last night. Methinks the Men in Blue are trying to inculcate themselves into the pennant race.

I also think JWeitz should slow down on the damning praise for Howard. One weekend does not a season or even hot streak make. I'll concur that when Big Brown looks good, he is frequently ready to go on a roll, but let's let his new close-to-the-plate stance breath a bit before we proclaim him ready to carry the team.

Good stuff from the 'pen last night. Keep it up. Gotta take care of business this week.

It certainly appears Ryan Howard has begun his late season surge (Aug/Sept/Oct). In the last 4 games he's 7-13 with 5 r, 4 hr, and 9 rbi. For his career, Ryan has gone .300/.405/.637, 166 r, 50 dbl, 5 trpl, 81 hr, and 224 rbi from August-October.

Last week I pointed out Howard's pitiful OPS against lefties. Even as much as the two home runs, the bee-bee (sp?) he hit against O'Flaherty shows me that Ryno has turned the corner. O'Flaherty is a good, solid lefty reliever who - even a few weeks ago - would have struck Howard out routinely. But now he's staying back and seeing the strike zone.

We've been waiting for Ryno's August/September hot streak. It's officially here. Here's my prediction. By Labor Day, RH will be in sight of 40 home runs.

One last thing - I was hopeful that Ibanez had turned it around with two doubles on Saturday night. He apparently has not. With Ryno streaking, Ibanez really needs to step it up because he needs to offer protection. I don't like Werth in the 5-hole against righties.

A week or two ago when Howard was in his career long HR draught, he was starting to hit the ball very hard - a lot of it was tight line drives pulled into the shift.

Once you start seeing consistent hard hit balls from Howard regardless of where at in the park, it is a pretty good bet that the HRs will start to come.

Its only been about 4-5 games, but we're so used to seeing him get hot at this time of the year, that its hard not to just accept that he will be knocking on the door for the HR and RBI crown this year, regardless of how many he has spotted pujols earlier in the year.

Ahh, the Bler Ryan Howard revolving door is also in full effect. It comes out about this time each year. For the past month when Howard goes cold all you hear on here is, " Ryan isn't worth the 16 million", "He can't hit lefties", "He can't hit good RHers" and so on. Now he gets into his annual hitting parade and BLers are now changing their tune a full 180 degrees.

I don't know how much longer it will take people to see what Howard is. He is a gaurenteed 40+ HR hitter with 130 RBI's, .260/.340/.540 hitter. Along with around 180 strikeouts a year.

AWH: I think after last season, Hamels has that young guy mentality that he is "the man" and he can do it all... now he's being out performed by his peers (who are considered by most to be 'lesser' pitchers than Hamels) I think if might be a reason why he's been so tough on himself. Being a young guy and knowing how hard it can be from being on top of the world to being outclassed in such short time can take a toll on his psyche...

Just an idea though...

And Phargo you were exactly right on what I was saying... Would of said it quicker but I hit absurd traffic on the Parkway... ha

Damning praise of Howard? Not sure I took it that far. I said he's on a roll largely because of all the righties he's faced ...

As for Happ, three hits against him on a night when he wasn't especially sharp and walked six. I'd say the Bravos still have ways to go before solving him.

3 games at Wrigley, 3 games at Atlanta, 5 wins. Can't ask for anything more. Now back to .500 ball at home.

A very telling number of stats for Happ.

Happ leads the majors in stranding runners on base(85.4%), ERA-FIP differential(-1.53) and BABIP(.247).

When they are hitting the ball, they are not finding holes and not well hit, he is using his defense very effectively, and when he does put runners on, he is superb at retiring the next batter(s).

There must be some type of deception that Happ uses in his release that really fools MLB hitters, but just from watching on TV, I don't really see where it is coming from.

lisa - I concur - love the Kurtz comparison.

When Howard levels the bat in his extended right hand like a sword and locks his eyes on the pitcher's you get a feeling like he's saying: "whatcha got, meat?"

Especially late in the season when he's raking everything. Do. Not. Trade. This. Man.

JW: I am not speaking solely to you. Many of our house "baseball guru's" have been complaining about those points since he went into his cold streak. But in fairness, I do believe during that time their were threads dedicated to Howard's actual worth. Well, I hope now after 3 years of this, people can see that he is worth every penny. He wins late August/September games when everyone else is hitting their wall due to the long season.

Howard has upgraded his defense, his BA is now close to .200 against LHP, is now on pace to hit his career norms, will most likely cut his strikeout number. What else do you want from him? Leave him alone no matter what happens the rest of the season. Let him win us games.

"Brad Lidge Death March", the BLDM. I think we have a new acronym for the 9th innning.

Hamels has had a ton of things happen in the offseason, from becoming a WFC to Heidi forcing him to carry a rat dog in a backpack (see link), which has been shown to be extremely damaging to one's male confidence. He's a young guy and will bounce back. Hopefully it kicks in again in Sept./Oct.

http://www.philebrity.com/2009/07/08/now-will-you-believe-us-when-we-tell-you-how-heidi-hamels-is-ruining-everything-beautiful-that-was-once-cole-hamels/> Now Will You Believe Us When We Tell You How Heidi Hamels Is Ruining Everything Beautiful That Was Once Cole Hamels?

MVP: I was referring to PreserveJon's post.

there's a blurb in murphy wrap today that says chan ho park has a tender elbow. fyi

Despite the poor showing against lefties, Howard on the whole has been far more easier to watch this season than he had the previous two. I see a guy much more determined to be a better player, more than the one-dimensional player he had been, and the results have frequently presented themselves. He still has a ways to go as a hitter, but finally we're seeing adjustments being made in that direction. So even if he finishes with a career-low in homers, I think Howard has been a far more valuable player on an everyday basis than he has since '06.

Just a refresher on what a difference a year makes.

"For all those Lidge haters from other towns who said he was too much of a head case to pitch in CBP...wanna try again?

Posted by: EastFallowfield | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 10:47 PM "

"That's Lidgetastic!!!!

Posted by: NEPP | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 09:58 PM "

"Brad Lidge is the best trade we ever made!

Posted by: NEPP | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM "


Fast forward to August 2009 and Lidge is worthless according to most. That's why I have always gave him the benefit of the doubt. Because truth is, without him we DON'T win last year.

Happ had pitched against Atlanta before; so the "surprise" element that Weitzel referred to, should not apply.

The kid is good. Just leave it at that.

Phils play the Mutts this weekend. The Phils will miss Santana and their only good position player (Wright) is on the DL.

CLAP YO HANDS!!!

i like how tommy is now referring to Howard's career norms as a prediction to his final numbers.

lil guy is growing up so fast, like a little preteen who learned everything from his parents but swears that he is smarter than them.

thephaithful: I find your explanation of BABIP interesting: "When they are hitting the ball, they are not finding holes and not well hit, he is using his defense very effectively." BABIP tends to jump around year to year for this reason: It is partly the product of defensive quality, partly the product of luck and little to do with the pitcher somehow guiding the ball into fielder's gloves.

I don't care if Happ is the second coming of Tommy Glavine, there's no way he'll post a BABIP of .247 next season.

Actually, there's no way Happ will finish THIS season with a BABIP of .247 unless he's the luckiest man in the world.

thephaithful: All I am saying is for the past month at least I have heard several regular posters question Howard's "worth". Well he is has improved on alot of things, but people still want to harp on him for a month snapshot. Now all of a sudden, he is the greatest again. Please. He is the same guy, he is worth every penny. Now watch if Howard's comes up small in a game late in September, the posters here will go back to questioning Howard's work ethic and worth again.

JDub: I re-read the post. Fair enough on your counterpoints on Howard.

As for Happ, I will say that I am convinced he is more than KK. However, he does not deserve comparrisons to a young Andy Petite that I read in the national media around the trade deadline. It's hard to find an analog case for Happ because in the not-so recent past the Phillies home grown pitching has been hurrendous. Come to think of it, the Braves Vazquez (although right handed) is a similar type of pitcher, no?

Can anyone think of an accurate, hard throwing lefty to compare Happ to?

He's pitched successfully in parts of three seasons now. I would think that's a large enough sample for scouts to put together a book (or DVD). Of course, I can't explain his success, but from the vantage point of my couch it seems that he has good arm action on his pitches and hides the ball well. Honest question: Does anyone know how long it takes for teams to properly diagnose a pitcher?

how many games has madson pitched in a row? i didn't see friday's game, but i think he pitched. if so, that's at least 4 in a row. just find it interesting how madson can go day after day and lidge can't go more than two.

Chopper has a sore elbow!?!?!? Uh oh, anyone hear any more about this?

Speaking of luck, while Hamels command has not been as sharp as in the past, he's also been giving up more bleeders, dinks and bloops. His BABIP this season is .317. Last year it was .262. In 2007 it was a more neutral .282.

clout: agreed, leading the league in BABIP isn't a periennal type of skill, but i think it does show that balls are being hit weaker overall than off most other pitchers. Yes luck is a factor, but it also shows the not many balls are being consistently driven off the bat.

And using his defense was more in reference to his ERA-FIP difference.

Both stranded runners, BAPIP, and ERA-FIP all usually infer that a pitcher is getting luckier than normal, but the fact that he leads in all three tends me to believe that his deception/effectiveness is also playing a big part(along with good defense).

I liked UC bringing out Eyre against the lefties and to turn Norton around. I wonder if he and LaRussa had a talk or two at the All-Star game about bullpen usage.

BABIP is kind of a context-less stat unless you factor in line drive % against, no?

The thing about Hamels that I notice after watching Lee and Happ is that Hamels throws strikes but they're all right down the middle/letter high. He can't control the corners. I'm not sure he could do that last year either, but he got away with it. It's almost as if he throws too many strikes or at least the strikes he throws catch too much of the plate. I'm not trying to bury the guy, he's still young and I'm confident he will grow, but he's got to hit the corners more.

PreserveJon: I wouldn't call Happ a hard-throwing lefty. He throws 88-90. What makes Happ so great is his ability to move his fastball around to each of the 4 corners of the strikezone and the smarts to know when to do it, while mixing in his plus slider and changeup. I'd also love to see him use his curve more, which was a good pitch in the minors, but he abandoned when he was sent to the bullpen and hasn't used much since. (He threw 5 of them yesterday, 3 for strikes). But probably his greatest skill is his ability to get first-pitch strike 1. I'd love to see how the Phils starters rank in terms of first-pitch strike 1s. I bet Happ leads the team.

Happ, unlike KK, is a 4-pitch pitcher, and he doesn't need velocity. Vasquez now throws 90-93, but threw harder when he was younger. Vasquez is a power pitcher (with a good changeup), Happ is a finesse pitcher.

When Ryan Howard hits balls out to left and left center like he did in Chicago hot streaks often follow. It usually indicates that he's just hitting the ball where it is pitched. That means solid contact. And with his power solid contact means lift off. He gets in trouble when he tries to pull everything. Happily, he seems to be in the zone hitting it where its pitched. The rest of the NL ought to tread lightly here for a while.

thephaithful: I agree.

benny: Yes and no. Line drives are a component of BABIP, but don't always tell you if a pitcher is getting hit harder or not. For example, Hamels is clearly not a sharp as he was last year and yet he's on pace to have a lower LD% than last season.

clout: Great ananlysis of Happ- per usual from you.


The other thing I would add is Happ hides the ball real well in his delivery. As a hitter you are trained to watch a guy's delivery and look for where he first shows you the ball. You focus on that and it's easier to follow the ball into the plate and sometimes you can pick up breaks and everything.

Happ does a good job of not showing the ball to hitters until almost the second he releases it. The difference between seeing it there and maybe seeing it behind a pitcher's back during their warm-up is only a few tenths of a second but that makes a world of difference when hitting.

It also makes the change-up more effective because you need to guess a little more and a good gameplan can have you chasing the curve at all times rather than being ahead of it.

Add that to everything clout added about his ability to hit all 4 corners of the plate and it's tough to get a handle on the guy.

"I'd love to see how the Phils starters rank in terms of first-pitch strike 1s. I bet Happ leads the team."

Baseball-Reference.com has this information. They're looking at any plate appearance where either the count goes to 0-1 or the first pitch is put into play, and it doesn't separate innings pitched as a starter vs. reliever.

With that out of the way...

Moyer 62%
Hamels 60%
Blanton 60%
League Average 58%
Happ 57%

(League Average is all pitchers who would qualify for rate leaders (2.0 PA/G(lgAvg). If you exclude that qualification, Cliff Lee is at 63%.)

Again, that includes balls put into play on the first pitch and it doesn't separate appearances as a starter from relief appearances.

One interesting point is that Happ leads the team in 3 pitch strikeouts with 20 and in 4 pitch walks with 12.

Happ has also gotten the "rookie strike zone" in several games, particularly the last two. I wonder what he'll do if he gets a better zone?

Speaking of which, I've developed a definite hypotheis (empirically based only) that the Phillies are getting squeezed more than the other teams' pitchers. Can that kind of information be obtained from Pitch F/X?

Which also leads to Hamels/Moyer and their struggles this year. Moyer can't survice on a tiny strike zone. Hamels seems to lose his cool when he doesn't get a decent zone, and being a predominately two pitch pitcher, that leads to trouble when he feels he must "groove one".

Which makes Happ seem even more impressive. He had an awfully tight & inconsistent zone last night, struggled with his location at times, had a poor ball/strike ratio, and still never lost his composure or gave in with a meatball (the pitch to Diaz was a decent low change-up & not a bad pitch).

No, Happ does not have the current command and stuff to be a consistent 2.66 ERA pitcher, but he is not a fringe #5 or next KK as many a pundit have proposed in the past.

After Diaz hit that homer Happ definitely had a look of "You gotta be kidding me." I thought the same thing too. It was a good pitch down in the zone that maybe caught a little too much of the plate. But for Diaz to hit it out the opposite way is a pretty good piece of hitting.

Happ's poise and general demeanor on the mound is really impressive for a guy that is essentially a rookie. Diaz hit that homer and then Happ locked them down for the next 3-4 innings.

The Truth Injection: I saw that look from Happ as well after the Diaz homer. That was a crazy homerun. The ball was down, but he still hit it the other way for a homer. Hat tip to Diaz there.

I'm not so sure Happ "locked them down" after that. They didn't score but his walks caused himself some trouble.

And regarding comments about us getting squeezed. I really hate to admit it, but I agree in general. I do think a lot of it is because is my Phillies bias, but gameday had at last 3 of his pitches last night as actual strikes, many others were close. I guess that what happens when you're the WFC's.

Are Yankee pitchers getting squeezed?

Career BABIPs:

Pedro Martinez: .282
Tim Lincecum: .300
Roy Halladay: .293
Steve Carlton: .283
Greg Maddux: .286
Cole Hamels: .284
Tom Glavine: .285
Roy Oswalt: .304
Dan Haren: .288
Johann Santana: .277
Josh Beckett: .293
Jair Jurrjens: .290
Jon Garland: .288
Adam Eaton: .301
Kyle Kendrick: .299
Collin Balester: .292

So, a normal BABIP would be between about .285 and .300, regardless of whether the pitcher is a star, a middle-of-the-rotation starter, or no good at all. There's really no debating the point: Happ has pitched into extraordinarily good luck this year. Still, it has been a joy to watch him pitch this year and, as most Beerleaguers have discerned, I'm not easily driven to joy by watching the Phillies.

Is 7-3 over the next 3 series too much to ask? Or do they get lazy and split with NY?

clout and phaithful, I agree with your discussion about Happ, but am not sure he's getting as "lucky" as the stats would imply.

Anecdotally (I don't have time to look it up today - so it's possible I'm overemphasizing the ones I do remember), it seems to me that in several of the times that he has gotten in trouble with runners on base, he came up with a big strikeout to get the second out, or has ended an inning with a strikeout.

In the case of the first, getting the second out without putting a ball in play has a big effect on the next hitter. He now has to get a hit, and there is more pressure on him. Happ has been very effective at getting them to hit his pitch in that situation.

In the second case, well, that's it - door slammed - end of inning.

Now, I'm not saying he hasn't been "lucky" at times, but IMO getting a big K when he really needs it has less to do with luck and more to do with flat out good pitching.

awh: You'll find no bigger fan of Happ than I, but that analysis sounds a little too reminiscent of the 2007 analysis that Kyle Kendrick just has a "natural-born knack for getting himself out of trouble." In no way, shape, or form do I think that Happ will go down the same road as KK, but I do think some normalizing in his numbers is inevitable.

I would happily trade some of whatever luck Happ has been getting to normalize Hamels and Lidge a bit more. Spread it around, baseball gods.

I loved Brohamel's line of: "Pedro is still an ex-Met/Expo and can't be trusted."

I find that I have lived a life conditioned to disliking Pedro because of his Metness and Expos history. I don't care about AL teams, so his Toronto/Bosox years don't affect me. I see his face and my subconscious "Mets" sign starts flashing in my brain and the "dislike" fluids start flowing in my veins. If he can improve on his last game and be a real quality contributor, I suppose I can readjust my primal brain.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

FFFFFFOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRR!!!!

When the Phillies score 4 runs, they WIN the game.. it's as simple as that. Look at the stats. They are 60-9 (.870) when they score 4, 6-40 (.130) when they score three or less!!!! Absolutely incredible.

Screw all the BABIP talk, all they need to do is score 4!!!!

Just Score Four And It's A Wrap!

Pedro line tommorow.. Predictions anyone??

I'd say 4.2 IP 4R 4ER 7H 2BB 5K in a Phillies Win.

LF: I am actually under prescription medication which regulates the flow of my "dislike fluids." Every time Eric Bruntlett or Paul Bako is in the starting lineup, I have to take 2 pills an hour before game time. When Bruntlett is sent up to pinch hit, the medication has to be administered by injection.

From MVPTommy:

"That's Lidgetastic!!!!"

Posted by: NEPP | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 09:58 PM "

From NEPP:

"That's Lidgetastic!"

Posted by: NEPP | Monday, August 17, 2009 at 06:51 AM (earlier in this thread)


Amazing how things change, eh? I mean, I used to use 4 exclamation points, not 1.


bap, you didn't address my point.

I did not say Happ wouldn't "revert" somewhat.


I'll keep it simple because you're three hours behind and may not have had enough caffeine yet:

There is a difference between getting out of a jam by striking out a batter or having the ball put in play to a fielder. Where the ball is hit can be somewhat attributed to "luck" - that is, the fielder was playing close enough to get to the ball and record an out.

Blowing a two strike fastball by a batter, painting a corner with the same pitch while the batter looks on, or freezing a fooled batter with a 2 strike breaking ball is not "lucky" - it's damn good pitching.

So, if you want to refute my point and you have the time, look up the number of innings he's ended with a K with runner on, and look up the number of K's he's recorded with runners on or with RISP.

If he's at the league average or below, then I'm wrong.

What I said in my post was that it seems to me he's above the league average in those situations - he get's his Ks when they really "count", or rather, they're the most helpful.

You can attribute that to luck - I don't.

(Remember, Happ led the IL in K's last year?)

4.2IP 4R is generous from my perspective. I think Pedro is just an old crappy MET that will more than likey end up being a traitor in a big spot! Release him lol. No Met/Expo deserves a 2009 ring.

I'd like to see Moyer get rested and get another shot at this thing, I'd take 5 runs from a true 47-year-old Phillie (World Champion) over 4 runs from a 37-year-old EX-MET any day, I'd take Moyer at 57 over Pedro!!! LMAO..

Go Phils, and RIPHK, they gotta do it for HK.

My favorite thing about the Phillies this year has to be watching them turn two, they have it down better than any team in baseball.. I mean what other team has 3 MVP's in the Infield + a solid defensive 3rd baseman??? I count Utley MVP because Utley is quite possibly the best 2nd baseman ever.. I loved the Feliz/Utley/Howard double play last night.. I'd also like to see more of the Victorino Cannon!

Happ For R.O.Y. 2009!

"that analysis sounds a little too reminiscent of the 2007 analysis that Kyle Kendrick just has a "natural-born knack for getting himself out of trouble.""

If I remember right, the problem with Kendrick was he was relying on a lot of double plays to get out of trouble... he wasn't striking guys out nearly as frequenly as Happ does. But I'm not a stats guy, so someone can feel free to correct me on that...

Brohamel:

Love the 'Just Score Four' analysis, but has anyone run the numbers on how the same 'strategy' might apply (or might not apply) to other teams as well?

The question on Happ is no longer whether or not he is overperforming because he clearly is, rather the question is how much he is overperforming and why? If he's overperforming due to pure luck he will regress significantly in the next season or so; however, if a lot of his strong performance can be attributed to his plus makeup and his mental ability, Happ will be a very solid middle of the rotation starter for years to come and will intermittently have stretches like he is right now.

KK was the first Beerleaguer case study on why peripheral stats matter as much or more than traditional one's. Therefore, every young overperforming pitcher will be tested against that example for a long time.

What makes Happ so compelling is that, while he fits the profile of a 2nd KK in many ways, he completely defies it in others. He doesn't have the swing and miss stuff to continously lead the league in WPCT and be at the very top in ERA, but has the moxie, poise, and toughness to stay a competitive pitcher for some time. It has often been debated on here whether or not "intangibles" really matter. Happ is case in point that they do, especially for young players making a transition to the majors.

So while everyone is correct that Happ is overperforming, many simultaneously believe that he is still going to be a very good pitcher, as confounding as this is for those who think only in absolutes. None of us can know how good he will be, but every start he seems to show that he is going to create a case study of his own.

Brohamel, I never like to predict outcomes because too many things can happen, but you may want to rethink your Pedro prediction.

What you will have at the Zen tomorrow night is a hyper, sold-out crowd.

You will have a very, very motivated Pedro Martinez pitching in front of a crowd that will react by going into a frenzy if he pitches well.

He knows that.

He will feed off it.

Also - there is no way he wants to suffer the embarrassment of pitching poorly in his first start at the Zen in a Phils uniform.

NO WAY!

IMO, he'll treat it like a very big game.

If his first start at the Zen turns out poorly for him, it won't be for lack of effort on his part.

Would someone please explain to me how the heck we were unable to get Greg Norton out this weekend...the guy is only posting slightly better numbers than Eric Bruntlett and his SLG is actually worse.

****I count Utley MVP because Utley is quite possibly the best 2nd baseman ever..****

For now, Joe Morgan is better by a good margin. Also, I would think Rogers Hornsby just MIGHT get into that discussion. He is the best of the recent era (other than Sandberg). He's a step up from guys like Biggio, Kent, and even Alomar. But again, he's in his prime so he hasn't had a decline yet.

You can make a comparison with his numbers to that of Joe Morgan and its a good one (Utley has more power whereas Joe was a superior OBP guy..by a good margin).

On Happ: I would have to think he's the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year right now. Wells has good numbers too but Happ's are better in almost every area.

Well hopefully the Phils will score 10 every time he pitches.. double triple double to start the game last time was nice. :D

Yeahh, the reason I feel like the Phils are here to stay is because of the fans.. best fans in sport in Philly. I'd look for the Phils to go deep every year for the next 4-5 maybe 10 years. They've been in to the final weekend of the Pennant race now for 4 consecutive years, swept out in the first round once, won it all once, missed out twice.. they are a very experienced young team!

Hamels will win 2-4 Cy Youngs before it's all said and done. :)

Yo, new thread.

YO, NEW THREAD1

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