Posted in MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Series Preview | Print | 1 Comment »
Despite that Manny Ramirez will not be in the Los Angeles lineup for a rematch of last year’s NLDS, the Phillies still have their work cut out for them against the 22-11 Dodgers. They’ll be facing starters Clayton Kershaw (4.91 ERA), Randy Wolf (2.95 ERA), and Chad Billingsley (2.45 ERA) as well as the best bullpen in baseball (3.85 runs per game).
You see that two of the three slated Dodger starters have an ERA under 3. Well, the Phillies are going to counter with three starters with ERA’s over 6: Chan Ho Park (6.67), Jamie Moyer (7.26), and Cole Hamels (6.17). Oh, and the National League’s second-worst bullpen (5.38 runs per game).
The two have comparable offenses: the Phils average 5.66 runs per game and the Dodgers average 5.58. Of course, the absence of Manny Ramirez widens that gap. He last played on May 6. Since then, the Dodgers have lost three of four, but surprisingly have averaged 5.75 runs per game. Their pitching has allowed 21 runs in that span, contributing greatly to the skid.
Time for data. I’ve made another “upgrade” — I’ve added in the number of plate appearances for each hitter against each pitcher, found to the right of their OPS. As usual, only regular season stats are included, so no NLCS stuff.
The Phillies have hit quite well off of the Dodgers’ pitchers historically. Small samples, of course, but still a great sign. Even ignoring post-season numbers, Chad Billingsley has been lit up. Yet, as you will see below, his ERA would tell you differently.
Those who have had more exposure to Chan Ho Park have had decent success against him, especially Juan Pierre. Moyer generally has handled the Dodgers well. He tends to have more success against younger, more aggressive teams. And expectedly, Cole Hamels keeps his opponents under control.
Even though he was great in his last start, Park could still be pitching for his starting job. The Phillies have a double-header against the Washington Nationals on May 16 and it’s likely that J.A. Happ will get a spot start so as not to upset the amount of rest the other starters get. If Park pitches poorly against the Dodgers and Happ pitches well against the Nationals, that could provide more than enough incentive for the old switcheroo in the rotation.
Despite the 5.19 ERA, Moyer has handled the current batch of Dodgers effectively.
Cole Hamels is Cole Hamels. Just hold your breath and hope that bad luck doesn’t continue to follow him: hope that a shard of wood from a broken bat doesn’t impale him through his pitching arm.
Despite what you might judge from the ERA, Kershaw has pitched well against the Phillies. They faced him twice last year in the span of about ten days. The first start was of the quality nature: 6 innings, three earned runs. It was when they faced him in Philadelphia that they really got to him.
They have only faced former Phillie Randy Wolf once and it was last year when he was a member of the San Diego Padres. Wolf pitched well but only earned a no-decision.
Billingsley was battered around by Phillies hitters in the playoffs last season, but in the regular season, he’s been decent against them.
The Phillies next face the Dodgers in a four-game set in Los Angeles June 4-7. Manny Ramirez will still be serving his suspension, so the Phillies are fortunate in that regard, especially when you figure that the Phillies not only faced Manny Ramirez eight times in two four-game series last year against the Dodgers, but three other times earlier in the season when he was still with the Boston Red Sox.
On behalf of all Phillies fans, I say to Ramirez: thanks for using women’s fertility drugs. Thank you.