Shane, What Were You Thinking?

Shane Victorino, goatDown by two in the ninth inning, Shane Victorino works a lead-off walk against Florida Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom. With the homer-prone Matt Stairs pinch-hitting, Shane Victorino is not going to stray far from the first base bag. Or so you’d think.

Shane, for some reason, attempted to steal second with his team down by two runs in the ninth inning with a power hitter at the plate. And he was thrown out by catcher Ronny Paulino.

Why? There was no reason to run in that situation. None at all.

On the bright side of things, Ryan Howard crushed two home runs in the game: one well past the center field fence and one about ten rows back in left-center. That’s what Ryan Howard looks like when he’s locked-in.

The Phillies look to rebound against Marlins lefty Andrew Miller.  Joe Blanton will toe the rubber for the good guys.

Phillies/Marlins Series Preview II

The Marlins are in town for a three-game set with the Phillies, who are coming off of a very successful 8-2 road trip that went from Washington to Cincinnati to Bronx, New York. This upcoming series marks the 23rd, 24th, and 25th games against NL East foes, and the Washington Nationals will head to Philadelphia shortly as well. Against the NL East, the Phillies are 13-9 (.591).

The Phillies swept the Marlins the only time the two teams have squared off this season, April 24-26. In that series, the Phillies scored 26 runs and allowed only 9 in what appeared to be a turn-around for the Phillies’ starting rotation, which went 19 innings and allowed only 8 runs (3.79 ERA). As we have seen in the time since, that was just a mirage.

Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers, along with Joe Blanton, are slated to pitch against the Marlins in this series. The Marlins are very familiar with Moyer and Myers, who have pitched a combined 219 innings against them. The Phillies, on the other hand, have relatively little experience against the Marlins’ starters, just a mere 43 innings combined against Chris Volstad, Andrew Miller, and Hayden Penn*.

* I was hoping for another Hayden P.

As you can see, the top of the Phillies’ lineup does the most damage against the Marlins; Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth haven’t hit Volstad or Miller much at all. In case you haven’t seen these charts before, the first number is the hitter’s OPS against the particular pitcher, and next to it is the number of plate appearances that hitter has had against the pitcher.

Florida Marlins @ Philadelphia Phillies, May 25-27

On the other hand, the middle of the Marlins’ lineup pounds Phillie pitching. I propose the Phils not pitch to Hanley Ramirez unless the bases are empty.

Florida Marlins @ Philadelphia Phillies, May 25-27

Finally, the pitching:

Florida Marlins @ Philadelphia Phillies, May 25-27

Florida Marlins @ Philadelphia Phillies, May 25-27

The Phillies are 1.5 up on the Mets and Braves, and 5.5 up on the Marlins. The Braves are on the road in San Francisco, and the Mets are home against the Nationals. Simply winning two of three from the Fish would be just fine to keep pace while the Mets and Braves face weaker opponents.

Hopefully, this is the series where we see Ryan Madson moved into the closer’s role. I don’t think we can stomach another Brad Lidge crash and burn.

BDD: Starting Pitching Pro- and Re-gression

Sticking with my clumsy title, I take a look at the starting rotations that have changed for the better and for the worse in baseball.

Can’t say that this was a surprise. Everyone knew that Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton weren’t as good as they had shown in 2008 with the Phillies during their World Championship run. For some reason, be it awful location or just plain bad luck, the Phillies lead the National League by far in home runs allowed with 68. Arizona is in second place with 52 round-trippers allowed, and the average NL team has allowed 43 homers with a standard deviation of 10, meaning that the Phillies’ HR allowed lies two and a half standard deviations above the mean.

The Phillies/Marlins series preview should be up shortly.