Phillies-Padres Game Thread 4/20/12

Some runs are better than no runs. That’s what we told ourselves, at least, as the Phillies took the first game of their four-game set with the Padres last night. Vance Worley was phenomenal, striking out 11 batters over seven innings, and the bullpen was able to preserve the shut-out. It marked the third game in a row that the Phillies had scored two runs or fewer, and the eighth out of 13 games. The Phillies hope that changes tonight against Padres starter Edinson Volquez, who has walked 12 in 17 innings to start the season. Cole Hamels makes the start for the Phillies in his home town of San Diego.

Lineups

Phillies

Padres

No Cover It Live chat tonight, as most of the guys are out watching the Flyers. Use the comments below to chat about the game.

Greetings From Clearwater – April 20

Originally written by Bradley Ankrom.

You’ll probably notice something missing from today’s prospects update: hitters. Going forward, I’m going to split up the hitters and pitchers, running the former on Tuesdays and the latter on Fridays, so as to avoid time crunch situations like the one that occurred last week that resulted in my not having a timely update ready for you until today.

What we have today, however, is a pretty lengthy rundown of the pitching prospects currently playing meaningful baseball games in the Phillies organization. I’ve included season totals (through games of April 19) below, as well as start-by-start lines and commentary thereafter. Stats accrued through two weeks of baseball are still relatively meaningless, but the data is sizable enough to allow us to spot some early trends that bear watching.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you’re now able to follow the statistics of Philadelphia’s top 20 prospects (as ranked by Kevin Goldstein) over at Baseball Prospectus’ new Top 11 Prospects Tracker.

(Note: to conserve pixels, I won’t be running the Top 30 Prospects list every week, but I will include a link to the list in each post: View the Top 30 Prospects)

PITCHER

AGE

LVL

W-L

ERA

WHIP

G-GS

SV

IP

H

HR

SO-BB

BABIP

Phillippe Aumont

23

AAA

0-0

4.26

0.95

6-0

4

6.3

2

1

9-4

.100

Jesse Biddle

20

A+

0-2

7.94

2.03

3-3

0

11.3

18

1

16-5

.472

Lisalberto Bonilla

22

A+

0-1

1.42

1.26

5-0

0

6.3

6

0

7-2

.333

David Buchanan

23

AA

1-1

2.37

0.89

3-3

0

19.0

15

2

15-2

.250

Michael Cisco

25

AA

1-1

1.17

1.43

5-0

0

7.7

9

0

8-2

.409

Tyler Cloyd

25

AA

2-0

3.75

1.33

2-2

0

12.0

16

1

8-0

.375

Tyler Cloyd

25

AAA

1-0

0.00

0.00

1-1

0

6.0

0

0

8-0

.000

Brody Colvin

21

A+

0-1

2.81

1.19

3-3

0

16.0

16

0

10-3

.302

Jake Diekman

25

AAA

0-0

0.00

1.33

5-0

2

6.0

8

0

9-0

.533

Ryan Duke

23

A

0-1

3.00

1.17

5-0

3

6.0

6

1

8-1

.333

Frank Gailey

26

A+

0-0

13.50

2.70

4-0

0

3.3

7

0

5-2

.538

Perci Garner

23

A+

0-1

2.70

1.70

2-2

0

10.0

10

0

6-7

.303

Mario Hollands

23

A

0-0

9.00

2.67

1-0

0

3.0

5

0

3-3

.500

Austin Hyatt

26

AAA

2-0

2.20

1.47

3-3

0

16.3

16

0

13-8

.314

Jay Johnson

22

AA

0-0

4.15

1.62

5-0

0

4.3

6

0

6-1

.500

Tyler Knigge

23

A+

0-0

0.00

1.00

5-0

0

5.0

4

0

3-1

.286

Ervis Manzanillo

20

A

0-1

6.55

2.36

3-3

0

11.0

19

0

7-7

.413

Lino Martinez

20

A

2-0

3.78

1.26

3-3

0

16.7

14

1

10-7

.250

Trevor May

22

AA

3-0

3.18

1.00

3-3

0

17.0

11

0

19-6

.256

Bryan Morgado

23

A

1-0

6.14

2.05

4-0

0

7.3

10

1

7-5

.391

Adam Morgan

22

A+

0-1

4.86

1.32

3-2

0

16.7

19

0

21-3

.413

Colton Murray

22

A

0-0

15.63

3.16

5-0

0

6.3

14

1

4-6

.481

Mike Nesseth

24

A

1-1

7.59

2.16

3-3

0

10.7

14

0

7-9

.368

Jon Pettibone

21

AA

1-1

2.95

1.64

3-3

0

18.3

26

1

7-4

.397

J.C. Ramirez

23

AA

0-1

9.00

2.67

4-0

0

6.0

9

1

5-7

.364

Julio Rodriguez

21

AA

1-0

2.45

1.27

2-2

0

11.0

9

0

7-5

.250

B.J. Rosenberg

26

AA

0-0

1.50

1.17

4-0

3

6.0

5

1

7-2

.250

Joe Savery

26

MLB

0-0

3.86

0.86

2-0

0

2.3

1

1

0-1

.000

Joe Savery

26

AAA

0-0

0.00

0.75

2-0

1

2.7

2

0

3-0

.250

Mike Schwimer

26

AAA

1-0

1.17

1.30

6-0

2

7.7

7

1

7-3

.261

Colby Shreve

24

A

1-1

4.38

1.22

5-0

0

12.3

10

2

14-5

.286

Juan Sosa

22

A+

0-1

9.00

1.40

5-0

0

5.0

7

2

5-0

.312

Ethan Stewart

21

A

0-1

1.10

1.04

3-3

0

16.3

10

1

16-7

.220

Austin Wright

22

A+

2-0

2.45

1.36

2-2

0

11.0

10

0

13-5

.333

Jesse Biddle, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/7

@DUN

A+

4.0

4

3

1

0

3

5

19

2.50

4/13

LAK

A+

L

4.1

7

5

5

0

2

7

22

1.17

4/19

@LAK

A+

L

3.0

7

7

4

1

0

4

19

1.38

The youngest pitcher in the Florida State League, Biddle is off to a rough start in Clearwater, failing to get out of the fifth inning in any of his first three outings and averaging more than two base runners per inning. Right-handed batters have hit Biddle especially well, compiling a 1093 OPS in 38 plate appearances. When I saw Biddle in his first start at Dunedin, his fastball velocity sat 88-90 mph and touched 91 early, but fell to 86-88 by the fourth inning. He struggled with fastball command throughout the game, issuing four-pitch, four-fastball walks to right-handers Marcus Knecht and Michael Crouse. Biddle has labored through each of his starts this year, averaging 1.58 batters faced per out on April 7, 1.69 on April 13, and 2.11 in last night’s loss at Lakeland. He and catcher Cameron Rupp have struggled to control the running game, allowing five stolen bases in five tries over his last two starts. Four of those runners have come around to score. Slow starts are nothing new for Biddle, who carried a 7.16 ERA and 1.25 SO/BB after his first four starts in Lakewood last year. He rebounded to go 7-5 with a 2.39 ERA and 2.02 SO/BB over his next 21 games, surrendering more than three earned runs once.

David Buchanan, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/7

POR

AA

W

7.0

2

0

0

0

1

9

24

93-65

0.50

4/13

@HAR

AA

6.0

7

3

3

1

0

2

25

79-53

1.08

4/18

@RIC

AA

L

6.0

6

2

2

1

1

4

23

93-61

1.05

Buchanan, the Phillies’ seventh-round pick out of Georgia State in 2010, has made a smooth transition to Double-A after finishing second in the organization with 14 wins between Lakewood and Clearwater in 2011. Through three starts, Buchanan has a 7.1 SO/9, up a tick from the 6.2 batters SO/9 he posted last year.

Tyler Cloyd, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/5

SWB

AAA

W

6.0

0

0

0

0

0

8

18

73-46

2.33

4/11

NH

AA

W

6.0

6

2

2

1

0

6

22

88-56

1.00

4/16

@RIC

AA

W

6.0

10

3

3

0

0

2

28

87-60

1.2

Cloyd struck out eight Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitters over six perfect innings in his Triple-A debut on April 5, but was bumped down to Double-A Reading when Dave Bush joined the Lehigh Valley rotation. The 25-year-old gets by with average stuff by having excellent command, demonstrated by his sparkling 16/0 SO/BB through three starts and 4.00 career mark. He gets strikeouts with an excellent changeup, but doesn’t profile as more than a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever in the big leagues.

Brody Colvin, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/6

DUN

A+

L

5.0

7

4

3

0

1

1

23

1.00

4/12

LAK

A+

5.0

7

4

2

0

2

3

24

1.08

4/17

@TAM

A+

6.0

2

0

0

0

0

6

20

1.31

In his full-season debut at Lakewood in 2009, Colvin struck out 7.8 batters per nine innings. That rate dropped to 6.0 last year and 5.6 though his first three starts in 2012. He’s also cut his walk rate nearly in half, so batters are putting the ball in play more frequently, which means Colvin is relying on the defense behind him to make plays. He has struggled with conditioning in the past, but reported to camp in good shape this spring, likely contributing to his improved command. At age 21, Colvin is still on schedule despite repeating Advanced Class-A this year, but he’ll need to find a way to miss bats if he’s to realize success further up the ladder.

Perci Garner, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/10

TAM

A+

L

5.0

7

4

2

0

2

3

23

4.50

4/15

@TAM

A+

5.0

3

1

1

0

5

3

23

1.88

Injuries limited Garner to just 34 innings in his first two years after being drafted out of Ball State in the second round of the 2010 draft. Because of the time he’s missed, Garner is still raw, evidenced by the four stolen bases and seven walks he’s allowed in two starts at Clearwater.

Austin Hyatt, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/6

SWB

AAA

5.2

6

4

2

0

0

6

24

92-63

0.71

4/11

SYR

AAA

W

5.0

6

2

2

0

4

3

23

98-58

0.69

4/16

BUF

AAA

W

5.2

4

1

0

0

4

4

25

90-60

0.67

After giving up 20 home runs at Double-A Reading in 2011, Hyatt has yet to surrender a long ball through his first 21.1 innings of 2012. He’s still leaving the ball up in the zone, however, so a few of those fly balls are bound to leave the yard.

Ervis Manzanillo, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/6

@GVL

A

3.0

3

2

1

0

3

3

17

1.33

4/11

@GBO

A

L

2.2

7

4

4

0

4

1

20

0.75

4/16

GBO

A

5.1

9

4

2

0

0

3

25

1.25

Manzanillo has been generous with the walks this year, but so far only one of the seven walked batters has come around to score. He has been exceptionally hittable in his second tour of the South Atlantic League, however, giving up hits to three consecutive batters twice in his last two starts and averaging 15.54 hits per nine innings. Manzanillo was expected to move up to Advanced Class-A Clearwater this year, but he doesn’t appear ready for the challenge.

Lino Martinez, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/5

@GVL

A

5.2

6

1

1

0

0

4

23

0.63

4/10

@GBO

A

W

5.0

3

3

3

0

6

2

23

1.08

4/15

HAG

A

W

6.0

5

3

3

1

1

4

24

0.95

Two walks, a single, and a third walk to lead off the sixth inning chased Martinez from his start at Greensboro on April 10, but entering the sixth he had allowed only one run on three hits through five innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .182 with two walks through the first four innings, but .316 with four walks thereafter

Trevor May, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/6

POR

AA

W

5.0

3

4

4

0

3

6

21

1.25

4/12

@HAR

AA

W

7.0

4

1

1

0

1

6

25

85-59

0.77

4/17

@RIC

AA

W

5.0

4

1

1

0

2

7

22

92-53

0.78

May rebounded from an underwhelming performance in his Double-A debut to toss 12 innings of two-run ball over his next two starts, striking out more than a batter per inning allowing only eight batters to reach base. Opponents are hitting just .183/.250/.200 and have managed only one extra-base hit, a double in the second inning of May’s first start.

Adam Morgan, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/5

@DUN

A+

4.2

7

3

3

0

3

6

23

0.00

4/11

TAM

A+

6.0

4

1

1

0

0

9

22

0.23

4/16

@TAM

A+

L

6.0

8

5

5

0

0

6

25

0.50

The Phillies selected Morgan out of Alabama in the third round of last year’s draft and assigned him to Advanced Class-A for his full-season debut. After walking 14 batters in 53.2 innings in his short-season debut last year, Morgan issued three free passes in his first appearance of 2012, but has walked zero in two starts since, striking out 21 in 16.2 innings overall. He’s limited right-handed batters to a .155 average since turning pro, but same-side hitters have hit .323.

Mike Nesseth, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/7

@GVL

A

L

3.2

7

6

6

0

2

3

20

1.33

4/12

HAG

A

W

5.0

5

1

0

0

2

3

22

0.90

4/17

GBO

A

2.0

2

3

3

0

5

1

13

0.60

Nesseth turned 24 yesterday, but has been very hittable in the South Atlantic League so far this year, while also walking nine batters and striking out only seven through 10.2 innings of work.

Jonathan Pettibone, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/5

POR

AA

6.0

10

1

1

0

0

1

23

1.40

4/10

NH

AA

L

6.2

8

3

3

1

2

3

27

99-59

1.00

4/15

@HAR

AA

W

5.2

8

2

2

0

2

3

25

96-56

1.53

He’s never been a high-strikeout pitcher, but Pettibone’s 3.4 SO/9 through 18.1 innings and .366 opponents’ batting average indicate that his 2.95 ERA is likely unsustainable.

Julio Rodriguez, rhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/9

NH

AA

W

5.0

4

2

2

0

3

4

22

85-51

0.83

4/14

@HAR

AA

6.0

5

3

1

0

2

3

27

95-61

0.59

The right-handed Rodriguez led Phillies farmhands with 16 wins and a 2.76 ERA last year, and is off to a good start at Double-A Reading. His frame and strikeout numbers throughout his career suggest better stuff, but Rodriguez works with an average fastball and series of good-not-great off-speed offerings.

Ethan Stewart, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/8

@GVL

A

L

5.1

4

1

1

1

2

5

21

0.67

4/13

HAG

A

6.0

3

1

1

0

1

7

22

0.75

4/18

GBO

A

5.0

3

0

0

0

4

4

22

1.00

Stewart leads the Lakewood rotation in ERA (1.10), strikeouts (16), and WHIP (1.04) through three turns, striking out 25 percent of the batters he’s faced.

Austin Wright, lhp

DATE

OPP

LVL

DEC

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

TBF

PIT-ST

GO/AO

4/9

TAM

A+

W

5.0

5

3

2

0

2

7

21

2.50

4/14

LAK

A+

W

6.0

5

2

1

0

3

6

27

1.22

Last year’s eighth-round pick out of Alabama, Wright may not be long for the Florida State League after striking out 13 batters in 11 innings while winning his first two starts for the Threshers.


Guest Post: Giants series displays flaws in Manuel’s strategy

Mitch Goldich has previously written for espnW.com and is currently a sports blogger for The Huffington Post.  Follow him on Twitter.

Baseball, like every other sport, is a results-oriented business.  At the end of the day—or the season—the only things that truly matter are wins and losses.  Sometimes this is unfortunate, as it often muddies the way coaching decisions are evaluated.

Should we pinch hit with a righty?  Should we go for it on 4th-and-1?  Should we foul before they can attempt a three-pointer?  Either side of those coins will routinely be praised or ridiculed, depending on whether or not the game is won.

One popular draw of the sabermetric movement is that the reliance on empirical data forces observers to judge the process instead of the outcome.  While the majority of people focus on what happened, the statistically-informed focus on what should have happened.

Enter Charlie Manuel.  Manuel was criticized because on Wednesday night he used Jim Thome as a pinch hitter, and then left Thome in when a left-handed pitcher was brought on to face him.  Had Thome gotten a hit (or even a sac fly), the old-school crowd would have praised Manuel because of the outcome.  He “knows his ballclub.”  He “pushes the right buttons.”  He “instills confidence in his players.”

Thome struck out, and Manuel was ripped.

Interestingly, his rationale for leaving Thome in was more disturbing than the act.

Matt Gelb writes that Manuel explained, “Thome is 2 for 11 off the guy [Javier Lopez] with three strikeouts.  That means he put the ball in play eight times.  If he hits a ball, as big and strong as he is, we have a chance to score a run.”

This is troubling for several reasons.  First, note that Manuel particularly liked the matchup even though Thome was batting .182 off of him.  Second, Placido Polanco was available to hit for Thome.  Polanco is not only right-handed, but was the third hardest batter to strike out in the NL last season.  Finally, most damning of all, let’s dive deeper into Thome’s 11 at bats that were the basis for the decision.

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP
2003 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
2004 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
2005 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
2006 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 .500 .667
2007 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
2008 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
RegSeason 12 11 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 .182 .250

As you can see, there were three in 2003, three in 2004 and only five within the last seven years.  The decision was made primarily based on at bats that occurred when Thome was an everyday first baseman, with an OPS over .950 and a WAR above 4.0.

Manuel has always relied heavily on batter vs. pitcher data, so it’s hard to be surprised by his thinking.  The disturbing trend is that he continues to do so with an increasingly older team, relying on increasingly older sets of data.  Manuel has to understand that his players, particularly his aging players, are not who they were in their primes.

Reliance on outdated statistics displays a strange form of bias, akin to being unable to separate in his mind the players on his roster from the players they used to be.  Making decisions today based exclusively on data from more than half a decade ago is like trying to win on Jeopardy! by studying yesterday’s clues.

Consider the first game of the Giants’ series, against Tim Lincecum on Monday night.

Gelb wrote in his game preview (and I have no reason to doubt him), “Why is [Juan] Pierre starting over John Mayberry Jr., who is the superior defender, in a big ballpark? It probably has to do with these career numbers vs. Lincecum.”

Gelb didn’t break them down by year, but I will.

Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP
2007 3 3 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 .333 .333
2008 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333
2009 7 6 4 1 1 0 1 1 0 .667 .714
RegSeason 13 12 6 1 2 0 3 1 1 .500 .538

Sure, Pierre has had success against Lincecum.  But the data shows just 12 at bats, much of it four or five years old, all during a stretch when Pierre was a .294 hitter, which he has not been in the years since.

While these at bats are at least more recent than Thome’s against Javier Lopez, it’s wrong to allow this miniscule sample size to carry more weight than the hundreds of at bats since.

There’s a reason small sample sizes aren’t dependable.  For an example, let’s go back to Wednesday night’s game and think about why Polanco was available to pinch hit in the first place.  Polanco was on the bench not only because of his early season struggles, but because Manuel wanted Ty Wigginton to start at third base against Matt Cain.

“How did I decide on it,” Manuel asked himself.  “Nix is 8 for 20 with a homer off this guy. Wigginton is 3 for 9 with a homer. Those guys have seen them, have some hits on him, so why shouldn’t I put them in the lineup?”

Yes, Wigginton was 3-for-9, for a shiny .333 average and a homer.  But stats can fluctuate so much over nine at bats.  One of those three hits was a ground ball through third base in a 10-1 ballgame.  If that ball had been gobbled up for an out, making Wigginton a career .222 hitter against Cain, would he have been on the bench?  The point is that one measly ground ball on one random day, and one homerun (at Coors Field by the way), shouldn’t matter as much as his 1,000 at bats over the last two years, in which he batted under .250.

The blame doesn’t all fall on Manuel when the Phillies’ offense comes up empty.  Ruben Amaro built this roster, and Manuel has other coaches to help him make in-game decisions.  Plus, I’m just like everyone else: Had Thome popped a homerun, I’m probably not writing about this.

The roster and the injury bug have dealt Manuel a bad hand.  To his credit, he has not publicly used that as an excuse.  If he did, it probably wouldn’t be well-received, but I think it would be defensible.  If he disregarded important statistics like career platoon splits or contact rates to play a star, or go with the hot hand, that too would often be defensible.

But for him to repeatedly explain after games that his decisions are based on statistics—and then use insignificant or outdated ones—shows a lack of understanding about how the decision-making process works.  That, to me, is indefensible.