Cardinals-Phillies by the Numbers

In case you missed it, the Phillies came out victorious in one of the most exciting games of the season (after that 11-10 win over the Mets).

Fangraphs

0 – Number of reasons for ever having Abraham Nunez in the lineup

1 – Number of Rod Barajas’ at-bats, hits, runs, and RBI

1 – Number of position players still available in the 14th inning — Rod Barajas, who delivered the game-winning RBI single

1 – Number of Cardinal extra-base hits

1.5 – Number of games the Phillies trail the Mets and Padres by in the NL East and Wild Card, respectively

2 – Number of pinch-runners used each by the Phillies and Cardinals

2 – Number of triples and stolen bases for Jayson Werth (the last person to achieve this feat in the same game was Larry Walker in 1996)

2 – Number of pitchers used by Tony LaRussa to pinch-run

2 – Number of blown saves in this game

3 – Number of 14th inning runs the Phillies scored

3 – Number of innings the Phillies’ ace pitched in his return from the disabled list

3 – Number of pinch-hitters used by the Cardinals

3 – Number of Cardinals pitchers who were in the game, but did not pitch (Wainwright as a pinch-hitter; Reyes and Piniero as pinch-runners)

4 – Number of Phillies relievers used after Cole Hamels to not yield any runs

4 – Number of hits the Phillies had through 12 innings of play

5 – Number of hitless at-bats for Ryan Howard

5 – Number of pinch-hitters used by the Phillies

5 – Number of consecutive losses for the Mets

6 – Number of Phillies fans confident in Jose Mesa when he came in to pitch in the 12th and 13th innings

6 – Number of consecutive wins for the Phillies

6 – Number of catchers used (Ruiz, Coste, Barajas, LaForest; Molina, Stinnett)

7 – Number of people still awake watching the game at its conclusion, around 1:15 AM EST

8 – Number of total hits in the game for the Phillies in 49 at-bats

8 – Number of pitchers used by the Phillies

8 – Number of combined pinch-hitters used

9 – Number of strikeouts from the Phillies’ #1-5 hitters

9 – Number of Phillies relievers to earn a save this season (Clay Condrey earned it in this particular game)

10 – Number of scoreless innings pitched by the Phillies bullpen (Myers allowed one run in the 10th inning)

11 – Number of pitchers used by the Cardinals, a National League record

19 – Number of total pitchers used by both teams

21 – Number of scoreless innings of 28

25 – Number of Phillies players used

28 – Number of Cardinal players used, tying the National League record

53 – Number of combined players used, tying the National League record

168 – Number of days passed since the Phillies were this close to the lead in the NL East

304 – Number of minutes the game lasted

481 – Number of combined pitches thrown

42,170 – Paid attendance at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO

Phillies Bullpen Isn’t to Blame for This Loss

In poker, you can be at the top of your game, making no mistakes and capitalizing on your opponents’ weaknesses and miscues, but still end up losing. When that happens, you abdicate your chair, shake your opponent’s hand, tell him “nice hand,” and mutter “That’s poker” back to the bar to drown your sorrows.

The same holds true in baseball. Wednesday’s Braves-Phillies game is one of the few where the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. To the many Phillies and Braves fans who stopped watching the game once it was “out of reach” at 8-2 in the top of the 8th inning, the box score will tell you that Tom Gordon and Brett Myers combined for an impressive performance in blowing a six-run lead.

Sure, Gordon did give up a legitimate lead-off double to Chipper Jones. But the three singles that followed were flukey in every sense of the word. After getting Mark Teixeira to fly out to right field, catcher Brian McCann hit a fly ball to shallow right-center field, and neither Aaron Rowand nor Chris Roberson could reach it, and it fell for a single. Jeff Francoeur followed in similar fashion, blooping an end-of-the-bat single to the shallow outfield, well in front of Roberson, allowing Jones to score. As if the game was a perpetual torture machine, Scott Thorman gave us an encore with a bloop single in the dreaded “Bermuda Triangle” between left-fielder Jayson Werth, Rowand, and shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Things were getting tense, but it’s only 8-3… but it was also a save situation (the tying run is on-deck), so in came closer Brett Myers, who wasted no time in letting the Braves’ fourth run cross home plate by throwing his first pitch in the dirt in front of new catcher Carlos Ruiz. Showing no command, Myers threw three more balls to Yunel Escobar to give him a free ticket to first base.

To Myers’ credit, he made a good pitch to the next hitter, Matt Diaz. He got it on on his fists, and the ball had little momentum, but just enough to get past the pitcher in-between the third baseman and shortstop. One of those flukey base hits again, this one scored Francoeur to make it 8-5. Myers’ lack of command flared up again, walking Willie Harris and forcing in Thorman for an 8-6 bid. Kelly Johnson helped him by fouling out to third base early in the count, and frustrated Chipper Jones by throwing him two straight 3-2 curveballs to fly out to left-center.

To Phillies fans, watching that inning was like passing a kidney stone. And it wasn’t over. Just for the added suspense, what I am about to describe happened after Myers easily retired the first two batters, Mark Teixeira and Brayan Pena.

Braves fluke hits

Francoeur grounded a ball past third baseman Abraham Nunez, just deep enough in the hole so that Rollins couldn’t get enough on the throw to beat Francoeur at first base. Martin Prado came up to the plate and chopped the ball off of home plate. Phillies fans held their breath as Myers and catcher Ruiz stared up into the sky for a good three seconds — enough to ensure an infield single for Prado. The ball had to have richocheted off of home plate into the air at least 50 feet. At this point, Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas was having an aneurysm, and Phillies fans were having flashbacks of the Craig Biggio homerun off of Billy Wagner (spooky — it was almost two years ago to the day). To add insult to injury, Myers walked Yunel Escobar, putting the tying run at second base, and the winning run at first base.

Matt Diaz would be the last batter to swing his bat, ripping the deathblow to right field, off of Chris Roberson’s glove, scoring all three Braves baserunners.

So, in the 8th, the Braves had one legitimate hit (Jone’s double), four flukey hits (McCann, Francoeur, Thorman, and Diaz), a wild pitch, and two walks. In the 9th, the Braves had one legitimate hit that should have been caught (Diaz’s walk-off), two flukey hits (Francoeur and Prado), and a walk.

I can’t blame the bullpen for this loss. I can’t blame Charlie Manuel, either. I blame Lady Luck for choosing the Braves. Maybe she was sympathetic to Chipper Jones’ cause.

As for what the win could have meant for the Phillies, the Mets lost and so did the Padres, Rockies, and Dodgers. The only team the Phillies wouldn’t have picked up or gained ground on were the Diamondbacks, who beat the Padres. Instead, the Phillies have 5 games to pick up in the East, and 3 games in the Wild Card with 23 games to go. They can earn a playoff berth thusly:

Assuming the Mets go 12-11 in their final 23, the Phillies would have to finish the season 18-5 to win the East.

Assuming the Diamondbacks win the NL West, the Padres go 12-11 in their final 23, and no one else in the Wild Card chase picks up ground, the Phillies would have to finish the season 16-7 to win the Wild Card.

Assuming the Padres win the NL West, the Diamondbacks go 11-10 in their final 21, and no one else in the Wild Card chase picks up ground, the Phillies would have to finish the season 17-6 to win the Wild Card.

There’s always next year.

The World’s Tiniest Violin Plays for the Atlanta Braves… Again

Back on August 13, I wrote about the Atlanta Braves’ whining following a 5-3 loss at the hands of a Ryan Howard three-run homerun. Manager Bobby Cox and right fielder Jeff Francoeur complained about the dimensions of Citizens Bank Park, a tactic not foreign to the Tomahawks — John Smoltz loves to hate the “bandbox,” too.

But tonight, the Braves lost by a similar margin, 5-2, to the Phillies and starter Kyle Lohse, who went six and two-thirds innings, allowing only two runs — both at the hands of Chipper Jones. But was that enough for Larry? Of course not. It wasn’t Buddy Carlyle’s fault he went only one and two-thirds innings in the loss, and it wasn’t the Braves’ fault for getting 10 baserunners on base and only scoring 2 of them. It’s the home plate umpire’s fault they lost.

Courtesy FOXSports.com, we have a gem from Mr. Jones:

The first pitch to me with the bases loaded was in my batter’s box, inside. Now you tell me how I’m supposed to hit that. We have to get Questec here in this ballpark. We’ve got to. Umpires have got to be held accountable. That’s Little League World Series stuff right there.

It’s a joke. I’m tired of it. And baseball can fine me whatever they want. I do not care. Somebody’s got to say something. I’ve got more walks than strikeouts in my career – I know what a strike looks like.

You’re going to see frustration from now on as long as the officiating is abysmal. Major League Baseball ought to be ashamed. It’s abysmal. It’s awful. Not all of them but some of them. It’s awful.

Are Jones’ complaints valid? Let’s look at a screenshot of the at-bat on MLB Gameday:

Chipper Jones

Yes, the first pitch was a ball, but it was close. If MLB Gameday is accurate, part of the pitch went across the plate, if only a sliver.

Jones’ complaints are nothing more than [warning: amateur psychoanalysis] pent-up frustration from a season gone awry as a result of the Braves winning only 6 of their last 19 game, and now 8.5 games behind the Mets in the NL East, and 5.5 games behind in the Wild Card. After 14 straight seasons of making the postseason from 1991-2005 (excluding the strike-shortened ’94 season), losing is probably an unpleasant foreign concept to Chipper.

The Atlanta Braves are often said to be a classy organization, and for the most part, they are, but their players and manager act childish when things don’t go their way. They’re sore losers.

Perhaps [warning: more amateur psychoanalysis] it’s the realization that their NL East dominance is fading. Maybe it’s the realization that John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox are close to resigning from their current positions. Maybe it’s that the ownership changed. Maybe it’s the uncaring fanbase (10th out of 16 NL teams in attendance this season, and they’ve given their fans more than enough reason to come out to the ballpark).

For what it’s worth, Carlos Ruiz’s solo homerun (to view it, click here, then click “Top Play: 350K” and select “Ruiz’s Homer” from the list) in the top of the second inning barely cleared the 380-foot mark in left-center. I’m waiting for the Braves to complain about the “bandbox-ish” dimensions of their own ballpark.

Falling Behind, Looking Ahead

They had the Thursday night rush from drinking the Red Bull that was sweeping the division-leading New York Mets, only to have a Labor Day weekend-long crash that saw J.D. Durbin allow the first seven Florida Marlin baseruners to reach base in the first inning, the Phillies pitching fork over a 5-0 lead to the Marlins, and the NL-best offense snooze its way to a depressing 5-1 loss to the downtrodden Atlanta Braves.

The starting pitching had to return to reality eventually — the second-worst pitching staff in the NL had held the Mets to six runs in the first three games of the four-game series that turned up aces for the Phillies. After allowing the Mets to score ten times in the series finale, the pitching seemed to recover, holding the Marlins to only two runs in the opener, in large part to Kyle Kendrick and his typical quality start (two-thirds of his starts have been of the quality variety, tied for ninth-best in the National League). But that was just a tease.

A recap of the Marlins series and the Labor Day game against the Braves:

August 31 @ FLA, Phillies win 9-2

As mentioned, Kyle Kendrick put up seven innings of quality pitching, Kane Davis become the Phillies’ 28th different pitcher used this season (a club record), Jimmy Rollins reached base in four out of five at-bats (two singles, a double, and a walk), Chase Utley knocked in three runs on two hits, and Jayson Werth continued his hot hitting with three hits in four at-bats.

All in all, an impressive offensive showing despite Ryan Howard going 0-5 with three strikeouts. The Mets beat the Braves, and the Padres beat the Dodgers, so the Phillies stayed at two games behind in both the NL East and the Wild Card.

September 1 @ FLA, Phillies lose 12-6

As far as “quick and painless” defeats go, this seemed to be it. J.D. Durbin allowed the first seven baserunners to reach base (five singles, a hit batter, and a walk) before Charlie Manuel pulled him for Clay Condrey, who allowed three of his inherited baserunners to score, putting the Phillies at a quick 7-1 deficit.

However, the Phillies appeared to be on the verge of one of their typical comebacks, scoring three runs on five hits immediately off of Marlins starter Byun-Hyun Kim. The inning could have been bigger, but Clay Condrey failed to get down a sacrifice bunt, and Chase Utley failed to make contact with runners on second and third base.

They failed to score again until the eighth inning, scattering five baserunners over the next five innings. After the Phillies scored those two eighth-inning runs (on an RBI groundout and single), the Marlins came right back and delivered the knockout blow, scoring three times in the bottom-half of the inning on an RBI single and a two-run homerun to Cody Ross, his second of the game.

The Phillies bullpen was responsible for 5 of the 12 runs (Mesa, 2; Alfonseca, 3), but that looks miniscule considering the bullpen was asked to pitch nine innings in relief of Durbin, whose ERA for the game is “INF” (infinite, since he didn’t record an out).

The Mets and Padres both won, so the Phillies moved to three games back in both the East and the Wild Card.

September 2 @ FLA, Phillies lose 7-6

This loss, more than anything, was unnecessary. The Phillies had Marlins starter Scott Olsen on the ropes early, making him throw 97 pitches in three and one-third innings, putting up five runs in the third and fourth innings.

Adam Eaton, though, showed why he has the worst ERA in baseball (among those who have pitched enough innings to qualify) by awarding the Marlins five runs over the next three innings, three of which came via homerun (Cabrera, Ross twice). Kane Davis did a great Adam Eaton impression, allowing back-to-back solo homeruns to NL VORP leader Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

Jimmy Rollins doesn't like the umpire's call

The Phillies mounted a comeback against Marlins closer Kevin Gregg, though. Down 7-5, they put runners on first and second for Carlos Ruiz, who singled to center field to score Aaron Rowand. Chase Utley walked to load the bases for Jimmy Rollins, who was robbed of an game-tying RBI walk by the home plate umpire, who called a fastball that was clearly around Rollins’ chin a strike (replays confirm that this was, in fact, a ball), moving the count to 3-2. Having to swing defensively, Rollins flew out to center field to end the game.

The Mets won and the Padres lost, putting the Phillies at four games back in the East, and three games back in the Wild Card.

September 3 @ ATL, Phillies lose 5-1

The Braves entered the Labor Day game reeling from a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mets — three games in which they managed only one extra base hit and four total runs. Even better was the fact that they were to face Lance Cormier, he of the 57 ERA+ in six starts. Putting the league-best offense against such a pitcher calls for an offensive outburst, but Cormier had everything working, as he held the Phillies to one run on four hits (Utley had three of those hits, Burrell had the only other one). The Braves bullpen pitched three and one-third nearly flawless innings (one walk).

Jamie Moyer pitched well for the most part, but was a victim of bad luck and bad defense. Abraham Nunez, only in the lineup for his defense at third base (because right-handed hitters pull Jamie Moyer’s slow pitches), was unable to barehand a slow ground ball off of the bat of Andruw Jones in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases for Brian McCann. The Braves’ catcher ripped a double to right field, scoring two. Kelly Johnson tacked on one more with a sacrifice fly that allowed Jones to score following an airmailed throw to the plate from center fielder Aaron Rowand.

Moyer’s bad luck came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when he easily retired Jeff Francoeur and Andruw Jones to start the inning, but allowed singles to McCann and Kelly Johnson to put runners at first and third. Pinch-hitter Brayan Pena hit a slow ground ball to Jimmy Rollins, but beat the throw at first base, scoring McCann.

Jeff Francoeur tacked on the fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, sealing the deal for the Braves. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the Mets won handily in Pedro Martinez’s 2007 debut, 10-4 over the Reds, pushing the Phillies to five games back in the East. As of this writing, the Padres have a 4-0 lead on the Diamondbacks in the third inning, so things aren’t looking good.

Looking Ahead

A look at the Phillies’ and their competitors’ schedules for the rest of the season:

Phillies

(2) @ ATL (70-68, .507)
(3) vs. FLA (60-78, .435)
(4) vs. COL (70-66, .515)
(3) @ NYM (77-60, .562)
(3) @ STL (67-67, .500)
(4) @ WAS (61-77, .442)
(3) vs. ATL (.507)
(3) vs. WAS (.442)

Average: .489

12 road games
13 home games

Mets

(2) @ CIN (62-76, .449)
(3) vs. HOU (61-76, .442)
(3) vs. ATL (.507)
(3) vs. PHI (72-65, .526)
(3) @ WAS (.442)
(4) @ FLA (.435)
(3) vs. WAS (.442)
(1) vs. STL (.500)
(3) vs. FLA (.435)

Average: .464

9 road games
16 home games

Padres

(2) @ ARI (76-62, .551)
(3) @ COL (.515)
(3) @ LAD (71-65, .522)
(3) vs. SFG (62-75, .453)
(3) vs. PIT (60-77, .438)
(3) vs. COL (.515)
(3) @ SFG (.453)
(4) @ MIL (69-67, .507)

Average: .494

15 road games
9 home games

Diamondbacks

(2) vs. SD (.551)
(3) vs. STL (.500)
(3) @ SFG (.453)
(3) @ LAD (.522)
(3) vs. SFG (.453)
(3) vs. LAD (.522)
(3) @ PIT (.438)
(3) @ COL (.515)

Average: .494

12 road games
11 home games

So, things look more favorable for the Phillies against the Padres and Diamondbacks for the Wild Card, than against the Mets for the East. The schedule favors the Mets, who have the advantage of both facing weaker opponents overall, and playing the most games at home.

Who’s Up?

Jayson Werth, who had hit safely in nine straight at-bats, just one more hit short of tying the National League record. Werth went 5-for-5 with five singles against the Padres on August 26, and 4-for-4 with four singles and a walk against the Mets on the 27th.

Jimmy Rollins, who had a multi-hit game in seven straight games from August 26 to September 1. He sandwiched those multi-hit games with one-hit games, combining for a nine-game hitting streak that ended today against the Braves. During the hitting streak, Rollins put up a 1.321 OPS (three doubles, a triple, and three homeruns).

Who’s Down?

J.D. Durbin, for his lack of a performance against the Marlins September 1. As mentioned, he allowed the first seven baserunners to reach base before Charlie Manuel replaced him with Clay Condrey.

Antonio Alfonseca, has allowed more hits (eight) than he’s recorded outs (seven), according to Phillies.com. His manager understands why Alfonseca has been extemely hittable lately:

Stop and think about it. He’s given us a lot this year. We’ve asked a whole lot of him, and he’s given us a lot. I tell you what, he doesn’t have a whole lot left in his tank.

Ryan Howard. Not that strikeouts are indicative of a bad hitter, but with three more today against the Braves, Howard’s strikeouts total has reached 168. At this pace, he’ll finish the season with 199, which is four more than Adam Dunn’s all-time record for strikeouts in a season.

Down and Certainly Not Out — Not Anymore

The Phillies tried desperately to give the New York Mets a victory yesterday, squandering a 5-0 lead, and then an 8-5 lead. The Mets — Billy Wagner, specifically — wouldn’t hear of it and promptly forked over 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth and nine innings after taking a 10-8 lead, to lose in dramatic fashion.

The Phillies hit ’em hard (two homeruns from Pat Burrell, a Ruthian two-run homerun from Ryan Howard, and a solo homerun from Aaron Rowand) and they hit ’em soft (bloop RBI singles from Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino, and a slow-rolling RBI single up the middle from Jimmy Rollins).

The most impressive feat of the series, though, was not the offense (outscoring the Mets 27-16 in the four-game series) — it was the bullpen (sans Thursday):

August 27: 2.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
August 28: 4.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 4 K
August 29: 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 K

Total: 10 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 8 K

And then the ugly August 30 day game: 5.1 IP, 7 R, 5 H, 6 BB, 0 K

The Mets’ bullpen, on the other hand… not so fortunate:

August 27: 3.1 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K
August 28: 2 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 0 K
August 29: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K
August 30: 5.1 IP, 6 R, 11 H, 4 BB, 5 K

Total: 12.2 IP, 14 R, 25 H, 8 BB, 8 K

Kudos to Pat Burrell for continuing his hot streak. Burrell leads the Major Leagues in on-base percentage and slugging percentage since the All-Star break. He put up a 1.486 OPS in the four games against the Mets, hitting 4 HR and knocking in 7 runs.

Jimmy Rollins put up a 1.342 OPS for the series, hitting 2 HR and knocking in 3 runs.

How about Jayson Werth? 1.278 OPS for the series, and his 2 stolen bases in the 9th inning against Billy Wagner allowed Tadahito Iguchi to knock in the 10th and tying run with a marginally-deep sacrifice fly, or any base hit.

An interesting note about the series: each game was unique. The 27th was a mild blowout, the 28th was a come-from-behind win, the 29th ended on an umpire’s judgment, and the 30th was a mild blowout that turned into a come-from-behind win. Anyone who bought tickets to any of those four games definitely got their money’s worth (especially those who sat in Section 302).

And the Phillies did all this without Cole Hamels starting a game. With Utley missing the third game against Mets starter Oliver Perez. With Shane Victorino playing sparingly. With a makeshift starting rotation. With all the pressure the city of Philadelphia could throw on top of them. Four straight wins against the division leader, where even a series split would have been devastating to the Phillies’ playoff hopes.

Baseball Prospectus now lists the Phillies’ odds of making the postseason at 39% (the Wild Card-leading Padres are at 62%, and the East-leading Mets are at 85%). The Mets are playing two games better than their Pythagorean W-L record, and the Phillies are exactly where the PWL calculates them, which says that the Phillies are on par with the Mets, and a division title is not out of the realm of possibility.

So, now we look on with our newfound playoff hopes.

August 31-September 2, Phillies @ Florida Marlins

Kyle Kendrick (116 ERA+) vs. Sergio Mitre (98 ERA+)

J.D. Durbin (111 ERA+) vs. Byung-Hyun Kim (95 ERA+)

Adam Eaton* (72 ERA+) vs. Scott Olsen (75 ERA+)

This is a sweep-able series. The Mets go to Atlanta to face the Braves, and they have to face both Tim Hudson and John Smoltz. Even better — on Saturday, the Mets will trot out Mike Pelfrey to the bump.

So, by Monday, the Phillies could find themselves in first place in the NL East.

It’s about time the Phillies start getting some respect.

* Cole Hamels was supposed to start in the series finale against Scott Olsen, but, according to Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels has suffered a setback and will not start Sunday against the Florida Marlins at Dolphins Stadium.

The Phillies said Hamels had discomfort in his left elbow in his last bullpen session. They will shut him down from throwing for the next few days and progress him accordingly.

Hamels went on the disabled list August 22 with a mild elbow strain. He has not pitched since August 16 at Washington.

Adam Eaton will start Sunday in Hamels’ place.

Phillies Bullpen Is Back to Normal

With the return of Brett Myers and Tom Gordon from the disabled list, the Phillies’ bullpen was finally able to stabilize and return to its status quo of forking over leads late in the game. The two combined in an impressive effort on August 25 against the San Diego Padres, allowing three solo homeruns in two innings of work.

Kyle Lohse pitched six and two-thirds of excellent baseball, and J.C. Romero met the bullpen quota of a scoreless one-third of an inning to retire the Padres in the seventh inning.

In comes Gordon with his arsenal of belt-high fastballs. As if on cue, he served one on a platter to the show-boating Milton Bradley to tie the game at two-all.

Many disagreed with Charlie Manuel’s decision to use Brett Myers in the ninth inning of a tie game, but Myers has really been the only reliable arm in the bullpen. It seems Manuel is not a fan of statistics, because the following should indicate that Myers is never to be used in relief of a tie game:

Tie Game: 1.016 OPS

Within 1 run: .912 OPS

Within 2 runs: .785 OPS

Within 3 runs: .762 OPS

Cue solo homeruns to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Terrmel Sledge to make it a 4-2 game — out of reach, even for the comeback-prone Phillies, who did score one run in the bottom of the ninth, but Aaron Rowand whiffed with Ryan Howard standing on first base to end the game.

After the game, Brett Myers gave many an open door to make references to his domestic abuse issue last summer by physically threatening a reporter who was needling him about the homeruns he gave up, and blamed on the size of Citizens Bank Park. Myers is still unapologetic to the reporter he berated and threatened, but did apologize to the other members of the media.

Three things I want to address:

1. Just how bad is the Phillies’ bullpen?

2. What is in Brett Myers’ future?

3. Is Citizens Bank Park really a “joke” as Milton Bradley insists?


1. Just how bad is the Phillies’ bullpen? I’ve scoured the FanGraphs and I’ve come up with quite a few games that the Phillies’ bullpen has blown.
Bullpen blew a lead or tie, Phillies lost
  1. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Tom Gordon (1 run), Brett Myers (2 runs); Phillies lose, 4-3
  2. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): J.C. Romero (1 run), Tom Gordon (1 run), Geoff Geary (2 runs); Phillies lose, 5-2.
  3. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): J.C. Romero (1 run), Antonio Alfonseca (3 runs), Yoel Hernandez (1 run); Phillies lose, 8-4.
  4. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Jose Mesa (3 runs), Mike Zagurski (1 run), Antonio Alfonseca (1 run); Phillies lose, 11-6.
  5. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Brett Myers (2 runs); Phillies lose, 4-2.
  6. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Tom Gordon (2 runs); Phillies lose, 6-5.
  7. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): J.C. Romero (2 runs), Mike Zagurski (2 runs); Phillies lose, 7-6.
  8. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Mike Zagurski (1 run), Jose Mesa (1 run), Antonio Alfonseca (1 run), J.D. Durbin (1 run); Phillies lose, 7-6.
  9. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Antonio Alfonseca (1 run), Jose Mesa (1 run); Phillies lose, 5-4.
  10. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Geoff Geary (4 runs), Mike Zagurski (2 runs), Ryan Madson (1 run), Jose Mesa (2 runs); Phillies lose, 9-6.
  11. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Geoff Geary (1 run), Yoel Hernandez (5 runs); Phillies lose, 7-4.
  12. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Francisco Rosario (1 run); Phillies lose, 4-3.
  13. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Antonio Alfonseca (1 run), Francisco Rosario (1 run); Phillies lose, 4-3.
  14. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Antonio Alfonseca (3 runs); Phillies lose, 5-2.
  15. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Tom Gordon (2 runs); Phillies lose, 2-1.
  16. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Francisco Rosario (1 run); Phillies lose, 5-4.
  17. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Matt Smith (1 run), Geoff Geary (2 runs), Jon Lieber (5 runs); Phillies lose, 11-5.
  18. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-0…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Tom Gordon (2 runs), Ryan Madson (1 run); Phillies lose, 3-2.
  19. fangraphs.com/wins.aspx?date=2007-o…amp;season=2007
    • Culprit(s): Ryan Madson (2 runs); Phillies lose, 5-3.

Even if the bullpen is just moderately bad — let’s say they only blow 10 leads — the Phillies would be 76-53, good for the second-best record in baseball behind the Boston Red Sox, and they would be three games in front of the New York Mets instead of six games back.

2. What is in Brett Myers’ future?

Myers will continue to be the Phillies’ closer, as he has done a great job when he is trying to nail down a lead — 12-for-13 in save opportunities. After 2007, however, is a question.

Citing Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, and Jason Michaels just from recent memory, the Phillies’ upper management has been quick to ship out players that aren’t displaying good behavior. Schilling and Rolen had openly criticized the Phillies’ organization, and Michaels punched a police officer.

However, the Phillies’ starting rotation is in shambles and will continue to be in the off-season. Jamie Moyer could retire. Freddy Garcia will most likely not be resigned. Jon Lieber is a free agent. So, that leaves the Phillies rotation with Cole Hamels, Adam Eaton, and Kyle Kendrick as certainties, and one or two spots to fill depending on which direction the Phillies go in. If Moyer comes back for another year, and the Phillies decide to use a prospect in the rotation (J.A. Happ would be the most likely candidate), Myers will once again be the Phillies’ closer.

If the Phillies’ front office decides to stock up on relievers, Myers will probably be pushed back to the starting rotation, no matter how much he enjoys closing. Scott Mathieson, who has missed most of this season following “Tommy John” surgery, could be a dark horse candidate for the closing role.

Adding to the uncertainty is the rumor that Pat Gillick will not be returning as the Phillies’ GM. Granted, the source of this rumor is one Howard Eskin (the “journalist” who famously brought manager Charlie Manuel to a rolling boil following an 8-1 loss to the New York Mets). Assistant GM Ruben Amaro is likely to take the reins should Gillick leave.

3. Is Citizens Bank Park really a “joke” as Milton Bradley insists?

The ballpark has been criticized by many in Major League Baseball. Milton Bradley said of his fifth-inning three-run homerun against the Phillies on Saturday, “I thought I flied out. This park is a joke.”

Recently, I wrote about the Atlanta Braves whining about the ballpark when they lost to the Phillies 5-3 due to Ryan Howard’s lead-changing three-run homerun off of Buddy Carlyle

Well, is there something fishy about the ballpark? And if so, does it provide a distinct advantage to the Phillies?

According to ESPN.com’s park factors, Citizens Bank Park ranks eleventh in runs, and first in homeruns. A look back since the park’s inception:

2007: Runs, 11th; HR, 1st.

2006: Runs, 8th; HR, 6th.

2005: Runs, 2nd; HR, 2nd.

2004: Runs, 12th; HR, 5th.

So, the ballpark has always been homer-friendly, and home of above-average run scoring. Now, let’s find out how much the Phillies have benefited from this (keep in mind that, before the 2006 season, they moved the fences in left field back five feet and raised 2.5 feet):

From the above chart, we can glean that the Phillies get a slight bump in OPS from playing at home. The .019 average difference between their OPS and the OPS allowed at home is essentially the difference in slugging between Chipper Jones and Magglio Ordonez, to put it in perspective (in other words, not that much).

This season, the Phillies’ 103 HR allowed at home ranks first among all thirty Major League teams, while their 61 HR allowed away from home ranks twenty-third among all thirty Major League teams. So, the Phillies’ opponents seem to get a huge advantage in homeruns when they play in Philadelphia.

It’s not the dimensions of the field that make it so homer-friendly — it’s the wind. As Anthony Wood of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes,

In contrast to hulking Veterans Stadium, winds pour through Citizens Bank Park like water through a flow-through tea bag. Balls that get airborne are lifted up, up and away.

The most obvious suspects are the prevailing southwest and south winds of summer, which blow straight out to center and right-center fields. Those winds increase with height. Other factors might also be at work.

[…] [Phillies president Dave] Montgomery believes that the structural mass of Veterans Stadium – totally enclosed save for the exit-ramp openings – had a blocking effect on the movement of air. Jim Eberwine, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, says Montgomery is on sound scientific footing. A massive building would affect air currents the way an island distorts approaching waves. […]

In the new park, a wind blowing toward center outside the park blows toward center inside, too.

An important difference between the two stadiums is how Citizens Bank Park uses prevailing winds to benefit hitters.

Well after the park was designed, the Phillies retained a Canadian engineering firm to study air-flow patterns at the site. Using Weather Service data, RWDI Inc. determined that the prevailing winds on summer nights were from the south, averaging about 12 m.p.h.

So, if the Phillies want to cut down on homeruns at Citizens Bank Park, they can do one of two things:

Marcus Hayes, You’re On Notice

If you read through my What’s Wrong With Ryan Howard? article, you might have read, and probably became upset with Marcus Hayes’ disparaging remarks towards a Sabermetric-using Phillies fan.

A contributor at The Good Phight wrote about it here. Jim from Broad Street Bastards initially sent Hayes the E-Mail that prompted the wrath of the Daily News columnist.

Philadelphia Will Do caught wind of the article written at TGP, and reposted Hayes’ comments, and slammed him in defense of Sabermetrics.

[Quoting Hayes] Sabremetrics [SIC] are the bastion of wannabes who never could quite figure out which hand the mitt went on, a false industry created and fueled by people whose association with the game always will be vicarious, and, frankly, pathetic.

As opposed to sports writers, who are clearly… former… major league… baseball… players? Ha ha, remember when the Phillies were short in the bullpen and they got Marcus Hayes to close that one night? Man, that was awesome.

Marcus Hayes himself apparently showed up and posted a comment to PWD’s blog. He responded thusly:

Numberheads,

Just letting you blogicians know:
No longer will you, or anyone else, be afforded the privilege (burden?) of corresponding with me. When I reply to an individual it is intended to be a confidential response. Since I can’t trust you, I assume I can’t trust anyone.
It is not meant to be posted on anyone’s blog, and certainly not on a for-profit entity of a direct competitor.
So, no more responses. Can’t trust you, so don’t bother writing.
But then, if you hold my replies in such low esteem, why bother writing?
Of course, this gives many of you more time for your World of Warcraft RPG endeavors.
Happy gaming.
Hope the eczema clears up.
M

Marcus Hayes, of the Philadelphia Daily News, you’re officially On Notice!

On Notice

As a self-described distributor of truth, I would like to clear up a few assumptions Hayes makes in his comment (if that was really him):

  • E-Mails are not implicitly confidential. Any parties that you send the E-Mail to have ownership of said E-Mail and can do with it what they wish. However, no one has the right to actually go through your E-Mail (despite what the USA PATRIOT Act says).Most people would abide by a simple request to keep the E-Mail(s) confidential.And it is also important to remember the context in which the exchange between “jonk” at TGP and Hayes took place. It was an informal conversation. Jonk was not interviewing Hayes for the purpose of an article, so the conversation had nothing to do with actual journalism. If Hayes hadn’t been so disparaging, the exchange would have never been posted, most likely.
  • Hayes says that Proponents of Sabermetrics are role-playing nerds with eczema. I can cite two professional baseball players off of the top of my head that are proponents of the Sabermetric approach: Billy Beane, and Carlos Gomez (let me know if there are others, as I’m curious myself).And then there’s Hayes’ ignorant use of stereotypes — that bloggers are unathletic nerds that live in their mothers’ basements. What’s sad is that Hayes’ beliefs about proponents of Sabermetrics are shared by many others in the journalism circles. Fire Joe Morgan does a great job of holding most of them accountable.Oh, and there’s also the irony. In Hayes’ original E-Mail to “jonk” at TGP, he accuses bloggers of living vicariously through the athletes. Well, what do you do then, Mr. Hayes? Aren’t you the one jamming tape recorders under their chin, and talking and writing about them on a daily basis — for which you went to school for four years of your life?

I think Hayes did a great job of making himself look extremely foolish and immature. He has given me ample reasoning to never purchase a newspaper from the Philadelphia Daily News again (not that I had been recently anyway).

If any of my readers are interested in joining me in this boycott, Hayes also appears weekly on ESPN’s First Take, and he participates on a somewhat regular basis with Comcast SportsNet’s Daily News Live, a show featuring host Michael Barkann and three or more guests — writers from the Philadelphia Daily News, as well as some guests (athletes, celebrities, comedians, etc.).

Marcus Hayes, you’re On Notice. You don’t want to be Dead to Me.

Now Is It Over?

Cole HamelsThe Phillies have been run through the gauntlet and lived to tell about it. Injury after injury, and bad luck that would make a professional poker player weep (somewhere, Phil Hellmuth is weeping).

It wasn’t enough for the baseball gods to take our most valuable position player from us. They had to take our most valuable pitcher away from us now, as well.

Yes, Cole Hamels is the latest Phillies casualty, succumbing to a mild left elbow strain. According to the Phillies’ website, “A worst-case scenario has the young hurler missing up to three weeks.”

Without Hamels, the starting rotation includes a 44-year-old who passed his prime during the Clinton administration (Jamie Moyer), a right-hander with two months of Major League experience and an extremely low strikeout rate (Kyle Kendrick), the dictionary definition of average (Kyle Lohse), a right-hander that was passed over by three other teams before he was picked out of the dumpster by the Phillies (J.D. Durbin), and now, a question mark (?) should the Phillies feel the need to move along with a five-man rotation.

According to Michael Radano,

Hamels will miss at least two starts because he’s getting an MRI on his mild strained left medial elbow. According to Hamels its at least that long due to the dye that will be injected and he won’t be able to picth. Retro to Aug 17 means he can’t come off the DL until Sept. 2. [SIC]

And, as much as ColeHamelsFacts declares otherwise, Cole cannot pitch equally as effective with his right hand.

At this point, they may as well give some of the Minor League talent a try.

  • J.A. Happ: Has pitched at least six innings in his last five starts, and has allowed no more than three runs in those starts (including two consecutive shutout appearances of six and two-thirds and seven innings).
  • Carlos Carrasco: Threw a six-inning no-hitter on Tuesday. He’s had a few shaky outings recently, but he’s the best pitcher in the Phillies’ Minor League system and it might benefit both parties to give him some Major League experience.
  • Zack Segovia: He’s pitched well for the most part since the beginning of July. He’s pitched at least six innings in six of his last eight outings, averaging an allowance of three runs in each one.
  • Josh Outman: Pitched eight shutout innings on Monday, allowing only four hits, but he did walk five. Prior to that start, he had only pitched past the fifth inning once in his previous four starts, and seems to struggle with control. Nevertheless, he is a left-hander, and left-handers can always find a job at the Major League level.

Other than that, the Phillies really don’t have many options available.

  • They could trade for garbage by scrounging the waiver wires, but it wouldn’t be worth it.
  • Brett Myers won’t be moved back into the rotation.
  • It’s unlikely they will mimic last season’s desperation when they made lifetime relief pitcher Aaron Fultz make a spot start against the Blue Jays.
  • Freddy Garcia still needs three or four rehab starts, according to Rotoworld.

It’s just one more unfortunate situation the Phillies find themselves in, and it couldn’t have happened to a more important player on the Phillies’ roster. They will have to once again walk through the muck and try to survive these next two weeks and hope that the return of Chase Utley and Shane Victorino are adequate reinforcements.

Phillies Need Patience with Utley

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley hasn’t played in a game since July 27, when his fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand was broken by a pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander John Lannan.

Yesterday, Utley was given clearance by his doctors to resume swinging a bat, and he hopes to find himself in the Phillies’ lineup as early as August 27, when the Phillies begin a crucial four-game series with the New York Mets at home.

Prior to his injury, Utley was arguably the National League’s leading candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, as he led or was near the top in many offensive categories including VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), EQA (Equivalent Average), and ESPN’s Player Ratings. In fact, he is still among the leaders in those categories despite having missed nearly a month — he ranks 5th in VORP, 6th in EQA, and 11th in ESPN’s Player Ratings currently. Add to that his impeccable defense — highest Zone Rating among NL second basemen — as well.

Getting Utley back should be a huge boost for the Phillies, although the offense hasn’t really skipped a beat in his absence (5.5 runs per game in the 22 games he’s missed, going 13-9 in that span). However, the Phillies should not rush Utley back in a desperate attempt to gain as much ground in the NL East and Wild Card races as possible.

If Phillies organization is looking for guidance, they should look at Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Lee had two bones in his hand broken in a collision with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal last season on April 19. He didn’t return until June 25 — about two months and a week of missed time.

Lee hit only 5 homeruns the rest of the season (36 games). He missed time from July 24 to August 28 with problems stemming from his injured wrist, likely due to the Cubs rushing him back. Lee said of his injury problems,

It’s just a situation where it isn’t getting better. I was kind of just playing for the sake of playing. I wasn’t helping anybody. So if you’re not helping the team, you’re not helping yourself. (ESPN)

Lee’s line after his initial injury, but before the injury flared up again:

.326 OBP/.320 SLG (1 HR) in 20 games

Lee’s line after the injury flared up, until the end of the season:

.350 OBP/.571 SLG (4 HR) in 16 games

If the Cubs had just been patient with Lee’s recovery, they would have saved themselves (and Lee) a lot of aggravation and probably could have had someone more productive in Lee’s spot.

The Phillies can learn from this. If they don’t see that Utley has returned 100% (they should be observing Utley with a high-intensity magnifying glass every time he picks up a bat or throws a ball), he should not be taken off of the disabled list until mid-September at the earliest (they begin a 3-game series with the Mets at Shea Stadium on September 14).

There is no question that there is a mountain of pressure on the Phillies organization, on manager Charlie Manuel, and on the players (especially the longer-tenured ones like Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell) to at least make the playoffs. But they should not attempt to do so at the expense of the health of one of the best overall players in baseball, and the face of the Phillies franchise.

The Phillies’ front office thought he was valuable enough to pay him $85 million over the next 7 seasons, so he is valuable enough to recuperate at a steady pace.

Here’s hoping he turns out just fine.

What’s Wrong With Ryan Howard?

Our 2005 Rookie of the Year and 2006 National League Most Valuable Player is slumping again. He has certainly earned the right to slump every now and then, as he isn’t the recipient of a lucrative contract (like Pat Burrell) where production is expected. With just a $900,000 salary this season, and with a well-stocked trophy case, Howard has earned the patience of the Philadelphia fans, but I am looking at the calendar, thinking of the date when the town turns against him as they did to Burrell and almost every other big-name Philadelphia athlete (see: McNabb, Donovan; Abreu, Bobby; Rolen, Scott; Schmidt, Mike).

Of course, Howard could just bust out of that slump by altering his approach at the plate and/or his mechanics. “FTN,” a poster at a Phillies forum called Back She Goes, had done some tremendous in-depth analysis of Howard’s mechanics and at-bats from July 25 to August 3. He notes:

Looking at the snapshots of Howard’s AB’s, I see a guy who had some good AB’s early in this “streak”, but then a guy who began to just guess at the plate and wasn’t really seeing the ball. Some of the AB’s deep into this run he just looks like he has no clue what’s coming, even though the sequence is obvious at the time. High-Low-High-Low, or High-High-Low-Low. There isn’t a whole lot of trickery here, except for Eyre coming up with a completely different gear the second time he faced Howard in relief. Howard chased a lot of pitches out of the zone, and in some AB’s, the best pitch of the AB was the first pitch, which he more times than not just let go for a strike. It seems like he’s pressing, that’s probably obvious, and he hasn’t been the same since Utley went down. When he presses, he gets over anxious and tries to do too much with pitches he can’t pull, especially pitches on the outside corner, and he’s vulnerable to the high and inside pitch.

I think at this point, he’s still very conscious of that high and inside hole in his swing, and he’s been setting up very open to try and pull that pitch and not get tied up. As a result of this, his stance is wide open, and when he does his toe tap/load up, he’s still too far open and pointing toward 1B. This forces him to not see the outside pitch, and even if he picks it up, he’s trying to pull it instead of just dumping it into left field.

FTN was also thorough enough to do some mechanical analysis, using some footage of a game against the Florida Marlins last season, and of a game against the Washington Nationals from July 26 of this season. He draws the following conclusions:

Looking at these two swings, I see two real big problems.

1. His stance is way too crouched right now. When you’re bent in that manner, you have to raise yourself back up to make contact, which creates more movement in the swing. His head position is key, as his head remains very steady on the left frame, but moves quite a bit to the right. When trying to pick up spin on a baseball, if you move your head, your eyes obviously are going to move, and it will make it more difficult to pick up spin.

2. He’s very conscious of the inside pitch. In the pitch by pitch sequences above, pitchers are starting to throw him inside more, and he isn’t handling the pitches well. Last year, pitches kept pitching him away and rarely exploited the high/inside quadrant, but that has changed this year. The compensate, Howard is cheating and opening up quicker, trying to pull around on that inside pitch. When he’s doing this, he’s losing his balance, his head is moving, and he’s not seeing the ball.

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Since Chase Utley was injured on July 26 (21 games), Howard has hit just 4 HR and 13 RBI and an OPS of .697. He is neither getting on base (just 13 walks in 95 plate appearances) nor hitting for power. Additionally, he’s been increasingly unable to hit left-handed pitching, which was a staple of his success in 2005 and ’06.

July 27 vs. John Grabow (PIT): Grounds into double play to the second baseman in a two-pitch at-bat. (0-1)

July 28 vs. Shane Youman (PIT): Grounds into fielders choice to the pitcher in a two-pitch at-bat; singles to center field in a three-pitch at-bat; walks on a five-pitch at-bat. (1-2, BB)

July 29 vs. Damaso Marte (PIT): Strikes out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

July 30 vs. Ted Lilly (CHC): Strikes out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat; doubles to right field in a two-pitch at-bat; grounds out to shortstop in a three-pitch at-bat. (1-3, 1 K)

July 31 vs. Will Ohman (CHC): Singles to center field in a three-pitch at-bat. (1-1)

August 1 vs. Rich Hill (CHC): Strikes out swinging in a three-pitch at-bat; strikes out swinging in a seven-pitch at-bat; doubles to center field in a one-pitch at-bat. (1-3, 2 K)

… vs. Scott Eyre (CHC): Strikes out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

August 2 vs. Sean Marshall (CHC): Singles to right field in a two-pitch at-bat; pops up to third base in a five-pitch at-bat. (1-2)

… vs. Scott Eyre (CHC): Strikes out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

August 5 vs. Manny Parra (MIL): Walks in a four-pitch at-bat. (0-0, BB)

August 8 vs. Dontrelle Willis (FLA): Walks in a six-pitch at-bat; pops up to third base in a six-pitch at-bat; flies out to left field in a two-pitch at-bat; singles to left field in a nine-pitch at-bat. (1-3, BB)

… vs. Taylor Tankersley (FLA): Strikes out swinging in a three-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

August 9 vs. Taylor Tankersley (FLA): Strikes out swinging in a four-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

August 10 vs. Chuck James (ATL): Sacrifice flies to left field in a three-pitch at-bat; flies out to center field in a one-pitch at-bat; grounds out to second base in a one-pitch at-bat. (0-2)

August 14 vs. Ray King (WAS): Grounds out to second base in a three-pitch at-bat. (0-1)
August 17 vs. Tom Gorzelanny (PIT): Pops out to third base in a six-pitch at-bat; pops out foul to third base in a two-pitch at-bat; strikes out looking in a four-pitch at-bat. (0-3, 1 K)

… vs. Shane Youman (PIT): Strikes out swinging in a four-pitch at-bat. (0-1, 1 K)

August 18 vs. Paul Maholm (PIT): Singles to right field in a five-pitch at-bat; grounded out to first base in a four-pitch at-bat; struck out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat; struck out swinging in a five-pitch at-bat. (1-4, 2 K)

That is an aggregate 7-for-31 (.226) with three walks and only two of those hits going for extra bases. In addition, 12 of his 24 outs (50%) have been strikeouts, which indicates that Howard probably isn’t seeing the ball well, and backs up FTN’s conclusions.

So, kudos to FTN for some excellent analysis which appears to be entirely correct. I’d be interested in seeing some screencap-analysis of some of his more recent at-bats (I would but I’m not a MLB.TV subscriber).

Some other interesting analysis similar to that done by FTN from The Hardball Times:

Chamberlain or Hughes: Who’s Got Better Mechanics?

The Four Greatest Homerun Hitters of All-Time: A Video Analysis of Their Swings

The D-Train’s Mechanics

In other Phillies news…

– Ed Wade gets stuck in a tree. [ABC]

– The Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes rips proponents of Sabermetrics. [The Good Phight]

Sabremetrics [sic] are the bastion of wannabes who never could quite figure out which hand the mitt went on, a false industry created and fueled by people whose association with the game always will be vicarious, and, frankly, pathetic.

– Mike Zagurski becomes the latest Phillies casualty — a pulled hamstring. [Phillies.com]

The list of Phillies to have seen time on the disabled list this season:

  • Rod Barajas, 1 year/$3M , plus $5M 2008 club option
  • Michael Bourn, 1 year/$380,000
  • Adam Eaton,in first year of 3 years/$24.51M contract, plus $9M 2010 mutual option, earning $6.875M in 2007
  • Freddy Garcia, $10M/1 year remaining on 3 years/$27M contract
  • Tom Gordon, 3 years/$18M ($4.5M club option in ’09), earning $7M in 2007
  • Ryan Howard, 1 year/$900,000
  • Jon Lieber, $7.5M/1 year remaining on 3 years/$21M contract
  • Ryan Madson, 1 year/$1.1M
  • Scott Mathieson, 1 year/$380,000
  • Brett Myers, In first year of 3 years/$25.75M contract, earning $5M in 2007
  • Francisco Rosario, 1 year/$100,000
  • Chase Utley, In first year of 7 years/$85M contract, earning $4.5M in 2007
  • Shane Victorino, 1 year/$410,000
  • Jayson Werth, 1 year/$850,000
  • Mike Zagurski, Major League minimum ($380,000)

That is $48,375,000 worth of Major League talent on the disabled list. The Phillies went into the 2007 season with a $89,428,213 payroll. The injuries make up for 54% of the total payroll. And yet the Phillies are still 8 games over .500.