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Chad Billingsley Hit A Home Run

Starter Chad Billingsley gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run to left field off of Mets starter Bartolo Colon. It’s his third career home run and his first since June 5, 2011. He’s the fourth Phillie to homer during the regular season dating back to 2008, joining Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and… Chan Ho Park. You can, of course, add Joe Blanton when he homered in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series.

Given Billingsley’s homer and the fact that the DH debate is back in full force, now is a good time to link to Michael Baumann’s terrific piece on the DH.

Mike Schmidt’s Casual Sexism

Phillies reliever Luis Garcia got into a pickle in the top of the eighth inning. He loaded the bases on a walk to Kevin Plawecki, a Dilson Herrera single to center field, and another walk to Ruben Tejada. Garcia was having trouble throwing strikes as usual, but his poor control may have also had something to do with slipping while delivering a pitch during the Plawecki at-bat. Garcia managed to get out of the inning when pinch-hitter Johnny Monell tapped a grounder back to Garcia, who threw to catcher Carlos Ruiz for one out. Ruiz then fired the ball to first base to complete the 1-2-3 double play and end the inning.

Upon return from a commerical break, the broadcast highlighted Garcia’s play to end the inning. Matt Stairs noted that Garcia’s throw home wasn’t great, which made the play closer than it should have been. Schmidt was going to say something but Stairs had to finish the segment first. Once that was done, Tom McCarthy prompted Schmidt to talk, which was a bad idea. Here’s what Schmidt said:

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Ben Revere’s Newfound Pop

Last night was a banner night for Ben Revere at the dish. In his first four hit game of the season, he hit three doubles making it the first time in his career that he recorded three extra base hits in a game. The offensive outburst raised Revere’s season slash line to .264/.304/.368, an impressive feat considering he slashed .135/.179/.135 through the first ten games of the season. Without question, the most intriguing feature of Revere’s current hot streak has been his power surge.

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The Phillies’ Bullpen, Despite A 2.81 ERA, Hasn’t Been Good

The Phillies lost 9-0 to the Atlanta Braves last night and none of the blame could be placed on the bullpen. Braves starter Shelby Miller quieted the offense, throwing a three-hit shutout on 99 pitches. Chad Billingsley gave up six runs over five innings in his first major league start since April 2013. Dustin McGowan started the seventh inning, but could only record one out as he walked four batters and allowed a hit en route to serving up three runs. Justin De Fratus came in and got the final five outs with no issue.

Walks have been an issue for McGowan as he now has 16 of them in 14 innings. The problem isn’t just isolated to McGowan, however.

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What’s Wrong with Cole Hamels?

Probably nothing. You can close the article now feeling rather confident that Cole Hamels will turn it around sooner rather than later. One need only remember that Hamels carried a 4.30 ERA through his first six starts last season, but finished at 2.46. Six starts is about one-sixth of a season, leaving plenty of time for improvement.

That said, there are a few noteworthy differences that are worth examining. Let’s compare his first six starts last year and this year:

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Chase Utley and His Tragically Low BABIP

If you’ve seen the acronym BABIP used this season, there’s a high chance it was in a conversation about second baseman Chase Utley. The six-time All-Star is batting .108 with an .087 batting average on balls in play, which is easily the worst mark in baseball. I’m sad to report that, in many instances, optimists showed an incorrect understanding of how BABIP works for hitters. These optimists claim that Utley’s BABIP, over the course of the season, will regress towards the league average .294 — a .087 BABIP is unsustainable.

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Ryne Sandberg’s Strange Bullpen Usage

Coming into the 2015 season, reliever Justin De Fratus had thrown more than 30 pitches in an appearance six times in 130 games spanning 114 innings. This season, he has already done so three times in nine appearances spanning 10 2/3 innings. Indeed, manager Ryne Sandberg has been unusually taxing on his bullpen in the early going and De Fratus is only one example.

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