Stats & Info: Phillies

Phillies continue to roll at home

July, 26, 2010
Phillies 5, Rockies 4
Phillies sweep 4 from the Rockies and have won 5 straight, matching their longest win streak of the season. Philadelphia has also won 8 straight home games, its longest such streak since winning 16 straight at home in 1991. Joe Blanton earns his first win in his last 6 starts. Charlie Manuel wins his 500th game as Phillies manager, becoming the 4th to reach that plateau with the franchise. Jason Hammel loses his third straight road start. The Rockies have lost 6 straight since last Tuesday's 10-0 win over Florida. It's Colorado's longest losing streak since a 7-game slide in September 2008. Rockies finish 2-9 on their longest road trip of the season.

Ubaldo continues 2nd half slide

July, 24, 2010
Phillies 10, Rockies 2
The Phillies win their third straight game following a 4-game losing streak. The Phillies 10 runs are their most since scoring 12 in a win vs the Pirates on July 3. Jimmy Rollins records 3 hits and 3 RBI. It's Rollins' 139th career 3-hit game, 1 behind Del Ennis for the third-most by a Phillies player in the live-ball era. Ryan Howard has 3 RBI, giving him 23 RBI in 21 games in July. It's Howard's 90th 3-RBI game since his rookie season in 2005, most in the majors over that span. The Rockies have lost 4 straight, their longest losing streak this season. Ubaldo Jimemez now has a 7.64 ERA in his last 6 starts (1.15 ERA in first 14 starts this season).

Ubaldo Jiménez was pulled after giving up 6 ER in only 2 IP on Saturday vs the Phillies. This is the 3rd time in his career he's been pulled after only 2 innings. The last time was August 9, 2007 (gave up 5 ER to the Cubs).

A problem for Ubaldo over his last few starts has been falling behind in the count. Sure enough, he faced 15 batters today and went to NINE three-ball counts. Two batters put the first pitch in play. Of the other 13, he was behind 12 of them at some point; the only exception was opposing pitcher Kyle Kendrick (who struck out on three pitches).

Wrapping up a long week on the diamond

July, 23, 2010
Since Monday, there have been 10 extra-inning games across the majors – including a game of at least 13 innings on each of the 4 days.

Rangers 8, Tigers 6 (14 innings)
Royals 5, Blue Jays 4 (10 innings)*

Orioles 11, Rays 10 (13 innings)*
Athletics 5, Red Sox 4 (10 innings)*

Astros 4, Cubs 3 (12 innings)
Padres 6, Braves 4 (12 innings)
Mariners 2, White Sox 1 (11 innings)*
Diamondbacks 4, Mets 3 (14 innings)*

Phillies 2, Cardinals 0 (11 innings)
Red Sox 8, Mariners 6 (13 innings)
*Walk-off win
The last time there were at least 4 straight days with a game that lasted at least 13 innings was September 22-26, 1992 (5 straight days). That was a Tuesday through Saturday, so it didn’t technically “start” the week the way the current streak has managed to do by beginning on a Monday.

September 22, 1992: Pedro Munoz drives in Kirby Puckett with the only run of the game in the 13th inning, as the Twins win at the Rangers at Arlington Stadium.

September 23, 1992: Moises Alou hits a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 14th inning to give the Expos a 5-1 win at Olympic Stadium.

September 24, 1992: The Mets scored 3 runs in the top of the 14th inning at Busch Stadium to take a 3-0 lead over the Cardinals – but St. Louis countered with 4 in the bottom of the inning, capped off by a Todd Zeile walk-off single.

September 25, 1992: Omar Vizquel of the Mariners had a go-ahead single in the top of the 16th inning at Arlington Stadium to give Seattle a 4-3 win over the Rangers.

September 26, 1992: The Red Sox explode for 4 runs in the top of the 14th inning at Camden Yards to beat the Orioles 7-3. This was a particularly long day in Baltimore, as that was the 1st game of a doubleheader.

BTBS: The Phillies' lineup, optimized

March, 18, 2010
Over the next couple of days, I’ll be optimizing MLB's best lineups by "The Book." No, not the collection of traditional baseball heuristics, but an actual, published book that statistically analyzes those traditional assumptions. Up first, the Philadelphia Phillies, with the following projected starters against right-handed pitching (using ZiPS).

While you could make a good argument that neither deserves to bat this high, Shane Victorino deserves the leadoff spot over Jimmy Rollins. Even if the latter returns to pre-2009 form, his lack of on-base skills and larger percentage of value tied to the home run make him ill suited to set the table.

The two best hitters go in the second and fourth spots. The cleanup hitter actually comes to bat with runners on base more often, with more potential to do damage, but because the No. 2 hole comes to the plate more often overall, these two spots are equally important. Chase Utley is the better on-base threat, so he goes in the No. 2 hole, and Ryan Howard's power bats cleanup.

Why skip over the No. 3 hole? Because it comes to the plate with two outs more often than other top-of-the-order spots, limiting its production. The third hitter is about as important as the fifth hitter, and "The Book" says we should favor lower OBP players with high home run rates -- if there are two outs, the risk-reward of an out versus a home run is a good gamble.

All else being equal, Raul Ibanez would go in the No. 3 hole, but Jayson Werth makes a bit more sense for the Phillies because his right-handed bat will split up Utley and Howard. If the opposing team wants to use a LOOGY against both those lefties, Charlie Manuel might as well either get a good matchup in between or force the other team to use two extra relievers.

That leaves us with this top five:
1. Victorino
2. Utley
3. Werth
4. Howard
5. Ibanez

In general, the rest of the order should be penciled in from best to worst overall hitter, but the Phillies probably should put Rollins ahead of Placido Polanco in the No. 6 and No. 7 holes. Rollins' power is much more effective at scoring the slow-footed Howard and Ibanez. Plus, his extra-base hits and stolen bases are most useful in front of a singles hitter like Polanco, setting up a classic 1-2 combination lower in the order.

Finally, Carlos Ruiz gets plugged in to the No. 9 hole. Yes, that's right, after the pitcher. Ruiz isn't being punished. In fact, the worse he hits (or the better the pitcher hits), the more motivation there is to move him up to No. 8. Because the pitcher is an easy out, he works to both kill rallies and roll the top of the lineup over without anyone on base. Based on research in "The Book," the second drawback is, on average, more harmful. By putting Ruiz in the No. 9 hole, Victorino and Utley are more likely to come to bat with a runner on base -- it's a twist on the "second leadoff hitter" theory.

All of that leaves us with the following optimal lineup for the 2010 Phillies against right-handed starters:

1. Victorino (S)
2. Utley (L)
3. Werth (R)
4. Howard (L)
5. Ibanez (L)
6. Rollins (S)
7. Polanco (R)
8. Pitcher
9. Ruiz (R)

A longer explanation of some of the batting-order principles in "The Book" can be found in this article. Sky Kalkman writes for Beyond The Box Score.