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Archive for April, 2012

Phillies Through 12 Games: Starting Pitching Superb, Offense Flat

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Roy Halladay    Carlos Ruiz   Hunter Pence   Jon Papelbon
The Phillies sit in a now unfamiliar spot, the basement in the NL East, albeit let’s hope temporarily, with a record of 5 wins, 7 losses.  The 2012 team is a study in contrasts; their starting pitching has consistently gone deep into games and has given up 24 runs over the span of 82 1/3 innings for an even 2.0 runs per game over the first 12 games of the season.  Of the 34 total runs given up by the staff over the first 12 games, the bullpen was responsible for 10 runs in 26 1/3 relief innings.

Forget about ERA for a moment.  Phils pitching has given up 34 runs in 108 2/3 innings, an average of 0.314 runs per inning and 2.83 runs per game.  Regrettably, the offense has provided only 35 runs over the 12 game span, including 15 runs over 2 of the games, an average of 2.91 runs over the first 12 games.   “The Doc” Roy Halladay is undefeated at 3-0 (1.17 ERA) , while Cliff Lee is 0-1 in 3 starts (1.96 ERA) and both Cole Hamels (3.65 ERA) and Joe Blanton are 1-1 (4.16 ERA) in 2 starting outings.  Second year starter Vance Worley is 0-1 (3.75 ERA) in 2 starts.  And, oh yeah, newly acquired closer Jon Papelbon is fine so far, notching 3 saves while giving up 1 run in five innings of work over his 5 appearances.  That was RyanWho???

One can follow pitching stats through the season by clicking here.

That the Phils’ record is 5-7 over their first 12 games this season, while going 9-3 in their 12 in 2011, is primarily due to an offense soo flat that it could have been unleavened, 18 minute matzah.    When one looks at the Phils’ offensive leaders and productivity, the offensive short-circuits become clear.  They’ve hit but 5 homers in the 12 game span, 2 of them by rightfielder Hunter Pence who leads the club with a .326 BA, and with 7 RBIs.   In 2011, over the same 12 gams span, 1st baseman Ryan Howard (still on the DL) lead the club with 3 homers, 13 RBIs and a .308 BA.   When one gets past catcher  Carlos Ruiz who’s hitting .306 with a homer and 3 RBIs and centerfielder Shane Victorino hitting .277 with 5 stolen bases, the rest over the offense is abysmal.   When one sees things like shortstop Jimmy Rollins striking out 10 times in 12 games, outfielder John Mayberry Jr. with 9 K’s in 12 games, rookie infielder Freddie Galvis with a homer and 5 RBIs and a .237 BA and 3rd baseman Placido Polanco batting .179, it dawns on fans that the Phils badly need Howard and 2nd baseman Chase Utley back playing regularly and injury-free.

This blog previously reported on Halladay’s brilliant opening day shut-out.   Below are box scores and recaps of the Phils’ subsequent 11 games:

Pittsburgh 2, Phillies 1, 10 innings         Recap
Pittsburgh 5, Phillies 4                          Recap

Miami 6, Phillies 2                                 Recap
Phillies 7, Miami 1                                 Recap
Phillies 3, Miami 1                                 Recap
Mets 5, Phillies 2                                  Recap
Mets 1, Phillies 0                                  Recap

Phillies 8, Mets 2

Phillies 5, San Francisco 2                     Recap
San Francisco 4, Phillies 2                     Recap
San Francisco 1, Phillies 0, 11 Innings    Recap
The Phils now head to San Diego for 4 games between Thursday through Sunday with the Padres followed by 3 Games in  Arizona with the Diamondbacks before returning home on the 27th of April to begin a 4 game series with those Chicago Cubs.

Phillies Nip Pirates in Season Opener as ” Doc” Operates and Ruiz Drives in Winner

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Roy Halladay    Carlos Ruiz    Jon Papelbon
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who carried a hot bat through the spring exhibition games, was a perfect 3-3 and drove in the Phillies’ only run with a 1 out seventh inning sacrifice fly to rightfield.    Ace of aces Roy Halladay threw 92 pitches through eight masterful innings, only giving up 2 first inning hits as the  Phillies nipped the Pittsburgh Pirates on  Opening Day by a 1-0 score.

The first 2 Bucs up in the first inning singled off of Halladay before the All Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner retired the next 21 of 23 hitters he faced in a masterful performance on Opening Day.  After the first, the only runners to reach on “The Doc” were centerfielder Andrew McCutchen with 1 out in the fourth and shortstop Clint Barmes with 2 out in the eighth, both of the hit batsmen.

Old former Phillies’ catcher and nemesis Rod Barajas took an 0-3 collar and was one of Halladay’s 5 strikeout victims.

Pirates’ Opening Day starter lefthander Eric Bedard lived up to the Bucs’ hopes for potential matching Halladay’s 0’s through six innings while giving up 4 hits and walking 1.   But, in the seventh, rightfielder Hunter Pence, batting in the clean-up spot with 1st baseman Ryan Howard still on the DL, led off by lining out to shallow centerfield.  Ty Wigginton, playing 1st base, touched Bedard for a single to centerfield.

Leftfielder John Mayberry Jr. followed by doubling to rightfield, with Wigginton taking 3rd base.   Ruiz, perfect in 3 of his 4 plate appearances, hit a sacrifice fly to shallow right plating Wigginton and making Bedard the losing pitcher.   2nd baseman Freddie Galvis, batting eighth in the order and subbing for DL 2nd baseman Chase Utley, ended the inning by grounding out to shortstop.

“The Doc” was not only masterful on the mound, but singled to open the eighth, but was stranded along with 3rd baseman Placido Polanco who was walked with 1 out.

Closer Jon Papelbon came on in the ninth and did what closers are supposed to do: go clean on the Pirates on 10 pitches, 9 of them for strikes while striking out 1 for his first save as a Phil.

For all of Thursday’s scores in both leagues, click here.

The Phils play the 2nd and 3rd games of their season opening 3 game series in Pittsburgh on Saturday and Sunday as  All Star lefthander Cliff Lee is opposed by Jeff Karstens on Saturday.   

On Sunday, the 2011 rookie of the year candidate and 2nd year hurler Vance Worley and James McDonald are scheduled to oppose each other in the rubber game of the series.

Please Note:
  a wrap-up of the Phillies’ spring exhibition games will follow shortly and we will discuss the 25 man Season Opening roster, Ryan Madson’s going down with a “Tommy John” elbow injury in Cincinnati and more.

For all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s action in both leagues, click here and here.