Heading Out West
The Phillies left for California yesterday a season-high eight games over .500.
This 10-game road trip through San Diego, Los Angeles and New York … wait a second, didn’t the Phillies just finish one of those? Yeah, they did. I can’t remember the last time two 10-game road trips were so close together. That’s craaazy. … is going to be a great test for the Phillies.
Can Joe Blanton build upon last week’s start against Florida, when he threw seven shutout innings? Can Antonio Bastardo — the man who is taking Brett Myers‘ spot in the rotation — outpitch Jake Peavy on Tuesday — the man Phillies fans would love to see pitching in Myers’ spot? Can the Phillies manage at least a split in four games in LA, where the Dodgers are the best team in baseball? And can they play a little better against the Mets, who are 3-1 against them this season?
A couple stats to get your Monday morning going:
- Baseball Prospectus gives the Phillies a 37 percent chance to make the postseason. BP likes the Mets better, however. They give the Mets a 71.1 percent chance.
- Jayson Werth leads the Majors, averaging 4.52 pitches per plate appearance. Boston’s Kevin Youkilis is second with 4.44. Chase Utley is tied for 35th with 4.06. Ryan Howard is tied for 45th with 4.03. Shane Victorino sees the 15th fewest pitches in the Majors with 3.41 pitches per plate appearance.
- Utley swings at only 7 percent of first pitches in his at-bats. That’s the third-lowest mark in baseball. Only Joe Mauer (3 percent) and J.J. Hardy (3.9 percent) swing at fewer first pitches. Werth is the 12th lowest at 12.1 percent. Raul Ibanez (24th at 15 percent), Jimmy Rollins (47th at 18.4 percent) and Victorino (tied for 57th at 19.9 percent) also are in the lowest 100. Ryan Howard is the 24th highest at 35.8 percent.
- Utley leads the Majors with 11 hit by pitches. He leads the Majors with 88 hit by pitches from 2004 through 2009. Former Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand is second with 85.
Petco Park and Dodger Stadium are two of my favorite ballparks in baseball. Petco is just a notch below Citizens Bank Park. I’d put Dodger Stadium on par with the Bank, I think. I wasn’t impressed with Dodger Stadium the first time I walked in it, but it really grew on me. But maybe I like it because there’s a solid chance I’ll see fellow MLBlogger Alyssa Milano there. We go way back. And when I say we go way back, I mean I used to watch Who’s the Boss?