Howard Is Back

There is a great tool at Baseball Reference that tells you how many times Charlie Manuel has used a specific lineup this season.

He has had Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz – otherwise known as the Opening Day lineup — together just seven times, according to the site. That number should hit eight tonight against the Nationals because the Phillies just announced they have activated Howard from the DL. They placed Ross Gload on the DL (strained right groin) to make room for Howard on the 25-man roster.

That means Domonic Brown likely will not be headed to Lehigh Valley, unless they suddenly decide to bring back Greg Dobbs, who just accepted his assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

So the band is back together again, and they’ll get to do their thing tonight against Stephen Strasburg.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

22 Comments

Foul off Pitches tonite guys, we can get this Flamethower outta here by the 4th inning, Howard and UTLEY take Strausburg Yard tonite giving him his WELCOME TO THE HOME OF THE NL EAST 3 time Defending Champs. Tonite willleave Strausburg woindering if he is actually “that Good”… Go Phillies and welcome back, BIG PIECE !!

bailguy84: It’s Strasburg.

fun lineup for today

rollins
utley
polanco
howard
ibanez
victorino
brown
ruiz

What is it with Ryan Howard’s ability to drive in runs? When he went on the DL, he was leading the league with 81. He goes on the 15 day DL, misses about 14 games, first game back he produces an RBI to raise his total to 82 and only has 6 RBIs less than the league leader, Pujols. Barring another trip to the DL, I don’t see him not sharing the lead or leading the league this year or 5 of 6 years he will have been in the league by the end of this season. And, we can’t forget that the one year he fell shy of tying for the lead was 2007 when Matt Holliday got the one RBI in the Rockies 163rd game of the season to best Ryan by one RBI to lead the league. I originally thought that the contract extension Ryan signed over the off season was probably excessive. Now I believe it is going to prove to be a bargain and Junior finally got something right. But, then again, even a broken clock is right twice a day. And to really flame this site, I would take Howard over Pujols any day.

I like Howard a lot and his RBI numbers have a lot to do with the lineup he is in. But Ryan has taken some big steps this year. He is going with pitches better and his BA and reduced SO’s is testament to that. There are times that I think that the Phillies would be better off if he was hitting .270 with more power, but putting the ball in play is a big deal, as last night’s RBI showed. His salary is a bargain right now, but it is hard to say if that will be the case in 5 years. If he can stay healthy and continues to work as hard as he does to improve, that just might be the case. He was a late bloomer and may still be getting better, especially as a hitter.
As far as Pujols is concerned, when he is done he is going to be considered in the company of the best RH hitters of all time. I used to think he was a juicer, but now I don’t think so. He is just a great hitter and was one from day 1. He has a lifetime OPS over 1.000, the highest by any RHer ever. He’s in the company of players like DiMaggio, Hornsby and Foxx which is rarefied air.

phan52…..I am receptive to hearing why RBI total is not the most important offensive statistic of them all. OBP is good but getting on base depends on teammates plus the fact a walk adds to it. Slugging is good but what difference does it make if your hit does not produce a run? Short of RBIs, the next most important statistic in my opinion is runs scored. Slugging percentage, OBP and BA bundled together are, to me, of the same value to a hitter as a W-L record is to a pitcher. If Pujols in is a class alone, I submit that Howard is also in a class lone which is no way inferior to Pujols if you can think outside the box.

You have it backsward, pherris. If any hitting stat is comparable to W-L it is RBI. It can be considered a team statistic because it is very dependent on the performance of others on your team.
There have been seasons where Pujol’s BA has approached or passed Ryan Howard’s OBP. Ryan led the league in total bases once (his MVP year) while Pujols does it every year. As you mentioned before, putting a ball in play is important and the comparative SO/BB ratios are not even worth discussing. And the fact that Pujols does all of this as a RH batter is even more impressive. He is a historic player.
I don’t want to be in a position to put down Howard. He is unquestionably the best power hitter of his era and is continuously improving his overall approach to hitting. But Pujols does everything and always has.

I am also curious to know how RBI is not more dependent on teammates than OBP or OPS. That is a very puzzling approach, but I will give you the opportunity to explain yourself, pherris.

pherris: You wrote, “getting on base depends on teammates.” Explain, if you can.

phan52 & muleman…..Uncle! Uncle! Now will you get off my back and let me up. I can’t breath under this pile. Metaphorically speaking of course.

phan52……I want to believe that W-L records do not mean squat. But when I do, I just conjure up images of Steve Carlton’s 1972 season. If nothing else, it does show quality can be reflected in quantity and despite what Howard’s other statistics show, his RBIs does reflect quality about him which may not be reflected in his other statistics or quantity. But in all other regards as to Pujols versus Howard, you are correct. What can I say other than I am a “homer”.

muleman…. “getting on base depends on teammates.” The easy one is intentional walks. More difficult to quantify are game situations requiring fielder shifts or pitchers’ approach to Pujols. Of course all are dependent on Pujols’ ability but he is dependent on teammates to give him the opportunity in many instances. Admittedly, adjustments other than intentional walks may be more subtle, they are there nevertheless.

pherris, an example of W-L record is a comparison of Hamels vs. Kendrick. Kendrick has more wins but Hamels overall stats are ridiculously better. Hamels has pitched a minimum of 7 innings in 14 of his 25 starts. Kendrick has gone 7 innings in 7 of 26. Cole’s ERA is more than a run better than Kendrick’s and he dwarfs Kendrick’s SO/BB ratio. Cole’s weakness is the long ball, but they have given up the same amount of HR’s.
Bottom line, Cole gives them a better chance at winning when he pitches but he has been unlucky this year with run support. He’s not Halladay (who has won four 1-0 games to date), but he’s far better than Kendrick, W-L aside.
One thing to remember about Carlton’s stellar season is that he also lost 10 games, six of which were complete games.

phan52 …..I don’t get your point citing the fact Carlton also lost 10 games in 1972. And, in addition to 6 of those being complete games, 8 of them where 2 runs or less but 8 of them were also due to him giving up more earned runs than the Phillies scored. In effect only two of the 10 could be directly attributed to the Phillies effete offense. Eight of the 10 can be attributed to Carlton. But, Carlton was known for getting into the zone and concentrating. If Hamels dwarfs Kendrick in any respect what is his excuse for not winning more. He just seems to have lapses in concentration at the least opportune times. What W-L record shows is a pitchers ability to navigate through a game if nothing more.

“If Hamels dwarfs Kendrick in any respect what is his excuse for not winning more.” Ummm, run support? Just a guess. Kyle Kendrick ranks 10th in NL at 5.5, Cole Hamels 63rd at 3.1. And it’s not because Kendrick is a better hitter.

Pherris, you are hopeless if you still think W-L is a better indicator of a pitchers’ performance than the other statistics that I referenced. I should have known when you actually tried to rationalize that OBP was more dependent on teammates than RBI.
I can’t help you when pile on yourself. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

phan52…..First, show me where I wrote that a W-L record is a better indicator than all the other stats you mentioned. Second, show me where I tried to rationalized that OBP is more dependent on teammates than RBI. It is hard to get into a discussion with you when you make up s-h-i-t on the fly. Literally speaking, of course. Come on, copy and paste here where I said these things. The use of superlatives, hyperbole and self righteous certainty is your forte. Do you always project so much?

pherris: Over his career, Intentional Walks account for about 3% of Pujols’ on base opportunities. 886 walks and 226 intentional. Intentional walks? Seriously? You’ll have to do better than that. A guy can either hit or he can’t.

The Dodgers are off today and they’re toast anyway, so I thought I’d chime in on the cat fight going on here. Hitting wise, I’ll take runs and RBIs. On the Dodgers, those two leaders are Kemp and Loney, respectively, two of their rising stars. The Phils? Werth and Howard, respectively. Granted, health has a lot to do with these stats. Utley and Rollins have missed a lot of time, as has a guy named Manny on the Dodgers. Now friends, I know you three have all these stats in your heads, anyway. But I’ve always believed baseball starts and stops at home plate. Gotta touch the dish, or make sure someone else does. Oh, and if you don’t re-sign Werth, the Dodgers would love to have him back!

How’s this pherris, when you say, to quote, ‘… “getting on base depends on teammates.” The easy one is intentional walks. More difficult to quantify are game situations requiring fielder shifts or pitchers’ approach to Pujols. Of course all are dependent on Pujols’ ability but he is dependent on teammates to give him the opportunity in many instances. Admittedly, adjustments other than intentional walks may be more subtle, they are there nevertheless.’

Intentional walks? That is one of the more ridiculous attempts at rationalization that I have ever heard. Please tell me that you had your tongue in cheek when you said that because you knew you had nothing. Admit that you’re just a blowhard and I’ll let you off the hook.

Thank you, muleman, for answering your own question. Take out the 226 career intentional walks from Pujols’s stats and his lifetime OBP decreases from .426 to .405. I really can’t determine how “serious” a difference that is except to note that his career OBP goes from 12th place to 44th place on the career list without the intentional walks. Since situational hitting is harder to quantify, let’s assume it has contributed at least as many hits to Pujols’s career as it has intentional walks or 226. When these are taken out Pujols’s career OBP drops to .387 or to 108th on career list. This seems “serious” to me or at the very least not non-serious.
x

Now on to the Sabremetrician of all Sabremetricians, the Blunderbuss of all Blunderbusses our very own phan52. Notice how he has a difficult time with more than two thoughts at one time, not unlike his twin, muleman. Being the true Mr. Sabremetrican he is, he sloughs off any thing that is either not measurable or hard to measure, such as how situational hitting has helped Pujols achieve the career numbers he has, and goes to something easily measurable but then proceeds to tell us how insignificant it is, like intentional walks. He better watch out, someone may drop a dime on him and have his membership in the Sabremetrican Society of America yanked.
Not to worry, him being a denizen of some garage deep in suburbia somewhere, he is use to yanking. Yank away, my friend, yank away. And always remember, what happens in your mother’s garage stays in your mother’s garage.

phan52 Here we go again, more strawmen, more red herrings and more ad hominem attacks. You still haven’t addressed any of the issues I have called you out on. Why not?

Wow muleman, I guess he told you! The fact that Pujols is one of the more dangerous righthanded bats in MLB history has nothing to do with the fact that he gets a lot of IBB’s. It is far more dependent on his teammates.
But in reality, there goes pherris again with his childish nonsense to try and divert everybody from the fact that he really knows nothing about baseball. Great stuff there.

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