Results tagged ‘ Hanley Ramirez ’

What The Heck Just Happened?

manuel 062109.jpgI sense frustration out there.

That frustration is understandable. The Phillies have been in the National League since 1883, and fans just watched one of the seven worst homestands in franchise history. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.

Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre went on the DL.

Ryan Howard checked into the hospital. Twice. (The Phillies said today that Howard has acute sinusitis. He will not fly with the team to Tampa tonight, but could fly there tomorrow and play tomorrow night in the series opener against the Rays.)

The continued to play without Brad Lidge and Brett Myers.

The bullpen continues to be overworked because the rotation can’t pitch into the sixth inning. The Phillies couldn’t come up with big hits. They had physical errors and mental errors.

Let’s break down the numbers from the first 58 games, when the Phillies were 35-23 and had a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East, and the last nine, when they went 1-8 to fall to 36-31 with a two-game lead over the Mets.

Hitting
First 58 games:
They hit .263 with a .342 OBP and a .462 SLG. They scored 318 runs (5.48 per game). They hit 85 home runs (1.5 per game), walked 226 times and struck out 380 times (18.8 percent of their at-bats).
Last 9 games: The Phillies hit .235 with a .309 OBP and a .402 SLG during the homestand. They scored 38 runs (4.22 per game). They hit 13 home runs (1.4 per game), walked 30 times and struck out 83 times (25.7 percent of their at-bats).

Pitching
First 58 games:
They had a 4.60 ERA, striking out 7.1 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .267 against them. Starters had a 5.28 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 3.45 ERA.
Last 9 games: They had a 5.97 ERA, striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .314 against them. Starters had a 5.37 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 6.88 ERA.

Fielding
First 58 games:
They had 19 errors and a .991 fielding percentage.
Last 9 games: They had eight errors and a .977 fielding percentage.

The one thing that jumps out is the bullpen ERA. The bullpen held the pitching staff together through its first 58 games, but the relievers look tired. They probably are. And if the starters can’t start pitching deeper into games and the front office can’t find a starter before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies might need to find bullpen reinforcements instead.

Yes, the offense struggled. Yes, the Phillies looked sloppy in the field. But I expect both of those things to correct themselves. This team will hit. This team will catch the ball. But will it pitch well enough to win?

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A reason not to panic: the American League is better than the National League, just like last season (the World Series notwithstanding). The Phillies remain one of the best teams in the National League and that should show up once Interleague Play ends, just like last season. Since the Phillies went 1-8 against the AL, the Mets and Braves are 3-6. The Nationals are 4-5. Only the Marlins have a winning record in their division at 6-3 since the Phillies started to play against the AL.

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Ibanez and Chase Utley still lead voting amongst outfielders and second basemen for the NL All-Star Team. Jimmy Rollins has fallen to second behind Florida’s Hanley Ramirez.

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I have not bought into the hype that the Phillies are less intense at home or try too hard at home. I just think for whatever reason they have played poorly at home. That said, I’m sure they are happy to begin a nine-game road trip tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.

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The seven worst homestands in Phillies history:

  • 0-7 – Sept. 21-27, 1964 vs. Reds and Braves
  • 0-6 – May 1-7, 1883 vs. Grays and Braves
  • 1-9-1 – July 6-20, 1941 vs. Giants, Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs and Reds
  • 1-9 – Aug. 9-19, 2004 vs. Rockies, Giants and Astros
  • 1-8 – May 4-13, 1937 vs. Cubs, Pirates, Reds and Cardinals
  • 1-8 – Aug. 20-29, 1979 vs. Braves, Astros and Reds
  • 1-8 – June 12 -21, 2009 vs. Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles

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J-Roll's Woes: What's Going On?


rollins makes history.jpgJimmy Rollins
said the past few days have felt a lot like 2007.

The swing is quicker.

The timing feels right.

Of course, 2009 has been nothing like ’07. Rollins is hitting just .217 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 25 RBIs, a .254 on-base percentage and a .330 slugging percentage. He is on pace for the worst first half of his career.

Why?

I took a look at a couple different reasons yesterday. Baseball Prospectus has a statistic called BABIP, which is batting average on balls in play. It includes plate appearances that don’t result in a walk, strikeout or home run. Rollins’ BABIP this season is .225. His career mark is .295. The NL average this season is .296.

Fielders are catching a ton of balls that Rollins puts in play, which suggests he has run into some bad luck. But I also mention how FanGraphs Baseball measures how players make outs. Rollins has hit line drives for 17.1 percent of his outs this season, which is the lowest percentage of line drive outs in his career. Rollins also has hit infield fly balls for outs 14.4 percent of the time, which is the highest percentage of his career.

Fewer line drives and more infield pop ups mean Rollins hasn’t been hitting the ball as hard as he has in the past.

“I’m not swinging the bat as well,” Rollins said.

He hasn’t walked since May 27. That is 16 consecutive games without a walk. He also has seen 3.69 pitches per plate appearance, which is his lowest total since 2005. In other words, while Rollins may have run into some bad luck, there are other more important factors at play (not hitting the ball as hard, not being as patient at the plate, etc.).

But history suggests things will improve. First, Rollins entered the season a .277 career hitter. He is much better than he has shown. Second, Rollins always has been a better hitter in the second half. He hits 22 points higher in the second half. His on-base percentage is 32 points higher. His slugging percentage is 51 points higher.

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As Rollins struggles through the worst first half of his career, he could be headed to the All-Star Game. He leads NL shortstops with 1,216,007 votes. That is 87,460 more votes than Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who is hitting .330 with 20 doubles, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, a .395 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage.

But does he deserve to go?

“It depends what numbers you’re talking about,” Rollins said. “If you want to talk All-Star Game, you pick the best at their position. I still fit in that category. What makes the criteria?”

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Chase Utley Is Popular

utley.jpgI had no idea, but people really seem to like Chase Utley.

MLB just released its latest voting update for the National League All-Star team. Utley, who was the most popular NL player in voting last season, has passed Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols for the most votes this season.

Utley has 2,273,355 votes.

Pujols has 2,158,036.

Raul Ibanez continues to lead NL outfielders. The top three outfielders are selected. Ibanez has a 557,206 vote lead over Cubs leftfielder Alfonso Soriano, who is in fourth place. So if Phillies fans keep stuffing the ballot boxes, Ibanez should be headed to his first All-Star Game in his 14-year career.

Jimmy Rollins has a slim 87,460-vote lead over Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Rollins will need help to go, which would be an interesting story because he obviously has been struggling this season.

Here are the other top Phillies vote getters.

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Missed the debut of The Pen last night, but everybody who has seen it has been impressed.

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