Results tagged ‘ Hunter Pence ’

Hunter’s Homer, Worley’s Hurt, Diekman Impressive

Ah, Chicago, Milwaukee’s little brother to the south.

The Phillies got into town last night following a 4-3 victory over Houston in 10 innings. Some crazy things happened in that game, but perhaps none as crazy as Hunter Pence‘s error in the ninth inning that allowed the tying run to score and his game-winning homer in the 10th. (To be fair, a double followed Pence’s error, so the tying run would have scored anyway, but Pence has had his troubles in right field this season and fans have let him hear it.) Elias Sports Bureau found that over the last 30 years only two other players have hit a game-winning home run after making an error that allowed the tying run or go-ahead run to score.

The others? Drum roll please …

Juan Uribe (Aug. 8, 2007) and Jimmy Rollins (June 23, 2010).

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The Phillies today placed Vance Worley on the DL with right elbow inflammation. Worley said yesterday he wasn’t worried, but whenever a pitcher has discomfort in his elbow it’s a concern. We don’t know how serious the injury is, but we should learn more today at the ballpark, so check back later for an update.

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Jake Diekman looked great in his big-league debut yesterday. The Phillies put him into a high-leverage situation and he excelled. If he continues to pitch like that it will be interesting to see how quickly he moves up the bullpen’s food chain because the Phillies desperately need late-inning stability. Antonio Bastardo has looked much better recently, which is encouraging, but Chad Qualls has a 7.36 ERA in his last nine appearances dating to April 24 and Jose Contreras isn’t reliable. He has a 9.00 ERA in 10 appearances, allowing at least one base runner in eight appearances.

One thing on the Phillies using Jonathan Papelbon in a non-save situation Monday: the Phillies often use their late-inning relievers after they have warmed up, even after the game situation has changed. I thought they might have used Diekman in the ninth Monday, but when Papelbon entered the game I wasn’t like, “Holy crap! What are they doing?!?!” I said, “Well, I guess they wanted Papelbon to pitch because he’s already warmed up.” I’m not sure if Papelbon would have been available to pitch Tuesday if he hadn’t pitched Monday, but in my opinion it comes back to this: It wouldn’t be an issue if they had more reliable arms in the bullpen. For example, in 2010 Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee could chose from Brad Lidge (2.96 ERA), Ryan Madson (2.55 ERA), Chad Durbin (3.80 ERA) and Contreras (3.34 ERA). Manuel and Dubee are incredibly shorthanded right now, which is why they really could use Diekman to step up.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

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The Four Horses

The Phillies have put April behind them. They finished 11-12 for their first losing month since 2009 and their first losing April since 2007.

But some potentially good signs for the Phillies:

  • While the Phillies rank 14th in the National League averaging 3.30 runs per game, they are averaging 4.62 runs per game since April 23. That is tied for sixth in the league in that stretch.
  • Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco have swung the bats a little better recently.

Small sample sizes there — the pitching the Phillies faced over the last week is nothing like they will face this weekend in Washington — but they are worth noting.

Getting Rollins, Polanco, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence going is imperative. While there has been endless talk about Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and how much the Phillies miss them in the lineup (and how it’s such a major blow to play without them), it has been the four healthy All-Stars that have hurt this offense the most. David Hale explored this over the weekend, but I wanted to take a look at the final April numbers.

Here is the difference in OPS by position from April 2011, when the Phillies ranked fifth in the league averaging 4.62 runs per game and finished 18-8, and April 2012:

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A Bottom Heavy Offense

Something (kind of) interesting happened last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Placido Polanco went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .254. The guy who was hitting .196 on Tuesday now has a higher batting average than Hunter Pence (.253), Shane Victorino (.241) and Jimmy Rollins (.216). That shows you how much those three have struggled lately, but it also shows you how quickly a couple good games this early in the season can spike a batting average.

Rollins, Pence and Victorino combined to go 0-for-12 in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs. The rest of the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, went 7-for-19.

Phillies No. 3 hitters are last in baseball with a .497 OPS. Their cleanup hitters are 19th with a .715 OPS. Rollins and Pence have primarily held those two spots, but a lack of production is a lineup-wide problem. The only two spots in the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, that rank in the top half in baseball in OPS are No. 6 (13th with a .750 OPS) and No. 7 (fourth with a .865 OPS). Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Carlos Ruiz have hit sixth in 12 of the team’s 20 games. Ruiz and Nix have hit seventh in 15 of the 20 games.

Nix (1.052), Wigginton (.875) and Ruiz (.796) lead the team in OPS among players with 20 or more at-bats.

Here is a ranking of the lineup’s most productive spots in the order this season, based on OPS:

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Pence: ‘I’m Letting It Eat’

Hunter Pence had a MRI exam this morning on his left shoulder.

He got good news. He has a bruised rotator cuff. There is no structural damage.

Pence, who is in the lineup for tonight’s game, said he woke up this morning feeling much better. He took the MRI and later arrived at Chase Field, where he told the Phillies he thought he could play. He took some swings in the cage with hitting coach Greg Gross and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan watching. They determined he could play.

“When I started swinging, I’m letting it eat,” Pence said. “I’m ready to go.”

“That’s good,” Charlie Manuel said. “Then I hope it eats a lot then.”

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Howard, Pence Injury Updates

The Phillies just e-mailed this news release regarding Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence:

After seeing the wound specialist in Philadelphia yesterday, Ryan Howard’s wound has gotten smaller and is healing. We’ve been advised to limit his activities for one more week to allow it to continue to heal. We hope that he will be able to re-start his baseball activities thereafter.

Additionally, Hunter Pence will undergo a precautionary MRI on his left shoulder (non-throwing) here in Phoenix. We hope to have the results later this afternoon.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Pence Injures Left Shoulder; Day-to-Day

For the first time this season Charlie Manuel did not write Hunter Pence’s name into the starting lineup.

A much needed break in the midst of a 0-for-15 slump?

Not exactly. Pence injured his left shoulder diving for a ball in the third inning in yesterday’s series finale against the Padres at PETCO Park. John Mayberry Jr. is the rightfielder for tonight’s series opener against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said Pence is day-to-day.

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Going the Wrong Way

Good morning from Arizona.

A few thoughts/facts on one of baseball’s worst offenses through 16 games:

  • The Phillies have a .283 on-base percentage, .317 slugging percentage and 2.69 runs per game average. No team (in either league) has finished a season with a lower OBP since the 1968 Mets (.281), a lower SLG since the 1972 Rangers (.290) or a lower runs per game average since the 1942 Phillies (2.61). So unless you think the 2012 Phillies are one of the worst offenses in baseball history, they will improve. But how much? And will it happen in enough time to make a difference?
  • The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in 10 games, and in 5 of their last 6.
  • We could see Chase Utley at the ballpark today, while Ryan Howard is scheduled to see a wound specialist in Philadelphia. Is there any shot the Phillies get good news from both?
  • I’m an Utley skeptic at this point because he proved to be no better than an average big-league hitter last season. It’s just difficult to believe he will return to All-Star form when he is still battling the same knee problems. (His .769 OPS last year would have ranked 77th out of 146 hitters had he qualified for the statistic.) But here’s something interesting: From April 1 through May 22 last season without Utley in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 3.83 runs per game with a .312 OBP and .364 SLG. From May 23 through July 29 with Utley in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 4.71 runs per game with a .329 OBP and .407 SLG. And from July 30 through the end of the regular season with Utley and Hunter Pence in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 4.54 runs per game with a .324 OBP and a .406 SLG. It is possible even an average Utley can make that much of a difference in the lineup’s performance? It’s something worth thinking about.
  • Jim Thome has 2 hits and 9 strikeouts in 16 at-bats. I’ve had fans ask me if they think he is finished. But I’ve got a crazy idea: Play Thome more. If Charlie Manuel believes Thome needs more at-bats, which he said yesterday, then give them to him. What does Manuel have to lose? There had been talk in spring training that Thome might be able to play as many as two games in the field every week. Maybe even three. What happened to that? Thome has started just three times this season. If Thome plays more and his back flares up, it’s not like his absence is going to kill the offense, as little as he has played and as little as he has contributed as a pinch-hitter. (He’s 0-for-7 with 5 strikeouts as a pinch-hitter.) And as much as Thome has struck out, he also has given the Phillies some of their most “professional” at-bats. He is averaging 4.50 pitches per plate appearance. The next closest Phillies players with 16 or more at-bats are Juan Pierre (4.02) and Placido Polanco (3.94). So turn Thome loose. Let’s see how much he has left in the tank. If he produces, great. If he can’t handle the job physically or he continues to struggle, well, then you know.
  • Oh, and when Thome starts hit him fourth and Pence third. Maybe Pence would be more comfortable hitting somewhere other than cleanup. He has never hit more than 25 homers or had more than 97 RBIs in a season. Cleanup isn’t his spot, at least when Thome is playing.
  • I’ve gotten lots of e-mails and tweets about Domonic Brown, but he is hitting just .263 (15-for-57) with four doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in 15 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has a .311 on-base percentage and a .368 slugging percentage. As much as John Mayberry Jr. has struggled, I can’t see the Phillies considering Brown as the solution in left field with a .680 OPS in Triple-A.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

The Hottest Hitter Is …

The Phillies had opportunities to score last night, but couldn’t come through in a 5-2 loss to the Mets.

The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in four of their seven games.

You can make the argument right now that Freddy Galvis is the team’s hottest hitter. Since he started his career 0-for-12, he is hitting .416 (5-for-12) with two doubles, one home run and five RBIs. Hunter Pence is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs in his last five games. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with one double and one RBI. Galvis has more RBIs than Pence and more extra-base hits than Rollins.

The Phillies’ 2.86 runs per game average is 28th in baseball. Their 13 extra-base hits are 29th. Their .633 OPS is 24th.

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Jonathan Papelbon said he is going to choose a different song every time he enters the game at Citizens Bank Park. He entered to Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box” in a non-save situation Monday. He entered to Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar” in a save situation Thursday. Papelbon is trending toward scarier and scarier music. Hide your children!

Galvis, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton still have not requested any walk-up music, but a couple players already have changed their tunes. John Mayberry Jr. chose “Cashin’ Out” by Cash Out. Laynce Nix dropped Avicii for “Gotta Have It” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Brian Schneider has “Bangarang” by Skrillex and “Knock Knock” by Mac Miller.

I’m entering the press box these days to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” It’s the hardest rocking song any of the beat writers have chosen.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here. Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Baby, You’re (Gonna Be) A Rich Man

So we know Cole Hamels will be signing at least a five-year, $112.5 million contract.

The Giants and Matt Cain agreed to those terms yesterday, and I believe most everybody would agree Hamels is a better pitcher than Cain. Hamels is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain is 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels has more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (1.14 to 1.21) in that span. He is at the top of most pitching categories in the National League since he made his big-league debut. Cain is up there with him, but Hamels is usually just a bit better.

So if Cain got that, Hamels gets what?

I wonder if the Phillies said today, “How about Cliff Lee money?” if Hamels takes it.

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Latest Contract Info

People seem to like these, so I’m passing along the latest contract details for the Phillies:

Dave Bush. Minor League contract for $18,000/month. Agreement for Major League contract for $150,000. $800,000 in Majors. Plus: $10,000 for 10 relief appearances; $10,000 for 15 relief appearances; $10,000 for 20 relief appearances; $10,000 for 25 relief appearances; $10,000 for 30 relief appearances; $25,000 for 35 relief appearances; $25,000 for 40 relief appearances; $25,000 for 45 relief appearances; $25,000 for 50 relief appearances; $25,000 for 55 relief appearances; $25,000 for 60 relief appearances; $10,000 for 2 games started; $5,000 for 5 game started; $25,000 for 10 games started; $50,000 for 15 games started; $100,000 for 20 games started; $100,000 for 25 games started; $100,000 for 30 games started. Plus: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd). If not on Major League roster on June 1, player may be traded for 25-man roster spot on another team. If not on Major League roster, player may sign with Korea or Taiwan for $50,000; with Japan for $50,000 if between Dec. 1-Feb. 15; $100,000 if between Feb. 16-March 31; $150,000 after Sept. 1 or will be placed on roster within 72 hours. Major League invitation to Spring Training.

Luis Cruz. Minor League contract for $13,500/month. Agreement for Major League contract for $100,000. $485,000 in Majors. If not on Major League roster on July 15, player will be released if requested. If not on Major League roster, player may sign with Asian team for $50,000 if prior to April 1; $100,000 if after March 31. Major League invitation to Spring Training.

Cole Hamels. $15,000,000. Plus: $100,000 for MVP ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd); $250,000 for Cy Young ($150,000-2nd; $100,000-3rd); $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove; $50,000 for Silver Slugger; $50,000 for All Star.

Kyle Kendrick. $3,585,000. Plus: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Cy Young or Rolaids ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd).

Laynce Nix. $1,150,000 in 2012; $1,350,000 in 2013. Plus: $50,000 for 400 plate appearances; $50,000 for 450 plate appearances; $50,000 for 500 plate appearances. Plus: $50,000 for All Star ($25,000 selection); $100,000 for MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove.

Pete Orr. $120,000. $600,000 in Majors.

Hunter Pence. $10,400,000. Plus: $100,000 for MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for All Star; $50,000 for Silver Slugger; $50,000 for Gold Glove.

Joel Pineiro.  Minor League contract for $20,000/month. Agreement for Major League contract for $1,500,000. Plus: $25,000 for 25 relief appearances $25,000 for 30 relief appearances; $25,000 for 35 relief appearances $25,000 for 40 relief appearances; $25,000 for 45 relief appearances; $25,000 for 50 relief appearances; $50,000 for 55 relief appearances; $50,000 for 60 relief appearances; $250,000 for 10 games started; $250,000 for 15 games started; $350,000 for 20 games started; $350,000 for 25 games started; $500,000 for 28 games started; $500,000 for 30 games started. Plus: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for World Series MVP; $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $50,000 for Rolaids or Cy Young ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd). Major League invitation to Spring Training.

David Purcey. Minor League contract for $18,000/month. Agreement for Major League contract for $135,000. $507,500 in Majors. If not on 25-man roster on June 12, player will be released if requested or will be added to roster within 72 hours. If not on Major League roster, player may sign with Korea/Taiwan for $25,000 or with Japan for $50,000 if between Dec. 1-Feb. 15; $75,000 if between Feb. 16-March 31; $100,000 if after March 31 or will be added to roster wthin 72 hours. Major League invitation to Spring Training.

Joe Savery. $78,250. $480,000 in Majors.

 

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