Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Burrell Goes Yard, Phillies Don't

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Jayson Werth is one of the most patient hitters in baseball.

He entered last night’s game against the Rays averaging 4.48 pitches per plate appearance to lead the National League and rank second in the Majors. That is second out of 164 hitters who qualify for the statistic.

Here is the top five:

  1. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox, 4.53
  2. Werth, Phillies, 4.48
  3. Luis Castillo, Mets, 4.37
  4. Nick Swisher, Yankees, 4.37
  5. Adam Dunn, Nationals, 4.34

So it seemed especially surprising when Werth swung at a first-pitch fastball from Rays right-hander Matt Garza in the fourth inning in a 7-1 loss. Garza had just walked Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to load the bases with nobody out.

The conventional wisdom is that Werth should have taken at least the first pitch, but he swung instead and hit into a 5-2-3 double play. Matt Stairs struck out swinging to end the inning.

“The thing that I was thinking about is that he just walked the bases loaded,” Werth said. “You’ve got two lefties behind me (Stairs and Greg Dobbs), so he’s going to try to get ahead. He’s going to try to get ahead with the fastball, and it’s probably going to be in. At least I was looking in. I got the pitch that I was looking for. The location. I just beat it into the ground.

“Would I do it again? Yeah, probably. I’d probably try to put a better swing on it. I went and looked at it (on video). It wasn’t that it was a bad swing. It was a good pitch. It was a strike. It’s what I was looking for. He beat me. I thought about it all game, and I really think if I had the same opportunity I would have done it again.”

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel offered his take.

“Sometimes he takes fastballs … he’ll take two in a row sometimes that look right down the middle,” he said. “I have no problem with him swinging at a fastball, but when you hit it you hit it like it’s 3-0. You hit through the ball. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to hit the ground ball to third, but I have no problem with him swinging at it. But where it went, it was just bad for us.

“As a matter of fact, if you want to know the truth, once he’s had at-bats and once he’s worked a guy an at-bat or two, I would like to see him swing more at first-pitch fastballs.”

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Werth had an explanation, and Manuel had no problem with it. Jimmy Rollins had no explanation why he flipped the ball to second base in the eighth inning instead of throwing the ball to first to get slow-footed Pat Burrell at first base.

“Usually, I just pick up and go to first automatically — just because the ball is hit soft towards the middle and I’m over on the pull side,” Rollins said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I really don’t know. It’s an automatic play to go to first. … Every once in a while, those plays happen. And when it happens, it’s like, ‘Gosh, darn it.'”

Rollins is hitless in his last 19 at-bats. He is hitting .135 (7-for-52) with two homers and seven RBIs since he returned to the leadoff spot after hitting sixth June 7-9.

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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?

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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.

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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? 

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