Sunday, July 22, 2012

Advancing Runners

Here's an interesting idea.  If a runner is on second with nobody out and a switch-hitter is batting against a lefty, why not bat from the left side?  It is obviously easier to pull a ball to second base as a lefty than it is to hit it the opposite way as a righty, so if your goal is to advance the runner it would be easier to do so as a lefty.

A player who is willing to give himself up like that is the ultimate sign of a team player if you ask me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Phils/Braves game unbelivable for so many reasons

It wasn't the type of game you want to relive, but last night's Phillies/Braves 11 inning debacle was a memorable one.  Here are some of the remarkable stats from the game for the Phillies:

HITTING

13 runs scored was 16% of their previous run total.

13 runs is 5 more than the Phillies have scored in any other game this season.

The Phillies increased their runs per game from 3.33 to 3.72 and improved to ninth in the league in runs scored.

Ruiz knocked in more runs in one game (7) than the season totals of all but 4 of his teammates.

Ruiz now has 17 RBIs and leads the team in that category by 3.

PITCHING

15 runs allowed is 6 more than the Phils have allowed in any other game. 

15 runs allowed is 16% of their previous run total.

Halladay has given up 2 more runs than anyone else on the Phillies pitching staff.

The Phillies increased their ERA nearly half a run per game from 2.94 to 3.42 and dropped to sixth in the league in ERA.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quotable quotes for Cole Hamels

In what seems to be a recurring theme, Cole Hamels was overlooked last night.  But I was able to find a few good quotes regarding Cole.

Hamels fell behind a lot of hitters and threw a crapload of pitches in his six innings last night.  Originally I thought he just had bad stuff, but it sounds like the Braves deserve a little credit:

"The plan I had going into the game, and the way I thought their approach would be, definitely wasn't," he said. "It was the complete opposite."

And here's a quote from Matt Diaz of the Braves:

"I never tip my hat to many pitchers, but Cole Hamels is one I will constantly tip my hat to," he said. "He bared right down after the McCann homer. He's fun to play against because it's always going to be a battle, but it's frustrating as heck because he wins a lot of those battles."

You would not have heard that quote three years ago.  Cole needed to learn how to control himself and he did just that.  Mental strength is what separates good from great and Hamels has moved from the former to the latter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charlie is in panic mode

The Phillies are 1-3 offense looks terrible right now and the end of the world appears near.  But the Phils have only played 2% of the games this season and still have 158 to go.  It's not panic time and the players understand.

But I don't get that impression from Charlie Manuel.  Some of his quotes sound like a manager who is already in panic mode.  Here's a few of them:

"We don't hit the ball hard enough to score runs."

"I don't want our guys to think we can't score."

"When I look at it, I still come up with the same names."
"I don't care what we've got. Give them to me, and we'll work with them."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Durbin steals spot from former Phils minor leaguer

Here’s an interesting story involving two former Phils: according to hardballtalk.com, long-time Phillies minor leaguer Yohan Flande finally had his chance to pitch in the big leagues.  That is until another former Phil, Chad Durbin showed up. 

As of yesterday, Flande made the final cut as the Braves the 25th man on the roster.  However, when he Nationals released Durbin, the Braves picked him up and it was back to the minors for Flande. 

Funny how things work out sometimes…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Matt Cain deal means big money for Hamels

Matt Cain just signed a five-year, $112.5 million deal yesterday.  As a good comparable for Hamels, Cain's deal will be the absolute minimum Hamels will possibly get.

$112.5 million works out to 22.5 million per season.  Cain apparently was desperate to get a deal done before the season started, meaning Hamels has more leverage and will probably get WAY more than that if he tests free agency.

Cain's career ERA (3.35) is a smidgen lower than Hamels (3.39), but Cain's career record is 69-73, while Hamels' is 74-54.  Hamels is clearly the better pitcher and much better than his 3.39 career ERA now that he added a cutter.  Hamels is also coming off his best season, going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA.

Cain's deal is not good news for the Phillies, because they are now probably looking at an offer of six years for at least $22.5 million per year and as high as $25 million per year.  Yikes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scott Boras did no favors for Ryan Madson

Don't make a deal with the Devil. Ryan Madson discovered that the hard way when he chose Scott Boras as his agent.

Madson was oh so close to signing his first "big" contract with the Phillies, but ended up settling on a 1-year deal. With this injury, he probably won't get a multi-year contract next year, either. Things most certainly did not work out for Mr. Madson.

But...

Madson is not a helpless victim. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he hired Scott Boras as his agent. Scott Boras is who you choose when your only goal is to sign for the biggest money possible, and Boras is willing to take big risks to get there. Sometimes it works like a charm. J.D. Drew sat out a season before signing a big contract. Matt Holliday signed a $120 million contract. Madson was hoping for the same outcome.

But sometime is backfires. It’s hard to tell what exactly happened during Madson’s negotiations with the Phillies, but I would imagine the Phillies were spooked by Boras. Maybe Boras verbally agreed to a contract and the Phillies didn’t trust him. Maybe Ruben Amaro just watched the scene in Moneyball where “Scott” screws over Billy Beane, who also thought he had agreed on a deal (Brad Pitt gives a great quote, too).

Boras has the reputation of playing a great game of chicken and waiting as long as it takes to get the deal he wants. The Phillies didn’t have the luxury to wait. They couldn’t afford to let Madson walk while someone grabbed Papelbon, so they made their move before it was too late.

Regardless of how it went down, Madson is left with no long-term contract, an injury, and a major surgery forthcoming. I feel bad for him personally, but it was his choice that put him in this position.

All I can say is I sure am glad we have Papelbon...