Posted by Alex Lee, Tue, April 02, 2013 01:25 PM Comments: 36
For a second, forget about Chase Utley spraying line drives all over (and out of) Turner Field last night. It was a satisfying sight, for sure. But equally fulfilling was the sight of Tim Hudson, prior to Utley’s two-run single, laboring in the fifth inning.
Hudson threw 90 pitches to 21 batters over the course of 4.1 innings, which breaks down to 4.28 pitches per plate appearance for the Phillies. That is an impressive number. Yes, injuries stripped the Phillies of plenty of power and production last season. Equally as important, however, was that those injuries, as well as certain personnel, made the lineup eminently easier pitch deep into games against.
That is why I mention the importance of Hudson laboring prior to Utley’s fifth-inning knock. Even if the Phillies hadn’t capitalized in the fifth, Hudson was undoubtedly on his way out of the game shortly thereafter. An idea made famous by Billy Beane and then brought to the big stage by the Yankees and Red Sox, getting into the opponent’s bullpen early should be the goal of every offense over the course of a season. Mission accomplished for the Phillies on Monday night.
For the better part of three innings, Hudson was in cruise control. He was getting ahead (10/11 first pitch strikes) and putting Phillies hitters away (11 hitters faced through three). But the Phillies gradually raised his pitch total from 13 in each of the first two innings to 19 in the third, 21 in the fourth and 24 in the fifth before he was yanked in favor of Luis Avilan.