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Posts Tagged ‘Swoon’

UPDATE: Polanco Deal Done

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 03, 2009 10:25 AM Comments: 262

Originally posted Dec. 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm.

Over the past few hours, things may have gotten rather hot and heavy with Placido Polanco and the Phillies.  ESPN’s Jayson Stark, along with Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, both say that the Phils may be turning their attention to Polanco on a two-year deal worth between $10-12 million.

Polanco has played mostly second base during his career, but apparently is willing to move to the other side of the diamond to play in Philadelphia once again.

UPDATE (10:25 am): In the last 15 minutes or so, Jon Heyman of SI has tweeted that a deal should be finalized today with Polanco.  The numbers: three-years, $18 million.  Polanco would bat second and Victorino would move to a run producing spot in the order.

UPDATE (10:51 am): Here is what ESPN’s Keith Law wrote about the possible signing of Polanco:

“Ruben Amaro’s fetish as a GM seems to be giving three-year contracts to hitters in decline; Raul Ibanez’ deal isn’t looking so hot after his second-half swoon, and now he’s about to give Placido Polanco three years as well. Polanco’s defense at second is already diminishing as his body slows down, but the Phillies are going to ask him to move to a position where quickness is more important than pure range. His bat is also in decline and he’s moving to a position with a higher offensive standard, although the guy he’s replacing was no great shakes with the stick himself. Six million a year isn’t much for a player who’ll probably be worth around two wins over replacement, but by the midpoint of this deal it could look very bad for the Phillies.”

UPDATE (2:00 pm): It’s official. The Phillies and Polanco agree to a three-year, $18 million deal.

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Hot Streak Related to Benching?

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, July 18, 2009 02:00 PM Comments: 12

June 24th was the last game Jimmy Rollins played before being bench by Charlie Manuel. At the time, Rollins was hitting .211 with a .254 on-base percentage and .328 slugging percentage. Despite his magnificent defense, Rollins wasn’t helping team; he was hurting them. Manuel benched him hoping that Rollins would clear his mind and come back fresh.

When Rollins returned on June 30, he went 0-for-5 against the Braves. He followed it up by going 0-for-3 in the next night. It appeared the benching didn’t help Rollins as his average plummeted to .205.

However, since July 2nd, Rollins’ production has increased by hitting .358 (19-for-his-last-53) with one home run. In addition, he has seven multi-hit games in a 13 game span. His numbers raised to .231/.286/.356. They are still bad, but the phrase “as JRoll goes, the Phillies go” is appropriate. After a June swoon, the Phillies are 11-3 in July.

Was Rollins due for hot streak, or is Charlie Manuel a genius by benching Rollins?

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Phormula: June Swoon

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, June 23, 2009 11:37 AM Comments: 0

Why does this happen every June?

Since 2007 ushered in this current era of over-the-hump, successful Phillie-dom, the inaugural summer month has been one to forget.

In ’07, they entered the month two games under .500 and left one game over. But they floundered in the middle of the month and spent the last three days of June getting beat by the Mets.

Last season, the Phillies suffered their only sub-.500 month in June, going 12-15 and struggling to do anything offensively after a 20-2 victory in St. Louis on June 13.

This June? How about four straight wins followed by back-to-back crushing blown saves that possibly derailed the Phillies from running away with the NL East very early in the season. Due to poor play and devastating injuries, the Mets could have been deemed irrelevant had the Phillies not slowed down to take a detour.

Obviously, the one commonality every June is interleague play.

We all know the Phillies have struggled in recent years when facing the junior circuit. But do we really know just how awful they have been?

Can’t Hit

Excluding the series at Yankee Stadium in May, the Phillies are 1-8 against the AL, averaging four runs a game while giving up close to seven.

Their team batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage in June are all lower than April and May, and the Phillies already have more strikeouts at the plate this month (142) than they did in all of April (118.)

Four regulars have compiled on-base percentages under .300 in June (Rollins, Feliz, Ruiz, Ibanez.) No Phillie has walked more than he has struck out in the month. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .205 with one stolen base and three GIDP’s.

While these may seem like cherry-picked numbers, atrocious plate discipline and lack of production from the leadoff spot have been two key factors during this pathetic run of losing winnable game after winnable game.

Can’t Pitch

Let’s not place all the blame on the recent woes of the starting lineup, though, because that would be unfair to the pitching staff.

Four guys have pitched well this month: Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.C. Romero, and Chan Ho Park. That’s it. Hamels and Blanton have been the only starters to man the mound past the sixth inning twice in June.

Romero continues to get himself in and out of jams with consistency and Park has finally gotten accustomed to the bullpen by using his plethora of movement to confuse hitters.

But the compliments end there.

J.A. Happ is starting to look human (14 BB in his last 17 IP) and Jamie Moyer continues to show that he is just as capable of giving up six runs in three innings as he is of giving up three in six.

Antonio Bastardo followed his first poor outing with a decent one against the Orioles, mixing in more offspeed pitches and throwing many more strikes, but took the L due to a lackluster offense.

With the starting rotation struggling to get deep into games, the bullpen has been taxed. Injuries and ineffectiveness have been the results. Clay Condrey has come crashing back to Earth, which could have been expected. Chad Durbin and his middling stuff haven’t been able to secure the late-inning role vacated by Ryan Madson, who, after pitching brilliantly for the first three months of the season, has hit a snag in the closer’s role.

Why the June Swoon?

In trying to figure out why the Phillies play so poorly in June, you must first understand that all three June’s are completely independent of one another.

In 2007, the Phillies were 6-6 against the AL in June. They lost two of three to the Tigers, Indians, and the lowly Royals. But that team struggled out of the gate and sputtered until mid-August. They did not yet have the confidence or swagger of a playoff team, nor the identity that developed in the later months.

Last June, the interleague struggles were mainly offensive, as the entire lineup stopped hitting at the same time. They batted .232 for the month, a season low, with less homers and total bases than any other month. And as it usually goes, once a team starts to struggle at the plate, bad luck rears its ugly head. The Phils’ .266 BABIP in June was seventeen points lower than its season average.

This year, it’s been a combination of injuries and players regressing to their true skill set (Happ, Condrey, Durbin.) Entering June, the Phillies were the least injured team in all of baseball, with Brett Myers being the lone Phillie injured for an extended period of time and Carlos Ruiz being the only regular to take a trip to the 15-day DL.

Then June hit, and two big pieces of the bullpen went down, as did Raul Ibanez. Then Ryan Howard went down for two games of the Orioles series. When a team not known for manufacturing runs is forced to play without its two biggest power threats, the results are not pretty. Since Ibanez went down, the Phillies are 0-4 with a .223 BA and .297 OBP.

But the Phils haven’t been merely beating themselves, they’ve been facing viable competition.

AL Beast

To the common observer, the Blue Jays and Orioles are inferior to the Phillies. The Jays lack a big-time power threat and have been ravaged by injuries to the starting rotation. The Orioles have the third-worst ERA in baseball and only Texas, Washington, and Pittsburgh have struck out fewer batters.

But the flaws of these teams are enhanced by the fact that the Blue Jays and Orioles play in the best division of the superior league. The Orioles have already faced the Yankees nine times this season. Think their high ERA/low strikeout numbers have anything to do with that? Think those numbers would look any different if they played four series’ with the Nationals?

On its standings page, Baseball Prospectus features a stat called Hit-List Rank, which ranks teams 1-30 based on a combination of three different Pythagorean formulas that help to determine the overall quality of a team:

  1. Runs scored vs. runs allowed
  2. Equivalent Runs scored vs. allowed (this takes stats such as hits, walks, total bases, stolen bases, etc. to determine how many runs scored and allowed a team SHOULD have.) This also factors in the dimensions of stadiums and league scoring levels.
  3. Adjusted Equivalent Runs scored vs. allowed (this is the same as #2, except it includes strength of schedule.)

The Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, and Yankees rank 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Enough said.

Last year, the blame was on the Phillies. They couldn’t hit and lost two of three to the A’s and Rangers, teams they were clearly superior to.

This June, it was moreso the timing of injuries and unsustainable effectiveness of members of the pitching staff.

Or just blame it on the AL East.

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Keep The Change: There’s A Flood At The Bank

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, June 19, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 15

This is “Keep the Change,” a Friday feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

Beerman

This week seems to have brought new meaning to the phrase, “when it rains it pours.”

I am taking a break from building my arc, with two of every beer to reach out to the fans.

Caught in the midst of their annual interleague swoon (last year the Phillies went 4-11 against the American League), the Phils were hit with some more bad news. They were forced to put first-half MVP, Raul Ibanez, on the disabled list with groin issues.

Despite the 1-5 stretch to start the home stand, the lead atop the National League East is still three games (thanks, Mets). I’m not too worried about the Ibanez injury: While his numbers will be missed, it is best to get these things out of the way early.

This week’s column will mirror those in the past though … some things that are definitely pressing the minds of the fans in the crowds.

The rotation, rotation, rotation…

I’m not writing off Antonio Bastardo yet; it might not have been his night. The Red Sox can hit. Who knows what would have happened had the sky opened up with what seems to be nonstop rain? But what if tonight doesn’t go well? Then it’s back to the drawing board with the rookie.

J. A. Happ has been serviceable and is allowed a stinker, so I will let that one slide.

However, the inconsistencies of Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton still have the fans scratching their heads. Which Blanton is going to show up? The guy who pitched seven strong innings against the Red Sox last Friday? Or the guy who got poked around for the better part of Thursday afternoon?

If the Phillies are serious about making a deal for a big arm, there is no time like the present. Just because the trade deadline is at the end of July, it doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to pull the trigger. But with the recent DL stints of Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard and the “untouchable, but we’ll listen” Roy Halladay, well I simply don’t know where that help is coming from.

The pen

I’m not down on Ryan Madson. Unfortunately, he is the only one I’m not down on. While a home run against — ugh it stings to even say it … Rod Barajas — is a horrible way to lose a game (especially when you add in Tuesday’s blown save) Madson is the only arm out of the bullpen I trust right now.

Clay Condrey has come crashing back to Earth, allowing 17 base runners and eight earned runs in his last 6.1 innings pitched.

J.C. Romero can’t seem to find the plate, walking 10 men in his nine appearances this season.

I’ve never been a big Chad Durbin guy, and then you can factor in the revolving door of minor-leaguers who have been called up to eat innings the past two weeks, along with Chan Ho Park and Jack Taschner.

It’s easy to say that this year’s bullpen is not fairing as well as the Romero-Madson-Lidge trio that was so huge for the Phillies en route to the World Series last year.

I-95 Series

It is not time to panic though, far from it. This is still a first-place team. Don’t write off the Orioles, though. This is a team with some bats. Luckily, they don’t have much in the arms department.

They are a team the Phillies should be able to beat. I’m expecting to see a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard this weekend. Bastardo might have another rough go of it, and hopefully he can mix in some more off-speed pitches and breaking balls to fool the O’s batters on Friday night.

However, I am predicting a series win at The Bank — the Phillies first against a team other than the Washington Nationals.

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