Thursday, 19 May 2005
The Umpire Strikes Back

Man, what's wrong with Bobby Abreu? No home run today? Geez.

Seriously, though, I don't have much to say about today's game because I was at the movies this afternoon, so I missed most of it.

I have to admit, though, that halfway through the film (Revenge of the Sith, if you hadn't already guessed), I discreetly opened up my cellphone and checked my text messages to find out if the final score had been posted yet (I'm signed up for some Yahoo! Mobile Alerts thing that sends me a text message at the end of every game). I guess that tells you a bit about the quality of the movie. Or my level of obsession. Or both.

(A note about the subject line -- when I was little, I thought that it was the title of the second Star Wars movie. It took me a couple years to realize there was a difference between "Empire" and "Umpire". Hey, I was only 2 when it first came out...)

Posted by mark at 09:36 PM | Comments (815)
Tuesday, 17 May 2005
Endyoscopy

A few miscellaneous notes as the Phils begin what may be the defining stretch of the season for them -- 3 games each against St. Louis, Baltimore, Florida and Atlanta, who combined sport a .619 winning percentage.

- The big news of the weekend was a challenge trade of backup centerfielders with the Nationals -- Marlon Byrd for Endy Chavez. My reaction? Meh. There's a good article about it over at Mike's Baseball Rants, so I'll direct you there.

- Bobby Abreu continued his Barry Bonds impression Sunday, going 2 for 3 with another homer. That puts him at .593/.686/1.481 in the past 8 games and .451/.576/1.059 for the month of May. Damn. Needless to say, he was named NL Player of the Week last week.

Hmm, I thought I had more to say, but I'm drawing a mental blank right now. Oh well. Go check out the newly renovated Beer Leaguer (formerly Berks Phillies Fans) -- there's not much content up yet, but I'm definitely digging the design.

Posted by mark at 04:30 PM | Comments (887)
Sunday, 15 May 2005
Streaky

OK, so, now does anyone want to argue that Bobby Abreu is overrated?

Seriously, the guy's put together a monster week. Check out his numbers compared to the rest of the team over the past 7 games:

	       AB  R  H HR RBI  AVG  OBP   SLG
Bobby Abreu    24  8 14  6  11 .583 .677 1.458
Rest of team  241 25 51  6  21 .212 .269  .340

I don't know what's more amazing -- how good Abreu's been or how horrible the rest of the offense has been.

Has this been the best week by a Phillies player so far this year? Let's compare it to Burrell's first 7 games:

Player     Week    AB  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI  AVG  OBP   SLG   OPS   RC
Abreu    5/8-5/14  24  8 14  3  0  6  11 .583 .677 1.458 2.136 16.5
Burrell  4/4-4/11  29  6 13  3  0  4  17 .448 .471  .966 1.436 11.3

The last column there is Runs Created, a stat created by Bill James as a better way to measure the number of runs contributed by a player than simple Runs and RBI (there are several ways to calculate RC -- I used the one on this page). The rest of the stats were pulled from Baseball Musing's Day-by-day Database, which is quite nifty.

Anyway, despite the lower amount of RBIs, it's easy to see that Abreu's week has been better than Burrell's. Of course, like Burrell's hot streak (and all hot streaks), Abreu's will eventually come to an end. Hopefully he won't cool down as much as Burrell has
-- he's hitting just .242/.354/.347 since April 12th.

Posted by mark at 12:50 PM | Comments (370)
Tuesday, 10 May 2005
One weak

OK, it's been a week since my last post. Sorry about that. So, what's been going on in Phillies-land recently?

- Our offense sucks. In the last week, we've hit .211/.260/.360, good for 27th, 22nd and 20th in the majors, respectively. Subtract last night's 4 homers (solo homers, I might add, since we can't seem to get men on base), and that slugging percentage drops to .314. Ouch.

- Our starting pitching, on the other hand, have been excellent. Over the last week, they've got a 2.63 ERA with 41/16 K/BB in 48 innings pitched.

- Those 48 IP in the past week for the starters are out of a possible 60 IP, which means our piss-poor bullpen (currently sporting a 5.79 ERA for the season, 28th in the majors, ahead of only Texas and Colorado) hasn't had as much of a chance to screw up as of late.

- Think that 5.79 ERA sounds bad? Take out Billy Wagner (0.63 ERA in 14.3 IP) and you've got a 6.85 ERA with 59/31 K/BB in 69.7 IP over the course of the season (of course, that would still be ahead of Colorado's pen, which has a 7.17 ERA).

Despite our bullpen and offense, this team has managed to go 4-3 over the past week. And with two games remaining against Milwaukee followed by a 4 game set at home with Cincinnati (currently 11-20 with the 3rd worst pitching in the majors), things might actually be looking up. It's absolutely crucial that we get some wins and start up the offense again against these two teams because after that, we run into St. Louis and Baltimore, two teams currently atop their respective divisions.

Posted by mark at 04:01 PM | Comments (247)
Tuesday, 03 May 2005
Stupid is as stupid does

So, OK, last night -- other people have already discussed the game pretty in-depth, so I'll just quickly add my 3 cents:

- Lifting Lieber last night after only 6 IP and 79 pitches was pretty stupid.
- Bringing in a lightweight like Jose Offerman to pinch hit in that situation was really stupid.
- Replacing Lieber on the mound with Terry Adams, he of the 6.00 ERA (it's now 9.64, thanks to last night's performance), was beyond stupid.

The Phillies deserved to lose last night's game, I'm sorry.

Blah.

Anyway, it looks like Thome's finally going on the DL and the Phils are calling up Ryan Howard, something many people have been calling for for awhile now. We'll have to see how Howard handles the pressure -- it seems like some fans, especially those who call into sports talk radio (something I've been exposed to way too much of over the past couple days because of the rain delays), expect him to come riding in on a big white horse to save the day, or at least the team's offensive struggles. So far this year, Howard's hitting .316/.423/.570 with 4 HRs (and 29 Ks) in 23 AAA games. Baseball Prospectus doesn't have their translated minor league stats online yet, but I'd imagine a line like .275/.368/.496 (assuming a league equivalency of 87% for the International League). That's not exactly on par with vintage Thome, but it beats what we've been getting out of the 1B position this season -- .225/.364/.315 and just 1 HR.

Edit: Of course, he's not in tonight's starting lineup. And neither is our hottest hitter, Chase Utley. HEAVEN FORBID WE LET HIM BAT AGAINST LEFT HANDED PITCHING! Geez.

Posted by mark at 06:33 PM | Comments (348)
Monday, 02 May 2005
PHILs 2: The Sequel

Someone left a comment on yesterday's post that makes a good point about the fairness of the way I assigned PHILs:

"Maybe you could figure out a percentage to make it more fair-I think Bell's stats are worse than Thome's-Thome drives one out of every 10 runners in, Bell drives in less than that pace."

While it's true that Jim Thome has the most PHILs, his PHIL% (PHILs divided by Baserunners) is nowhere near the top. As you could probably have guessed, though, there are a couple Phillies in the top 10 (note that I'm still using stats through Saturday because I'm a lazy bastard and I don't feel like re-entering it all. Also, I set a minimum of 50 Baserunners):

Player          BRs BRBI PHILs PHIL%
Cristian Guzman  65    2    63  .969
Randy Winn       75    3    72  .960
Yadier Molina    64    3    61  .953
Jimmy Rollins    60    3    57  .950
Mike Lieberthal  58    3    55  .948
Jack Wilson      57    3    54  .947
Damian Miller    56    3    53  .946
D'Angelo Jimenez 56    3    53  .946
Jason Giambi	 50    3    47  .940
Angel Berroa     65    4    61  .938

Thome ranks 57th (out of 194) on the list, David Bell 43rd. Other Phils' PHIL% rankings include Bobby Abreu at 24th, Placido Polanco at 86th and Pat Burrell at 162nd. Here are the 10 best (or is it worst?) PHIL%s:

Player          BRs BRBI PHILs PHIL%
Cliff Floyd      50   15    35  .700
Derrek Lee       76   21    55  .724
Juan Encarnacion 69   19    50  .725
Miguel Tejada    93   23    70  .753
Craig Monroe     58   14    44  .759
Brian Roberts    79   18    61  .772
Vinny Castilla   58   13    45  .776
Michael Tucker   50   11    39  .780
Garret Anderson  79   17    62  .785
Carl Crawford    70   15    55  .786
Posted by mark at 04:58 PM | Comments (531)
Sunday, 01 May 2005
Lies, damned lies, and PHILs

Over the past couple days, I've been doing some thinking about what seems like biggest source of the Phillies' recent futility -- their inability to drive in runners on base (yeah, OK, let's pretend for a minute that today's 8-6 win didn't happen, because I had this post all figured out and the research done before they just had to go out and make me look like a fool here). So I wondered if there was a statistic that could demonstrate this inability. What's needed isn't simply a count of runners left on, but a measure of runners not driven in.

What's the difference? OK, let's say there's one out and a runner, Player A, on base and Player B is at the plate. The way I see it, there are four possible outcomes here:

1) Player B gets a hit and drives in Player A
2) Player B gets a hit and doesn't drive in Player A
3) Player B makes an out and drives in Player A
4) Player B makes an out and doesn't drive in Player A

If you're simply looking at runners left on base, Player B is only penalized in Scenario #4 above. Now what if Scenario #2 happens and coming to the plate next you've got a hypothetical third player, let's call him Mike Lieb.. er.. sorry, Player C, who then makes the third out of the inning. Player B's hit, which failed to drive in Player A, is essentially useless.

So what I've devised is a new stat that measures runners not driven in -- Players Henceforth In Limbo, or PHILs. Here are the numbers for this year's Phillies regulars (statistics are through Saturday):

Player        BRs BRBI PHILs
Jim Thome     110   11    99
David Bell     87    8    79
Pat Burrell    91   16    75
Bobby Abreu    76    6    70
Jimmy Rollins  60    3    57
M. Lieberthal  58    3    55
P. Polanco     52    6    46
J. Michaels    37    3    34
Kenny Lofton   37    3    34
Chase Utley    39    6    33

OK. So how about the rest of the majors? Here are the top 25 in PHILs:

Player         BRs BRBI PHILs
Jim Thome      110   11    99
Alex Rodriguez 108   18    90
Andruw Jones    98    9    89
Edgar Renteria  92    7    85
Paul Konerko    94   10    84
Aramis Ramirez  92   10    82
Carlos Lee      92   11    81
David Bell      87    8    79
Hideki Matsui   92   13    79
Michael Young   92   13    79
Julio Lugo      88   10    78
Eric Chavez     85    7    78
Jorge Cantu     83    7    76
Mark Teixeira   84    8    76
Todd Helton     83    8    75
Troy Glaus      86   11    75
Pedro Feliz     93   18    75
Pat Burrell     91   16    75
Mike Piazza     83   10    73
Hank Blalock    82    9    73

3 Phils in the top 20 PHILs -- I guess we really are that bad at driving in runners. Thome's stop at the top doesn't surprise me, since he's been playing pretty bad all month and is in a prime spot in the order to be driving in runners. I guess I shouldn't be too shocked at Bell's high ranking either because he's been pretty awful as well. Burrell is a bit of a surprise, though -- then again, since his quick start, he's been pretty cold.

You know, this whole idea sort of started out as a joke, but it looks like this stat is actually somewhat accurate. Hah!

Posted by mark at 06:48 PM | Comments (692)
Friday, 29 April 2005
Cy Lieber?

OK, I know I said I'd update yesterday, but I was feeling pretty sick all day, so I never really got around to it. Sorry about that.

So, with being sick and all, I've been doing a lot of reading lately (if you catch my drift), and one thing I've been plowing through is the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers. In it, Bill James proposes a formula for predicting the winner of the Cy Young award in any given league and season. The formula is amazingly accurate -- it predicted something like 81% of Cy Young winners overall and almost every one since 1990. So I figured I'd give the formula a spin and see how our very own Jon Lieber (and, why the hell not, Brett Myers too) stack up to the rest of this year's candidates.

First, though, the formula:
- Wins x 6
- Minus Losses x 2
- Plus Strikeouts / 12
- Plus Saves x 2.5
- Plus Shutouts
- Plus ((5.00 - ERA) / 9) x IP (note: this is basically the number of "Runs Saved" beyond what a pitcher with a 5.00 ERA would allow)
- Plus 12 points if the player's team finishes first in their division (note: I pro-rated the 12 points to the number of games the player's team has played this season)

The results for the National League thus far:

Player           W L SV SHO   IP  K  ERA  RS-5 Bonus Score
Josh Beckett     4 1  0   1 33.0 35 1.36 13.35  1.48 40.74
Dontrelle Willis 4 0  0   2 29.7 21 1.52 11.47  1.48 40.70
Mike Hampton     3 0  0   0 37.7 14 1.67 13.94  1.63 34.73
Jon Lieber       4 1  0   0 35.7 12 3.03  7.81  0.00 30.81
Chris Carpenter  4 1  0   1 33.7 27 4.01  3.70  1.48 30.43
Brandon Lyon     0 1 10   0 12.7  8 1.42  5.04  1.63 30.33
Mark Prior       3 0  0   0 19.0 22 0.95  8.55  0.00 28.38
Brandon Webb     3 0  0   0 27.3 17 2.63  7.20  1.63 28.24
Jason Marquis    3 0  0   0 26.0 23 2.77  6.44  1.48 27.84
Tim Hudson       2 0  0   0 28.0 19 0.96 12.57  1.63 27.78
Danny Graves     1 0  8   0  9.3  2 3.86  1.18  0.00 27.35
Chad Cordero     2 1  4   0 11.7 12 0.77  5.48  0.00 26.48
Jake Peavy       2 0  0   0 27.7 34 1.30 11.37  0.00 26.21
John Patterson   2 1  0   0 27.7 23 0.98 12.36  0.00 24.27
Brad Lidge       1 0  5   0  9.7 16 0.93  4.37  0.00 24.20
Roy Oswalt       3 2  0   0 36.0 27 3.25  7.00  0.00 23.25
Roger Clemens    1 0  0   0 28.0 32 0.32 14.56  0.00 23.23
Pedro Martinez   2 1  0   0 36.0 46 2.75  9.00  0.00 22.83
A.J. Burnett     2 1  0   0 30.0 27 2.40  8.67  1.48 22.40
Brad Halsey      2 0  0   0 28.0 18 3.21  5.57  1.63 20.70
Brett Myers      1 1  0   0 33.3 34 1.35 13.52  0.00 20.35
Mark Mulder      2 1  0   1 29.0 14 3.10  6.12  1.48 19.77
Giovanni Carrara 3 0  0   0  9.3  9 4.82  0.19  0.00 18.94
Billy Wagner     0 0  5   0  9.3 10 0.00  5.19  0.00 18.52

So, Lieber is 4th, Myers 21st and Wagner 23rd. Lieber's right about where I expected him to be, but I was surprised to see Myers so far down on the list. I guess that's because Cy Young voters have traditionally put such a high emphasis on wins. Give him Lieber's record and he'd be in second place (38.35 points). I was also surprised to see Wagner rank so high -- maybe because it feels like the Phils have had so few save opportunities this season.

Posted by mark at 07:34 AM | Comments (520)
Monday, 25 April 2005
Gimme a break

OK, my girlfriend was up visiting for the weekend, so I sort of took the weekend off with regards to baseball. Unfortunately, it looks like the Phillies did the same thing, getting swept by the Braves pretty handily.

Oh well, this season is looking more and more like last year every day. I'm not really up for talking about it tonight, so I'm just going to listen to the rest of tonight's game -- they're up 3-1 to the Nats right now, I wonder how they'll mess things up tonight? We shall see...

Posted by mark at 08:35 PM | Comments (1140)
Friday, 22 April 2005
Aces high

So, how about that Jon Lieber? Yesterday's line:

 IP  H  R ER BB  K HR NP
8.0  9  3  3  0  1  1 99

OK, the 9 hits are a little troubling, but for the most part, he was pretty efficient. I hate to give Ed Wade too much credit, but I have to admit that Lieber was a pretty good signing. But how has he been as a replacement for Milton and Milwood? Well, obviously he's not replacing both, so let's look at how he and the Phillies other recent acquisition, Cory Lidle, have done this year:

           IP  H/9 BB/9  K/9 HR/9  ERA  VORP  '05$
Lieber   29.7  9.1  0.6  2.7  1.5  2.73  7.3  7.0M
Lidle    16.3 11.6  2.2  2.8  0.0  3.86  1.1  3.1M
Millwood 25.3  9.6  2.5  5.3  0.7  3.91  6.0  7.0M
Milton   21.7 10.4  2.1  5.0  2.5  4.98  1.4  8.5M

As far as VORP goes, there's not too much difference here (8.4 vs. 7.4), but look at the money column and you'll see the Phils are paying about $5.4 million less. Not bad. Want to see some real money wasted? Have a look at the Yankees acquisitions:

           IP  H/9 BB/9  K/9 HR/9  ERA  VORP  '05$
Johnson  26.3  8.2  1.7  9.2  1.7  5.13  0.6 15.4M
Pavano   22.0 11.0  1.2  5.7  1.2  2.86  0.7 10.0M
Wright   14.3 15.7  5.0  6.3  1.9 10.05 -6.4  7.0M

Ouch. Think maybe they should have held on to Lieber?

Posted by mark at 03:00 PM | Comments (643)