Archive for March, 2010

As Season Nears, One Question Remains

March 23rd, 2010 by Johnny G | 26 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

Jamie Moyer

As Spring Training begins to wind down, and players start to really prepare for the year ahead, the Phillies still have one glaring question. Who will be this year’s 5th starter? The competition has come down to Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, the old veteran versus the up and coming young sinker-baller. Fans all over Phillies nation are pulling for Kendrick and they believe he has already earned his spot for the most part. I have quite a different opinion on the subject.

First off, I really am curious where the infatuation with Kyle Kendrick came from. Just last year many were writing him off as a career minor-league pitcher who lacks the stuff to get big league hitters out on a consistent basis. Fast-forward through a couple of goose eggs KK put up after September call-ups and a well-pitched Spring Training and now Kendrick is a savior. The fact of the matter is, Kendrick is still very much a question mark. Talk about a fickle fan base.

Secondly, Jamie Moyer did struggle pretty severely during the beginning of the season and those struggles were so bad early on that they really put a hurting on his overall numbers for the season. Since May 20th last season, Moyer’s ERA was a very respectable 4.05. It is unlikely that Kendrick could match that type of production over a full season at this point in his young career. Moyer is the type of pitcher, where to the casual fan, it is almost impossible to tell when he is actually “done”. His production does not rely on eye-popping readings on a radar gun, but on location and savvy. In 2007 it looked like the end for Moyer, after he posted a 5.01 ERA (slightly worse than last year), only to bounce back in 2008 with a 3.71 ERA with 16 wins. I would not be surprised at all to see a similar season but with an ERA somewhere in the mid 4’s.

Lastly and possibly most importantly, Jamie Moyer serves almost no purpose in the bullpen. Many will point to Moyer’s numbers last year out of the pen and use that as evidence that he can succeed there, but what many fail to realize is that Moyer pitched in 4 extended appearances where Pedro Martinez had starts rained out. This is unlikely to happen again and is not very efficient to waste a roster and bullpen spot on a pitcher who can only throw in long relief. Moyer has also stated he cannot pitch on back to back days, which is critical for a bullpen arm. Moyer is not the type of pitcher who can be used as a lefty-specialist and is not a late-inning arm.


Tags: , , ,

Is Bill Conlin Delusional?

March 13th, 2010 by Johnny G | 25 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

Nice try Bill

 Let me start off by saying, I realize the newspaper industry is a sinking ship. With the advancement of the internet and the ease at which news can be acquired, it has all but crippled this business. With that being said, articles such as Bill Conlin’s, that basically states the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies have the best infield in the modern era should not be used simply to sell papers. I want to give Bill the benefit of the doubt here and say he doesn’t honestly believe what his articles states and that this was simply a tactic to boost sales but I am not so sure. The insanity of the basis of this article is that the Phillies don’t even have the best infield for the 2010 season, let alone the last 5 years, 10 years, or as Billy boy states, the modern era. 

Conlin conveniently omitted the catching position from the infield to help his argument but it still doesn’t fly. Ryan Howard is a phenomenal power threat but his major struggles against left-handed pitching is what puts him right on par with Mark Teixeira. Tex is a switch-hitting, gold glove first basemen. He has not hit under .280 since his rookie year. These are two big time threats, Howard with more power, Tex with a higher average and better defense. We’ll call this one a push. 

The Phillies clearly have the advantage at 2b, as Utley has put up some of the best numbers at his position in the history of the game. Robinson Cano is often extremely undervalued in this match-up though. Last year Cano hit .320 with 25 homeruns and 85 rbis, certainly nothing to sneeze at. Utley has also improved significantly defensively since his rookie season and is now one of the top defensive second basemen in the game. Utley is the better player but this isn’t as much of a landslide as many Phillies fans would lead you to believe. 


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Start of Free Agency Leaves Eagles Fans Frustrated

March 8th, 2010 by Johnny G | 12 Comments | Filed in Eagles, Football, General

This years Free Agency started off with a bang on Friday with Julius Peppers going to the Chicago Bears, Antrel Rolle to the Giants, Kyle Vanden Bosch to the Lions, Anquan Boldin being shipped to the Ravens, and Aaron Kampan going to the Jaguars. There has not been much excitement for Eagles’ fans in Philadelphia though. The only activity for the Birds has been resigning Fullback Leonard Weaver and slot receiver Jason Avant. On top of their extreme inactivity, the Eagles have made it clear that they will pay Michael Vick his $1.5 million roster bonus, essentially saying the Eagles will enter the season with Donovan Mcnabb, Kevin Kolb, and Mike Vick all on the roster.

You really have to wonder what the plan of action is for this off-season. In the Eagles defense they do have a plethora of draft picks that can be used to address specific needs on the defensive side of the ball. There are glaring weaknesses that were exposed badly by the Dallas Cowboys in the week 17 and first round playoff embarrassments. They need at least one safety, in addition to a couple linebackers, a defensive end to play opposite of Trent Cole, and a running back. They will also need a back-up plan in case Jamaal Jackson is not ready in time for the season and another guard, unless you want to depend on Shawn Andrews staying healthy and contributing.

For all the talk about Donovan Mcnabb being traded and the multiple sources that have stated the Eagles have been in discussions over these trade talks, it has ultimately been reported that any move regarding Donovan is being vetoed by Andy Reid. Whether or not you agree with that course of action, the Eagles are clearly in a state of turmoil. To keep three quarterbacks on the same roster like the trio the Eagles have now is a pure waste of resources. We can only hope there is something in the master plan that we don’t know about.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good Start

March 5th, 2010 by Christian | 11 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

Don’t want to get too excited about two innings of a spring training game, but Roy Halladay was dominant against the Yankees, striking out three in two innings. That’s half the batters he faced for you math wizards. And it took him only 24 pitches to do it, 21 of which were strikes!

As Advertised

Most impressive is the movement on his pitches. The ball looks like a high speed frisbee going to the plate. On a called strike three, Nick Swisher was frozen at the plate, simply overmatched. Check out the video at

Great stuff! Keep it up Roy!

Tags: , , , , ,

Ryan Howard’s Not So Secret Enemy

March 4th, 2010 by Johnny G | 8 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies, TSP Radio

Ryan Howard struck out 13 times in the 6 game series.

If you noticed an alarming pattern during Ryan Howard’s at-bats in the 2009 World Series it was probably his .174 batting average and 13 strikeouts in the six game series. What is even more alarming though, is the strategy the Yankees used to isolate the Phillies best power threat. Throughout the six game series Ryan Howard saw 101 pitches. 40 of those were fastballs, 36 were sliders, 22 were curveballs, and 3 were cutters. That’s right, in a six game series Ryan Howard saw a fastball less than 40% of the time. That is absolutely unheard of when comparing pitch selection by pitchers in the MLB. Phillies fans could rest easily going forward if the trend stopped there, but thanks to phenomenal research by Tom Verducci and Stats inc., it has been proven that we have quite a bit to worry about.

Let’s start from the top. In the first six innings of a game, Ryan Howard is a .298 career hitter. Any Phillies fan would take that from the big man any day of the week, but after the first six innings that average drops to a very mediocre .237. There are a lot of fluky reasons this could occur if we were comparing a week, a month, or even a season of stats, but when comparing his whole career this is a real issue. Late in games managers have the option of using left-handed relief specialists who live and die by their breaking ball, which is obviously the reason for the substantial drop in production.

When comparing the amount of breaking balls Howard sees compared to the rest of the MLB it is not a competition. Last season over the course of 2009 Ryan Howard saw 1,127 breaking pitches and number 2 on this list was Dan Uggla at 930 breaking pitches. Howard now sees way more breaking balls than anyone else in the big leagues and its only getting worse. Each year the amount of breaking pitches has increased for Howard and so has the amount of at-bats he has against left-handers per season. The average left handed hitter faces a left handed pitcher in 18.5% of their plate appearances. Howard on the other hand faces lefties in a whopping 35.8% of his at-bats, most in the big leagues.

Here’s where the numbers start to get really alarming: Last year when facing a breaking ball, Howard either swung and missed or fouled the pitch off 73% of the time. 73% of the time against a breaking ball it was a strike against Howard. 27% of the time the ball was put in play and that doesn’t mean it was for a hit. You have to assume at least 15% of the balls put into play were recorded outs. That should give you an idea of how often he successfully reaches base against breaking balls. Finally, Howard saw 1,127 breaking balls last year and hit exactly 3 home-runs off of left-handed breaking balls. With those types of struggles it is amazing he puts up the final numbers he does season in and season out.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Training News and Notes

March 2nd, 2010 by Johnny G | 12 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General

Bright House Field

  • Victorino may not play in Spring Opener: Shane Victorino did not participate in throwing drills on Monday at Phillies camp because of a sore shoulder. Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel and the training staff did not expect it to be serious but were being extra cautious this early in camp. .”We didn’t want him throwing in our drills,” Manuel said. “We want him to take it easy a few days. He’ll be all right.” Victorino did participate in batting practice but his status for Wednesdays exhibition game against Florida St. is unknown
  • Romero and Lidge work their way back: J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge both threw off of a mound on Sunday and both reported they felt fine. “Still going slow, but it’s going in the right direction,” Lidge said. Lidge threw 35 pitches with “6 or 7” sliders mixed in. Romero threw only fastballs in his first session on a mound. “It went well,” Romero said. “I feel good and I’m very positive about it.”
  • Hamels working on cutter: As many fans have noticed, Cole Hamels has become a two-pitch pitcher. With only his fastball and change-up as legitimate pitches, his repertoire has become pretty predictable for fans and hitters alike. “It’s hard, but I’m willing to put in all the work to do it, because I understand the importance and significance behind having more pitches against big league hitters,” Hamels said. Whether Hamels will be comfortable enough with the cutter for this season remains to be seen, but tinkering with other pitchers can only be a positive for Cole.


Tags: , , , ,