Archive for August, 2010

Roy Halladay meets Mayor Nutter & Jim Bunning, Phils lose to Astros

Posted in 2010 Phillies on August 27, 2010 by wechslerh66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random notes from the Phils’ 5-1 loss to the Astros:

Mayor Nutter was loudly booed during the pregame ceremony honoring Roy Halladay’s perfect game. Among the comments: “Take Ackerman with you!” (We can assume he meant this Ackerman as opposed to this one). “Jerkoff!” “At least he’s better’n Street…” Probably thanks to the Oswalt trade, or the fact the opposing Astros pitcher wasn’t Cliff Lee, Ruben Amaro actually wasn’t booed (though someone on my row told a friend, “He’s an asshole too”). Unfortunately, nor was Senator Bunning.

The Astros scored five runs off Phillies pitching despite a lineup featuring four starters other than pitcher Wandy Rodriguez with OBPs under .300 (Anderson Hernandez, Carlos Lee, Angel Sanchez, and Jason Castro), who then went 8 for 17 with three doubles and a homer off the rogues’ gallery of Kendrick, Romero, Contreras, and Herndon. Rodriguez himself had an RBI single off the wall in right.

Kendrick may be slightly better than replacement level, but would Drew Carpenter, Vance Worley, or even Brandon Duckworth be any worse as a fifth starter? Or, as a preferable option the Phils would never take, would a rotation of Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt/Blanton even need a fifth starter?

Ryan Howard is even more of a concern. He was the object of sarcastic applause when he grounded out to second in the 9th (“Ay, he made contact!”) after two strikeouts– he now has 10 K’s in his past three games, including an 0-for-7, 5 K night in the Phils’ memorable 4-2 16-inning loss on Tuesday— and seems to be foreshadowing an ugly end to an unwarranted bad contract extension.

Tonight the Phils face Mat Latos on the road, pitching for a Padres team 26 games above .500. Nonetheless, the Phils can’t be counted out for the wild card if not the division, still trailing the Braves by only 3 games with 35 left to play. But the 2006 Ryan Howard and the 2007 Kyle Kendrick (who was luckier more than he was that much better than the 2010 Kyle Kendrick) would help.

Also worth noting: it wasn’t as obscurely pornographic as CUM HUSKS, but someone behind home plate brought a sign that read YEAH MARY USED HER LITTER BOX. For whatever reason, I only seemed to notice it when Victorino and Werth were batting…?

Hey Joe

Posted in non-de Jesus related, pre-de Jesus era on August 22, 2010 by wechslerh66

Some of us remember Joe Charboneau the outfielder and DH, half-Rocky Colavito, half-Paul Bunyan. Others remember Joe Charboneau, symbol of Cleveland’s eternal hope and inescapable doom. (Would even Philadelphia fans feel this negative?) Others just remember Joe Charboneau, the trivia answer.

What few remember is that Joe Charboneau was originally a Phillie.

The Phillies drafted Charboneau after his second year at West Valley Junior College in Saratoga, Calif. and sent him to Spartanburg in the Western Carolina League, where he batted .298 as a part-time player…Then, in February, the Phillies sent him a new contract and Charboneau was so happy he just went to his room for a while and held a bat in his hand. He spent that season close to home in Visalia and set a California League record with a .350 average while driving in 116 runs. At the winter meetings that year the Phillies in their infinite wisdom decided to trade Charboneau to Cleveland for Pitcher Cardell Camper, whom they then released.

Sadly, back surgery ended his career at 27, so Charboneau never became one of a holy trinity of 80s prospects the Phillies were burned by trading (Ryne Sandberg, who with Larry Bowa lost the Phils 328.9 win shares) or exposing in the Rule 5 draft (George Bell, who would become yet another example of the Phils’ Wrong Brother Syndrome ). Meaning not only Indians fans but Phillies fans can ask, what could have been?

Mulholland Drive

Posted in the de Jesus Era on August 15, 2010 by wechslerh66

It was the first Phillies no-hitter since Rick Wise beat the Reds 4-0 (and hit two HRs himself) in Cincinnati on June 23, 1971.

It was the first Phillies no-hitter at home since Red Donahue blanked the Boston Beaneaters 5-0 on July 8, 1898– at the Baker Bowl.

It was the only nine-inning no-hitter in Veterans Stadium history until Kevin Millwood no-hit the Giants 1-0 on April 27, 2003. (Pascual Perez’s rain-shortened 5-inning no-hitter doesn’t officially count.)

And it was one error shy of being the only perfect game in Veterans Stadium history (which would have been the 11th perfect game in the modern era; 8 more have occurred since 1990).

Terry Mulholland threw 105 pitches, 75 for strikes, with 8 Ks and no walks in the Phillies’ 6-0 win over San Francisco on August 15, 1990. He also went 1-for-3 with an RBI. He would end the 1990 season 9-10, 3.34 (114 ERA+) with 6 complete games, and would then win 41 more games in a Phillies uniform (with a Halladayesque 27 CG!) the next three seasons before being traded to the Yankees for Kevin Jordan, Ryan Karp, and Bobby Munoz after the 1993 season– a trade the Phillies actually won:

Mulholland as a Yankee, 1994: 6-7, 6.49, 71 ERA+, -6.7 VORP as a pitcher (worst on team)
Munoz as a Phillie, 1994: 7-5, 2.67, 161 ERA+, 25.9 VORP as a pitcher (second-best on team, behind only Danny Jackson)

Bill James offered an unusually brief overview of Mulholland in the Baseball Book 1990:

He’s a perennial prospect, which is a subtle distinction from being no prospect at all. I’ve seen very little about him that I like.

When he retired as an Arizona Diamondback at 43 in 2006, Mulholland was 124-142, 4.41 (94 ERA+) with 46 CG and 10 shutouts, mediocre numbers (other than the age 43) that obscure his years as Phillies ace (62-57, 3.81, 99 ERA+, 38 CG, including an 8-7, 4.66 return to the Phils in 1996 that ended with a trade to Seattle for Desi Relaford– another trade the Phils won).

He was no Curt Schilling– nor was he Jose de Jesus (in terms of pure “stuff”)– but one night twenty years ago, Terry Mulholland was almost perfect.

Deja vu

Posted in 2010 Phillies on August 13, 2010 by wechslerh66

So a 9th inning comeback against the Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton isn’t exactly without precedent for the Phils.

Trailing 9-2 in the 8th at home wasn’t so bad, though– it beats trailing 11-1 in the 8th on the road.

Other differences between the two comebacks? The 1990 Dodger starter had only thrown 90 pitches through 6 innings when he was removed, though unlike Kershaw, who threw 113 pitches through 6.2 innings, Hartley was a converted reliever on a pitch count. (In fact, Hartley would only start 6 games in his 202 game career, all of them with the 1990 Dodgers. He was also a Phillie for 64 games, none of them starts, before being traded to the Twins for David West.) Also, the 1990 Dodgers benched most of their starters once they took the lead, replacing Lenny Harris, Kirk Gibson, Kal Daniels, Eddie Murray, Hubie Brooks, Mike Sciosia, and Alfredo Griffin with ex-Phils Juan Samuel, Stan Javier, and Jose Offerman plus Jose Gonzalez, Mickey Hatcher, Chris Gwynn, and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. Offerman made two key errors in the Phils’ nine-run 9th (five of the Phils’ nine runs were unearned). Last night’s Dodgers actually blew a lead with their regular lineup on the field, including Casey Blake, who replaced Ronnie Belliard at 3rd in the bottom of the 7th and made a key error in the 9th.

Otherwise, Danys Baez retiring the Dodgers on 9 pitches for the win was…about equal to Don Carman retiring the Dodgers on 9 pitches for the save. Talk about beating the odds.

Mellow Carmelo

Posted in the de Jesus Era on August 12, 2010 by wechslerh66

Carmelo Martinez as a Phillie: .242/.339/.404, 105 OPS+, 8 HR in 198 AB, or almost exactly his career averages of .245/.337/.408, 108 OPS+

Mellow Carmelo was traded to the Pirates when Pittsburgh GM Larry Doughty placed both Wes Chamberlain and Julio Peguero, two rookie prospects, on irrevocable waivers in error and the Phillies claimed them. (Pittsburgh also sent prospect Tony Longmire to the Phillies to complete the trade.)

Also worth noting: Carmelo has a 949 similarity score with former Angels/Red Sox/Cubs of/1b Lee Thomas– the Phils GM who acquired him.

Was Ken Howell an ace?

Posted in the de Jesus Era on August 12, 2010 by wechslerh66

Fellow Phils blogger Ricky Jordan Fan Club of Drunk Phils Fans says he was and he wasn’t:

When it comes to starting pitchers in Major League Baseball, the term “ace” can often be used very loosely. We think of a true ace as a horse, a pitcher whose mere presence almost guarantees his team a win every fifth day. On the flip side, an ace can also just happen to be the best pitcher on a very weak staff. For the majority of the 1989 and 1990 seasons, Ken Howell fell into this category for the Philadelphia Phillies.

A former Dodgers reliever (not to be confused with Jay Howell) and current Dodger bullpen coach, Howell was 20-19, 3.85 with the Phillies in 51 games, 50 of them starts, from 1989-1990 with 234 strikeouts and an ERA+ of 94 before shoulder injuries ended his career at 29. Drunk Phils Fans concludes:

So was Ken Howell really an ace? No, not by a longshot. But for a time, he was the best the Phillies had to offer. Which probably tells you all you need to know about life for the Philadelphia Phillies in the late 80s/early 90s.

Ouch. He may not have been Steve Carlton or Curt Schilling, but Howell was by far the best the Phillies had to offer in 1989 (his only full season with the Phils) in terms of traditional stats:

                                    ERA+
Howell                          103
Bruce Ruffin                  80
Dennis Cook                 89
Terry Mulholland           71
Don Carman                68+
Larry McWilliams         89++

+49 games, 20 of them starts
++40 games, 16 of them starts (including the immortal 15-11 comeback)

His 12 wins were tied with reliever Jeff Parrett (98 K’s in 105.2 IP, helping make him trade bait for Dale Murphy and Tommy Greene the following season); Ruffin and Cook were tied for second among starters with 6. More meaningfully, his 204 innings were by far the most on the staff (Carman was second with 149.1, despite the 68 ERA+), his 7.2 K/9 was best among starters, and his 3.44 ERA was .55 better than Cook, the only other starter below 4.

How did Howell rank among the rest of the NL? He was 3rd behind Jose DeLeon and Sid Fernandez in fewest hits/9 at 6.838 and 7th in K/9 behind Mark Langston, Fernandez, Tim Belcher, David Cone, DeLeon, and John Smoltz, all of whom were aces by any definition in 1989 (even Belcher, arguably the least remembered ace among them, had 8 shutouts that season). His 164 total K were 10th in the NL behind the same aces plus Mike Scott and Bruce Hurst. He was 4th in fewest HR/9 at .485, behind Joe Magrane, Orel Hershiser, and Ken Hill.

On the other hand, his 86 total walks were tied with teammate Carman for 5th, behind future ace Hill, former aces Fernando Valenzuela and Kevin Gross, and Langston, and he led the NL with 21 wild pitches, five ahead of runnerup John Wetteland (who had 16 in only 102.2 IP but would only have 24 more the rest of his career).

True, Howell was as lucky as he was good. Behind his opponents’ slash stats of .215/297/.313 was a BABIP of .263, second lowest among Phillies starters to Cook’s .247. (In comparison, Ruffin may have been bad, but he was also unlucky, to the tune of a .334 BABIP against.) Howell’s BABIP was tied with Bob Ojeda and Tom Browning for 24th lowest in the NL (minimum 100 IP). Howell was also only 28th in VORP among NL pitchers at 23.8, tied with reliever Jay Howell and behind non-aces such as Les Lancaster, Mike Morgan, Greg Harris, and Mike Bielecki, and 52nd in Runs Prevented at 5.8 (adjusted for park and league), placing him between Mark Grant and Tim (Not Dead) Leary. (Orel Hershiser led the NL in both pitcher VORP and Runs Prevented.)

Regardless, in his Baseball Book 1990, Bill James was optimistic about the future of Ken Howell:

Threw 21 wild pitches last year, most in the major leagues. Despite that, I think that having finally gotten his career on track, he is a good bet to stay on track, and could get better. He had more strikeouts last season than hits allowed, and there aren’t very many starting pitchers who can say that…Even if he pitches well, the Phillies may stick him with a losing record.

The 1990 Ken Howell wasn’t quite as lucky: his BABIP rose to .288 (the only Phils starters with a higher BABIP were Pat Combs and Ruffin, who continued to be bombed to the tune of .324), his opponents’ slash stats to .260/.343/.422, and the only traditional category where he ranked within the top 10 was wild pitches (tied for 10th with 8). But he was injured, and after a 4 inning, 5 run appearance versus the Pirates on August 5, 1990, Howell would never throw another pitch in the majors.

James was still optimistic about Howell in the Baseball Book 1991:

Can he come back from the injury?
Howell was pitching great, the best ball of his career, through June 17 last year (8-3, 2.48 ERA), when he had a series of poor starts which led to the disabled list, eventually to arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder. I think chances are good that he will come back and have his best year in 1991.

Sadly, he wouldn’t. But if Howell was never a true ace, he came a lot closer than a longshot.

ARod’s AAA debut

Posted in non-de Jesus related on August 10, 2010 by wechslerh66

August 3, 1994. The Calgary Cannons beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 14-2, with 3 RBIs each from Darren Bragg and ex-Phils Jerry Willard (!) and Dale Sveum (!!). ARod, batting 8th, went 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a run scored, also reaching on an error only to be caught stealing to end a five-run first inning. Soon-to-be-ex-Phil Erik Plantenberg , who never started a game in the majors, went 8 innings (with 6 walks and a HBP) for the win.

Other notables in the lineup included soon-to-be Rockies catcher Jayhawk Owens and second baseman Roberto Mejia plus Marc Newfield, who would be traded for both Andy Benes (to the Padres) and Greg Vaughn (to the Brewers) despite a career OPS+ of 76.

Bonus ex-Phillies content: ARod was the Mariners’ top prospect in 1994. Desi Relaford was 9th.