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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Game 61: Feliz delivers as Phils avoid sweep (36-25)

Normally, I would criticize Charlie Manuel for replacing Raul Ibanez instead of Pedro Feliz in today's lineup. Ibanez, however, is suffering from a sore Achilles. Greg Dobbs started in left while Feliz got the start at third base against hard-throwing Josh Beckett. Feliz was 3 for 5 on the day, raising his BA to .318 and his OBP to .365 on the season. As a result of Ibanez's injury and the Phils' relatively easy victory today, there's not much to discuss regarding Manuel's decisions.

Chan Ho Park spelled J.A. Happ in the 6th inning, and Park ended up pitching 2 1/3 innings because the Phils' bullpen was heavily used in the first two games of the series. Ryan Madson pitched an uneventful 9th inning, and even though it was a 5-run game, the off-day tomorrow makes Madson's appearance harmless.

Feliz is hitting well this season, but his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is currently sitting at .341, which is well above his career mark of .279 (ML average is roughly .290). His production should decrease as the season progresses, because batters (as well as pitchers) have almost no control over their BABIP. Of course, his line-drive rate is probably higher as well, but when you have a season number at .341 while your career number is .279, the odds of regression are pretty high. Hopefully I'm wrong, because when Feliz is hitting like this, the Phillies are an insanely dangerous team. But, Manuel must be aware that Feliz's production probably will not stay at this level for the rest of the season: his career .294 OBP cannot be ignored.

The Phils are off tomorrow, and even after losing this series to Boston, they hold a solid 4-game lead over the Mets with 101 games remaining.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wanted to bring to your attention an observation from today's Metro newspaper:

"Seventh Heaven. Save time and set the TiVo to record from the seventh inning on. That's when the Phils get serious. After a six-run outburst yesterday, the Phils have now scored 122 of their 337 total runs -- 36 percent -- this season in the seventh inning or later."

Should we really be surprised that the Phillies score roughly 1/3 of their runs in the last 1/3 of the game?

Scott Graham said...

If their home record were any better, I might say that there is something to this. They would have scored 36% in 2 innings (ahead at home, don't bat in the 9th). Not to mention, it makes more sense to score later in games since you've seen the starter (if he's still pitching) a few times by then. Also, the overall caliber of pitching in the bullpen is less than starting pitching. Starting pitching is harder, and requires better talent.

That's pretty absurd.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought initially about not batting in the bottom of the ninth in home games. The Phils have 13 wins at home. However, they have also played 9 extra inning games.