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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series Game 6: All you needed was one changeup, Pedro (2-4)

Pedro Martinez did not pitch in the NLDS, and he lost the only game he pitched in the NLCS despite allowing zero runs in 7 innings. In his first start of the World Series, he pitched well again, allowing only 3 runs in 6 innings. The Phillies lost both of those games. In hindsight, it would have been better for him to get absolutely shelled in those two outings so J.A. Happ would have had to start tonight. Happ may not have pitched well, but he may have pitched better than Pedro Martinez.

Martinez was not awful tonight; he struck out 5 batters in 4 innings, and he allowed only 3 hits. However, his mental mistakes proved to be the reasons for allowing 4 runs before the half-way point of the game. Martinez walked Alex Rodriguez to start the 2nd inning, and he quickly got two strikes to Hideki Matsui. The DH worked the count to 3-2, fouling off several pitches, all of which were fastballs pulled down the right field line. He threw fastballs the entire at-bat, and if he dropped a changeup (his most effective pitch tonight) on him, Matsui almost certainly would have swung over it or at least grounded out. Martinez threw all fastballs, and Matsui finally waited long enough to hit it 10 feet inside the right field foul pole. 2-0 Yankees.

After Ruiz made the game 2-1, Martinez loaded the bases for Rodriguez, whom he struck out for the 2nd out of the inning. Martinez then got the count on Matsui to 0-2 on two fastballs, after which there was a mound meeting between Jimmy Rollins, Martinez, and Ruiz (and maybe Utley or Howard). I thought to myself that there was no way they would throw a fastball for the 10th or 11th time in a row, but Martinez and Ruiz decided a changeup would be an awful idea. One more fastball, two more runs. 4-1 Yankees, and the game was pretty much over at this point. Chad Durbin didn't help with his three runs allowed, but Martinez's job was to make sure Durbin wasn't pitching in the 5th inning. Martinez, Ruiz, and Rich Dubee have no logical explanation for the lack of changeups (or even one changeup -- it would have saved two runs) to Matsui. Good job Hideki, you can hit a pitcher who throws you all fastballs.

Pedro Feliz, who easily owns the lowest career OBP of the Phils' 9 starters, batted 7th tonight. Indefensible. If the goal was to drop Ben Francisco into the 8-spot (he batted 7th in game one), then it's embarrassing to choose Feliz over Ruiz for the 7-spot. Pedro Feliz had four at-bats tonight, ALL of which came with runners in scoring position and two outs. He was 0 for 4. Ruiz was 2-2 with 2 walks in his four plate appearances. I'm not saying the Phils would have scored more runs if Ruiz was 7th instead of Feliz, but they sure as hell wouldn't have scored fewer. Feliz's career OBP vs. LHP: .307. Ruiz: .327. And, the difference is much more drastic against RHP (Feliz's final two ABs were against RHP).

The Phillies had Ben Francisco lead off the 7th inning against RHP Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain owns a .315 career OBP-allowed against RHB; .349 against LHB. Greg Dobbs' career OBP against RHP is only .008 less than Francisco, and Manuel should have used the lefty to take advantage of Chamberlain's splits. Francisco struck out.

When Feliz's spot was due up in the 8th inning against RHP Mariano Rivera with two outs and a runner on second, I was praying to see Matt Stairs come off the bench. Feliz's career OBP vs. RHP: .288. Stairs: .364. I know Rivera is better against LHB, but he's pretty damned good against righties, so Stairs in that spot is a no-brainer. Feliz fouled out.

In the 9th inning, Stairs led off to pinch hit for Francisco. Why choose Feliz over Fransico? Feliz: .288. Francisco: .324. That's just a terrible decision.

Manuel was great for most of the postseason, as was Martinez. But tonight their mental mistakes combined to cost them the game. Unfortunately, there is no tomorrow.


Scott Graham said...

There was a lot of things tonight that I just thought were inexplicable. Everything Mr. Musser mentioned, I agree. I don't like to point fingers at individual players for lack of coming through, but I'm not in a good mood right now, so I will.

Matsui's first swing of his 1st AB featured a fastball that got hammered foul. At that point I texted Musser, "******* throw a change". How do Ruiz, Martinez, or Dubee think to throw a damn change up when the guy is 4 minutes ahead of every pitch you're throwing.

Raul Ibanez swung at the first pitch after a walk to Werth in the 1st (at his shoulders).

Jimmy Rollins stole second down by 4 runs.

I don't know where Jayson Werth was tonight. He saw at least 4 fastballs over the outer half of the plate (his typical oppo boppo pitch), and he watched them all.

We (Musser and I) were literally sick when Matt Stairs appeared at the plate in the 9th.

For future reference, Carlos Ruiz doesn't get anywhere near the credit he deserves. Tonight he might have been the only one who had multiple solid PAs (forget results, he seemed to have a very solid approach for the entire WS and playoffs). His OBP for the entire 2009 season was .355. He walked 47 times in ~370 PAs while Jimmy Rollins walked 44 times in over 700 PAs. DISGUSTING.


Scott Graham said...

Oh yeah. Feliz is a terrible offensive player as well, but we all knew that already.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what the hell was going on in the outfield tonight. Both Victorino and Francisco should have had those fly balls. That's four runs right there - simply inexcusable.

Amaro needs to go after Chone Figgins. That way we can have an actual leadoff hitter (drop Rollins to 6 or 7) AND I never have to watch Feliz pop up again.

Andy Musser said...

Chone Figgins works for me, but Amaro will probably let Feliz swing his way through the last year of his contract, and eye up the 2011 candidates instead of cutting Bruntlett and demoting Feliz.

Not every GM has a limitless payroll.

Andy Musser said...

Check that: Pedro Feliz is not under contract for 2010. The Phillies have a 5.5 million dollar club option, which they should not exercise.

Figgins for third.