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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Game 79: Phils score 5 runs in 3 days, but take 2 of 3 from Oakland (49-30)

Roy Halladay threw 9 innings and 113 pitches for his 10th win of the season and yet another complete game.

Charlie Manuel gave Domonic Brown and Chase Utley the day off against LHP Josh Outman. It's good to see Utley getting regular rest due to his injury, but I'd rather see Brown start against left-handed pitching instead of Raul Ibanez. We already know that Ibanez against left-handed pitching is at best a mediocre hitter (.322 OBP for his career) and at worst a well below-average hitter (since the beginning of 2010, .298 [!] OBP).

Why, then, does Brown continue to sit against lefty starters in favor of Ibanez? Clearly, Brown will be an everyday starter next year (Ibanez will be gone) and will face lefties regularly. Will Brown's development be significantly hindered if he faces a couple of left-handed major league starters this year? No way. In fact, the more pitches he sees this year, regardless of handedness, will improve his development. The Brown supporters cite his irregular use in 2010 as a reason for his poor numbers; by that logic, there is no way Ibanez should be starting a game like today's.

Brown had good numbers against LHP in the minors (it's nearly impossible to find minor league splits online, but if you come across them, feel free to post in the comments). It would be nice to see what he can do against lefties in the majors. There's always the possibility that Brown does very well against lefties in his MLB career, and wouldn't it be a shame if the Phillies didn't discover that fact until next year?

I guess the point is this: we know Ibanez sucks against lefthanded pitching, but we don't know if Brown sucks. The only reason for not allowing him to face lefties is to keep his value high if they are planning on trading him, but I don't think a trade is at all likely.

The non-Hawaiian outfielders have been so bad this year, there is no risk in starting Brown every single day while platooning Francisco and Ibanez. Then, if Brown actually reaches his hyped potential, this team's lineup for the playoffs will be much more promising than it is now.

The Phillies start the worst series of the year on Tuesday night when Cliff Lee faces RHP Josh Beckett at 7:05 pm.

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