Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Monday, May 15, 2006

How Good Was the Phillies pitching? 

How good was the Phillies pitching this weekend? Playing in one of the friendliest ballparks to hitters, Great American, the Phillies turned in three sterling performances on the mound this weekend:

-Friday. Cole Hamels debut was a smashing success. I remembered Ryan Madson’s debut in 2004, when he surrendered six runs after facing just nine batters against the White Sox, and feared the same would happen to Hamels. It did not:

5 IP, 0 Earned Runs, 1 Hit, 5 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Hamels actually took a no-hitter into the fifth. I’m a little perplexed at the walk ratio, but I’m very impressed by what I saw. Maybe the kid is going to be alright.

-Saturday. So after Cole turns in a stellar performance Jon Lieber tries to do him one better, taking a perfect game into the seventh. Look at the line on Lieber:

8 & 2/3 IP, 0 Earned Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

A performance that was nothing short of spectacular. By the way, Lieber is continuing to have a great season: he’s allowed five home runs and five walks in just 52 & 1/3 innings: 0.85 per nine innings. His FIP ERA* is just 3.35, over two runs lower than his “real ERA”. When the Phillies play well behind him, he pitches very well.

* FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching: (13*HR+3*BB-2*K / IP) + League Factor Evaluates a pitching by how he would have done with an average defense behind him by keeping track of things that a pitcher can control (walks, strikeouts, home runs allowed) as opposed to things he cannot (hits allowed, runs allowed).
-Sunday. Hey, Brett Myers didn’t pitch a bad game, but then he wasn’t Hamels or Lieber:

7 IP, 1 Earned Run, 4 Hits, 2 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

A great performance in his own right.

Overall, the Phillies pitched thirty innings and surrendered just three earned runs, (0.90 ERA), walked twelve Reds (3.6 per 9 innings), allowed sixteen hits, and struck out 24 Reds (7.2 per 9 innings). All this against a team leading the NL in runs scored and on-base-percentage, was second in slugging percentage, home runs and isolated power. I have to admit to being shocked at how well the Phillies pitched, especially Hamels. I thought it unwise to have him make his debut in such a park friendly to hitters. I was wrong.

Tomorrow. I have no idea what I’m writing about. I’ve gotten behind in my blogging of late. Tune in for a surprise.

Mike, Hamels walks kept coming because he was overthrowing his curve. He had no problems with his fastball or change-up that I could see, but the curve kept coming to low and often inside. He's admitted to being too nervous (not that he showed it), and I expect that those walks will dwindle as he gets to work on his breaking stuff. The fact that his command otherwise was great suggests to me a very fixable problem.
Does Liebertal's abscence have anything to do with this?
Yeah, I think it was an aberration too: Hamels looked VERY strong in his debut.

Poor Mike: nobody loves him...
This was the first outing all year that Lieber had where he did not have a lapse of concentration. Besides his first two outings against the Cards and the Rockies, he was been solid except for a few big innings where his control seems to momentarily abate. That didn't happen on Saturday night and it was a great sign.
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