Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Box Scores that Caught the Eye

It was a wild and woolly night in Philadelphia. Kyle Kendrick, a young pitcher the Phillies have high hopes for started against Washington's Craig Stammen. Since the Phillies were home, Kendrick started things off by plunking Nyger Morgan. But he got off that hook when Willie Harris banged into a double play. Two outs. No problem. Christian Guzman got an infield single. He's a very fast guy. Dunn walked. Willingham walked and Adam Kennedy (of all people) then hit a double to deep right and plated all three runs. Washington was up 3-0.

The Phillies get up and Victorino (who had four hits on the night) starts things off with an infield single. Polanco, who has looked like Superman thus far, hits a single. Uh oh! This isn't starting well. Utley walks. Howard hits a bleeder that falls in for a run. Dobbs (one of the best names in baseball) doubles. Ibanez hits a sac fly. Now it's 4-3.

Then Washington gets up again in the second. Alex Gonzalez doubled. Stammen strikes out trying to bunt (nice). Morgan singles and then steals second. Harris walks. Guzman singles to score Gonzalez. Dunn pops up. But then Willingham doubles to score two more and that's it for Kendrick.

Now here is the best part of the story. The Phillies bring in Nelson Figueroa, a pitcher the Phillies took off the trash pile after the Mets released him. Figueroa ends the inning without further damage. More on him later. But now the score is 6-4 Nationals and we've only played three half innings.

The Phillies come up again and Stammen obviously has nothing on this night. The first guy up is Figueroa (guess it was too early for a double switch). Figueroa singles. After a Victorino fly out (he just missed it), Polanco doubles and then Utley homers. Good night Stammen. The Phillies get a couple more singles, but do no more damage. Now the Phillies were up 7-6.

Figueroa gets into a big jam in the third, but only one run scores on a ground out and the game is tied. Figueroa ended up pitching three and a third innings with just that one run. The Phillies go on to beat up on Washington's bullpen and Figueroa and the Phillies get the "W" with the final score of 14-7. There were ten total pitching changes, eleven walks, twenty-four hits and 332 combined pitches. Oh yeah, and Joe West was an umpire at this game. Instant Karma's gonna get you.

Figueroa looks like a decent enough pitcher. Looking at his stats from last year, he wasn't great, but he was useful and was far from terrible. If you look at the Mets' starting pitching, Maine is getting creamed. Perez is hopeless, Niese isn't an answer and it seems the Mets could have gotten by just fine with Figueroa on board. But this is why the Mets are such a mess. And this is why the Phillies have won two years in a row.

The other box score that caught the eye was the Seattle - Oakland game. As of this writing, it's still in the fifth inning with the score tied 2-2. But when the Fan first looked at it, the A's were winning 2-0. How can an incomplete game catch the eye? It was the batting averages of half of the Mariners' regulars. After going hitless in his first two at bats, Ichiro Suzuki was batting .211. Ichiro...batting .211. Have you ever seen that before? Even after his single, his average went up to .238, but his OPS was still .542. [[shiver]] That's ugly. But he's not alone. Milton Bradley, even after a single, was batting .138. Eric Byrnes was batting .111. And Jack Wilson was batting .194. No wonder they aren't scoring runs. Oh, and over on Oakland's side, Jake Fox hit a homer, but his average with the homer only went up to .077. Let that sink in a while. And Jack Cust couldn't have done better than that!?

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