NLCS Coverage: Phillies Keep Mashing

The pitching was not pretty but the bats certainly picked up the slack for Philadelphia. The Phillies took Game One of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night with an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On offense, both left fielder Raul Ibanez and catcher Carlos Ruiz added nails to the Dodgers’ Game One coffin with three-run homers. Ruiz posted a WPA of .275, while Ibanez sat at .151. Ruiz added a single and walk to his performance on Thursday. Ibanez also had a single and scored a second run. For the third straight game, first baseman Ryan Howard made the most of one hit. He drove in two runs, scored once and walked twice. His WPA was .158.

Both left-handed starters, Cole Hamels for Philly (-.196 WPA) and Clayton Kershaw for LA (-.301), struggled. The pitcher of the game was Philadelphia reliever Chan Ho Park, who interestingly enough pitched for Los Angeles last year. He took to the mound in the seventh inning and posted a .240 WPA while striking out a batter and inducing two ground balls. Park missed the National League Division Series with injury woes and is not considered to be at full strength yet.

It’s not often that a team will walk away with a win in Los Angeles after allowing five Dodgers hitters to bang out two or more hits. Both James Loney (.193 WPA) and Andre Ethier (.176) had three hits. Manny Ramirez (-.042) was held to just one hit – but it was a two-run homer off of Hamels.

* * *

Let’s take a closer look at Carlos Ruiz‘ season. He doesn’t get a lot of attention as a top catcher because he doesn’t hit for a high average or slug a lot of homers, but the Panama native is better than most people realize (at least in the catcher context). For the ’09 season, Ruiz finished tied for fourth with St. Louis’ Yadier Molina in wOBA (.337) amongst catchers in the National League (300+ at-bats).

His ISO of .171 was good for fifth in the league for backstops. Ruiz also had the third highest walk rate and the third lowest strikeout rate. His BABIP of just .266 helps to explain the low batting average. He had the fourth best WPA (0.37) behind Atlanta’s Brian McCann (1.57), Arizona’s Miguel Montero (0.80), and Cincinnati’s Ramon Hernandez (0.62).

Overall, Ruiz was worth about $10 million to the Phillies in 2009 (he’s actually making just $475,000, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts), or slightly more than two runs above replacement. With his post-season contributions to this point added in, Ruiz has been worth much more than that to the Phillies.



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


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BATTLETANK
Member
BATTLETANK
6 years 7 months ago

ibanez is did something that no other lefty did all year on sherrill, hit a homerun. hell, he only gave up 10 hits to a lefty all season.

and ruiz is a very fine player. he’s been about a 2 win hitter this year. probably another win worth of defensive value(ranked 8th best according to devil_fingers), and probably another half of win of post season play. talk about value!

Coby DuBose
Guest
Coby DuBose
6 years 7 months ago

Torre leaving Kershaw in the game for that long was an absolute travesty. After giving up a bomb to Carlos Ruiz of all people, then walking the pitcher on 5 pitches, he should have been out of the game.

Watching the kid wild pitch and walk his way to imminent disaster was excruciating, and it’s on Torre.

I also wonder if finally losing a game will make him consider playing Orlando Hudson again (not that Ronnie Belliard was the problem last night, but he certainly wasn’t a solution either).

Coby DuBose
Guest
Coby DuBose
6 years 7 months ago

Just as an aside, I met Carlos Ruiz’s agent in Vegas at the winter meetings. He was absolutely blown away by how fast Ruiz had blown up in terms of attention. The guy graced the cover of two straight Sports Illustrateds. His agent was obviously a small timer, but seemed like a really capable guy.

I asked him if he represented anyone I knew, and Carlos Ruiz was his only answer. It’s a pretty excellent rags to riches story for both.

The A Team
Guest
The A Team
6 years 7 months ago

Ruiz was also recently rated the 8th best defensive backstop according to drivelinemechanics.

http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2009/10/13/1082419/2009-catcher-defense-filling-in

If you haven’t checked out the article yet you’ll probably love it, the 6th word is “fangraphs”

don
Guest
don
6 years 7 months ago

It’s interesting that Russell Martin is rated as terrible at blocking pitches while Ruiz is one of the best. My super small sample size impression of the 5th inning yesterday was that Ruiz would have blocked some of those pitches.

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