NLCS Game Two Notes: Philadelphia

These game notes are offered with supreme humility.

San Francisco at Philadelphia | 8:19pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Giants: Jonathan Sanchez
193.1 IP, 9.54 K/9, 4.47 BB/9, .262 BABIP, 41.5% GB, 9.8% HR/FB, 4.11 xFIP, 2.6 WAR

Phillies: Roy Oswalt
211.2 IP, 8.21 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, .261 BABIP, 45.7% GB, 9.1% HR/FB, 3.45 xFIP, 4.7 WAR

The Phils Against Sanchez
According to Matt Becker’s game preview, Giant coach Bruce Bochy has shuffled his starting rotation, purposely pushing up Jonathan Sanchez to tonight’s Game Two in Philadelphia.

Becker writes: “One of the reasons Bochy decided for the change is because Sanchez was stellar in his two regular-season starts against the Phillies this year.”

So, some notes on that statement:

1. Obviously, the reference to “two regular-season starts” sets off the Small Sample Size Alarm in the baseballing nerd’s heart. It’s very probable that Sanchez’s season (and career) numbers — and the Phillies’ team platoon split — can tell us more about tonight’s match-up than two isolated starts this season.

2. As for Philadelphia’s lefty-righty platoon split, here’s what we get: per Baseball Reference, they recorded a 111 OPS+ versus lefties (relative to other teams versus lefties) as opposed to just a 102 OPS+ versus righties. Broadly speaking, the Phillies are probably better versus lefties than righties.

3. Even though Sanchez conceded only 2 ER in those 2 GS versus Philadelphia this season (the first at San Francisco on April 26, the second at Philadelphia on August 19), he didn’t actually pitch all that well. In 13 IP, his K:BB was 13:7, and of the 31 BIP, only 10 of them were grounders. If we figure Sanchez’s xFIP over those two starts, we get something like 4.60 or thereabouts.

The Giants, Oswalt, and Homers
Among National League teams, the Giants had the most homers in September (and October): 39 in 1048 PAs. They also had the NL’s highest HR/FB rate at 12.6%. Buster Posey had eight of the homers; Juan Uribe, seven; Pat Burrell, six; Freddy Sanchez, four; and Aubrey Huff, four. All are likely to start tonight.

Curiously, after coming to Philadelphia, Roy Oswalt saw his groundball rate increase to a level unseen since his 2008 season. After getting grounders on only 43.0% of balls in play with Houston this season — and 43.3% last year — Oswalt saw that number jump to 50.2% in his 12 starts with the Phillies.

There are obvious, and predictable, caveats here: 12 starts isn’t very many, and ground balls are prone to bias. BUT, it’s also possible that what we see here is Oswalt attempting to adjust to his new, more homer-friendly home park.

If I Had My Druthers
Andres Torres and Chase Utley would spiral into a Handsome Vortex.
• Kool Keith would write an album of the same name.
• Handsome Vortex, that is.



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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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WY
Guest
WY
5 years 10 months ago

“Even though Sanchez conceded only 2 ER in those 2 GS versus Philadelphia this season (the first at San Francisco on April 26, the second at Philadelphia on August 19), he didn’t actually pitch all that well. In 13 IP, his K:BB was 13:7, and of the 31 BIP, only 10 of them were grounders. If we figure Sanchez’s xFIP over those two starts, we get something like 4.60 or thereabouts.”

Sigh. I do appreciate that these notes are offered with “supreme humility.” However, I believe that looking at someone’s xFIP over a mere two games is probably just as unenlightening as looking at his ERA over those two games. We should keep in mind that the Giants have actual coaches and scouts who watched these games, and even if it’s just two games, that knowledge has to surpass what we can gain from a coarse-grained metric like xFIP.

george
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

welllll, there’s that, and then the little matter of his BAA vs. PHA… this year, it’s .114 and last year it was .146 for two starts, each year… WHIP hovering right around 1, both years.

common sense tells you a killer lefty against PHA is probably going to pose some significant issues, especially when JRol is invisible and their other main players are not strongly reverse platoon-number oriented.. leaves a whole lot on Jason Werth’s shoulders, and frankly, this hasn’t been his best year, in spite of his contract being up.

PHA cannot like this match-up…

OTOH, no one has yet mentioned that Roy has yet to lose at the Bank.

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
5 years 10 months ago

Meh, I think this was Werth’s best year. Struggled with RISP, sure…..but he was one of the best offensive outfielders in the NL.

Wally
Guest
Wally
5 years 10 months ago

Chase Utley hits lefties and righties pretty much equally as well. He has a wOBA of .389 vs LHP and .381 vs. RHP. I also don’t see anything about Sanchez that would make him a tough match up for Utley.

george
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

utley has 12 PA vs. Sanchez, last 2 yrs: 1-8, HR, 3 BB, 1 HBP

Mike
Guest
Mike
5 years 10 months ago

Does it matter if Sanchez was great against Philly in the regular season? Unless they’ve radically altered how the playoffs work he’d have to face them on Tuesday if he didn’t pitch tonight.

GreenApples
Guest
GreenApples
5 years 10 months ago

I thought that Bochy moved Sanchez so that fly-ball pitcher Matt Cain could play at AT&T. IN truth Sanchez’s tendency to hand out free passes is a liability against the Phils.
Although his slider seems to have improved since he last matched up against the Phils.

B N
Guest
B N
5 years 10 months ago

This sounds like a solid line of thinking, actually. Sometimes you’re not trying to improve your odds for the current game but for the next one. As has been stated previously- it doesn’t statistically matter if a pitcher does games 1-5 or 3-7…. so I would assume the same logic applies to 2-6 vs 3-7…

fred
Guest
fred
5 years 10 months ago

Krukow’s been saying that Sanchez has a new pitch, which coincides with his improvement in the last few months….some kind of changeup iirc….

ACWNS09
Guest
ACWNS09
5 years 10 months ago

What? Carson’s previewing an NLCS game instead of a review of Colby Lewis’ ALCS start? For shame, sir.

fredsbank
Guest
fredsbank
5 years 10 months ago

carson is without a doubt the best writer on this site

bflaff
Guest
bflaff
5 years 10 months ago

Sanchez tends to pwn the Phillies, so it will be interesting to see if playoff double reverse jinx mojination is in effect. Phils best bet might be last night’s strike zone + patience.

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
5 years 10 months ago

Phillies are going to have to be patient tonight or they’ll be in big trouble. If they flail around like the Braves did, they’ve got no shot. I don’t think Sanchez threw a single strike in that game….

Be patient and let Sanchez knock himself out of the game.

Graham
Guest
Graham
5 years 10 months ago

I like the move to get Sanchez a game 2 start — he strikes out a lot more batters than Cain, reducing his susceptability to the longball. I’d bet Cain has a slightly higher flyball percentage anyway, making him a better fit at AT&T. Given that Sanchez is a tough lefty (ergo tough on Utley, Howard, and Ibanez) and that he has owned Werth and Rollins historically (SSS notwithstanding), this seems like a good matchup for him and the Giants. Should be another exciting game.

WillieMaysField
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

The last month and a half Sanchez has been featuring a split change up. The last 8 starts 5 hits or less and 2 runs or less.

RealityvsImaginary
Guest
RealityvsImaginary
5 years 10 months ago

Real baseball was awesome tonight. Eastbound and down was not funny. Overall reality outweighs TV shows. Great night of baseball.

Baseball
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Baseball rings can fetch quite a high price, due to their over the top decoration of diamonds, gold and other expensive materials.

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