Tag Archives: Colorado Rockies

The Total WAR Project, Part III: The Colorado Rockies

Around 60 or 61 A.D., the Romans were colonizing the British Isles, they encountered resistance from an indigenous tribe called the Iceni offered token resistance around modern-day Norfolk. Led by Boudica, the widow of a king who had made peace with the Romans, the Iceni forged local alliances to collect an army of around 230,000 to march on Londinium, routing a Roman legion and sacking a Roman colony along the way.

The Roman governor of Britain, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, at the head of 10,000 men, met them at what is now known as the Battle of Watling Street. Paulinus assembled his men, equipped with superior spears and armor, in a V shape, effectively funneling the Iceni attackers into a wedge where they could be surrounded by the cavalry and systematically cut down.

The plan worked spectacularly. The Romans suffered only 400 casualties, while the Britons suffered more than 80,000–200 Iceni for every Roman.

Amazing what you can down when you’ve got a plan and your opponent doesn’t.

What I’ve always found interesting about the Rockies is that while Coors Field caters to power hitters, the Rockies tend to have speedy, slap-hitting center fielders, rather than power hitters. The only exception is Ellis Burks–otherwise, the Rockies’ history is littered with guys like Dexter Fowler, Juan Pierre, Willy Taveras, and Alex Cole (look himĀ  up, I dare you).

This is because the architects who built Coors Field knew that the thin air would result in the ball flying out of the park, so they built a massive outfield, which needed a speedy, slap-hitting center fielder patrolling it. Otherwise, just about everything hit in the air would drop for a hit. Offensively, even someone like Juan Pierre, who hasn’t hit a ball further than 300 feet since 2001, benefits because of that huge outfield. The deep fence means the opposing outfielders play farther back, which, in turn, means that lots of Texas Leaguers drop and lots of 180-foot doubles get hit.

Total WAR numbers for the Rockies after the jump.

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Filed under General Bull, Offseason 2009-10

Opposing homers analyzed

Thus far, the Phillies have allowed a ridiculous 23 opposing homers in nine games. This is about half a home run more per game than the average in the N.L., and that average is probably inflated by the Phils’ outlier number.

It’s been frustrating to watch for the first two weeks. True, the Phillies haven’t exactly played in pitcher-friendly parks to this date. Citizens Bank, Nationals, and Coors are known – or becoming known – for giving a little extra edge to fly balls.

You can keep track of data on the Phils’ opposing dingers here at HitTracker Online. For now, using this data, let’s take a look at just what the Phillies have been serving up to their hungry opponents.

Atlanta Braves (@CBP): April 5, 6, 8

  • Homers allowed: 8
  • Average standard distance: 388 ft.
  • No doubt/Plenty/Just Enough/Lucky: 2/3/3/(1)
  • Percent of opp. runs via HR: 11 of 19 (57.9%)
  • Biggest blast: Brian McCann, 4/5/09 (436 ft.)

Standard distance, for clarification, is the figure HitTracker uses to project the distance a home run ball would travel if unobstructed, unhindered by wind, at sea level and traveling in 70-degree weather. For further term clarification, go here.

It’s sort of disconcerting when the majority of homers hit had more than enough distance underneath them. The only one considered to have a bit of luck associated with it was Jordan Schafer’s second dinger of the series, hit off of J.A. Happ in game three.

(McCann) Blue: End of flight; Green: True distance

Colorado Rockies (@Coors): April 10-12

  • Homers allowed: 5
  • Average std. distance: 394.4
  • No doubt/Plenty/Just Enough/Lucky: 1/2/2/(0)
  • Percent of opp. runs via HR: 7 of 19 (36.8%)
  • Biggest blast: Troy Tulowitzki (433 ft.)

Yes, it’s Coors, but the standardized average distance of the homers hit in this series was actually longer, Coors effects disregarded.

Colorado just generally hit the ball better in this series, relying a little less on the long ball to get runs across. Brett Myers, for the second straight start, gave up three homers.

Blue: End of flight

(Tulowitzki) Blue: End of flight

Washington Nationals (@Nationals): April 13, 16

  • Homers allowed: 7
  • Average std. distance: 393.7
  • No doubt/Plenty/Just Enough/Lucky: 0/3/4/(1)
  • Percent of opp. runs via HR: 11 of 16 (68.8%)
  • Biggest blast: Adam Dunn (429 ft.)

This is kind of unfortunate to see. In two games, the Nationals absolutely decimated the Phillies with homers. Philly managing to win the first game was fortunate, but the loss in number two was really no surprise at all.

There were no homers that were “no doubters,” and more than half just made it out of the park. What hurts most is that fourth figure: nearly 70 percent of Washington’s runs came from home runs, and most of those barely left the park.

Blue: End of flight; Green: Standard distance

Blue: End of flight; Green: True distance

San Diego Padres (@CBP): April 17

  • Homers allowed: 3
  • Average std. distance: 369.3
  • No doubt/Plenty/Just Enough/Lucky: 0/3/0/(0)
  • Percent of opp. runs via HR: 5 of 8 (62.5%)
  • Biggest blast: Nick Hundley (381 ft.)

Well, it’s only one game, but I think you can see where this one is going, too.

Basically, the death of the Phillies this season has been the home run. Of the 23 homers, 16 have been allowed by starters, and a surprising seven from then bullpen. The only ‘pen pitchers who have not yet allowed a homer are Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre, but they have combined for just 7.1 innings of pitching.

Had the Phillies not allowed any home runs – unlikely, but nice food for thought – they would have allowed 34 fewer runs, lowering their season total from 62 to 28. Taking into account the fact that they have scored 49 runs (decent, but only seventh of 16 N.L. teams), their pythagorean recordĀ  without homers would be 7-2.

Long story short, the dingers are deadly. This can’t, and likely won’t continue all year if the Phillies are to succeed.

Blue: End of flight; Green: Standard distance

Blue: End of flight; Green: True distance

Right now, we’re considerably far behind the hot Marlins, but that won’t last. Florida will not win 90 percent of their games; they just won’t! Everyone knew this division would be incredibly tough, and the Phillies are having a typically slow April.

For my heart’s sake, keep the ball in the yard!

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Post-game 4/12: Phillies 7, Rockies 5

First, a Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

Second, how good it is to have Chase Utley on your team. That Matt Stairs guy has a little muscle, too.

The Phillies rallied to a 7-5 victory. Each of their victories have been of the come-from-behind variety.

The Phils overcame a rough outing from Chan Ho Park – again, I know it’s only one start, but J.A. Happ should be the guy for this role – with four late runs in securing their second straight victory.

It’s nice to see the offense hasn’t gone into hibernation just yet, but my won’t it be nice to get away from a home run paradise? Dexter Fowler homered for the Rockies, the twelfth opposing homer allowed by Phillies pitchers in just six games.

Matt Stairs Moonshots Inc.

Matt Stairs Moonshots Inc.

The Phillies wreaked some havoc upon the Colorado bullpen yet again, as Utley homered off dethroned closer Manny Corpas, and Stairs went mega-deep against new acquisition Huston Street.

The bullpen continues to be impressive, one or two innings aside, while the starters struggle. We know Cole Hamels is going to be slow for a little while, but Myers, Moyer, and Blanton need to tune things up a little bit.

Ryan Madson (1-0) picked up the win in relief, while Brad Lidge made things a little interesting before picking up the save, his second. Street (0-1) took the loss.

The Phillies travel to the capital to take on the Nationals next, with Jamie Moyer (0-1, 7.20) scheduled to take on Daniel Cabrera (0-1, 7.50).

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Filed under 2008-09 Season

Post-game 4/10: Rockies 10, Phillies 3

Cole Hamels getting rocked in his first start this season should have come as a surprise to no one.

The scare with his elbow set him back a great deal, and even if it isn’t hurting anymore, Hamels missed some valuable spring training time. Now, it appears as though these first couple starts in the regular season will have to take the place of those missed ST starts, after all.

This, needless to say, is unfortunate, and this probably will not be the last time this month that Hamels gets hit around. He touched 90 just once today.

Garrett Atkins homered in victory for the Rockies. Atkins, you recall, was involved in some short-lived trade rumors with the Phillies a while ago.

Additionally, Carlos Ruiz is now listed as day-to-day with a right oblique strain. The cause is a mystery, much like how Ruiz is really still the starting catcher on this team. (UPDATE: Lou Marson was pulled from the starting lineup for Lehigh Valley’s game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre just minutes before the first pitch. Is a call-up coming?)

On the plus side, Jayson Werth had an excellent game, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a ninth inning, solo home run. You’ll recall that I’ve been touting Werth for a big year all along, and I’ll single him out today just to help prove my case and make me feel as well as I can about this pick for the time being.

Deal!

Anyway, the Phillies now sit at 1-3, trudging through the molasses of April yet again.

Brett Myers (0-1, 6.00) faces off against Jorge De La Rosa (NR) tomorrow night in Colorado at 8:10 p.m. eastern.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that my thoughts and condolences go out to the family and temmates of Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed in a car crash just hours after pitching earlier this week.

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Filed under 2008-09 Season