Victories in 7 out 8, Can Vince Valasquez keep it going?
Last night was a promising start for Vince Valasquez. The Phillies opened a 4 game series with a 6-2 win, and improved to 8-0 versus the NL Central. All, very good things, I think we are deep enough into the season, to say the Phillies, are ahead of their rebuild plan. I continue to harp on this, but its a good point to make. The current record is 25-16 1/2 game out of first place and a 25-16 record. Had we not been 8-14 in our own division and played even .500 ball, we would be 28-13. Outside the NL East, we are 17-2. We will need to improve against, the NL East, as we have 54 of them remaining, and like every year, many will come later in the year.
How bout Vince last night, and how bout his last few outings. Last night, he went 6 and 1/3, gave up 5 hits, had 5Ks, and 2 walks, and allowed 0 runs. The improvement over the last several starts, has been tremendous. Since May started, hes lowered his ERA over a point, and the numbers have gotten better. Lets take a look.
March, and April, were more characteristic of the Valasquez from prior seasons. High pitch counts, low inning totals, and many deep balls given up. Since May he has gotten much better, he is mixing pitches, getting a head of hitters, not working as many deep counts, and more importantly adjusting the second and third time through the lineup. If we put his last 3 starts in perspective the numbers, would look more like this:
—17 1/3 IP, 11 H, 4Runs (all earned), 21 Ks, 7 Walks, 3 HRs allowed, a 2.08 ERA, and most importantly a 3-0 record.
As a team you would take these numbers from any of your starters, but then keep in mind, hes at best, the third best pitcher on this roster. The only real negative I could say currently is that I wish he would work deeper into games. He is still averaging 16.8 PPI (pitches per inning over the last 3, which is why he has not gone further then 6 and 1/3 innings, in any game this year. That is really the only negative I can currently say about Vince so far this season, as I documented before, its been a crutch.
Odubel Herrera continues to get on base…
A first inning walk, extended the streak to 43. But he also added 2 more hits, and hustled.
Boy the ‘Odubel Herrera doesn’t hustle to first base’ crowd sure is quiet this year pic.twitter.com/9xeXbET4BI
— Thiago Scabbia (@TScabbia) May 18, 2018
He went 2-4 with a single, double, walk, and an RBI. As, I stated early, he is having a historic year. He should be a no doubt all star, but with it being a popularity contest, and his inability to connect with fans, due to a language barrier. It may not happen. Just ask the greatest Phillie ever.
So as of right now, lets look at some numbers. Let’s go to another tier right now.
–Average: .361 (Best in NL, 2nd best in baseball)
–On Base Percentage .431 (2nd in NL, 4th best in baseball)
–Slugging Percentage .558 (8th Best in NL, 17th best in baseball)
–OPS .989 (3rd best in NL, 9th best in baseball)
–WAR 2.1 (3rd best in NL, 11th best in baseball)
**All of this, while continuing to play gold glove defense in CF, and get penciled into the lineup everyday. Tell me if not him, who is the NL MVP if the season ends today. I bet you can’t.
Yup…Carlos Santana, continues to rake..
Its May, its almost a guarantee. Death, Taxes, and Carlos Santana getting hot after a slow start. As we touched on May has been a turn around. A .275 average this month alone. 12 XBH, 17 RBIs, 6 HRs, and 1.104 OPS, raised his average 46 points just this month. He also leads the team in Home Runs currently, as last night, this happened.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 18, 2018
Another dinger, his 8th on the year, now putting him in the team lead, which also started the scoring. He is also now second on the team in RBI’s at 28 only one behind Mikael Franco.
Rhys Hoskins…Sophomore Slump?
This seems a bit apparent. But I did warn about this, pitchers eventually learn how to pitch hitters, it just takes time, the good hitters adjust. Hopefully Rhys will do just that. His May however, has not been what the fans, or I believe himself expected.
Only 9 hits, the whole month, with 21 Ks, along with a .188 average. He is on the opposite path of the above mentioned Carlos. He is hitting 90 points worse this month, and the average has gone down 15 points since the start of the month. Looking at these numbers the more worry some part for me is the lack of walks. He was a much more patient hitter at the start of the season. Over the last month, I have seen bad swings, and bad at bats, including getting fooled on a lot of off speed junk.
I for one believe in this kid, he showed me great amount of discipline, in his brief stint here last year, and early part of this year. It is one of those things, all young players experience in their career, the competition adjust and you either adjust or you continue to struggle. Rhys, is young, and his manager is giving him many at bats to work it out. It is good for the kid, and the manager should be applauded for doing it. Rhys will turn this thing around, he will be hitting in the middle of this order, for years to come.
As a young hitter, he needs to work deeper counts, see more pitches, and get on base, like he was early in the season. All hitters when they struggle, try to swing at the first pitch they see. This often leads to over swings, turning over, and worse strikeouts. Mikeal Franco still struggles with this. Rhys, however is a more patient hitter, with batter bat control and plate coverage, and a more complete swing the Mikael. It is way to early to hit the panic button yet.
More importantly the team is 9 games over 500, so enjoy.