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News » Phillies Notebook: So far, Phillies hitters have been selective

Phillies Notebook: So far, Phillies hitters have been selective

Phillies Notebook: So far, Phillies hitters have been selective
DENVER - Here's something you haven't had a chance to read very often over the last few years:The Phillies enter today's game against the Washington Nationals having struck out the fewest times of any team Baseball.After striking out four times yesterday in their 7-5 win against the Rockies, they have fanned just 28 times, with 24 walks."If we are even at the end of the year, that would be really good," Manuel said. "I don't know too many teams that are. At the same time, that's definitely worth looking at. That pops out at you.

It jumps out at you."Granted, six games is a small sample size. And, as Manuel implied, it is hard to imagine the Phillies maintaining their nearly 1-to-1 walk-to-strikeout ratio for the remainder of the season. Last year, they struck out 1,117 times, which ranked eighth out of 16 National League teams. They walked 586 times. Over the last three seasons, they have 3,525 strikeouts, fourth most in the NL.But the Phillies have been noticeably selective at the plate this season. According to, a Web site that catalogs a large amount of advanced data, the Phillies have swung at just 21.7 percent of the pitches they have faced outside the strike zone, the fourth-lowest rate in the majors and the lowest rate in the National League.First baseman Ryan Howard, who has 199 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons, has just four in 26 plate appearances so far.Manuel said he and hitting coach Milt Thompson always have preached the importance of patience and plate discipline. At the same time, he said every player has a different approach at the plate, and attempting to alter that approach can sometimes take him out of his comfort zone."They each have their own thing," Manuel said. "They feel comfortable that way, and comfort is what you look for."Park strugglesChan Ho Park summed it up best when speaking to reporters after his disappointing debut as a Phillies starter. "They beat me," the righthander said of his performance against the Rockies yesterday, "but they couldn't beat us."Hampered by what he said was a nonexistent slider, Park struggled to stay ahead in the count, allowing four runs in a 48-pitch first inning that lasted 27 minutes. Of the nine batters he faced in the first inning, six worked three-ball counts. Twice he got ahead of a hitter 0-2 only to allow a full count, the second of which resulted in a two-run single by Clint Barmes."He had a lot of deep counts," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He had nine three-ball counts. That's not good."None of the Phillies' starters - aside from, perhaps, righthander Brett Myers - has looked particularly good in their 2009 debut. The five-man rotation has combined to throw just 29 innings through six games, while the bullpen has thrown 24. Myers is the only starter who has thrown more than five innings in a start."[Park] hasn't started in a long time," Manuel said of the Korean native, who spent last season as a reliever for the Dodgers. "Of course, both teams play in this type of weather, but it wasn't a real great day to be pitching . . . That was his first time. We'll see. He's going to get a chance."Bullpen strongAfter allowing three walks and a hit - resulting in one run - in two-thirds of an inning against the Braves last week, righthander Chad Durbin worked on some mechanical issues he and Rich Dubee had pinpointed as problems. Yesterday, the improvement was noticeable, as the veteran reliever allowed one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings of relief.Dubee said Durbin had a noticeably smoother delivery."His first step in his delivery was quiet, his lift was quiet, his head was quiet, and he had a much better path to home plate," Dubee said.The bullpen, which was a strength last season, has started 2009 on a tear, allowing seven runs in 24 innings. Righthanders Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson both pitched scoreless innings and have yet to allow a run. Closer Brad Lidge recorded his second save, running his regular-season streak to 46 straight overall, including three with Houston in 2007.PhillersLefthander Cole Hamels threw a bullpen session yesterday and will throw another one before making his next scheduled start Thursday at Washington . . . Shorstop Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-5 yesterday and is now 3-for-28 (.107) on the season . . . Catcher Lou Marson spent a significant amount of time reviewing signals with lefthander Jamie Moyer prior to yesterday's game, but the rookie call-up said the Phillies had not told him he would be catching the veteran lefty today in Washington. *

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 13, 2009

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