If the aforementioned quote refers to a science fiction film, you can count me in. As it relates to baseball, though, I’m not on board. In a column for FOX Sports Ohio, Hal McCoy uses some dubious statistical comparisons to equate Phillips to Joe Morgan. It’s an otherwise interesting and informative column, but I can’t get past this:
Morgan played seven years for the Cincinnati Reds and Phillips is in his seventh year with the Reds. And so many of their statistics are dead-on similar that it is eerie.
Consider: Joe Morgan hit 152 home runs and Phillips has 150. Joe Morgan had 612 RBI and Phillips has 605. Brandon Phillips has 221 doubles and Morgan had 220. Brandon Phillips has 1,214 hits and Morgan had 1,155.
Consider: Morgan had a career .392 on-base percentage and led the league in the category four times. On ten different occasions, Morgan finished a season with a .400 or better OBP. Phillips has a career average .322 OBP and has never exceeded .353 in a season.
Morgan posted an .800 or better OPS on seven different occasions, going as high as 1.020 in 1976, the second of his back-to-back MVP award-winning seasons. Phillips has gone .800 or better just three times. When you adjust OPS for the quality of the league and for park effects, Morgan’s career average is 132, Phillips is at 97 (the general average is set at 100). Morgan also stole 689 bases in 851 attempts (81%) while Phillips has only stolen 154 in 215 attempts (72%). Phillips certainly has Morgan on defense and even though Baseball Reference credits Phillips at 52 career runs above average defensively and Morgan 48 runs below, Morgan easily wins the WAR battle 100 to 24.
Phillips is a great player and extremely fun to watch, but it is unfair to put him in the same conversation as one of the greatest second basemen ever to play the game of baseball.
Starter Mike Minor tossed seven and a third scoreless innings tonight as the Braves shut out the Mets 6-0. The lefty struck out ten and walked two, and even hit a home run in support of himself — a two-out, two-run shot off of Mets starter Dillon Gee, sparking what ended up being a five-run fifth inning. Minor’s effort tonight is the fourth consecutive start in which he has gone at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs. His ERA was lowered to 2.45, the best mark in the Braves’ starting rotation and moves him ahead of Cliff Lee for the eighth-best ERA among National League starters.
The Braves notch their eighth consecutive victory and their second today as the Braves had resumed a game, paused last night due to rain, defeating the Mets 7-5 in ten innings earlier. The two wins today bump the Braves up to 30-18, 5.5 games ahead of the Nationals and 6.5 ahead of the Phillies.
Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, felt soreness after his latest throwing session, reports Jenifer Langosch. Langosch clarifies that Carpenter didn’t feel pain, so the Cardinals won’t shut him down. Rather, they will have him long toss and throw bullpen sessions instead of facing live batters.
Carpenter only tossed 17 innings during the regular season last year and was expected to miss most of 2013, but he had progressed faster than expected prior to this small setback.
In related news, Jake Westbrook will likely see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his right elbow. Westbrook has a 1.62 ERA but hasn’t pitched since May 8.
Right-hander Roy Oswalt, signed by the Rockies to a Minor League deal on May 3, battled mechanical issues in his first start with Double-A Tulsa last night. In five innings, Oswalt allowed three runs on three walks and four hits, including two home runs. At least reports had his fastball touching 94 MPH.
MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports that Oswalt’s struggles were due to his faulty mechanics, to be expected for someone who is still working himself into playing shape.
“I want to work on my fastball command,” he told a reporter after the game. “The biggest thing was my mechanics were off. I felt good in the bullpen, but I tried to create too much once I got out there. The three walks that I gave up bother me more than the home runs because when you can’t pitch with your fastball, your other stuff won’t be that good.”
Oswalt will make three or four more starts before the Rockies make a decision on his future with the big league club. Last year, Oswalt made nine starts and eight relief appearances with the Rangers, posting a 5.80 ERA in 59 innings.
Cardinals starter John Gast exited today’s start against the Dodgers after recording just three outs. Gast walked Scott Van Slyke on five pitches to lead off the second inning before being taken out of the game with shoulder tightness, tweets Jenifer Langosch. This was the third start of the 24-year-old’s young career. He had allowed six runs in 11.1 innings prior to today’s start.
Joe Kelly relieved Gast, retiring the three Dodgers he faced in the second inning. Kelly is one option to replace Gast if the injury requires a stint on the disabled list. Prospect Michael Wacha is another option. Wacha, who turns 22 on July 1, has a 2.05 ERA in 52.2 innings with Triple-A Memphis.
Gast joins teammates Chris Carpenter, Jason Motte, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, and Fernando Salas as Cardinal pitchers to succumb to injury issues through the first eight weeks of the season.