Stat of the day: facing the Phillies

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Last week, I looked at the best and worst from how starters fared against the Yankees over the last five years.  Now, here’s a piece using the Phillies instead.  51 pitchers have started at least five games against them since the beginning of 2007:

Best
Hiroki Kuroda: 2-2, 1.41 ERA (six starts)
Tommy Hanson: 1-2, 2.23 ERA (seven starts)
Adam Wainwright: 2-1, 2.41 ERA (six starts)
Jair Jurrjens: 5-3, 2.45 ERA (11 starts)
Ricky Nolasco: 5-2, 2.59 ERA (nine starts)
Josh Johnson: 4-2, 2.60 ERA (10 starts)
Tim Lincecum: 4-1, 2.61 ERA (nine starts)
Tom Glavine: 3-0, 2.75 ERA (six starts)
John Maine: 2-1, 2.83 ERA (seven starts)
R.A. Dickey: 2-3, 2.90 ERA (five starts)
Tim Redding: 4-3, 2.92 ERA (11 starts)
Chad Billingsley: 1-2, 3.31 ERA (six starts)
Chris Young: 3-1, 3.34 ERA (six starts)
Derek Lowe: 6-5, 3.39 ERA (12 starts)
Tim Hudson: 3-4, 3.44 ERA (12 starts)
Matt Cain: 1-3, 3.48 ERA (five starts)
Jonathan Sanchez: 3-2, 3.48 ERA (six starts)

Worst
Charlie Morton: 1-3, 8.22 ERA (five starts)
Jorge De La Rosa: 0-4, 8.03 ERA (five starts)
Dontrelle Willis: 2-2, 7.00 ERA (five starts)
Ryan Dempster: 1-2, 6.91 ERA (five starts)
Aaron Cook: 0-4, 6.61 ERA (six starts)
Chuck James: 1-1, 6.46 ERA (five starts)
Jason Marquis: 3-5, 6.43 ERA (10 starts)
Todd Wellemeyer: 1-2, 6.38 ERA (five starts)
Jo-Jo Reyes: 0-3, 6.35 ERA (five starts)
Jeff Suppan: 0-3, 6.18 ERA (five starts)
Micah Owings: 2-2, 6.15 ERA (five starts)
Andrew Miller: 0-5, 6.06 ERA (seven starts)

A special dishonorable mention in the worst category goes to John Lannan, or at least the Nationals offense when Lannan is on the mound. The left-hander is 1-12 with a 5.77 ERA in 16 starts against the Phillies.

The pitcher who has faced the Phillies more than anyone over the last five years didn’t make either list. That’s Mike Pelfrey, who has gone 7-6 despite a 5.08 ERA in 18 starts.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.