Your Fightin' Phils are undefeated. Drink it in. Today (7 p.m. CST), they'll face Martin Perez, a 23-year-old lefty who had a solid season for the Rangers last season.
Martin Perez in 2013: 3.62 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 114 ERA+ in 124 1/3 innings.
Perez has spent most of the last four years as one of the top prospects in the game. Baseball America had him No. 17 pre-2010, No. 24 pre-2011, No. 31 pre-2012, No. 81 pre-2013. Perez has a fastball that sits 92-94 and a change up that he uses on roughly 25 percent of his pitches. He mixes in a slider too.
Tonight we'll have a chance to see how this lefty-dominant Phillies lineup fares against a lefty starter.
Here's the lineup for Game 2:
1. CF Ben Revere (L)
2. SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
3. DH Chase Utley (L)
4. RF Marlon Byrd (R)
5. 1B Ryan Howard (L)
6. C Carlos Ruiz (R)
7. LF John Mayberry Jr. (R)
8. 3B Jayson Nix (R)
9. 2B Cesar Hernandez (S)
So, about yesterday. . .
1) Tanner Scheppers couldn't throw strikes, and neither could the litany of relievers that followed him. The Phillies took what the pitcher gave them. According to my caclulations based on data available at Baseball-Reference, the Phillies saw a lower percentage of strikes yesterday (60.2 percent of the 191 pitches that the Rangers threw) than they did in all but 23 games last season. In those 23 games last season, they were 15-8 while averaging six runs per game.
2) Jake Diekman and B.J. Rosenberg combined to throw just 17 of 35 pitches for strikes. Diekman retired all three of the batters he faced in the sixth, including strikeouts of Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder. But Sandberg sent him back for the seventh, and both batters he faced reached base. Diekman pitched in multiple innings in only five of his 45 appearances last season.
As for Rosenberg. . .
The righty got a big ground ball double play from J.P Arencibia, but allowed the other two batters he faced for each base, Michael Choice on a single, Leonys Martin on a walk. We'll gave to give Sandberg a little while to figure out who plays where in the front of the bullpen, but it's clearly an area of concern, just as it was last season. I think Justin De Fratus is a better option than Rosenberg, but that's just me. Brad Lincoln was also at Sandberg's disposal and did not get the call. All stuff to file away as we start to take stock of this Phillies team over this first month of the season.
3) Jonathan Papelbon's fastballs yesterday: 91, 92, 91, 93, 92, 91, 91, 92, 92, 91, 92. That's pretty much what we saw last season. In 2012, his first season with the team, his fastball averaged 93.8 MPH, per FanGraphs.com. Velocity isn't everything. Papelbon continues to have good command while keeping the ball down in the zone. But the velocity is worth noting as we go along, because, at the very least, it is a baseline to measure change. He retired all three batters he faced yesterday.