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It Should Have Been Lindblom

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, August 24, 2012 09:10 AM | Comments: 11
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Lindblom is struggling.

Jeremy Horst is likely having the greatest year of his life. A year after making his Major League debut with Cincinnati in 2011, Horst has pitched well enough to cement a spot in the Majors with the Phillies in 2012. Horst has been dominant: in 18 IP with the Phils, Horst has 22 Ks and has only allowed two ER, holding lefties to an impressive .214/.290/.214 line and righties to a neutered .189/.293/.278 line.  On Monday, the Phils placed Horst on paternity leave to mark the arrival of his family’s second child and called-up Phillippe Aumont in his place. Congratulations again to the Horst family.

There was not much doubt as to what would happen with Horst when he returned from the paternity list. As expected, Horst returned immediately to the Phillies, activated Thursday, and pitching a perfect tenth with two Ks. And, for the most part, it was expected that Aumont would return to Triple-A Lehigh Valley once Horst returned. Except, that did not happen.

Instead, Aumont remained on the active 25-man roster and threw a scoreless inning on Thursday night. Michael Schwimer was instead optioned to Triple-A. Schwimer was last seen on Sunday, pitching his way out of a self-inflicted bases-loaded jam in the ninth by striking out back-to-back batters. Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet is reporting that Schwimer had been suffering from arm soreness. Salisbury cited two sources with the club who thought Schwimer should have been placed on the DL instead of being demoted, which would have allowed Schwimer to continue to receive Major League pay and keep his service clock running.

If Schwimer is healthy enough to pitch, which from Salisbury’s sources, he is not, he should not have been sent down. Schwimer has appeared in 35 games this year for the Phils and has pitched well. Schwimer has changed his approach to feature his slider more, relying on a 1-2 mix of fastball slider. For the most part, Schwimer has avoided the long-ball and has reduced his walk-rate. His fielding-independent pitching numbers from FanGraphs suggest his adjusted ERA would be around 3.71 while continuing to average over a K/IP.

Meanwhile, since arriving in Philadelphia, Josh Lindblom has been an unmitigated disaster. The 6’4″ righty from Lafayette, IN has appeared in nine games for the Phils, averaging exactly a K/IP while also averaging nearly a BB/IP as well (7.88 BB/9 IP). Lindblom has allowed 3 HR, getting hit hard on his two and four-seam fastballs. While Lindblom has held opposing hitters to a .226 BA, opposing hitters are slugging .581 against Lindblom, a number that would trail only Ryan Braun on the NL leader board. The .355 ISO mark opposing hitters are putting up against Lindblom would easily lead the NL, as well.

Lindblom obviously will get more rope because of his inclusion in the Shane Victorino trade, but at this stage, Schwimer being 26 and Lindblom being 25, Schwimer seems to be at a better position to turn the corner. Schwimer has better numbers in his career at limiting home runs, is more adept at striking batters out, and his BB/9 IP are trending down instead of trending up like Lindblom’s. As my colleague Eric Seidman wrote after his acquisition, the Phillies may have been better-served to investigate Lindblom’s performance away from Dodger’s Stadium’s friendly confines further. This situation becomes a little more complicated because of the fact that Schwimer may be hurt and the entire situation could have been avoided, but if Schwimer is well enough to pitch, Lindblom should have been the odd man out.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 848 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Eric

    So does Lindblom have options available?

     
  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    Lindblom does have at least one option year left, however, one thing I admittedly hadn’t considered in great depth was the fact that rosters can expand in 8 days and that anyone optioned probably will return anyhow at that point. It’s worth noting that the Pigs are 0.5 GB of the IL WC though and may hold on to some of their players again as displayed in 2011.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I was about to bring up that roster expansion thing until I saw that you had commented about it.

      By sending Schwimer down, they don’t waste any of his options because he’s been down before this season. If Lindblom was farmed, it would cost an option (unless the Dodgers did that already this year) so there is some logic involved, especially if Schwimer is hurting. Not putting Schwimer on the DL also allows a return sooner than 15 days if he’s ready to go then.

      I’m also sure Lindblom is getting a longer look because the Phils don’t yet know his exact capabilities (or lack of capabilities) but they pretty well know what Schwim can do.

       
  • Posts: 117 Dave P

    Avatar of Dave P

    Sunk cost syndrome. “We gave up an all star to get him so if we send him down, it’d look bad. So rather than do what’s best for the team competitively, we’ll just try to save face and hope Lindblom turns it around.”

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Finally somebody agrees with me about the untimely release of John Bowker. But I would like to add that we should have kept Hector Luna on the Phils squad, as well.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I don’t think you can ignore Lindblom’s relatively good performance at the Dodgers for half a year. Schwimmer has been less than impressive. Add in the option issue and that it may be for only 9 days I think this is a non-issue not deserving of your headline. Schwimmer’s “injury” can be resolved via grievance although I suppose he might suddenly heal on September 1.

     
    • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      I think as Eric Seidman pointed out, a lot of Lindblom’s fairly solid work in LA was due to him pitching in LA. His skill set and repetoire plays a lot better than in Philadelphia or even on the road.

      I do agree, however, that a grievance will be filed and that Schwimer may magically heal on the first, as well.

       
  • Posts: 0 George

    I’m not so sure about that grievance. That could cause some bad feelings, and if it’s not a real injury, but a need for a short rest, Schwimer wouldn’t win, anyway.

    I do see him recovering by the 1st, though, because I think it’s only a case of the latter: he just needs to sit a few games.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    Interesting read….I’ve only watched Schwimer a few times…His fastball is still a little flat and he tends to challenge hitters straight down the chute. While he can probably maintain a good K ratio, he will get hit (more) as well in the majors. I just hope he doesnt turn out like that other guy whats his face who plays in Japan now…

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave Lerch

    Does it really matter who gets sent down? Neither Schwimer or Lindblom have performed well enough to stay in the big leagues.The bullpen is a total mess and needs to be completely revamped next year. I have no hope for Schwimer or Lindblom for the future or any of our young guys for that matter. The pen has performed terribly all season long and you could argue it has been the most disappointing part of the team. However, a couple of moves in the off season and moving Kendrick back to the pen and we’re in good shape again. Lots of holes to plug for next year,but hopefully we won’t neglect the pen or waste time hoping these guys get better, because they won’t.

     
  • Posts: 0 Madeleine

    They both suck, but only Schwimer is big baby. Boo hoo.

     
 
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