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Bullpen Blows Another in Phillies 9-6 Loss to Atlanta

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 14, 2014 11:01 PM | Comments: 37
2014 Game Recaps, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

brownDomonic Brown’s three-run homer in a five-run eighth inning brought the Phillies back from a four run deficit. The problem, again, was the bullpen. Jake Diekman gave up a grand slam to Dan Uggla in the top of the ninth, and the Braves won 9-6.

Hernandez Sweats, Bullpen Wrecks 

-Jake Diekman, ugh. After the Phillies take a lead with a ridiculous eighth inning, Diekman was awful and gave up a grand slam to Dan Uggla. We’ve been over it with the bullpen time and again, so no sense harping on what everyone knows. It has killed this team.

-BJ Rosenberg was summoned to keep the game close in the eighth but failed to do so. Miserably. Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla, and Andrelton Simmons hit back-to-back-to-back bombs to blow the game open. Ryne Sandberg really didn’t want to use BJ Rosenberg, but did, and paid for it.

With the three straight home runs from the only three batters he faced, BJ Rosenberg became the only pitcher in the last 100 years to do so.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.17.34 PM

-Roberto Hernandez pitched admirably but completely ran out of gas. He was sweating like a roofer in summer, yet it was a cool, comfortable 70 degrees in the later innings. The Phillies left him out entirely too long, especially after he allowed a two-run homer to Evan Gattis in the sixth. All told, he somehow finished six innings, throwing 118 pitches, walking six (one intentionally) and striking out three.

Santana Smooth

-Ervin Santana was excellent, following up on his eight shutout innings last week. The Braves righty struck out 11 batters in six innings, allowing four hits and just the one run.

-That one run came off the bat of The Big Piece. Ryan Howard got the Phillies on the board in the second inning with his third home run of the season. He also struck out three times, including in the eighth inning with the bases loaded.

Utley’s Streak Continues

-Chase Utley struck out in his first two plate appearances, but extended his hitting streak to 11 games this season – and 16 dating back to last year – with a double in the sixth inning. He’s the first Phillie to start a season with an 11 game hitting streak since Don Demeter in 1963. Demeter’s streak reached 12 that year. Utley’s finished 2 for 5, his average dipping to .489 (22 for 45).

Other Stuff

-Uncharacteristically, Carlos Ruiz made two errors on the night as the suffering defense cannot find its collective footing. On the second error – a ball that got past Chase Utley on a throw to second – Jimmy Rollins should have been in a position to back up the play but was nowhere to be found.

-That eighth inning was 2008-like. They didn’t win the game because, sadly, the bullpen is not 2008-like. Yet, for a moment, if you closed your eyes, it looked pretty similar. A fun, bizarre, late inning comeback. Too bad. This team could easily be 9-4 or better with a passable bullpen.

 

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1667 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    This pitching coach is a joke. It really isn’t too early to fire him. He’s making frigging Dubee look good. I’m done for tonight.

     
    • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

      I agree. He looks asleep half the time with his Orange County choppers facial hair. However, Ruben “I make the worst contracts” Amaro really has hindered the bullpen. Papeltool and Mike “I haven’t pitched since” Adams make a ridiculous amount, leaving not much to work with after that. I’m still angry about this game. Dammit!

       
    • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

      The Phillies have a pitching coach??

       
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Hah!

         
  • Posts: 0 Guest

    There were other bums in the bullpen he could have used. Why send out a guy you didn’t want to use when you still had others available (not great choices but they were fresh). Like what Sandberg I’d doing with the team but his bullpen management is lucking. P.S. Utley go to first and get the out. That hurt just as much.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I didn’t check the lefty-righty matchups, but that’s probably why Sandberg used Rosenberg. The Phils really don’t have any real righthanded bullpen options at present.

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    This just embarrassing. Get the Severino kid up and recall Defratus and Horst.

     
  • Posts: 0 aruiz4927 .

    How’s getting sent down for Adams also I’m all for trading d brown for a bull pen arm

     
    • Posts: 804 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Maybe you could also trade me your car for my bicycle.

      Brown may never turn into a star, but you don’t trade a starting outfielder (and an all-star last year, for what it’s worth), for a guy who’s going to pitch 60 innings all year, and is just likely to stink as the current bunch are, given how erratic relievers are.

       
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        I’ll trade you my car for your bicycle if you promise not to sue me, later.

        But trading Dom Brown for a reliever would border on the insane, even if Brown was intent on becoming a full-time missionary at the conclusion of this season.

         
  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    Here’s a funny stat.
    The only position player in MLB who has at least nine at-bats and currently boasts a higher batting average than Chase Utley is… John McDonald.

    Yes, that John McDonald.
    The season is obviously young.

    Chase likely won’t end the year batting .500 (sorry) and I’m guessing the streaking John McDonald will probably drop below .556 – and with any luck, the Phils’ bull pen will end the season with something under a 7 ERA… just not much under, I’m afraid.

     
  • Posts: 887 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying this pen is good. But they have had their moments. Dikman has pitched well until tonight. But when your starters are struggling to get through 5-6 innings the pen is going to suffer.
    I also think with this pen you always should have someone warming up every inning when a reliever is in the game, like tonight, once Diekman didn’t have don’t let him pitch to the third batter. And also BJ after giving up 2 bombs he should have gotten the hook. Also Pap and his 15 million can’t pitch 4 days in a row.

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      As terrible as Diekman was in the 9th I still believe he’s going to be a excellent reliever. When he has his control he’s damn near un-hittable. I think his slider is faster than Papelbon’s fastball. Control is teachable – talent isn’t.Koufax was 26-year-old before he learned to cut down on walks. Diekman is 27 but has shown signs of better control this year. Hopefully, last night’s effort was a 1-off fluke. With a 98 mph fastball and a killer slider I’d hate for Ryno to shy away from giving Diekman the ball. He gave the ball to Holland after a terrible outing and Holland did the job. Let’s pray Diekman makes a similar rebound, otherwise…

       
      • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

        I think Jacob will be fine. Dude DOES have killer stuff. And it seems (key word) as though he’s also got that “edgy” thing that late inning relievers really need to have.

        No…last night I really blame our manager and his pitching coach (again…if he even exists!) for not getting someone up in the pen when Hernandez was OBVIOUSLY out of gas. 118 pitches???!!! That’s totally inexcusable.

         
      • Posts: 0 crow

        Really, Diekman is not the kind of pitcher you want facing Dan Uggla. As his perennial batting average suggests, Uggla isn’t difficult to get out, but he kills fastballs, even good ones, and Diekman’s slider is a much better pitch against LHB than RHB. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a decent RHP in the pen to put out there, and given the “roles” mentality, I’m not sure one would have been brought in even if available. I’d like to think so, though.

         
      • Posts: 120 photoFred

        Avatar of photoFred

        Diekman was pretty consistently *just* low in the zone. On another night with another umpire calling the game he maybe goes 1-2-3.

         
      • Posts: 887 betasigmadeltashag

        Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

        I did not mean to suggest that you don’t run Diekman out there. I think he will be an above average reliever. Just in a 1-2 run game you have another arm warming up at the beginning if those innings so they can be ready if any these guys are having an off night

         
      • Posts: 120 photoFred

        Avatar of photoFred

        Yeh, he’d been very good lately. Was it the situation (closing) or was it an unwillingness or inability to adjust to the ump’s strike zone? Whatever, the guy has a killer arm and a nasty delivery. We’ll see how he shakes this off.

         
      • Posts: 4559 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Yeah Chuck,
        I’ve been trying to give them a pass, but 118 pitches for Fausto was ridiculous. He went in to the inning with 80, so I get not having someone warming then, but it became apparent to me pretty quickly that he was cooked. Yet still there was no one warming.

        I know they don’t want to warm guys and not use them, but there comes a point where you have to.

         
  • Posts: 0 Dave

    118 pitches??!! oh my gosh, I’m surprised his arm didn’t fall off…lol. How can you blame the manager and the coaches when they didn’t assemble this atrocity? It doesn’t matter who they bring in, they all suck!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    I don’t understand why the Phils left Diekman in even before he loaded all the bases. Did the Phillies really have absolutely *no one* else who could’ve come in when it was clear Diekman didn’t have it?! Leaving him in was like conceding a loss. Where’s Wilson Valdez when we need him?! (Remember when he pitched in relief in a marathon game a couple years ago??)

     
  • Posts: 0 Vinnie

    On a positive note, the offence fought back. They all appear to be more patient at the plate. Byrd is a major improvement over Delmon Young. Brown looks good, and Gwynn appears to have worked his way into a starting job. Utley is off the charts at the moment.

    I’m not sure what to do with the bullpen. I think I would start by rotating players back and forth with AAA. Somebody mentioned Horst, why not give him a shot along with Aumont. They can’t be any worse than is currently there. Hopefully Adams can carry some of the load. Also, Starters need to get further into the game.

     
    • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

      It’s April. The starters aren’t really stretched out enough yet to go further. Plus, Hernandez was at 118 pitches last night. He couldn’t go any further.

       
      • Posts: 887 betasigmadeltashag

        Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

        One of my points was that the starters can’t continue to throw 100 pitches in 5 innings

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        Hernandez went six, which is a pretty decent outing for the bottom of any rotation. But because Burnett hasn’t done well, Lee has had one bad game, and one start was made by a Hamels stand-in who was only allowed to go 80 pitches, the starters are putting a burden on the bullpen right now.

        However, I don’t expect Lee to pitch too many 5-6 inning games, Burnett should be better, and Hamels will be back soon. In other words, starters won’t “continue to throw 100 pitches in 5 innings.”

         
  • Posts: 4559 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    On the positive side, what a great rally in the 8th. I think that’s a really good sign. These guys won’t just fold up and quit. I get a feeling there’s gonna be a lot of games like this in 2014.

     
    • Posts: 804 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Lefty, I don’t see it in terms of having grit vs. quitting. To me, if they can keep hitting like they have and be a top 3-4 offense in the NL, like they are so far, then they will score often and that will mean they occasionally stage a late inning comeback.

      But a big reason they’ve hit relatively well so far is that they have had an extremely high .346 batting average on balls in play. Whether that’s due to luck, or just good hitting, either way that will drop to something in the .300 range by the end of the year (in 2013 every NL team’s BABIP was in the range of .275-.317).

       
      • Posts: 0 crow

        LOL, Utley’s .500 is pulling the team average up!

         
      • Posts: 804 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        Exactly.

         
      • Posts: 4559 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I guess what I meant was that any of us can and will be disheartened, discouraged and demoralized from time to time, and that absolutely can affect future performance. I thought it was good to see that that did not happen to the club last night after a three home run inning given up by their pitcher.

        Otherwise, I agree

         
    • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

      Lefty,
      I agree. It was very reminiscent of 2008.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Many stats are obviously subject to early seasonality, So the glossy figures laid out by 4 of the players sporting best starts in the NL are nothing new.

    Freddie Freeman .385 BAPIP .404 actual average

    Justin Upton .448 BAPIP .354 actual average

    Charlie Blackmon .477 BABIP .478 actual average

    Chase Utley .500 BAPIP .489 actual average

    In the case of the 2 Braves, there’s something very alarming that stares out. Freeman, with the higher average than his average on balls in play. Upton, with a BAPIP much lower than his average, suggesting some bad hitting luck, or good charm defensively. All of these guys have played long enough that it’s reasonable to project returns to their norms by year end. Blackmon is short of that by typical standards of 3 full big league years, but he does have numbers that accumulate to 1 full season. So indicators certainly lean toward a guessable conclusion, although any of this is pretty guessy.

    The “frightening” thing is Freeman, at 25, and Upton at 27, are on the verge of breakout/prime years, and while the Braves have pitching questions to overcome, their big problem a year ago was an offense that was very shaky.

    As for Chase, if you watch him hit, he looks (as usual) so basic, and so fundamental that you can be inclined to think this is a permanent groove. That’d be a first in baseball history. I figure he’s the most likely of this quartet to regress to fulfilling predictable season numbers, which is dangerous at his age of 35, but the other 3 guys, 2 of whom play against the Phils in the division, let alone another seemingly superior club in the Nats, might all have breakout type years that surpass the type of regression these hot starts would lead you to believe. But if Chase does the regress to normal, and who knows if that has to fully happen, you still won’t hear too many complaints about the year. The question is when he regresses, to whatever degree, who is gonna pick it up to offset his normality. Boy, is that an imaginative question.
    The other question would be who expected THIS, but that’d be like extending an invitation to liars only, even if it is such a small portion of a long year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Lotta inverted stuff on Upton. E-6 all over the place. Make my head spin to reread all that and straighten it out, but in a nutshell, he maybe doesn’t regress as much as might be expected off prior years. His BAPIP is so elevated, you’d think it would drop big time. And he did, last year, after all but clinching a HOF berth with his 2013 April. That was then, and somewhere in the rest of his career is the now portion of his great talent.

     
    • Posts: 804 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Right on Upton, his overall average is much lower than his BABIP because he strikes out so much, since the K’s are of course not include in calculating BABIP. So Upton is looking at very significant regression, as well, I believe.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        It’s true on the strikeouts, no disputing that, so I may have been off base directing toward the bad hitting luck, and/or good luck defensively thinking he’d have less disparity, so thanks for saying I was right on Upton when I was wrong.

        But while your suggestion about regression wouldn’t be shocking, I don’t know about the significantly part. Words like that are somewhat gray anyway, but that guy has tools, and as he enters his prime years, he’s kinda scary. He did have a horrible time of it after a firey start last year, so there’s precedence, but I think his potential is still a good bit higher. Scale of 1-10, I’d say I’m 6.5 certain of that greater potential, for what it’s worth.

         
      • Posts: 804 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        (I meant you were right in correcting yourself on Upton’s babip)

        I’ve never been quite sure what to make of Upton’s potential. While in Arizona, he didn’t hit very well away from his hitter-friendly home park:

        Home: .307/.389/.548 (.937 OPS, .399 wOBA)
        Away: .250/.325/.406 (.731 OPS, .320 wOBA)

        Having said that, he hit well on the road last year (.859 OPS), so I’m certainly going to worry when the comes to the plate.

         
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Burnett has a hernia… will pitch through it. That’s not good.

    I like the team… so many question marks have been answered favorably. The guys we needed to hit are hitting – we just need to be better defensively and get better starting pitching but overall, the team is in good shape. Howard will go on a hot streak and his numbers will inflate… what we’re getting now is okay from him in a non-hot streak. Dom, Chase, Jimmy… all those guys are producing adequately. Our bench is pitching in, our relievers excluding injury and unavailability are doing okay… the magic is there. The fight is there. Just have to stay positive and hungry…

    I like Diekman a lot but I can’t help but wonder if he has the mental fortitude to close. I heard him in an interview a week or so ago and I sort of got the feeling that he was a little erratic. It was a very awkward interview, to say the least… I don’t know Jake Diekman personally but I got the sense that he was rather unique. Most closers are a bit unique but just because you’re unique doesn’t mean you can close… if he can’t throw a strike in the highest pressure situation, he’s not going to be able to close.

     
 
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