Posts Tagged ‘Free Baseball’

If Only Halladay Was Halladay This Season…

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, September 25, 2012 07:00 AM Comments: 11

Roy Halladay has a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts since returning from the DL.

No Chase Utley for 76 games. No Ryan Howard for 84 games. Worst eighth-inning ERA in baseball for most of the season. Costly, poor defense from Placido Polanco’s replacements at third base.

It’s crazy to say, but through all of it, the Phillies would still be right in the wild-card race if they got just a bit more out of Roy Halladay.

Halladay has made 24 starts this season. The Phillies have absolutely no reason to send him out on the mound again, so he’ll hopefully finish the 2012 season with those 24 starts. Only 15 were quality starts.

The dominance just wasn’t there. In 2010, Halladay had 15 starts in which he gave up one or no runs. Last year, he had 13. This year? Try five.

There were seven games this season where Doc allowed four or more runs. If you reduce that to, say, four games, the Phillies are probably three wins better, and a mere game or two behind the second wild-card spot.

I’m not a big fan of “if this happened, then this would have happened” line of thinking that leads to statements like “if Halladay didn’t give up that first-inning homer the Phillies would have won, 2-1!” That standpoint takes for granted that Halladay would have been throwing different pitches in different situations if the first-inning homer never occurred.

So, yeah, maybe if Halladay pitched better the Phillies wouldn’t have been far enough out of the playoff race to sell at the deadline. Maybe they wouldn’t have played pressure-free baseball and thrived doing it.

But looking at the standings and his numbers as of Sept. 24, it really sinks in just how much Halladay’s mediocrity affected the Phillies this season. It was said the past two years that the one player the Phils couldn’t afford to lose was Doc.

This season, they didn’t just lose him for seven weeks with a lat strain. They lost him for five months after a brilliant April, when he transformed from the Ace of Aces to just another pitcher with a solid strikeout rate and a 4.00-plus ERA.

It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. It’s hard to believe that Halladay won’t always be what he was in 2010 and 2011. But the problems he’s dealing with – a tired shoulder, changes in his rotator cuff, less life on his cutter and sinker, less speed on his fastball – are legitimate issues that pop up at this point in a pitcher’s career.

It happened to Greg Maddux, a no-doubt Hall of Famer who had a 4.13 ERA over his last six seasons. It can happen to anybody.

The Phillies are hoping that this was just a blip on Halladay’s otherwise clean radar screen. That he comes back next year and doesn’t miss in the middle of the plate and allow so many early home runs. That he stops trying to nibble and maintains the brilliant walk rates of seasons past.

If not … well, it’s easy to imagine a team so heavily reliant on pitching playing the “What if?” game again next fall.


Week In Review – Survival Is the Key

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, May 06, 2012 04:00 PM Comments: 11

Cliff Lee could start Wednesday against the Mets.

As frustrating as this week has seemed, the Phillies can still come out after tonight’s game 4-3 for the week.  A win tonight also helps the Phils avoid the sweep at the hands of the NL East Washington Nationals.  There were a couple bad tasting losses this week; both extra inning affairs with Atlanta and the Nats.

There are a lot of things ailing the Phillies.  Charlie Manuel has to better use his bullpen I think.  I have never been more uncomfortable with him calling for Joe Savory and Brian Sanches.  Jonathan Papelbon has been very good this season going a perfect nine for nine in saves, but it seems Manuel is skeptical about using him for more than one inning.

The offense has been clicking better lately.  There are still times where the bats disappear and it seems like a million runners get stranded.  Manuel has tried countless lineups to see what works best.  It is probably in his best interest to find one and stick with it.  This will give the guys he is using to have regular swings and looks.  It’s hard for a guy to come off the bench one day, and then play the next.  Consistency is key.

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Free Baseball Not Friendly To Phils

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, May 04, 2012 11:35 PM Comments: 20

The Phillies took Strasburg deep twice, it just wasn't enough.

There is indeed something special about these Washington Nationals. They remind me a lot of the Phillies when they finally gave into the call for the youngsters.  The Phillies fought back all night but ultimately fell short 4-3 in the 11th inning.

Strasburg’ed – Hunter Pence homered off Stephen Strasburg in the fourth inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.  It was the first home run given up by Strasburg since August 2010.  Carlos Ruiz, who has been on an absolute tear, also took the righty deep in the fifth inning.  Ruiz’s fifth home run of the year gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

KKKyle Kendrick, making another start in place of injured Cliff Lee, pitched very efficiently for five innings of work.  He allowed only one run on seven hits and struck out two.  The radar gun had him topping our at 94 tonight.  But then again it says Nats reliever Henry Rodriguez was hitting triple digits, so who knows.

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Watching Paint Dry As Pirates Win

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, April 07, 2012 11:06 PM Comments: 28

Cliff Lee pitched well enough to win. The offense was on a different agenda. Source - MLB.com

What will go down in the books as a Joe Blanton loss actually had nothing to do with the Kentucky chubster.  The Phillies provided free baseball for everyone like it was treat.  Truth be told, this game should not have lasted this long.

Call it typical or what to expect this season from the Phillies, but the offense was just nonexistent tonight.  Seven hits over 10 innings is all this team could manage against a mediocre pitcher in Jeff Karsten.  Karsten went six innings, allowed only a first inning run and confused Phillies hitters all night.

What was also very confusing tonight was the strike zone.  Normally I will never mention this but there wasn’t one tonight.  The home plate umpire was all over the place.  Who knows, really, what effect this had on anything.  Cliff Lee pitched well enough to get a win tonight.  He went six strong innings struck out four and the only run surrendered was on a passed ball in the sixth inning.

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Ibanez Leads Way to Sweep of Pirates

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sun, July 31, 2011 05:39 PM Comments: 38

With the addition of Hunter Pence, the offense is expected to ignite.  Last night, Ryan Howard saw more pitches in the zone, with Pence providing protection.  The talk is all about Pence, but Raul Ibanez is showing that there is no need for him to ride the pine.  Known as a streaky hitter, Ibanez is in the midst of a hot streak.

Ibanez  finished the day 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs.  He started the action with a solo shot in the first inning.  The one run was enough for starter Vance Worley, until the fifth inning.

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