Posted by Eric Seidman, Thu, May 23, 2013 10:28 AM Comments: 3
The Phillies will pay tribute to the past later this summer, with Brad Lidge retiring in red pinstripes a day before Curt Schilling is inducted into the Wall of Fame. Schilling, the Phillies ace from 1992 until midway through the 2000 season, won three World Series rings after leaving Philadelphia but produced two of his best seasons here and provided long-lasting memories with his 1993 heroics.
Schilling was also the topic of an interesting discussion on 97.5 The Fanatic last week that juxtaposed him against a recent Phillies ace. The discussion centered on whether fans would have rather had peak-Schilling or peak-Halladay heading their staff. The results were split. Even though the availability bias — how more recent information can color our opinions — could have moved the needle towards the truly dominant Roy Halladay, there are still plenty of people who remember how brilliantly Schilling pitched.
There are both tangible and intangible factors to incorporate into this discussion but it really looks like a dead heat.
Regardless of his tough-to-watch 2013 campaign, Halladay very much remains an inner circle Hall of Fame pitcher. Schilling, who pitched in an era flush with HOF-worthy talent, will probably get in even if not on the first ballot. There is no wrong answer when choosing between two of the best pitchers in the long history of a sport, but the statistical comparisons were much closer than you may have thought.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, May 12, 2013 07:36 PM Comments: 9
Just the way they drew it up, I’m sure.
The Phillies somehow, someway, come away with a 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, finishing off their seven-game road trip 4-3.
Kyle Kendrick threw seven strong innings, again, but did not factor in the decision. He was hurt, as Phillies pitchers seem to be so often this season, by the lack of an offense. However, KK lowered his ERA to 2.47. Brandon McCarthy, he of the 6.75 ERA going into the game, shut them down over eight innings. But everything changed when Arizona went to the bullpen.
Heath Bell allowed two runs on doubles by Chase Utley and Delmon Young, then an RBI single by Dom Brown to tie it at two. Then in the 10th, off a lefty who had not allowed a run all season – Matt Reynolds – Ryan Howard deposited a two-run single for the W.
Maddening. Frustrating. It all applies to the team. They win the first two of the road trip, the first against Cy Young candidate Madison Bumgarner, then lose three straight, then win the final two. They scored 12 runs the first two games, then 13 runs over the final five.
This team is impossible to figure out right now. But alas, they do what they had to do, and that’s win more than they lost on a tough road swing out west.
Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, May 10, 2013 12:38 AM Comments: 24
Cole Hamels had another good pitching performance, but was charged with the loss.
Unfortunately, Charlie Manuel could not win the game in which he became the Phillies longest-tenured manager. Cole Hamels didn’t get any help from the offense, as the Phillies dropped the first of a four game series to the Diamondbacks, 2-1. The Phils were only able to collect six hits in total, and made a few baserunning errors in a poor offensive performance.
Cole Hamels and Patrick Corbin really put on a show, giving up a combined three runs over a combined 12.1 innings. Hamels’ line was 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K. He struggled with giving up walks, but still pitched a pretty good game. Both runs he gave up came on groundouts. Corbin’s line was 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. He had the Phillies hitters guessing every at-bat. He even threw a good amount of fastballs to Ryan Howard, who had an 0-4 night with two strikeouts. Hamels lowered his ERA to 4.18, and Corbin lowered his to 1.75 (!!!). Continue reading Phils Drop First of Series to D-Backs
Cliff Lee came up huge for the Phillies on Monday night. (AP Photo)
The Phillies kicked off their seven-game road trip in style on Monday night in San Francisco, notching a 6-2 victory over the world champion Giants behind the arm of Cliff Lee and the bat of Michael Young. Lee sparkled in 8 innings, looking very much like the dominant starter we saw in early April. Young knocked in two runs, scored another and had three hits and an intentional walk.
CLIFTON DAZZLES AGAIN IN STOPPER ROLE
- As I pointed out in today’s Gameday, Lee had been dominant in two of three starts that have come after Doc disasters. Make that three of four. Monday night’s performance was vintage Cliff Lee. The lefthander worked quickly, was economical with his pitches and had elite command. Of the 102 pitches he threw, a remarkable 71 were strikes. His final line; 8 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 0 BB… and one line drive single.
- Not only did Lee only surrender 5 hits, he induced a trio of double play groundouts that enabled him to get through eight innings. Lee faced one batter over the minimum through seven. Pence was the only Giant that Lee had trouble with. Pence was 3 for 3 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
YOUNG, OFFENSE IMPRESSIVE VERSUS BUMGARNER
- After a two-out Chase Utley walk loaded the bases in the second inning, Young laced a two-run double down the right field line off Madison Bumgarner. Utley scored shortly thereafter on a wild pitch from Bumgarner, making it 3-0 Phillies. The Phils also loaded the bases in the first inning, but were unable to get on the board.
Posted by Eric Seidman, Wed, May 01, 2013 10:19 AM Comments: 18
After three straight promising starts Roy Halladay turned in another clunker Tuesday night. In allowing eight runs on nine hits and two walks, Halladay finished April with a 6.75 ERA, 5.73 FIP and a ghastly 2.25 HR/9. He cost the Phillies 0.3 WAR last month.
MLB Network noted this morning that Halladay’s 5.59 ERA over the last calendar year (April 30, 2012 to April 30, 2013) is the second-worst among starters with 150 innings thrown. Only Ubaldo Jimenez has prevented runs at a worse rate.
In third place on that list is Joe Blanton, the former Phillie whose struggles to prevent runs in spite of impressive strikeout, walk and groundball rates is well known in these parts.
Based on the splits and filters offered at Fangraphs, Halladay and Blanton are the only two pitchers to fall into the following criteria since April 30, 2012: K/9 between 7.5 and 8.3, BB/9 between 1.8 and 2.5, GB% between 40% and 45% and FIP between 4.30 and 4.50.
While those K, BB and GB rates are solid, they don’t often translate into success when pitches are left over the middle of the plate and knocked out of the park. Whether it’s injuries or simply a decline in pure ability, Roy Halladay has been a different pitcher for over a year now. Unfortunately, that different pitcher resembles Joe Blanton more than anyone else.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, April 25, 2013 04:28 PM Comments: 30
In yet another lame showing, the Phillies fell to the Pirates, 6-4, dropping three of four in the series.
LEE BLOWS LEAD, BULLPEN STRUGGLES
-Even the great Cliff Lee is not immune to the virus spreading through this team. With a two run lead in the seventh, Lee gave up back-to-back singles to center field, the first to Gaby Sanchez – who also homered to put the Pirates on the board – and then Michael McKenry, tying the game at 3-3. After seven innings and 122 pitches, Lee fanned seven, allowed 10 hits, three runs, and one walk.
-With the score tied in the eighth, Phillippe Aumont was summoned from the bullpen and did the chic thing – give up runs. Aumont allowed three runs on three hits in just 1/3 of an inning before being pulled in favor of Chad Durbin.
-Consider me someone who has been a believer in Aumont. With his power arm, he seemed destined to become a very good major league relief pitcher. Instead, he has a WHIP of 1.95 in just 6 2/3 innings this season. That won’t cut it. The Phillies need pitchers they can rely on and right now Aumont is not one.
-Nor is Durbin, who came in and allowed one inherited runner to score. He also allowed two moon-shot foul balls to Pedro Alvarez before finally retiring him on a hard hit ball to center. This bullpen is completely bi-polar. Durbin has made 7 appearances this season, and has either allowed an earned run or inherited runner(s) to score in 6.
OFFENSE SPUTTERS AGAIN
-Domonic Brown knocked in two of the three Phillies runs, the first on a bloop double to center field. Nice to see him running hard on a ball that landed in no-mans land and stretch it into a double. Brown brought home a second run on a bullet sac fly to center field. He would double for a second time in the ninth, finishing 2-for-3.
-Jimmy Rollins finished 0-for-3 and his average dropped to .258 in the process. After such a hot start, Rollins seems to be leveling off. Ryan Howard raised his average to .284, but is still putting up some nasty-looking at-bats.
-Kevin Frandsen got a start for Michael Young at third base and reached base twice in four PA’s.
-Odd moment: After Frandsen’s eighth inning double, Chase Utley bunted him to third with no outs. The Phillies best hitter should not be bunting under any circumstances, ever. Ever. Utley also committed his fifth error of the season dropped what looked like a routine line drive in the ninth. While he is hitting, his fielding is suspect, which is very un-Utley-like.
-I’m actually happy to see Charlie Manuel get ejected. After an odd play in which Erik Kratz was interfered with at home plate by Clint Barmes, Manuel came out and argued until he could argue no more. That’s as much fire as we’ve seen from this team in quite a while.
Posted by Alex Lee, Sun, April 21, 2013 11:48 PM Comments: 8
After striking for two runs in the first, the Phillies offense was unable to get to a very hittable Jake Westbrook through six innings on Sunday night. Enter the Cardinals bullpen. The Phils scored five runs in the seventh and eighth – three of which came off a towering three-run shot from Erik Kratz – to notch a 7-3 victory and a series split against St. Louis. Kyle Kendrick kept his team in it with a gutsy six-inning performance against a potent Cardinals lineup.
Kyle Kendrick was solid again on Sunday for the Phillies.
OFFENSE COMES UP BIG WHEN IT COUNTS
- After grounding into a rally-killing double play in the sixth, Ben Revere redeemed himself two innings later when he stung a tie-breaking single up the middle in the eighth off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs. Kratz hit the next pitch from Boggs deep into the cold Philadelphia night to blow it open, and the Phillies concluded their nightmarish week on a high note.
- Within that eighth inning, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games in controversial fashion. Young hit a routine ground ball that deflected off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs’ glove into the infield’s no man’s land. The hometown scorer quickly credited Young with a hit. Young scored the game-winning run shortly thereafter on Revere’s single.
- It wasn’t all good for the Phillies on Sunday night. Revere’s double play was one of three in big spots for the Phillies and squandered a bases loaded, one-out opportunity. An inning later, the Phils couldn’t get Laynce Nix home from second base with no outs after he tied the game with a pinch hit double. The Phillies left nine runners in scoring position.
PITCHERS DO THEIR JOB
-Kyle Kendrick put together his third consecutive solid start, battling through six innings despite throwing 53 pitches in the first two frames. Kendrick gave up two runs, eight hits and a walk, striking out six Cardinals in the process. In his last three starts, Kendrick has given up only four runs in 19 innings, lowering his 2013 ERA to 3.28. Continue reading Offense Erupts Late, Phils Earn Split With Cards
Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, April 19, 2013 08:05 AM Comments: 15
“I think it’s ridiculous that we’ve had no walks in three days. I cannot believe it. More importantly, it’s about not just walks, but producing, and we haven’t done that. We haven’t gotten hits, period. We haven’t gotten hits with runners in scoring position, we haven’t gotten hits to lead off innings. We need more people on base and more offensive production. You’ve got to give some credit to the pitchers, but not all of it. We just need to be better. It’s as simple as that. Right now we’re not.”
Truer words were never spoken. That was Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., before the Phillies/Cardinals series opener on Thursday addressing the lack of plate discipline the team has shown recently. During Thursday’s game, the Phillies did manage – walks, but one game hardly says slumpbuster.
Amaro’s frustration is shared by many who have asked that this team take more walks, or at the very least, more pitches. That was the calling card of the mid-2000′s Phillies, led by Pat Burrell.
In 2007, at the height of the Phillies offensive output, their on-base percentage was a robust .354. Burrell was third in the major leagues with 114 walks, Ryan Howard fifth with 107. As a team, they led the NL in both categories that season. And it’s no surprise that in 2007, five of the top six teams in bases on balls made the postseason.
Fast forward to this season, and the Phillies are doing their best to stay off the base paths. They’re getting on base at a lousy .291 clip, just ahead of bottom feeders like the Cubs and Marlins in the National League.
Certainly, it’s not all about drawing walks – you must be able to hit. The Phils can’t manage that either. Their 126 strikeouts are fifth worst in baseball, and they rank in the bottom third in the majors in several major offensive categories.
And when you can’t hit for power or get on base, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. The Braves have struck out a league-high 121 times, slightly more than the Phillies. However, they also lead the NL in home runs, which more than makes up for their high swing and miss rate.
In the American League, the A’s are in the same boat. Lots of strikeouts, but lots of homers and walks. They’re filled with no-named players, yet lead the AL West because of this approach.
So, how did we get here? Aging veterans means slower bat speed, resulting in the need to guess a little earlier. Those veterans are in place because Amaro felt they represented the best fit for his ball club, some of them on long-term contracts, others as a stopgap. Free-swingers like John Mayberry Jr, Laynce Nix, and Erik Kratz have compounded the issues as role players that lack plate discipline.
And don’t look for Charlie Manuel to ask his guys to sit there and wait for ball four. Prior to Thursday’s game, Manuel admitted he never preached walks, that he’d like to see the team put balls in play. But he did admit that something has to give. Even Manuel understands that to get guys home, you’ve gotta put guys on.
Aging, high-priced players and Amaro’s inability to execute on the lesser, role players has this team searching for a way to score runs. Can it change?
Delmon Young is the epitome of a free-swinging slugger. If healthy, he’ll help the power numbers, but has a career .317 OBP. Young is also a negative threat once he’s on base. Darin Ruf might give this lineup a shot of life, but can’t play the outfield. Does it make sense to trade for another veteran bat to add to an already-aging roster? Would Ruben attempt to overhaul the roster, clear out some of the vets, and attempt to start anew?
There are no easy answers right now, as the team you see is the team you get. Changes must come from within. But that’s part of the problem. Can this group of players become disciplined, when recent history shows a major decline in that department?
Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, April 18, 2013 02:30 PM Comments: 3
The Phillies announcedJohn Lannan was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained quadriceps tendon in his left knee. Lannan attributed his knee troubles to tendonitis to reporters after last night’s game.
There has been no corresponding move made yet but Adam Morgan is making quite the impression in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Morgan has thrown five innings, giving up one earned in today’s start and now has an ERA of 1.42 in three starts.
Analysis: Will Morgan be called up to replace Lannan? Tough to say but probably not. Morgan was pulled today after five effective , but long (100 pitches) innings, not because of any news related to Lannan. He is not on the 40-man roster while each of the other IronPigs starters (Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, B.J. Rosenberg, and Ethan Martin) are. Morgan has outperformed all four pitchers and is among the best in the International League right now but Morgan did pitch today and Lannan’s next turn is Monday, which means Morgan would go on slightly short rest if he gets the call.
When I scouted him on April 6, Morgan used a fastball, change-up, and a slider to challenge hitters and induce weak contact. Morgan has Major League stuff, no doubt about it. The only flaw I found was his out pitch (slider) always came on 0-2 or 1-2 from 1-1. He varied his pitches early but looked to the slider away against righties every time the count when in his favor.
The latter two pitchers had the potential to hit 3 WAR but they were significant injury risks and costlier investments. Lannan’s ceiling wasn’t as high but his floor wasn’t as low either. A team in the Phillies situation was more interested in the floor for this role.
Through two starts this season, the former Phillies foe has thrown 13 great innings with one walk, seven strikeouts and a 71% groundball rate. It’s obviously still very early in the season but Lannan’s first two outings have proven very promising.
However, it isn’t just his two starts in 2013 that are cause for analytical intrigue, as his six starts with the Nationals last season were pretty darned solid as well. Combining his most recent major action we get the following line: 8 GS, 45.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 24 K, 61% GB rate.
And if we go back a bit further and take a look at his last 30 major league starts dating back to 2011 we get the following line: 30 GS, 169 IP, 169 H, 52 BB, 57% GB, 3.46 ERA. That’s pretty solid for a #3 or #4, let alone the fifth rotational cog.
At $2.5 million guaranteed and a maximum of $5 million via incentives, Lannan really only needs to hit his traditional career averages to outproduce his contract. If his most recent eight starts are any indication of things to come, this might just stand to become one of the best value deals of the offseason. Lannan has been doing more than just minimizing risk — he has been pitching very well.