The Phillies don’t have the pitching.
Don’t know why I thought they did. Pat Gillick himself indicated they didn’t.
The Phillies are down to two pitchers they can trust to put them in position to win a game: Brett Myers in the starting rotation, and Tom Gordon at the back of the bullpen. To varying degrees, they roll the dice with everyone else.
Gavin Floyd pitched yesterday. After some so-so success and tolerable mistakes early on, Floyd has tipped his scale back toward Triple-A with three-straight appearances with five or more runs. He gave up six in 4 1-3 innings yesterday. Not good enough on a contending team.
Ryan Franklin isn’t good enough, either. No pitcher has cost them more during the recent skid, which is now up to nine losses in 10 tries. Franklin signed with a reputation for allowing home runs by the bunches and has seen his ERA balloon from 3.38 on May 21 to 5.32 as of this morning. Franklin gave up two long balls in his sorry inning yesterday. His luck has totally run dry.
The Phillies clearly need help in all areas of pitching, and a report in this morning’s Inquirer says the Phils are scouting Dontrelle Willis. The Phils don’t have many prospects in their system, but probably have enough to make a deal happen for the studly left-hander, who doesn't become a free agent until 2009. The article mentions everyone from Carlos Ruiz, to Scott Mathieson to Shane Victorino.
On the home front, the only good news is Cole Hamels is reportedly A-OK. The left-hander said his shoulder felt fine just a day after he heard the “pop.”
On the other hand, I’m still recovering from reading that word when the story first broke. “Pop!” as in “Pop!” there goes the season, “Pop!” there goes the future.
Madson gets the start
If the Phillies could get tolerable results from Gavin Floyd (6.62 ERA) the rest of the way in the starting rotation, they would be a much better team keeping Ryan Madson in the back of the bullpen, where all hell has broken loose.
But since Floyd has regressed, now they're faced with a decision. Madson (4-3, 5.98 ERA) had his best appearance of the season in the 16-inning marathon against New York, pitching 7 1-3 innings and allowing only 1 run in relief. It was like a start in length, but in his actual sarts, he’s been hit hard and has struggled with his control.
The feeling here is Floyd has become even more unacceptable, but a demotion to the minors could mean he will be lost forever.
This is a tough one.
Today’s start from Madson could turn into the biggest of Floyd’s career.
Bullpen quick fix
Charlie Manuel needs to keep his starting pitchers in the game longer. For example, on Friday he should have kept Lidle in for the seventh inning instead of go to Geoff Geary, who came in and gave up a run. Lidle wasn't finding his control, but a veteran soft-tosser like Lidle can figure it out, and shouldn't get tired. Leave him in. In addition, Manuel should allow more pitchers to take a hack late. They can't be much worse than the bench.
Food for thought
How many of the pitching decisions, in terms of how best to use guys and when to take them out, is influenced by pitching coach Rich Dubee? It appears Manuel goes to him often, and Dubee records just about everything on a clipboard. I've never seen a pitching coach do anything quite like this.