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Thursday, August 28, 2008

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Castro up, Carpenter down. [Link]

I don't care how the Phils get into the playoffs, just as long as they get there. I doubt the Wild Card comes from the NL East, but hey stranger things have happened. I see the best shot at postseason being the NL East division crown.

What about my Astros?

clout: From the last thread . . . I did not miss your point. There are plenty of pitchers who succeed with low strikeout totals. There are also pitchers who succeed with high WHIPS and BAAs. But when all 3 of these peripherals are horrendous, you don't get too many pitchers who have sustained success at the major league level. I believe KK's command can and should be considerably better than he has shown this year and, if it is, his WHIP and BAA should go down. But if both those numbers stay where they are this year, there is no way in the world he is going to sustain a 4.83 ERA in future years. It has taken some luck for his ERA to be as low as it is.

In fairness, KK's peripherals haven't been this high for most of the season. As I recall, his BAA was around .285-ish until he hit his current slump. And his WHIP, though never great, was a good .10 points or so less than it is right now. Those numbers are a little more manageable than a .296 BAA and a 1.56 WHIP. Still, we judge players on their entire seasons, since the particulars of any one season tend to even out over time. Judging him based on his current peripherals, I would say he's fairly lucky to have an ERA as low as he does. And my eyes tell me the same thing, as he has definitely benefitted from outfield assists and solid relief work.

8/27: 8th inning, 1 run lead, 4 runs allowed (Seanez and Lidge)
8/21: 8th inning, 1 run lead, 2 runs allowed (Durbin and Romero)
8/13: 8th inning, 2 run lead, 2 runs allowed (Durbin and Romero)
8/12: 8th inning, 1 run lead, 1 run allowed (Durbin)

Four of our last 6 losses have come when we were leading going into the 8th inning. We have a real issue right now with bullpen roles. We have no true 8th inning set up guy. Durbin is obviously misplaced there (as you can see above). Romero seems to have some aptitude for it, but he's often been wild. Madson shows flashes, but he's not at his best in high leverage situations. It will never be Seanez again. It will never be Condrey. And Eyre doesn't really seem suited for the role.

I guess our best bet right now is to use Madson and Romero is lefty-righty situations with a little Durbin mixed in.

The 8th inning will be crucial in the last month of the season.

CJ: Durbin has been stellar this year but, like any pitcher, he allows runs now and then. I just have a difficult time believing that there is something magical about the 8th inning that makes him turn ineffective.

An alternate explanation for those 4 losses is that, in 3 of the losses, we scored only 3 runs. I have a hard time pinning a loss on an 8th inning reliever who allowed just 1 run, when the offense only gave us 3 runs in the entire game.

Question - was last night the first night that Lidge a) pitched in the 8th inning and b) entered a game with men on base?

bap: Actually, I have no problem pinning a loss on an 8th inning reliever who blows a save. They're in there to get three outs and not allow any runs. It's something this team did fairly effectively for the first few months of the season, but something with which we have struggled over the last few weeks.

It's not something "magical" about the 8th inning... it's something very normal. It's called pressure. Some respond better than others. I'm not saying Durbin can't do it. I'm saying he's had his difficulties the last few weeks.

Is there more pressure in the eighth than, in, say, the seventh? I'd think they'd be to about the same, maybe with the eighth negligibly more pressurized. So if that's true, and Durbin pitches as well in the seventh, then it's possibly just because relief pitching can be quite cyclical.

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