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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I think Charlie should have pinch hit for doc in the 7th inning. I don't like giving up the second out with a sacrifice anyway, plus his pitch count was pretty high already.

PS - To the the guy in seat 1 row 12 sec 103 - thanks for stealing my bobblehead

Blanton and Kendrick should be first in line for the bunting drill.

It sure does seem that teams give the least run support to their best pitcher. I've never been sure if that's fact or fiction, though. To the extent it is fact, it may be a result of the fact that an ace is most often paired against the other team's best.

I'm more annoyed by UC's decision to not PH for Doc than I am with him leaving him in there for the CG.

I think that the Phils shouldn't pitch Halladay any more for the remainder of his contract - unless it's a playoff or WS game.

Anytime the guy walks out to the mound, the Phils are risking injury for the possibility of winning only one game.

I don't think that Charlie left Doc in there because he wanted him to record a complete game, or because he wanted to test Doc's endurance. He left him in because the team was behind by only one run and he's Charlie's option for giving the team a chance to win the game.

What we know is the Doc remained in the game and held the team scoreless - making a win that much more likely.

What we don't have any idea about is what would have happened if he had gone to the bullpen. And we also have no idea whether or not leaving him in might affect Doc's performances in any way going forward.

That said - I was surprised that Charlie didn't pinch hit for Doc, and I think that NEPP is right that he should have done so.

At the time I was thinking "Damn, its ashame we lose Doc at 99 pitches for a pinch hitter but that's how NL baseball works"...then Doc tried to bunt. We all know Doc can do everything he wants except bunting as bunting is Doc Kryptonite apparently. Then UC doubled-down and left him in there for 2 more innings despite a fully rested bullpen and it being clear (from his location and expression) that he was gassed on the hill.

Thing is, Halladay's MLB leading 4th complete game of the season should have never happened, and not just because of pitch count. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with a runner on 1st and only 1 out with the Phils down 2-1 Manuel elected to stay with Halladay and send him to the plate to sacrifice bunt (something he's yet to do successfully this season) rather than lift him from the game for a pinch hitter. Halladay k'd, runner stranded, Phils go on to lose 2-1. Overall, this was a frustrating game due to sloppy fielding (3 errors), lack of offense, Utley missing from the lineup, and losing to the lowly Pirates with our ace on the mound. You can't win them all, but DAMN!!!

Two things for your consideration:

1. Ben Francisco: Rally killer.

2. Don't look now, but if Jamie Moyer wins tonight, he will lead the Phils' pitching staff with most wins. Who'd a thunk.

No mention of the multiple errors by the Phillies when Doc is on the mound?

The CG didn't bother me in the least. It was a one run difference. Halladay had extra rest. He had it in him. It was just a shame that the rest of the team looked sloppy. A complete game loss always make a nice statement about a pitcher's durability. But it does sting a bit when the offense fails at late inning heroics.

Who is the last Phillies pitcher to throw a CG loss? Curt Schilling?

These comments by Doc from Gelb's blog make complete sense to me. He's not in denial or being heroic but understands exactly what he needs to do to be ready for each start.

"I've learned you make the adjustments on your work days in between. That's where you adjust for how many pitches you throw. If you throw more, you cut down on your bullpen. I've always felt that I can regulate how I feel every five days as long as I'm smart about my work days."

"You have to know your body. You have to know when you need to step back. I think that's most important. You can't always go out and do the same things in between. You have to adjust for how you're feeling and how things went before."

"In the next couple days I'll see how I feel and if I need to back off a bullpen or something, I'll do it. But you just have to listen to your body."

did you hear wheels' lame "pelotas" joke? t-mac's response: "i don't understand that."

Was at the game last night so I didn't hear any commentary. But I was disappointed Shane didn't try to steal 2nd when down 1 late in the game. Hits were hard to come by and I thought they needed to make something happen. Can't imagine that catcher throws out a lot of runners.

BTW...I also would have pinch hit for Roy in the 7th. I believe Charlie would have made the move if any other starter were in the game.

What is the process for DFAing your 3rd base coach?

NEPP - You make a pretty good point. Dobbs had worked a great PH AB vs. Meeks and I was really hoping that Cholly was going to use Gload there. Guess he was saving him but for what I don't know. Down 2-1 with a guy on 1st in the bottom of the 7th is a time when you use your best PH options.

The Phils were due for a stinker. It happens.

Everyone go buy that new Black Keys album.

What is the process for DFAing your 3rd base coach? Posted by: Conshy Matt

Boy you are so right...

How many rallies has he killed...

BAP made a few good points about Francisco in the previous thread and how he does a number of smaller things wrong (not a good baserunner despite at least average speed, boneheaded defensive plays despite having a rep as a decent fielder, poor situational hitting).

Francisco's reputation as a decent defensive OF is probably an inaccurate one after seeing him for the past year. He also does tend to struggle as a PH too. Just doesn't look comfortable.

Still, I do think he can help this team. Same with Dobbs. Unfortunately, both of these guys look like they need to play on a semi-regular to produce and that just isn't going to happen with Cholly. Lucky to start twice a month.

Don't mind seeing Polanco out there nearly everyday but it wouldn't be bad to rest Utley at least 1-2 a month by shifting Polanco over to 2nd and starting Dobbs at 3B.

Francisco should play more simply for the fact that it is asking alot of Ibanez to start 155-160 games. Rather that be down around ~145 with some rest against some tougher LHP.

Doc's a big boy, and can handle himself. If he ends up burning out, he'll have only himself to blame. I wouldn't call for a 130 pitch outing from him every day, but leaving him in was not a poor move, even with the loss. The more innings he pitches, the better our chances of winning, seeing as those innings would otherwise go to relievers with ERAs 1-2 runs higher than him.

And yes, I realize that our top guys would have been the relievers last night, but who do we have going tonight? Mr. 6 innings? There's a very, VERY good chance we'll need our top guys tonight, and Doc taking the ball for all 9 ensures we are maximizing our chances of winning tonight, and tomorrow night, for that matter!

So, even with the loss, Doc provided a ton of value for the team last night with his CG. Think of all those ABs where Werth takes a lot of pitches, fouls a bunch off, then grounds out. Sure, it's an out, but it's a more valuable out than a JRoll first pitch foul out special. Same thing here. It's a loss, but all in all it's a more valuable loss than if he had gone 5 innings.

Here's a wild theory. Maybe Cholly let Halladay hit for himself, and subsequently left him in to pitch the 9th, because: the Phillies were only down by 1 run; he thought the Phillies' offense was good enough to score a run against the Pirates' middling relievers over the last 2 innings; he thought Halladay was a better bet than anyone in our bullpen to prevent the Pirates from scoring another run; and he realized that the best hitter on our bench was only hitting .235 and was highly unlikely to do any better than Halladay.

Seems like pretty reasonable logic to me.

You know I really enjoyed the positive spin on the "Winning breeds Winning" post and comments yesterday, but we put a classic BL jinx on last night's game.
We can look at Charlie's decisions and Sam's 3B coaching , but I think we brought that loss on ourselves.
So- a little doom and gloom today should be enough to trounce the Cubbies.

BAP - That would hold but not if you were watching the game. Halladay really labored to get out of the 8th. He was shaking off Ruiz, missing location, and barely got out of that inning in a tough 7-pitch AB to K Young.

It was clear as day he was spent yet he came out to start the 9th inning. Wound up starting 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 9th with balls & was leaving stuff up all inning. If Halladay isn't gassed, that doesn't happen.

Dan - Then what is the point of having a manager? A manager has to know when to take the ball from his starter even if he still wants the ball.

I don't think that it can be justified that the hitters on the bench were "highly unlikely" to do any better than Halladay. Career stats would indicate otherwise.

I think that the "risk" of pulling Halladay an inserting an inferior pitcher worked against the greater likelihood of a payoff from a pinch hitter. And so I think it's a tough call, but I would have liked to see Charlie go with a PH in that situation.

Cholly on PH for Halladay in the 7th:

- He said that if Dobbs had been on 2nd he probably would have PH for Halladay there with Gload. He though Halladay could bunt him over and he wanted to save Gload.

That was a just a dumb move. Halladay isn't a good bunter & has showed that in the early going. Asking alot for Halladay to get a successful bunt down too against like Meek who throws in the mid-90s too.

MG: This might be a little obtuse but, for some reason, Ben Francisco's the guy I think of whenever I hear someone say, "Boy that (Anthony Hewitt/D'Arby Myers/Anthony Gose) will really be a stud player if he ever puts all those tools together." I mean, Ben Franciscso has no shortage of physical tools, and his baseball skills are obviously a lot better than Hewitt, Myers or Gose's. Yet he's still just, well, Ben Francisco.

I guess my point is that it's sort of laughable when people imagine guys like Hewitt as some type of huge-upside proposition who, because of his physical tools, has the potential to turn into a superstar if he ever learns any baseball skills. The reality is that, even if he did learn better strike zone management and other hitting skills, he'd still be distinctly more likely to turn into someone like Ben Francisco (a "toolshed" with some baseball skills, but still an overall mediocre player) than to turn into a superstar. Of course, he's also far more likely to turn into a complete bust than he is to turn into even Ben Francisco.

MG: Well, he didn't allow any runs in the 8th or 9th so he couldn't have been too gassed.

Yeah, you had to pinch-hit for Halladay in the bottom of the 7th. It was the right move, and whoever else said that Charlie would've done it for any other pitcher is absolutely correct.

My thoughts:

Sometimes you lose baseball games.

Sometimes you even lose baseball games that you will win 99 times out of 100.

Jack: But if it had been any other pitcher, then the difference between that pitcher & his would-be replacement would have been substantially less than the difference between Halladay & his would-be replacement.

Francisco hit .278/.317/.526 for the Phils last year. I don't know why this is so easily forgotten. He stole 14 bases last year in limited time. I just don't think he's been given opportunities this early in the year.

BAP, re the logic of leaving Halladay in.

The Pirates offense is not good and the Pirates relievers are worse. Halladay is just not required to win that game in the late innings. Kendrick shut down that offense the night before last, and the Phils scored 12 runs. This isn't Kansas City. The Phils have other options. 130+ pitches is simply too many, esp. against the stinking Pirates with a 4+ game division lead on May 18th.

Its not so bad, in and of itself, for Charlie to show confidence in Halladay by letting him stay in to try to bunt. Thats the kind of move that routinely gets blasted on BL but its what makes Charlie a "players' manager" and enables him to generally get the most from his teams.

But I don't care what a stud/ horse/ machine Halladay is, he shouldn't be throwing 132 pitches in a May game against the Pirates w/ absolutely nothing at stake.

I think b_a_p best summarized the gist of what Cholly was probably thinking. Even without Utley in the lineup, with the way the team has been playing and their capacity to come back at any time, he may have thought (and not without reason) that they would very likely get untracked and score a couple in the late innings. And that he would need the relief pitchers to be fresh more with Jamie going the next night. And that Halladay, even a bit gassed, still would keep things under control (as he did). I was surprised they never did mount any kind of rally, but that happens, and usually when you least expect it.

However, I'm not so sure about the thought that if Halladay "ends up burning out, he'll have only himself to blame". I agree he is a big boy and knows himself, but guys like him don't typically tell the manager, "Yeah, Skip, I'm slowing down, better to get someone else in here to wrap up." It's a manager's job to act as a brake, to know when to overrule a pitcher's natural desire to finish what he started, and when to give him a little more rope. Not that Cholly isn't capable of this, but (total speculation) he might be a bit too deferential to someone like Halladay in that situation. All part of the learning process for everyone.

From Murphy's Blog:

Yesterday marked the first time in Halladay's career in which he threw at least 118 pitches in four straight starts. He has thrown more pitches during that stretch than any other in his career. The 132 pitches he threw last night were one short of his career-high, set last summer.

Halladay has logged more innings (70.1) and thrown more pitches (1,006) in his first nine starts than he has at the start of any other season in his career.

Full Post: Halladay Logs 4th Complete Game - But Is That A Good Thing?

I'm still more irritated by the Phillies defense & offense, respectively, than I am by Halladay's pitch count. That said, I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why Roy should have been left in to finish the game last night. Charlie's reason seems to boil down to "because he could". As I stated before, allowing Halladay to pitch the 8th was debatable. Leaving him in for the 9th was pointless.

clever as a fox?
the anatomical facts:
they've walnut sized brains

Sophist, the Pirates' bullpen stats don't look particularly good but, watching some of the games, I wouldn't say they're "not good". Hanrahan and Dotel are good relievers. Evan Meek is having a great year so far (ERA+ is 597). If you look past the numbers at results, you'll see that hte bullpen has only taken a loss in 2 of their 22 losses and one of those was by Meek. The fact is the team often gets blown out due to its weak offense and weaker starting pitching but, when it has a lead after 6 innings or so, the bullpen has been nearly automatic in closing out the win.

I don't have much of a problem with Charlie's decision from a strategic standpoint. But I do worry about the cumulative effect of all these innings and pitches. For the most part I think that stuff is overblown but this amount of use is pretty extreme. I can easily recall the era of the 4 man rotation, so I don't normally get squeamish about the over working of starters. But at some point this could come back to haunt the Phils. Pure speculation, to be sure, but pitchers can run out of gas. Later in games or later in seasons.

The circumstances that would justify leaving him in? A no hitter, a tight divisional race late in the year and a game against a difficult opponent, a playoff game.

The stakes just weren't high enough to justify leaving him in. The Pirates have allowed the second most runs in the NL. The Phils have scored the most runs in the NL. The Phils had a 4.5 game lead in the division. Halladay had pitched well, but it was time to give him a rest and find another route to win the game. Almost any pitcher in the pen could shut down that offense, and it wouldn't have surprised any of us if the Phils scored 4+ runs in the late innings.

Bob: I kind of agree with your last point, that Charlie seems too deferential to Halladay. It's like he's read all the stories about Halladay being a horse and being super-competitive, and he just doesn't want to get involved at all.

But the thing is, the organization has a LOT of money invested in Halladay for the next 3-4 years, and has a lot riding on his arm come October of this year. Charlie gets paid primarily to win games, but he also gets paid to protect that investment. If he's not willing to do it, someone up in the front office should have a chat with him and remind him what's at stake.

Again, it's not the idea of 132 pitches in a vacuum that bothers me. Roy is a big boy and can handle some nights like that. It's the consistent usage of him above and beyond what seems to be necessary every single time out there. Maybe it doesn't matter, but even if it raises the likelihood of an injury or a drop in performance by a miniscule percent, was that game on May 18th against the Pirates that we were losing anyway really worth it?

I agree that Doc should've been taken out in the 7th, but backseat managing is easy to do, and either way the game is done now. I do also agree with MD, Doc provided a lot of value with that outing, even though he didn't win. Plus, Moyer's up tonight. How can you go wrong with an average of 6.9 support runs?

I agree with MG/Sophist/JW... maybe Doc can do it and be fine, but there was just no reason to find out, not when you're already five games up in the division.

I tend to think that Ben Francisco is one of those guys taht would really help the club out if Ibanez or Werth were out for 6 weeks and he had to start everyday. He'd probably give us an OPS+ of around 100 with solid defense and we'd all comment on how solid a bench guy he is.

Coming off the bench every 2 weeks for a spot start or a PH is the worst case scenario for a guy like him as he doesn't handle rust well as a young player. Some guys simply need regular work to keep sharp and all the practice in the world isn't the same as the adrenaline rush of actual real game action.

The Pirates BP ERA is 14th in the NL (5.13), and they have the highest IP of any pen in the league. Their OPS against is also 14th. They do have a couple of good pieces (whose arms may just fall off from overuse). Even so, that's just one part of the equation. If their offense were better I might worry more about keeping Halladay in.

The point of being a manager is to know your players, and know what players you can trust to know themselves and what players you cannot. This is actually a complicated thing which you can see in the business world: Good managers know what employees they can trust to tell them when they are in over their heads, and know what employees would rather crash and burn than admit they can't handle things.

Charlie, for whatever else his faults, is really good at knowing his players. I for one trust his judgement in the case of Doc.

I know and appreciate very well the danger of burning out our ace pitcher. However Charlie is doing something deeper than going for a win: he's showing Doc just how much he trusts him. He would not allow a pitcher like Hamels to have this much rope. Heck, there probably are not a half dozen pitchers in all of baseball he'd trust like this. But Doc knows without a doubt that he's the boss when he's on the mound. And Charlie is obviously comfortable with that.

It's little things like this that do not always show up in saber analysis that makes Charlie such a good manager. I gain more respect for him the more I study his techniques. Frankly, I think he's a better manager than Torre or LaRussa, though not having studied them carefully I could be wrong. He's certainly better than he gets credit for.

I have to say I DO love Charlie's flair for the dramatic. Loved him coming out in the ninth and leaving Doc in to fire up the crowd. I was there last year when he did it with Pedro in that Sunday night game against the Mets. That was one of the loudest roars I ever heard at a Phillies game. And that's saying something. I think that's a good tactic if you are set on leaving the guy in. Of course who knows exactly what effect Pedro's 300 pitches thrown that night had. In light of the way things turned out, it could have been big. Again, pure speculation.

I'm not suggesting the Pirates bullpen was a reason to leave Halladay in. Just pointing out that there is actually one area of that team that has helped them exceed beyond what you might expect from their overall numbers - the back end of the bullpen. My Fox Sports feed crapped out in the top of the sixth, right after the Pirates hit and run to get Milledge to second, so I didn't see what Halladay looked like. If the reports are correct, that he was elevating the ball and missing his spots in the 8th, I don't think there's much justification for running him back out for the 9th no matter who you're facing.

How is it that guys like Steve Carlton & Bert Blyleven and Tom Seaver managed to pitch numerous seasons with 250+ innings & still be good into their late 30s? Even more recently, Randy Johnson pitched 245+ innings 5 times in 6 years -- and between the ages of 36 & 41, no less. In fact, at the age 38 (38!), he pitched 260 innings in a season, won 24 games & struck out 334 batters.

This issue is being way overblown. The idea that all these CGs will have some sort of deleterious downstream effect on Halladay is just pure, unempirical speculation -- kind of like the theory that, if only we give Ben Francisco more May ABs, he won't go 0 for the post-season like he did last year.

Bob: this is just a pet peeve of mine, but I see it in sportswriting so often that I can't help but point it out. The phrase is "get on track," not "get untracked," even though more and more sports guys seem to be using the latter.

Sorry to be a nerd, it just bothers me.

Is anyone else not crazy about Howard's new approach? Maybe he's just making a necessary step towards bigger and better things, and I'm glad he's currently hitting over .300, but does any really expect him to maintain a BABIP of .380? And is Howard really a guy we want hitting more ground balls and less fly balls?
Again, hope it's just an interim stage adjustment thing, because it's Polanco's job to hit singles. The Big Man needs to be hitting Big Flies.

BAP - You're talking about IP while I'm talking about pitches. There's a correlation but a difference. I have no problem with Halladay completing every game he starts provided he throws 120 pitches or less. Just because a pitcher has gone out and thrown 149 pitches once without evident deleterious effect does not mean that risk is not heightened. In this case, the heightened risk was completely unnecessary. Hopefully this is an isolated incident.

Can't believe I'm saying this, but bap is dead on today. His last post absolutely nails it. Nothing more I can add.

"This issue is being way overblown. The idea that all these CGs will have some sort of deleterious downstream effect on Halladay is just pure, unempirical speculation"

BAP, very well said.

I did not see the whole game, and I know there are stories that the box score doesnt tell but when I see a line of 1-6-3, I'm not looking at how long the starter stayed in the game.

Ben Fran is an interesting case. A few months ago we all would've agreed that its a no-brainer to hold on to him for awhile as the 4th OFer/RH bench bat. But lately, he hasn't been playing well. He is first time arb eligible for 2011, so he will be getting a good salary bump. Also, our best RH bat, Werth, will likely not be here after this season.

For 2011, I have had him penciled in as the RHer in a corner OF platoon/rotation with Raul and Dom Brown. But there many 'what ifs' with this idea....
-- what if Raul keeps regressing
-- what if Brown isn't ready
-- what if Ben doesn't begin playing better

Because of payroll inflexibilty, the Phils will have to go cheap to fill in the OF.
It will be interesting to see how the 2011 OF plays out.

Halladay is so good. They have got to do a better job on offense for him.

Sophist, IIRC, weren't you just advocating, a few days ago, that Doc be left in for a high pitch count, into the 140s?

sophist: Well, I don't even think they had pitch counts back in Steve Carlton's day. But, in his epic 1972 season, Carlton pitched 30 CGs. I would venture to guess that his pitch count in some of those games was considerably higher than 132.

Brian G: Do we have enough of a sample size to really make a determination at this point? Howard's SLG through 38 games (497) is well above where it was in 2008 (346) and just below where it was in 2007 (512). His AVG so far is the highest it's been in his career at this point (311), even higher than his 2006 monster year (304). Even his OBP (355) is about where it was last year (353) and in his monster year of 2006 (357).

For some reason, Howard's fly ball rate is down so far with his LD rate the highest it's been since 2005, but also a career-high GB rate. And the fly balls he's hitting are going out of the park at a much lower rate. Is that the approach or sample size? He's generally started slow, especially with the power numbers. Perhaps we should wait to see what happens with his power numbers when the weather heats up.

Francisco is off to a slow start...not surprising given his lack of playing time. Guys dont respond well when they never play. Dobbs was a better pinch-hitter when he was still getting regular starts at 3B too. This is no different. Francisco has already proven that he's a decent defensive OF who will give you an OPS+ of around 100-105 if you give him enough playing time. On a lot of teams, that would mean a starting job or at least 300-400 ABs a year. On a team with 3 very solid OFs like the Phillies, it means maybe 100-150 barring an injury.

timr: The phrase actually is "untracked". I know it sounds like it doesn't make sense, but check an online dictionary.

The idea that a pitcher can be overused isn't "unempirical." The idea that since Mathewson and Carlton could throw tons of innings, Halladay is more speculative than anything I've posted today.

Why are the Mets hitters so bad? Especially David Wright and Jason Bay? Wright was one of the most consistent hitters in the game and now he justs k's every at bat. Fun to watch but strange.

The whole 'Cholly showing confidence in Halladay' is pretty spurious reasoning as to why Cholly left him in the game whether to bunt or pitch the 9th.

Yeah Halladay's arm isn't going to fall off tomorrow but anyone who has watched Cholly manage this team's pitching staff over the course of a season knows that he likes to ride certain guys too much including starters/relievers.

Yeah sometimes it doesn't matter but it has tended to backfire some some spectacular results too. He ground his bullpen down into a nub by late Aug./Sept. '06 because he rode a couple of his key relievers too much earlier in the year.

Best single example I think of the top of my head is Myers in '07 when Cholly's crazy utilization of him in that Florida game resulted in Myers getting hurt (Myers said as much later in the season).

I do think pitch counts are overblown but you have to pitch & choose your spots to use your better pitchers. Using your best relievers to close out a game when you are up 4+ or more runs is generally dumb yet Cholly does it alot. Ditto on letting your starters go too long earlier in the season. Letting a rookie sit in the bullpen for 10 days without pitching him because you realize to use him.

Pitching counts aside, I don't think Halladay in the 9th inning gave them the best shot to win either. He was falling behind every hitter nearly, slower delivery, and was leaving stuff up. He was cooked and it was time to bring in a reliever there.

I think Wright is trying to over compensate for getting pitched around (see his walk rate) and for his lack of power last year. Overall, other than the Ks, he's having a great year. Last I checked, his OPS+ was in the 140s. I'd take that out of my 3B if I were a Mets fan.

BAP - I don't know about that. There are a good piece I saw the other day that there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of ABs since the 70s where there is no ball in play (either a BB or K). Didn't talk about pitch counts but it spoke to why baseball has become a longer game and potentially a more boring game with younger fans simply because you have so many ABs where there isn't much action.

Flipper - You recall incorrectly.

BAP - We'd have to know more than simply a number to compare Carlton to Halladay. Do you think we should find out how many 130+ pitch starts Robin Roberts and Cy Young had too?

I'm just not so much interested in possibly overusing Halladay in last night's situation. Dan in Philly's right that this comes down to a judgment for a particular player. To pretend like starting pitchers haven't gotten injured from overuse is just playing ignorant. For every Livan Hernandez there's an Orel Hershiser.

BAP - That '30 CG' was not really representative either of Carlton's career because he never came close to that again. Plus, Carlton admitted later in his career that he was overworked in '72 & had arugably the worst year of his carer in '73 simply because he had a dead arm to start the year & for most of the '73 season because of the crazy utilization in '72.

I reluctantly agree w/ Brian G that "untracked" is an actual word, & has been correctly utilized. However, I also find "untracked" to be an imbecilic term, & flatly refuse to use it myself.

"Pitching counts aside, I don't think Halladay in the 9th inning gave them the best shot to win either. "

That's the point, MG, and it is obviously an arguable point. It's entirely reasonable for Charlie to believe that Doc at somewhat less than 100% is better than the bullpen options he would use in that situation. Doc has shown, repeatedly, the ability to get outs when he needs to get outs, with great pitching - and that's exactly what he did last night in the 8th and 9th.

If anything, Charlie was expressing confidence in his offense by not pinch hitting for Doc - indicating that the thought the chances were good that they could produce at least two runs.

Your starting point, MG, is that Charlie doesn't manage his pitching staff well - and so you look at all of his moves accordingly: a questionable call becomes, in your perspective, the "wrong" call, by virtue of your starting premise.

Once again, over the past few years Charlie has gotten far better performances, overall, from his starters and his relievers than anyone would have predicted. There are only a few exceptions I can think of - maybe Eaton - but the list of better-than-expected performers is long. Who would have predicted the overall bullpen and starter ERAs this

year given the injuries and personnel? If any manager was a bad at managing his staff as you say Charlie is, you'd expect to see it reflected in the overall results.

An as yet unmentioned aspect of the Great Halladay Pitch Count Debate is this: perhaps Roy wouldn't even need to throw so many f*cking pitches if the yutzes playing the field around him committed fewer errors.

Maybe you meant anything "under" rather than anything "over?"

Halladay has hardly been worked into the ground even by pitch count standards. 100 pitches is nothing for a veteran. Studies show you shouldn't worry about anything over 120 for veterans either.

Posted by: Sophist | Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 04:38 PM

At age 38, Randy Johnson lead the league with 8 complete games. That included back-to-back complete games on July 31st and August 5th. In that July 31st CG, he threw 149 PITCHES!!! On his next start, he threw a shut out. He threw more than 120 pitches 11 times. He threw 140 pitches and 134 pitches in back-to-back outings June 5th and 10th. He topped 100 pitches in all but 4 of his 35 starts.

That was his 4th of 4 straight CY awards. The year before, at age 37, he had 14 starts of 120 or more pitches including 4 starts of 130+ topping out at 145 pitches.

And while you said this:

"I don't think you push him much past 100 when he's not as effective, but when he's effective Halladay there's no reason he can't go 110-120 every time out. "

you also said this:

"While Halladay leads the NL in IP, the other pitchers in the top 5 have much higher pitches/start averages. Halladay has tons of easy innings, and his pitch counts aren't even that high. "

Just goes to show why a manger is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. I'm sure that there would have been plenty of criticism had Charlie brought a reliever and wound up losing by a score of something like 4-3.

phlipper - Halladay wasn't pitching well last night in the 8th/9th. He was clearly laboring. I didn't mind seeing him in the 8th. Having him come out in the 9th didn't & it showed from what Halladay was doing on the mound and getting behind hitters.

If Cholly brings in a reliever and they give up a run in the top of the 9th, that isn't on Cholly. It is the reliever's fault. He failed to do his job.

You always allude to this 'Cholly gets better results from his pitching staff than expected' but when exactly did that occur? It certainly didn't his first 3 years in town when the staffs ranged from mediocre to horrible. Even last year, the pitching staff really didn't fall into place until they got Lee & Pedro.

That is more of an indication though of the crummy depth they had at starting pitcher but I have never once heard an analyst praise Cholly for his utilization of a pitching staff.

I don't really think a manager has that much effect on a pitching staff either way unless he clearly runs guys into the ground ala what Torre/Baker have done in their careers. Just don't think Cholly has a great intuitive feel for when his starter is gassed and his utilization of a bullpen drives me crazy at times with some things he does.

3rd base coach should have been punched in the face for sending Werth home. His 2010 performance has been vile.

I'd say that Charlie has gotten a considerably better than expected performance from his pitching staff overall over the last three years.

It can't be proven that is attributable to his making correct decisions, but I'd say that it makes it pretty unlikely that he's at bad at managing his staff as you seem to think.

All managers leave pitcher in too long sometimes or pull them too early. But in the end, evaluating all those individual decisions is subjective.

Looking at the overall production of his staff is also subjective ("expected performance" is subjective by definition), but I would argue less so - because it is usually based on past performance levels.

flipper - Yes, I meant that you shouldn't worry about a vet pitcher unless he goes over 120 pitches. I think from context you can see I misspoke.

And I don't see how anything else you've quoted is inconsistent with what I'm arguing here. Halladay didn't thrown 110-120 pitches last night. He threw 132. How in the world can you read this

"While Halladay leads the NL in IP, the other pitchers in the top 5 have much higher pitches/start averages. Halladay has tons of easy innings, and his pitch counts aren't even that high."

as supporting throwing him out there for 132 pitches? His innings last night weren't "easy" (3 errors, 9 hits, and a walk) and he was esp. laboring in the late innings. His pitch count was in fact high.

What I said can actually be read as supporting the idea that hard innings and greater than 120 pitches is bad, ie what I'm arguing right now.

phlipper - Generally the Phils have had below average pitching while Cholly has been their manager. They have won because of offense (and generally underrated defense) but the only year they really had good overall pitching numbers was '08 & that was largely because of a phenomenal year out of the pen.

You could do a couple of things including with WPA but man that would take loads of time.

Haven't seen that much done on it either but I would be curious to see if their is a 'reliever abuse system' too that would include how many times a pitcher warms up over a sesaon too.

I don't think Cholly is a horrendous manager with game decisions. Just don't think he is particularly adept either at it although he does avoid some of the common stafus that he had his 1st year in town (double-switch, etc).

Re Little Ollie's comment at 9:29 AM:

I just hope Roy Halladay's body doesn't tell him "you're overdoing it" by announcing that his throwing arm hurts, like it did to J Happ.

Re Ben Fransisco:

I understand that it takes an at-bat or two to get your head completely in the game after a long lay-off. However, I don't think that explains why a guy who supplied several key hits off the bench last year and hit .278 with a .317 OBP can't seem to buy a hit this year.

I think it's probably less about "getting stale" by sitting on the bench so long, and more about being in a slump and not having enough at-bats to work his way out of it -- the difference being, it's not a natural result of sitting on the bench, it's a slump, and everybody has 'em.

And a major shocker: that post is no longer true. Halladay leads the league in IP still but all the pitchers near the top of the list have lower IP/S averages. Carpenter, Haren, Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Ryan Dempster, and Santana.

damned if you do, damned if you don't? no. I was all for taking Halladay out last night. I may be wrong, but I'm consistent.

Except, Sophist, you seem to be arguing that the overall toll is what's important - in that on the previous thread, you were arguing for the importance of looking at the overall number of pitches that Doc has thrown (and that it is relatively low compared to other pitchers who have thrown a lot of innings).

I've also heard it said that not all pitches are considered equal - the idea being that pitches thrown in "high-leverage" spots are more taxing on a pitcher. If that's true, then it would also support the contention that it is difficult to apply a general rule about pitch counts to a unique pitcher like Doc. Thus far this year, he has thrown relatively few pitches in high-leverage situations.

MG - just saying that the Phillies have had below average pitching is not really relevant to what I'm arguing - because the staff Charlie's had would be expected to be below average.

I'm arguing that the best comparison would be the performance of his staff relative to their career histories. My sense is that on balance, his staff has outperformed expectations - and that it's continued this year in the performance level of Baez, Figgy, Contrares, Moyer, Herndon -- compared to what was conventional wisdom at BL, at least.

flipper - I'm sure overall toll and a the number of pitches in one start matter. I clearly wasn't arguing that only one mattered if I said Doc should keep him pitch totals to 110-120 per start.

I haven't looked back, but I recall mostly trying to argue against the idea that 100 pitches is a significant number for a veteran starting pitcher. vets can go 100 easy, and I've only read that you should worry about 120 or more (although, yes, it's an individual judgment and all that). I was also arguing that while Doc had many IP, IP are only a proxy for use since what matters more is total pitches and leverage. At the time, Doc had a much lower Pitches/GS than his peers.

Neither of those points is inconsistent with what I've said in this thread. I don't pretend to know how many pitches Doc can throw each time out, but I'm not so naive to think that there is zero injury risk just bc some guys have done it before.

Sophist - not sure what "IP/S" measures - but I assume that you're saying that over the last week he has gone from throwing relatively few pitches per IP to throwing a relatively high number of pitches per IP?

Sophist (Chicago): In light of last night's use, Phils fans are wondering about the possible overuse of Halladay. 132 pitches (he seemed to be laboring in the late innings too) in May seems like too many. According to some in the Phila. press Halladay has logged more innings (70.1) and thrown more pitches (1,006) in his first nine starts than he has at the start of any other season in his career. What should Phils fans be looking for to see if Halladay is being overused? If nothing else, those last 1 or 2 IP from him last night seem unnecessary.

Will Carroll: Halladay seems to actually enjoy the heavy usage and absent any sort of performance or physical sign, there's no reason not to do so. The thing is, we don't know what he can do because he hasn't done it and there's been no real progressive development. If you said "Who can go 130 every time out?", Halladay would be near the top of my off-top list with Sabathia, Livan Hernandez, Pettitte, and Lincecum. I think the bullpen situation is affecting his usage right now, but that's kind of smart. I'd like to see them pull him when they can, but the concept of reliever is to bring in another pitcher who's better right then -- is 100% of Jose Contreras better than 70% of Roy Halladay? 60%?

I think everyone is forgetting exhibit number one in this "pushing the starter beyond what's reasonable" discussion. J.A. Happ. Look at how Charlie rode him last year and look what happened to him at the end of last season. And look at him now.

Charlie is death to pitching arms. If he likes you as a pitcher, you are in trouble. He fell in love with Durbin in 08 and that spelled serious trouble in the second half.

I don't see any reason to baby pitchers. But Doc really didn't have hid best stuff last night and the fielders contributed to a bunch of extra pitches. There was zero reason to waste your best arm this early in the season with a five game division lead and a bunch of upcoming years at 20 mil each.

I think Cliff Lee may be missing Philly a lot less after last night.

Oh, I got it. Innings pitched per start.

Will makes sense.

flipper - I meant pitches per start.

Look, like I said: I may be wrong but I'm consistent. Not sure why you're insisting on some game of gotcha. As a general rule, nothing over 120 is a problem with me, but I don't so much like pushing it. I'm fine with Halladay's innings total so long as he stays in the 110-120 range. Maybe he can push that, but I'd want it to be worth the possible risk. Why do it against the Pirates in May with a 4.5 game lead?

100% of Jose Contreras is absolutely better than 70% of Roy Halladay. And so is 100% of Chad Durbin. And for one inning, I'd use 100% of Tony Bastard and usually Ryan Madson and maybe even a few others.

Let's not buy into the hyperbole. As we've seen, Doc is human. He gave up as many runs to the Pirates in seven innings as Kyle Kendrick did. That doesn't sound like Superman to me. It sounds like a great pitcher who needs to be handled just a tough more intelligently.

I did the over/under thing again. I need to eat lunch.

I think we agree more than we disagree, flipper. It's a judgment call by the manager depending on what his pitcher says, who he is, the game situation, and how well he's performing.

We just disagree about the decision last night.

" Not sure why you're insisting on some game of gotcha. "

'nuff said.

"Why do it against the Pirates in May with a 4.5 game lead? "

Obviously, his evaluation was that the risk was small, and that he should maximize the chance of winning any particular game. He expected a good chance of the offense producing a couple of runs against the Pittsburgh bullpen - even if he didn't PH in the 7th - and that Doc was the pitcher most likely to go two innings without allowing a run.

Arguable conclusions, all - but not what I'd call unreasonable.

aksmith - That was my point. Will just made a more coherent way of stating it. If Durbin/Contreras comes in there & gives up a run, that is on them and not Cholly. Cholly placed them in a situation where it reasonable to expect success & they didn't execute.

I'm kind of in the middle on the number of pitches argument. On the one hand, for a general group of people, the amount of pitches thrown = great potential injury. However, while that may hold true for the population of pitchers at large, I think it's also true for certain individuals that throwing more pitches does not incur much additional risk (such as if somebody has a unique/non-taxing delivery method).

Halladay certainly seems as if he may be one of the very few who can take routine over-use, but on the other hand, I certainly don't advocate taking the risk in the middle of May in a game to the Pirates when we could just as easily rest him.

Charlie is doing what any good manager should do, either in baseball or in the real world: managing according to the ability. Doc, for a lot of reasons most of you know, is perfectly capable of going more than 100 pitches. Charlie can afford to see what will happen if he does, not just for that given night, but for his next start or two.

Why do you think this might be important for Charlie to know? What if, for example, one certain pitcher (hypothetically named "CH") was about to go more than 110, but whenever he did so he sucked wind the next game or two? Would he then trust that player during the post season to produce?

On the other hand, let's say Charlie knew another pitcher (hypothetically named "CL") who showed Charlie last year he was perfectly capable to go 110, 120, or more for 3 or 4 games in a row. Do you think that would affect how much he thought that pitcher would be able to produce in the playoffs?

I'm suggesting that Charlie is getting a feel for how much he can trust Doc, and for how many games he can ride him, and what will happen if he says he can get someone, and what will happen if he says he can't. That's what good managers do, and that's why I am starting to think Charlie is a lot better a manager than I had previously given him credit for.

Roy is on pace to pitch 285.1 Innings this year...not counting the Post-Season. That would shatter his previous high of 266 (back when he was 26) and toss in another 40 innings in the post-season and we're looking at almost 100 more innings than his average year.

That's overuse, regardless of who it is.

flipper - not unreasonable, no, just not want I wanted to see.

aksmith: JA Happ and Roy Halladay? One has anything to do with the other?

Doc has averaged more than 200 IP over his last 8 seasons since becoming a full time starter and has lead the league in IP three times.

Happ was in his first season as a full-time starter at the major league level.

Besides, where is the evidence that Happ was overused? He threw the exact same number of innings last season as he threw the year before. Your comparison makes absolutely no sense on many levels.

On a different note, I just watched the MLB video of Castro's single last night, and it was Ryan Howard's fault that Werth didn't slide, if I'm not mistaken. The runner that just scored stands in the runner's line of sight and tells him what to do; Howard was waving his arms to the left as though to tell Werth "Stay left of the plate." Given that Doumit was way in front of the plate when he took the throw from Milledge, it was probably the right call, but I think he would have had his hands down if he were signalling "Slide." You can see Howard discussing it with Werth after the play, and I think he's apologizing.

Werth had a (tiny) chance if he'd slid to the right of the plate and swept it with his left hand as he passed; anything else and he's completely dead.

Putting pitch counts aside for a second, still makes no sense not to bat for him in the 7th. Aren't your odds of scoring a lot better with man on first one out, pinch hitter and Vic coming up, than (best case) man on second two outs and Vic coming up?

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