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Sunday, April 07, 2013


Meh...nice to see the late comeback. Still not worried about Cole. He'll right the ship.

This is an 80 win team, though.

Here's an "alternative viewpoint": Perhaps calling upon the single worst pitcher in the bullpen w/ men on base in a close game is a DUMB IDEA.

I'm not making any excuses for Hamels, who tends to be like this from time-to-time. However, repetition of the same managerial mistakes has to be taken into account when assessing how & why losses happen.

As I and many others have been saying, Durbin should be in a mop-up only role. Charlie's insistence on using him in close games and high- leverage situations is baffling.

Could someone please beat Pat Gillick in a high stakes poker game so that he suddenly needs money and comes back to GM the Phils?

The least of the worries is Cole Hamels. Period

Now Chad Qualls on the other hand......

Hamels would have probably pitched better if he was indeed hammered.

Our "Ace" is really coming up small in the first week of the season.

Back from the game.

Sitting in Section 139, I had a great view of Butler's HR - saw it drop into the flower bed and bounce back in, so I knew right away it was a HR.

Jimmy made it exciting with his HR in the 9th. The crowd that remained was great. Many were on their feet. The person who runs the cheering music/noise was also great - played something nearly constantly to keep us cheering. I was really hoping that we'd make enough noise to rattle the pitchers' cages.

It was heartening that Phillies came back to within 1 run of tying it. Ryan got on base, good to see. Young did well today. Kratz had a good AB before striking out. It was good to see.

I was expecting better out of Hamels, especially after we staked him to a 4-run lead. That was very disappointing.

But still, there's nothing like a rally for excitement. Starting with Jimmy's HR, the 9th inning gave us hope.

And it was a beautiful day at the ballpark.

GBrettfan: Sounds a lot like Friday afternoon, only w/ a bit of a comeback. This early in the season, at least, the comfort of finally being back in the park watching baseball largely made up for the on-field debacle.

Losing 9-4 would of really been sour. Between last night and today, it looks like this team has fight, something that was missing in stretches last season.

The middle relief concerns are real, but Hamels will be better. Lee will be Lee, holding breath on Doc. Lannan is going to be a pleasent surprise.

Just get a series and go from there

Phillies have 4 losses. Three are Losses Directly Attributable to the Bullpen.

"Between last night and today, it looks like this team has fight, something that was missing in stretches last season."

An alternative explanation, having nothing to do with "fight" or lack thereof:

Yesterday's comeback happened because we encountered a wild reliever. Today's near-comeback happened because, with a 5-run lead, KC opted for the one truly wretched reliever in their bullpen.

Stues will be here or justin D soon. They need some help fast. really disappointed with cole. 4-0 lead and $hit bed. This series is going to haunt us later in year. Book it. 4 and 2 better at least be what this team is with 6 games this week.

I blame Hamels, Cholly & Durbin, in that order, for losing the game. Durbin should collect his paycheck, sit down and be quiet.

"Phillies have 4 losses. Three are Losses Directly Attributable to the Bullpen."

More specifically, all 3 losses were attributable to Durbin, Horst, and/or Valdes. Adams, Aumont, and Bastardo haven't allowed a single run (either their own or inherited). Papelbon allowed a 2-run homer, but it was in garbage time & had no effect on the outcome of the game. It kinda leads one to wonder if maybe some of these good relievers should be pitching the innings that the bad ones are pitching.

"Phillies have 4 losses. Three are Losses Directly Attributable to the Bullpen."

Hamels went from everyone's favorite whipping boy in 2009 to Teflon man in 2013...does he really not get any of the blame for his 2 losses?

BAP- True points, but I don't think last season' s team takes advantage of that and goes quietly. And yes, all the fight in the world can't cover for pitching debacles.

But maybe KC is a little better then we thought. I have concerns, as many do but I don't foresee all doom and gloom. They will at least manage to stop some bleeding in the 6th and 7th innings along the way. Durbin won't be here much longer if this continues

Dreamer, Hamels deserves plenty of blame. Im just not ready to beat him down over 2 starts knowing he will be better.

Dreadful start by Hamels. Hopefully this is speeding up durbins departure though. I know you can't expect much from middle relief but he isn't fooling anyone except the front office.

The Royals are a good, young team. That said, Charlie really pooched this series. While it's true he doesn't have a lot to work w/, it's also true he didn't even come close to employing what he does have in the most useful manner.

They better put this in the rear view fast bc you can't b dropping series to the mets and I for one am not thrilled with their matchup for tomorrow. If they get up early they better be ready to step on necks and blow them out bc doc will be huffing and puffing his way through four plus innings while the soft underbelly of this bullpen readies to enter.

Does RAJ really think DeFratus or Stutes are worse than Durbin?

It doesn't matter what Ruben thinks. Charlie pulls out his binder of birth certificate copies. Checks the ages of stutes an defratus and knows he has to go wih durbin.

Fightins': I seem to remember writing many posts last year about the team's proclivity for 9th inning rallies which just barely came up short. In other words, exactly what happened today. Come to think of it, everything about these first 6 games seems eerily similar to last year.

I'm sure Hamels will be better, but he really did help put the team in a pretty crappy position to begin the year with his 2 starts. There's plenty of blame to go around, but as soon as I heard they got 4 runs off of Shields right away, I figured Cole could lock it down...unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way.

So far the one thing you thought you could hang your hat on, the pitching, has been the biggest disappointment. If you told me lannan would have the second best start after 6 games I would be pretty unhappy. That is exactly the case.

Dreamer: The LDATTB stat says nothing about the starting pitcher. It simply reflects that what proved to be the winning run was given up by the bullpen. The starter could've gone 8 innings of shutout ball or been blown out in the 2nd inning. Doesn't matter. If a reliever is on the mound when what proves to be the winning run scores, it is a LDATTB.

Six games in. Hamels will get himself straightened out. Howard a notoriously slow starter until the weather heats up. Not enough timely hitting over nine innings. It was nice to see Revere get a multiple hit game today as well as Michael Young. If Young can continue to hit maybe Howard gets some better pitches to hit.

I was also at the game today and the crowd at the end was pumped. I really thought the Phils were going to do it again. Middle relief a concern. I wouldn't wait long on Durbin/Valdes. Maybe into May. No changes then lets get Stutes, DeFratus and Diekman up.

But remember. It's only six games and the Marlins and Mets are up next. Go Phils.

Valdes gets a longer leash than Durbin. There's just no reason a guy like Durbin, who was pulled off the scrap heap, should be pitching in high leverage situations. It's just stoopid.

Yeah but Durbin was really good in the first 4 months of 2008 so it logically makes sense that UC will always trust him for the rest of eternity.

This is part of why UC needs to go as a manager to be honest.

Its also part of why Rube sucks as a GM.

You know who is leading the Iron Pigs in hitting after yet another multi-hit game? That's right it's me you haters.

.500 after a 2-3 today. I watched that loser Carrera take an 0fer today and have a couple of misreads in RF.

I will be back by Memorial Day haters!

I still retain some hope that Durbin will be ok. LA said he was dreadful last April, too, then had something like a 2.35 ERA thereafter. I'm being lazy by not confirming this prior to posting.

I blame Hamels for this loss, if I didn't already say so.

GBrettfan: 2.21 ERA after April of '12. I'm not betting on such a turnaround this season. Besides which, he could sink the Phillies season in the meantime. It's not an opportunity which should be offered.

I'm impressed w/ the volume & constancy of the boos Hamilton is receiving. Who knew Rangers fans had it in 'em?

As much hate as Durbin is getting, I don't the Phils have a clear upgrade at Lehigh right now. Stutes struggled all spring with his command (and one of his first outings with the Iron Pigs) and is still working his way back from the arm injury.

De Fratus probably is but he also has real fastball command issues this spring & ideally could use at least 7 more outings down at Lehigh.

Question is just how bad Durbin is and if the Phils really are prepared to pull the plug on him in April.

Lindstrom had another scoreless outing today for the White Sox and if he was on this staff right now I would venture to gamble the Phils would be 3-3/4-2. It would give Cholly that veteran RHP reliever he was looking for in the 6th/7th for high-leverage spots and it would allow Horst & Valdes to be used more selectively & in low-leverage spots when behind later in games.

It's not necessarily about "upgrading" from Durbin , so much as acknowledging what he is. Durbin as a mop-up guy is fine, I'm not sure there's a better option. But pitching Durbin in high leverage situations in close games is just dumb. There are much better options for those situations currently in the Phils pen, and Charlie needs to understand this.

Here's an interesting question. Right now, would you rather be the Royals or the Phillies?

They better put this in the rear view fast bc you can't b dropping series to the mets and I for one am not thrilled with their matchup for tomorrow

Boy have things changed around here when you are fearing a team with a payroll 81 million less than yours who has a rookie starting against Roy Halladay at CBP.

I love that Darvish works out of the stretch, even with no one on base. A little quirk you don't see in most starters.

Clout just got a great big hat tip from the Sunday Night baseball crew, noting that location and change of speed are far more important than fastball velocity.

Jack: Excepting the fact that they're an American League team, the Royals.

I do remember that in '08, Durbin typically came in to start the 6th, not to get out of a jam. Some relievers are good at getting out of another pitcher's jams (I remember Eyre said he thrived on that), whereas other relievers really seem to need a clean inning with which to work. Is that faulty perception on my part?

Adrian Beltre makes 3rd base defense look way too easy.

Durbin is the whipping boy but Cole has been dreadful. 4 to 0 lead given up by Cole but somehow Durbin is to blame. Would like to see Aumont in that spot, need more power arms in that pen. Maybe the royals will trade us Collins.

"Durbin as a mop-up guy is fine."

Define "mop-up" time. Horst pitched in mop-up time today and, if he hadn't allowed a run, we might have sent the game to extra innings (assuming Yost had managed his bullpen the same way, which is questionable). My point is: it's not always easy to tell the difference between mop-up time and an important moment in the game. There's value in having a "mop-up" guy who can pitch 2 or 3 scoreless innings now & then and give your team a chance to come back.

I don't believe in "mop-up" guys. When it gets to the point where a pitcher is described as such, there's almost certainly a better reliever available somewhere.

I agree with GTown. If your only "skill" is to pitch in games where the results of your pitching don't matter, than you have no "skill".

Move on.

This Angels/Rangers game is Exhibit 1 in why the league needs to work to speed up games. It's 10:30 in a game that started at 8:00, and it's only in the 6th inning. Way too much time being taken between pitches by this relief pitcher, too.

Fatalotti: Not to mention the added commercial time almost certainly demanded by ESPN for their Sunday Night "showcase" game.

Well at least the last 3 innings went by pretty quickly.

Fatalotti: Yup. There goes my bitchin' down the tube. Time to call it a night, I think.

Back at the ball park tomorrow. Gonna figure out this Halladay mystery firsthand.

Good luck with that, GTown.

This is interesting: the Phillies are taking more fielding practice.

Maybe they're pitching Durbin to get their money's worth out of him. Kind of a companion idea to the 'four quarters equal a dollar' concept. Maybe their goal is to lower their pitches thrown per dollar in salary paid out ratio.

1-Starting to wonder if Hamels fat wallet is causing him to throw off balance.
2-New rule: Phillies are not allowed to sign any relief pitcher named Chad, ever!
3-April 28th - the day Ruiz returns to the team. Can't come soon enough.

I have to begrudgingly admit, I do understand why Cholly used Durbin today. We were already down by 2 runs at the time and, as an irrefutable statistical fact, you're much more likely to lose than win a game which you're trailing by 2 runs in the 6th inning. And, while a manager's job is to try to win every game, he also has to balance that objective against the bigger-picture goals. If he'd burned through Aumont, Bastardo, & Adams only to end up losing by that same 2-run deficit, there would be plenty of angry posters 2 days from now when Aumont, Bastardo, and/or Adams is/are unavailable because they were used in a game we were already likely to lose anyhow.

Ultimately, I think this game is more on RAJ than Cholly. When you're down by 2 runs in the 6th inning, it's appropriate to use one of your lesser relievers. But you need to have lesser relievers who are at least semi-competent -- which Durbin is not.

From Phil Sheridan's article in the Miami Herald:

"What they can't do is let a handful of spare-part relievers continue to work themselves into dubious shape while the season slow-drips away.

"That doesn't mean you pack all of these guys in a crate and ship them to North Korea. But it does mean the clock is ticking. The Phillies sent relievers Michael Stutes, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman and Joe Savery to the minors. Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to keep a shuttle running between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley until somebody proves they can handle these jobs."

I pretty much agree with him 100%. Well, make that 99%. I'd be perfectly fine with packing Durbin & Valdes in a crate & sending them to North Korea.

Overall there's a disproportionate amount of bellyaching over the bullpen scrubs than a No. 1 starter who has been absolutely horrible in two straight starts to open the season (4 HR, 5 BB, 10.97 ERA).

21 walks by Phillies pitching to open the season, including 7 yesterday. Surprisingly, that's not even close to the worst in baseball.

They should keep Aumont out of the fire, too. His command has been awful and he could have easily been torched in one of his outings. I don't see a clear solution here and we're also talking about an extremely small sample. Durbin has looked bad all spring, and if he wasn't on a guaranteed deal, he would have lost the bullpen battle to someone like Aaron Cook, who was let go, or Stutes.

@Weitzel....I don't think anyone is letting Hamels off the hook but we are focusing more on Durbin because I don't think anyone here wanted him on this team let alone pitching in high leverage situations in 2 games in the first week.

For those going to games this week, at least it is going to be really nice weather wise.

Joe D: The point though by JW is a solid, legitimate one. Durbin is not a great pitcher and we know that. Hopefully he can turn it around like he did last year and be useful.

The issue though is that Hamels is the ace of this staff and he was spotted a 4-0 lead and couldn't hold it. Not just couldn't hold it but put up arguably the worst performance of his career. We need Hamels to right the ship. I don't think anyone anticipates him carrying a 10+ ERA the rest of the season but he expect more from him and so far this season he has come up entirely small.

Getting pissed at Durbin over yesterday is kinda silly. That one was on Hamels. Had he pitched like an ace, we are 3-3 and Durbin spits sunflower seed all afternoon in the bullpen.

Let's just hope the Curse of the Hamelstache doesn't last any longer. He never should have shaved that baby.

Whoever thinks a manager is to blame for his start giving up 8ER in less than 6IP is a moron.

I agree 100% w/TTI's 8:59 post.

The blame for the Phillies record this season falls squarely on the shoulders of Kendrick, Halladay and Hamels. All three pitchers have delivered bad to absolutely dreadful starting pitching performances thus far this season.

Not only have they failed to keep runs off the boards themselves, but they've failed to go deep into games, thus ensuring that the drearily weak underbelly of the Phillies roster, its middle relief, got exposed for far too long.

It's hard to get worked up about Durbin sucking, and Horst and Valdes delivering mediocre performances. If we were depending on them to hold down tight leads for several innings at a time, then we were going to be losers this season.

Exactly, Fata.

But hey, at least our BP isn't quite as bad as the Yankees':
"Opposing teams are hitting .319 against the Phils’ pen, second-worst in baseball (teams are hitting .344 against the Yankees’ pen)." (source, Reuben Frank at

Fun with really, really, really small sample sizes that shouldn't be taken seriously:

In only 6 games, Dom has managed to tie for the lowest WAR on the team (he's tied with Howard, which shouldn't be surprising), despite being a productive hitter. Why? He already has been worth -2.0 runs on defense, making him the 5th worst OF in baeball through the first week of the season.


I compared DOM to Justin Upon - who made at least 3 misplays that I can remember from the opening series - and Upton is considered to be 10 for 10 while DOM is 5 for 8.

How is that possible? He missed a pop up, he over slid a ball and allowed runners to advance, and let a ball skip behind him while breaking in.

Also Jack, still a small sample, but Dom hasn't really done anything on offense to allay fears that he's come around offensively.

His .273/.304/.409 line is very pedestrian.

It also has Revere missing 2 plays in his zone - can anyone remember them?

I'm not worried about Hamels, either. But, this game sure didn't help restore any confidence in him just yet.

Nice to see another late rally. I just wish they didn't fall asleep in innings 2-7.


But the guy does have a knack for turning a one-run game into a near blow-out. Seems to be his M.O. Again with Durbin in a close game. ENOUGH! Everyone on Earth knows he's your mop-up guy. How has he pitched in THREE close games already? And with men on base! How has this happened at all, let alone three times?

"Overall there's a disproportionate amount of bellyaching over the bullpen scrubs than a No. 1 starter who has been absolutely horrible in two straight starts to open the season (4 HR, 5 BB, 10.97 ERA)."

The nature of bellyaching is that it tends to gravitate toward the areas where people believe there might actually be some tangible move that could improve the situation. One assumes that Cole Hamels' bad starts are just a temporary glitch. With Chad Durbin, my assumption is that what we're seeing is pretty much who he is.

"Overall there's a disproportionate amount of bellyaching over the bullpen scrubs than a No. 1 starter who has been absolutely horrible in two straight starts to open the season (4 HR, 5 BB, 10.97 ERA)."

That's because we all know that 6+ year contracts with pitchers always work out great.

Jack: I'd rather be the Royals with the Phillies budget.

The problem with the Royals is that even when they develop a nice young core of prospects, they don't have the money to add expensive vets that are required to make them a true playoff team.

Imagine if the Phillies, because of a small budget, played 2010-11 with Marson, Donald, Drabek, Michael Taylor, Carrasco, Happ etc. because they didn't have the money to add Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence, Raul Ibanez and Roy Oswalt. No playoffs.

"With Chad Durbin, my assumption is that what we're seeing is pretty much who he is."

Exactly. This isn't 2008. He isn't going to pitch that way again. We know this, right? Why is he coming in when we are +/- one run? It makes little sense.

The loss is on Hamels (and to a lesser extent the offense), but the game could've been salvaged and kept close. It wasn't.

No use in being disappointed with Durbin. What's he supposed to say, "No, Charlie, I shouldn't pitch in this spot"? No one should have to do that. The manager/coaching staff should know. It's infuriating. And it's happened three times already in the young season.

Fata: Agreed. Durbin, Horst, and Valdes have roles on the team and this week they have been used out of them either because our starting pitcher has stunk or because Charlie put them there. I think once our starters get the ship righted it will make the bullpen picture clearer as I believe you will start to see more Aumont, Bastardo, Adams, and Papelbon.

Why can the Phillies only call up their relievers from AAA?

If you accept that this is the Phil's last hurrah, if you think Morgan, Martin, et al. Would be better in the bullpen, why not call them up?

They'll have plenty of time to develop into competent starters in subsequent years when the Phils totally suck.

What are they holding them back for now? So the Phils can have competent #3 starters two years from now, when they're struggling to stay at .500?

clout, that may have been true in the past, but with guys like Kemp, Votto, Braun, McCutchen, etc (hell, even Hamels) getting locked up into long-term deals with their teams, I doubt there are going to be as many difference making FAs hitting the market year in and year out.

lorecore: You are just now discovering that zone ratings are subjective and prone to error?

Is a 2-run deficit in the 6th inning really a "close game?" I suppose it is but it's a close game that you have a very high probability of losing. If you charted out literally every game situation which would be considered high-leverage, I'm pretty sure that yesterday's situation would have fallen somewhere out of the top 100. It only looks high-leverage in hindsight, because of what happened in the 9th (which is really an illusion, since the Royals would never have used the horrible J.C. Guttierez in the 9th if the lead had still been 2 or 3 runs).

It would be great if you could lean on just 4 relievers to pitch in literally every situation in which a comeback is still a realistic possibility. But you can't. If Chad Durbin can't pitch when you're losing by 2 runs in the 6th inning, he simply has no business being on the team.

If Chad Durbin can't pitch when you're losing by 2 runs in the 6th inning, he simply has no business being on the team.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Monday, April 08, 2013 at 10:33 AM


rbill: If the starters can't get past the 6th inning, then your 6th and 7th relievers are going to be pitching at some point.

some text

That's a bingo!!!

In fact, I said yesterday that if Durbin's only "skill" is to pitch in games where the results of his pitching don't matter, than he has no "skill".

Either he needs to be semi-competent, or he needs to be off the team.

At least Wilton Lopez looks like absolute garbage after 1 maybe it was good that trade fell through.

what were we giving up for him again?

Fat: Exactly. If you take off the hindsight glasses (through which the vision is distorted for reasons stated in my 10:33 post), the situation actually did call for one of our lesser relievers. If you have some lesser relievers who can actually get people out from time to time, then sometimes you can come back to win games like yesterday's.

***what were we giving up for him again?***

I dont even really remember...Scwhimer and Valle maybe?

Defratus and Valle?

I think BL is going to start tallying W/L at the end of the 6th inning. "While we did lose in the end, it doesn't matter too much since we won the first 6 innings!"

The positive: Roman Quinn went 2-4 with a double and a walk. He seems to be handling the offensive side of things fine, hitting .333 and taking 3 SBs without being caught.

The negative: He had three errors. Yeah, three. Actually managed the trifecta of a fielding, throwing, and catching error, whcih is pretty hard to do in a single game.

On the almost all-positive side, Carlos Tocci is 17 years old and off to a good start in full-season ball, as the youngest player in the minors.

Worst case on Quinn is that he moves to CF where his bat still plays really well. If he stays at SS, he could be a perennial AS as opposed to a very good CF.

FWIW, Rollins had 26 errors in his Sally League season...and he wasnt learning a new position so its important to be conservative on Quinn's defense going forward.

Young, super fast SS tend to get to lots of balls and make a good number of errors as a result.

Hamels didn't get the job done, to be sure - but you have to figure he's going to get on track and start delivering some quality outings soon.

Durbin just isn't very good, and we knew this coming in. He wouldn't be my first choice to attempt to strand inherited runners. But as has been mentioned - if you need to bring in someone from the 'pen in the sixth inning or earlier, chances are it's going to be your 4th best guy out there or worse. I just wish that particular guy was better than Durbin.

Also not a fan of the offense shutting it down in the middle innings, but this is nothing new either.

The irrelevant: Trying to judge a prospect from his box score.

NEPP: Oh, yeah, don't read that as me being down on Quinn. I like him a lot, and I generally think errors are a terrible way to judge any fielder, let alone a 19-year kid in low-A ball.

I was merely pointing out the error trifecta, which I think is a really rare accomplishment worthy of notation.

It definitely is, Jack...very hard to do all 3 in one game like that.

I think our current low minors have a good bit of talent in them and that in the 2016-2018 range, we will have another nice young core of players as a result.

"Is a 2-run deficit in the 6th inning really a 'close game?'"

Yes. Yes it is. I'm not saying throw Adams out there in the 6th. What I'm saying is that in certain situations, games can get out of hand. They're not too difficult to spot, either. In those instances, it might be prudent to pitch someone other than your "mop-up" reliever, which Durbin clearly is.

I don't see how that's a controversial opinion. It was the wrong call. It was the wrong call against the Braves. And it was the wrong call TWICE against the Royals. And it'll most likely be the wrong call when it happens again.

So far this season (SSS) the Phillies have scored 25 runs which puts them 7th in the NL in runs scored.

Looks good for me.

On the flip side they have given up 41 runs on the season.

So basically they are averaging 4 runs a game and giving up 7.

Of those 41 runs- 13 have been surrendered by Cole Hamels.

"If the starters can't get past the 6th inning, then your 6th and 7th relievers are going to be pitching at some point."

True. But not in a one or two run game. 2013 Durbin is like 2008 Condrey. He pitches when the game is out of hand to eat innings -- either because the starter was knocked out early and you're down a lot of runs or you're up by a lot and you want to save your back-end BP.

RBill, the point is: Durbin probably isn't appreciably worse than Valdes and Horst, who, as clout will no doubt remind us after every one of their bad outings, were non-prospects, who likely pitched WAY above their heads last season.

Unless Adams, Papelbon, Bastardo and Aumont are going to pitch EVERY relief inning wherein the team is with 2-3 runs, then eventually a Durbin, a Horst or a Valdes is going to have to hold down the fort in a close game like yesterday.

Also, surprised that many on here just assume that Aumont's control issues won't crop up in these close games, and also surprised after how much Bastardo was eviscerated for last season that he's getting so much love from this board. I guess the hatred for Durbin is so strong, that it has transformed distaste for Bastardo into love.

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