Limited Options

park 2.jpgThe Phillies find themselves in first place in the National League East despite the worst starting pitching in baseball.

Can it continue?

“We’re not going to get very far unless they all step up and pitch the way we think they can pitch,” Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday. “It’s something we monitor every day. We haven’t made any decisions as far as changes are concerned. But, of course, when they’re not performing at their normal levels, it is cause for some concern.”

The Phils enter tonight’s game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park with a 6.35 starter’s ERA, which is the highest in baseball.

Right-hander Joe Blanton has a 6.86 ERA, which is the sixth-highest ERA in the Majors. If left-hander Jamie Moyer had enough innings to qualify for the ERA rankings, he would have the highest ERA in the game at 8.15. If right-hander Chan Ho Park had enough innings to qualify with Moyer, he would have the sixth highest ERA at 7.08.

I bring this up (again) only because I’ve been getting plenty of questions about what the Phillies can do to improve the rotation.

And, well, what can they do?

Not much.

“We have to keep our minds open with what ways we can improve our club,” Amaro said. “But at this time, the options that we have internally are not necessarily better options than what we have going right now. If we feel differently, then we’ll make changes, but right now that’s not the case.”

Moyer and Blanton aren’t going anywhere, which means the Phillies have just one option at the moment: replace Park with J.A. Happ. I would not be surprised if Park gets bumped to the bullpen this week after he lasted just 1 1/3 innings Sunday against the Nationals.

“He’s pitched very well out of the bullpen, and we’ve needed him,” Amaro said of Happ. “He’s been effective back there. He’s helped us there. He’s been helping us win games there. The question is whether or not we’re better off having him do his job as well as he has done in the bullpen, or whether we end up weakening our bullpen and adding what may be a question mark in our rotation. Do you weaken two areas just to see? Those are the things you have to factor in.”

In short, the Phillies have to hope Cole Hamels and Brett Myers continue to pitch well, and Moyer and Blanton start pitching better because other than Park, they have what they have.

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Signing catcher Paul Bako to a Minor League deal doesn’t seem like much, but I don’t think it’s completely insignificant either. The Phillies already have Lou Marson and Paul Hoover in the system, so they are not hurting for depth should Carlos Ruiz or Chris Coste get hurt. But I’m thinking Bako not only provides the Phillies a little more depth, but he pushes Coste a little, too.

Of course, Coste is accustomed to that. He always seems to be behind the eight-ball with the Phillies. He had a great Spring Training in 2006, but he didn’t make the Opening Day roster. He eventually joined the team and hit .328 that season, but the Phillies signed Rod Barajas before 2007. Coste experienced no drama in 2008, but struggled offensively late in the season. He was hitting .182 on May 2 this season, but is hitting .455 (5 for 11) in his last four games to boost his average to .236.

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How about that Ryan Church? Doh!

6 Comments

Todd: Just saw an interesting post saying that Moyer is throwing with the same speed this year on both his FB and change as last year. The difference being how the umps are calling the balls and strikes now that they are bing judged based on comparisions to a computerated strike zone. Any knowledge of this or thoughts? It would explain so much of his problems, not having the umps give him the strike a bit off the plate any more. Also, any thoughts to the fact that Bako was signed to help the young arms in LV as an experienced catcher? And, of course to fill in for Marson if and when he’s called up

FIJ: I had heard that also. And as we know Moyer relies heavily on the homeplate ump’s balls/strike zone. His last start he seemed to be getting things his way then of course came the 4th inning and all hell broke loose.

Go Dodgers! Beat the Mutts!!

I never thought I’d hear a phillies phan rooting for the dodgers lmfao

Glad to provide a laugh or 2 :-)

Also helps our Phils out (especially if we can continue to get those road trip “Ws”)

As the saying goes, I root for two teams, the Phillies and whoever is playing the Mutts! :) But really, not stepping on the bag? Wow…

deb….i was just going to say the same thing!!! LOL! I keep trying to pin that bumper sticker on my FB profile, but it won’t let me. I had it on there once, and removed it. Should never have done that!

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