Lee Pitches Friday

lee 0730.jpgCliff Lee will make his Phillies debut tomorrow night, which means no ’08 Cy Young matchup Saturday against Tim Lincecum.

Oh well.

“Beforehand it was going to be a win-win situation for me,” Lee said of the time leading up to the trade. “I was comfortable in Cleveland. I knew I could be successful there. I was really comfortable with the whole staff. But being traded I went from a team that was struggling to a team that’s in first place and has a pretty good squad. Now I’m playing for the defending world champions. With the offense we’ve got, it’s going to be fun to watch these games and be a part of it. I just want to contribute and give this team a chance to win every time I take the mound.”

Lee mentioned the offense. He had the eighth-worst run support of any starter in the American League this season.

The Phillies have the best offense in the National League.

He should find a little more support in Philly.

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Shane Victorino said the swelling is down in his bruised left knee, but not enough to allow him to play. Ben Francisco, who joined Lee in the trade, will start in center field. He is hitting sixth.

Victorino said he is day to day.

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The Phillies shuffled their rotation for Lee. Here is how it looks:

- Lee on Friday.
- Joe Blanton on Saturday.
- Cole Hamels on Sunday.
- Jamie Moyer on Tuesday.
- J.A. Happ on Wednesday.

No word what happens Thursday. I can’t imagine the Phillies use a six-man rotation, which means tonight could be Lopez’s final start.

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18 Comments

Well timed info Todd, I still get a chance of a quick nap before the game starts, and I think it’s smart not to put Lee in on Saturday.

I agree. We’re already messing with the man’s routine by having him pitch for us. So to keep him on his current pitching cycle is important. Plus, Christmas comes one day earlier lol.

Six man rotation? For God’s sake. Four days’ rest is bad enough.
I can see it now – 6 man rotations, 80-pitch limits, 14-man bullpens and three set-up men.
Please God, no.
As your General Manager, I’d pass an edict to every team in my minor league to go to a 4-man rotation. I’ve alleviated the headache of finding the elusive “fifth starter” and immediately improved my starting staff by having only 4 pitchers instead of the Pedro’s, Rodrigo’s and assorted Kyle’s that infest MLB staffs now.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why teams put themselves through the trouble of finding a “filler” when the answer is just using the best pitchers and doing away with the trash.
If it was good enough for Gibson, Palmer and Marichal, it’s good enough for this current crop.

Billy Martin went retro while managing the A’s from 1980 through 1982. He decided he did not need “those ‘freakin” relief pitchers. In 1979, the year before Martin became the A’s manager, the A’s pitching staff pitched 41 complete games. This increased to 94 under Martin in 1980, down to 60 in 1981, a season shortened to only 109 games due a labor dispute, and down to 42 in 1982, Martins last year. The only things Martins tenure with the A’s during this time is notable for is the 1981 AL West title and the fact he achieved it by literally blowing out the arms of an entire pitching staff.

pherris: That’s why I said “start it in the minor leagues,” OK? You can’t just throw it into the major league level without conditioning the players in their earlier years. You can build players up to a working level without shocking them by starting it in spring training. Start it at the rookie leagues and work them into it. It would take a few years, but the resulting end of the search for a 5th starter would be worth the effort.
Did guys “blow their arms out” in the 50s, 60s and 70s? No. Because they pitched. Read what Nolan Ryan has to say about it if you don’t believe me.

It would take a long time to turn the clock back and change the culture to a four man rotation. And I think the biggest reason is the money. Pitchers will shut themselves down today with the smallest tweak in their shoulder or elbow with the thought that it may cost them millions of dollars. We’re going to see a throwback tomorrow night in Lincicum, who has stated in the past that he would have no problem pitching every fourth day. But a lot of that has to do with the training he’s done since he was a kid with his father, and the different motion he uses that supposedly helps keep him injury free.
Pitchers today are creatures of bad hablts that are taught to them from childhood. They need to throw more, not less.

Why dont we just pitch them one game on, one game off, like we did in 1964? Correct me if I’m wrong, but even in the 70′s and 80′s, when Carlton was throwing 20+ complete games a year, there were 5 man rotations. The issue isn’t how many starters you use, but how long you use them. As Ryan said, the starter should pitch until he isn’t effective any more, regardless of how many pitchers or what inning it is. I don’t understand taking out a starter who’s throwing a shut-out or a 3 hitter. We’ve done this a few times and in every case (or nearly every one) the pen comes in and gives up a run, or blows the game. Same thing for a reliever, if you bring him in for the7th and he’s pitching well, let him pitch the 8th and the 9th. You don’t have to have a guy whoi only pitches the 7th, o different one for the 8th and a closer for the 9th. WHo remembers Ron Reed and Gene Gerber pitching 3 and 4 inning saves?

Guys have been blowing out their arms since Abner Doubledays time. Every pitcher who has successful Tommy John surgery would have been done prior to Tommy John. Kyle Drabek never would have been around to determine whether he functioned better pitching every fourth or fIfth game since his career would have been so short. And, pitching in a four man rotation does not mean pitching with only 3 days rest. Of the roughly 470 games Bob Gibson pitched in between 1961-1975, he pitched with 4 or more days rest 359 times and with 3 days or less 111 times. Whether or not this means Gibson pitched in a four or five man rotation is not . .clear. But what is clear is he had four days rest prior to pitching appearances 76% of the time or the same as if he had been pitching in 5 man rotation. So I do not know how far back you have to go to get to this mythical time when ball players were steel and and the ball parks were woodbut it appears to be before Nolan Ryans time .

Just read yesterdays portion on Jamie and the argument about Wins/era/other stats. Here’s my take (for good or bad). Yes ERA is a better way of determining how good a pitcher is. However, what about pitchers for teams like the Nats who don’t know how to play Defense? I don’t mean errors, I mean they don’t get to nearly as many balls as ROllins, Utley, Shane etc. Therefore more runs are scored etc.

Wins are a true judge of how the team does when you pitch. Hamels doesn’t get run support. Not this year, and not last year. Jamie does. Why? While I don’t believe it is anything the players do on purpose, (They want to score and win every game) perhaps the way the pitcher encourages them, cheers them on, etc has something to do with the run support he gets.
As a comparrison, which team is better, the one who averages 6 runs a game, hits .280, and has won 70 games or the one who has an average of 3 runs a game, an average of .240 and wins 100 games. (BTW let’s assume the ERAs of both teams are teh same.

to continue, since the object of the game is to win, and not to have better personal stats, I’ll take Jamies ugly wins over someone else’s pretty loses any day

     Wins are useless. They don’t evaluate you as a pitcher at all. This is precisely why Cliff Lee is under .500. A Rockies relief pitcher collected a win a few weeks ago without throwing a pitch – he came in, picked off a guy with 2 outs, and the offense took the lead in the next inning. ERA is vulnerable to distortions by defense. This is why statistics have been developed to adjust for it. My personal favorite is FIP, which you can read about at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_independent_pitching_statistics (the formula for FIP is near the bottom). FIP is good because it evaluates a pitcher on only those factors he has total control over, and adjusts it to read like an ERA number, so it’s easy to take a quick look at and grasp.

     The whole point is that Jamie’s “ugly wins” are unsustainable. You can’t pitch like garbage and expect to get bailed out by the offense every time, because you won’t. If Jamie managed to go 5-0 and allowed 10 runs in every game but the team always won by 2 or 3 runs, it has nothing to do with what Jamie is doing. Pitchers cannot help the amount of run support they get, that’s why wins are a bad stat.

The Baltimore Orioles of the late 60′s and early 70′s had great success with a 4 man rotation, but that is the last team that I can think of that did it successfully. The good Dodgers teams from the mid-60′s generally went with four guys. But I think what most teams used to do (with the exception of the Yankees, who always had a plethora of players to use) was to use 3-4 horses to start 35-40 games and use the detritus from the pitching staff to fill in the other games. They never really had specific 5 man rotations.

Oh and also I agree with phan52 that there are some institutional roadblocks to a 4 man rotation, but there have been studies done, one in particular by Baseball Prospectus, that found that pitchers could easily handle the added innings over the course of a season from a 4 man rotation. Not only that, but you’re taking innings away from some junk 5th guy that you picked up from waivers or whatever and giving them to your more reliable starters. It’s a great idea, I wish more managers would consider it.

I do not know for certain but seems that prior to the teams in Calif. and air travel, the institution of playoffs, and the expansion of the schedule to 162 games. Teams could function quite well with a 4 man rotation where the pitchers threw a large part of the time with four days rest even though it was every fourth game.

The Phils are definitely worn out. Monday can’t come soon enough. I hope they have enough in the tank to score enough runs and play good enough defense to win the next 3 games…

Don’t forget, when we’re talking about teams in the 60s we’re talking about a league that had roughlytwo-thirds as many players as the league does today.
So, not only are they using 5 starters, but the 5th guy is among 30 teams instead of 20 in, say 1965, and even fewer prior to 1960 – and 24-man rosters.
My main issue is the dilution of talent by expansion, but that bell won’t be un-rung either.

Except the US population which supported 20 teams , about 190 million has also expanded at a greater rate than team expansion, 30 teams – 307 million population. In addition, the talent pool has increased due to intensified efforts to locate talent globally. To which you reply, other sports are now in competition with baseball for participants not only here but abroad.

pherris: That’s an interesting sociological point, but I’d also point out that there were also millions more than in the era that brought us Ruth, Cobb, Matthewsen, Ashburn, etc., so maybe the population numbers don’t matter. Maybe there are just a limited group of people who are capable of playing baseball or any sport, and the participants don’t increase with the group?
Or, maybe ten teams per league is enough regardless of the population? I’d much rather see ten 24-man teams with the best players available than some of the flotsam that infests the majors now.
Don’t you always want the best product, and wouldn’t the games be better without teams like the Nationals (nee Expos), Orioles, Pirates, Padres and Royals? When’s the last time any of those teams were winners? And that still leaves 25 teams.
Maybe American sports should be more like British football, where the worst team gets kicked out of the league?

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