Making Room for Pedro


pedro lehigh valley.jpgCharlie Manuel
got asked every which way he might shape the rotation once Pedro Martinez joins the Phillies.

J.A. Happ to the bullpen? Jamie Moyer? Martinez? How about a six-man rotation?

“It’s something we’ll go over when it’s time,” Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Rockies.

It would have made little sense for Manuel to spill the beans with Moyer scheduled to pitch tonight, Happ scheduled to pitch tomorrow night and Martinez scheduled to make a rehab start tomorrow night for Double-A Reading. Anything could happen before Martinez returns.

But the interest in this situation is legitimate and understandable. Happ has pitched remarkably well as a starter this season. He is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA overall, and 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts since May 23. He ranks 16th out of 53 National League pitchers in ERA since May 23, which is better than Josh Johnson (3.12 ERA), Ted Lilly (3.75 ERA), Randy Wolf (3.98 ERA), Jamie Moyer (4.00 ERA), Johan Santana (4.09 ERA), Cole Hamels (4.57 ERA), Derek Lowe (4.65 ERA) and others.

But Happ might be headed to the bullpen because Moyer and Martinez are not seen as viable bullpen options. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said repeatedly the Phillies signed Martinez to be a starter (although also has said things could change). Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee has echoed that sentiment.

“I think what’s going to weigh into it is what our best options are,” Dubee said. “What’s going to give us a chance to win another World Series. That’s our goal.”

Wednesday will be Martinez’s third rehab start. And while he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, if the Phillies considered him a relief pitcher they might be preparing him differently.

*

The entire pitching staff is in flux. The Phillies have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list.

Myers, who is recovering from surgery on his right hip, started to jog Tuesday. He will throw a simulated game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Durbin, who has a strained muscle in his back, will make a rehab appearance Wednesday with Single-A Clearwater. Romero, who has a strained left forearm, will make a rehab appearance Friday. Condrey, who has a strained left oblique, is progressing slowly. The Phillies are going to make sure he heals completely before they bring him back.

If Myers returns throwing hard, he could become a nice weapon in the bullpen. He also could be an insurance policy should closer Brad Lidge continue to struggle. Lidge is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA. His ERA is the highest in baseball amongst qualifying relief pitchers.

“He’s our closer,” Manuel said of Lidge. “Showing him confidence, that’s how he’ll get back on a streak. He’s very capable of doing that. He’s showed how good he is. I’m very positive. I have all the faith in the world in him. I know exactly what he can do.”

*

Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who went 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA in five starts, already has been moved to the bullpen to make room for left-hander Cliff Lee.

“It’s tough, but having a former Cy Young winner it’s pretty understandable,” Lopez said. “It’s too bad he took my spot, but I want to win.”

Even with Lopez out there are too many starters and not enough spots for them, unless the Phillies would go to a six-man rotation. And what are the chances of that?

“Personally, I think it would be pretty tough,” Dubee said. “Organizationally, I don’t know.”

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34 Comments

After a few promising starts another rough one for Moyer. His margin for error is just too small. With our surplus of starting pitching I hope Charlie and management at least consider sitting Jaime.

     Hey f_i_j, how about that Moyer outing tonight? Look at all that veteran grit! If only he had encouraged the hitters in the dugout more, maybe they would’ve overcome the 6 earned runs he allowed so that he could get the win! And then everything would’ve been OK, because wins are wins, after all.
     On a more serious note, I don’t understand why the starting presumption is that we have to bring Martinez to the big club in the first place. If he can’t pitch out of the bullpen, and our starting rotation is set with Hamels/Lee/Blanton/Happ/Moyer, why force Pedro in if we don’t need him? Why take Happ and put him in the pen, where he’s much less valuable, when he’s been pitching very well, and leads all rookies in VORP? It doesn’t make a damned bit of sense. If Pedro doesn’t fit with the big club he can stay in AAA, just like any other player in the system.

phylan, you can’t keep a veteran in the minors without their permission. Pedro will come out as soon as his next start is completed. If it’s a problem, blame Ruben for trying too hard to get Halladay. As for Jamie, things could have turned out a little better if Charlie hadn’t put Lopez in. Lopez pitched exactly like Chan Ho pitched in San Diego after Charlie decided to pitch Bastardo instead of giving him a second chance. Broken Heart Syndrome is what I call it. Lopez’s last start showed signs of it. After all, he knew it was his “last start” and that affected him. Maybe he can make it as a reliever, but he’s better off starting for someone else. It’s unfair that Lopez and Happ have pitched well enough to be starters on this team, yet Lopez will probably be released and Happ will probably end up in the bullpen.

The Fish got eaten by the Nats. So we’re still 5 games up in the NL East. The Mets found a way to blow their game thanks to another lousy outing by Johan and a grand slam in the 10th by King Albert, who now has 36 HRs and 97 RBIs. Why even bother to wait till the end of the season? Why doesn’t Selig just give him the MVP now?!

Lopez got killed tonight…not good. But the offense is still in hibernation too. Please tell them to wake up…please & thank you. LOL
By the way, SO much warmer back home….ahhhhh!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

How did Lopez get killed? The first three runs were charged to the Geriatric Kid. It is sickening how Manuel fawns over the KId. Talks about lifetime records and what not. Using that logic let’s dig up Cy Young and give him a whirl.

     Erichh, for one thing, you could extend his DL stay, although that’s a bit underhanded and he would likely protest it. You could waive him. Since no time was interested in signing him before, I’m not sure he would be claimed, and since Pedro wants to play in the MLB again, I have a feeling he would accept the eventual assignment.
     But even barring all of that, you could just release him and eat the $1 MM if the alternative is sticking Happ in the bullpen just to wedge Martinez into the rotation. If Happ can still go 6-7 innings a start, it’s silly to stick him in the pen just because you signed an old guy who doesn’t want to pitch relief.

The Phillies are going to have to pamper an another old guy as if they do not already have enough pampering to do with the old guy they already have. I almost forgot, the head pamperer is also an old guy. Go figure.

Jamie got beat around last night, no other way to describe it. The fact that the philies’ offense didn[t show up (again!) doesn’t change that. However, Would any other of our pitchers (besides perhaps Lee) have won that game?

The Phillies lost that game early on when the big guy struck out with the bases loaded. They need to start hitting with runners in scoring position and put up some crooked numbers. They never would have put Lopez in the game at that point if they had scored 4-5 runs against decidedly mediocre pitching. They’ve been making some so-so pitchers look like all-stars for about a week now.

More to the point, even with their potent offense, can the Phillies win with Moyer pitching? Considering Moyer gives up 5.55 runs on his own per game and the Phillies score 5.28 runs per game, best in the NL, the short answer is no.

Moyer is a perplexity that the Phillies management will have to deal with. With 6 starters available, the easy call is to take him out of the rotation but, as I’ve told you before, Chollie has his ‘guys’ and Moyer is at the top of the list. They set up the current rotation to set Moyer up to pitch Sunday against the Fish because he owns them. If they rock him, the decision should be easy.
But again, guys like Hammel and Yusmeiro Petit are the definition oif mediocre and the Phillies should be demolishing them with their bats, early and often.

Please Charlie, Rich Dubee, Ruben et al. Do not put Happ in the bullpen. If you are truly looking at what gives us the best chance to win each game the rotation should be: Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, then whichever of Moyer or Pedro pitches better as the 5th guy. Our postseason rotation should end at Happ as the 4th starter. Unless something happens the rest of the way, this is the obvious best rotation as things currently stand. I know Happ was good out of the pen, but his starts have all been quality and sometimes outstanding. I don’t think he is a top of the rotation guy, but he is definitely our 4th right now. I will be disappointed if they move him back to the pen. I love Moyer and I am ok with the Pedro signing, but to me that should be insurance at the 5th spot only.

Let’s not panik quite yet about this team. We’ve had bad streaks before, and the last one ended with us going on a torrid month of July. As we discovered last year, we have to arange it so we’re red hot at the end of Sept through Oct.

AS for Moyers, he is the weakest starter we are pitching at the momment. The obvious move is to replace him with Pedro when he’s ready, but…..

Of the three options, (Happ, Moyers, Pedro) I think Pedro would help us the most in the pen. He can eat innings, he can come in late, and he’s done it before. Moyers would not be good in the pen. His stuff depnds on setting batters up over multiple at bats etc. As for Happ, he’s shown he can pitch out of the pen, but he’s also the best option for #4.

In short, we ned to get the pitching situation sorted soon so we can get ready for the playoffs

Pedro would not work in the ‘pen. His MO is giving up a little early, but you better get him early because then he settles down and gets into a groove (at least with the Mets. When he was with the Red Sox he was the best pitcher in MLB). He needs to get on the mound and work his way into it. That’s not a good recipe for coming out of the ‘pen, especially if there are runners on.
If Moyer is not one of the top 4 starters in the postseason, he may as well not even be on the roster because he would be useless in the ‘pen. He is going to offer Phillies management some tough decisions down the stretch.

Can’t Jamie has an “injury” and go on the 15 day DL? I love the guy but I don’t see why he can’t pitch out of the pen. Seems like he would be perfect for long relief when the starter gets hurt or doesn’t allow much offense but runs up a high pitch count early. He usually gives us 2-4 solid innings.

Hell has frozen over! Everyone on this board agrees about something! Moyer is our worst starter and Pedro should be given a chance to take his place. Happ should NOT be sent to the bullpen. I’m quite pleased with our top 4 starters, a 5th starter of any quality whatsoever is a luxury. Let’s get the offense back on track and run away with the NL East!!!

pherrisphain: Were you watching the same game I was? Yes, Moyer did very badly. And yes, those 3 runs were charged to him. But the pens job is to stop the bleeding and shut the other team down; Lopez failed badly. In fact, in 2 innings he allowed 2 runs of his own, 5 hits, plus the 3 runs Jamie had on base. And 2 runs (only Lopez’s) in 2 innnings calculates to an ERA of 9.00. So, yes, that qualifies as getting killed.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I still want a rotation of Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ and Lopez!! He’s pitching better then Moyer and pedro.

As for pedro, if he cant’ help out of the pen, let him spend the million bucks in the DR while hanging at the beach. Moyer should replace Dubee as pitching coach. Dubee should be Charlies’ personal assistant in charge of shedules and line-up proof-reading

I sometimes feel like Moyer is pitching very similarly to last year (I know of course that his ERA is higher). Ruben sorta hinted that maybe that put Pedro in the bullpen, but I think it would be after a start or two. Since everyone is not sure what he has left in the tank.

P.S. Glad we’re not talking about the Eagles and the news of a marijuana bust for two of there players?! YIKES!

I was at the ballpark for the Moyer beating last night, and I’m sure almost all of you saw it on the TV. Maybe I’d feel better if he had given up a bunch of bleeders and squibbs, but those balls were rockets coming off their bats. And not exactly a bunch of great hitters either. Lopez threw kerosine on the fire. It was hard to watch, but I stay for every agonizing pitch regardless.
I’m sure Pedro will get a shot (he was in the dugout last night) but a lot of it will likely depend on his performance tonight in Reading.
I wonder if he’s saving all of those uniforms?

karen: We haven’t been cleared by Czar Reid to discuss the pot bust. Apparently, there was a breech.

IMHO Lopez should be the way back option to fill in for injuries should 2 of the top 6 go down. I honestly don’t care that much who they designate #5 and who pitches out of the bullpen if they would just go with the obvious top 4 of Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ. I do feel uncomfortable with Moyer pitching against anyone besides Florida. Let’s see how he does against them this Sunday. If Happ pitches well tonight and Moyer has another bad game, that should be the final straw.

Muleman: Oy vey! That puts me in the same company as Howard Eskin for breeching “the pact” the press supposedly had with Czar Reid….. LOL!!

Phillyscott: When Lopez was starting he was doing very good. Last night was a disaster. I wonder, however, how many times he’s ever pitched in relief (Todd?). I bet if you do a comparrison of the #5 starters for each NL team, ours have been towards the top for the year.

I don’t care about Lopez. He did a nice job but he is at best a #5 and we don’t need him in the postseason. They should do him a favor and release him so that he can latch on to a team that may consider him for the long run. He looks to be over his injury and is a viable MLB starter.

Pedro is a starter. When he comes up he has to start and if he can’t cut it there, they should release him as well. The top four should be Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ. After Moyer gets his obligatory start against the Fish on Sunday they should stick Pedro in that slot. JMO.

While we only need 4 starters in Oct we do need 5 to get there. I’d like to go into the Post Season with home team advantage. The 5th starter should get around 10 more starts so who it is is very relevent right now. IMHO Lopez is the best option. I haven’t been impressed with Pedro’s performance in his rehab starts, and While Moyer is a great guy, I think Lopez has been pitching better. I’m sure he wouldn’t clear waivers, and while being nice is a good thinkg, winning is the only thing.

Last night shows where Lopez is vs. Moyer in the pecking order, so choosing him over Moyer is just wishful thinking. And it’s impossible to judge how a pitcher is doing in rehab assignments. They don’t go in with a game plan like they would against a major league lineup. They are just throwing pitches, looking for arm slots and control of their secondary pitches. We won’t know how Pedro is progressing until he faces live hitters in the show.

The fifth starter doesn’t really matter because they are all on about the same plane. The thing that I don’t want to see is Happ go to the ‘pen because then they would be diminishing one of the top four spots IMO.

I agree about Happ not going to the pen. However, you can’t judge Lopez based on last night, or on his last start which occured after the Lee trade and it was obvious that he was going to lose his place in the rotation. He was always a starter and his first relief try isnt a fair judge. He’s still better (at least right now) then Moyer has been.

The great question is: WTF do we do with Jamie??

f.i.j.: Lopez has appeared in 193 games and has started 166 of them.
Opponents hit .284 with runners in scoring position and .277 with men on base; so perhaps relief isn’t his forte.

we agree then Mule. What a nice change of events

Well, I’m opinionated, especially about baseball. I guess the “Pedro Experiment” is a calculated $1 million risk, but I think it’s more likely to be a waste of everybody’s time. I also don’t like yanking guys in and out of the rotation. It’s an entirely different mind set and not every starter is cut out to be in the bullpen and vice versa.
When I heard Amaro talking about a “6-man rotation” i just about drove off the road. He’s got to be kidding. 5-man rotations are bad enough.
I don’t know how hard they tried, but I think the Phils should have been more involved in the George Sherrill talks. He would have been a much more valuable addition than Pedro.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_log&gid=2009_08_05_treaax_reaaax_1

Pedro was cruising with 11 K’s through 5 (see attached link), and hit a bit of a wall in the 6th, although the Reading players were a little loose on defense in that inning. They didn’t hit him hard. He’s probably good to go.

Yeah, he really dominated those Trenton Thunder. I’ve seen a lot of minor leaguers strike out. I’m reminded of a line from “Little Big Man” when Jack Crabbe (Dustin Hoffman) is talking to General Custer about what awaits him at Sitting Bull: “Those aren’t helpless women and children down there. Those are Cheyenne brave and Souix. By the time they get done with you, there won’t be nothing left but a greasy spot.”
.
He’ll say he’s good to go. Thursday’s possible rain (if the nitwit TV forecasters are right) could make things even more interesting.

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