Getting Their Pitching On
Almost exactly a year ago today, the Phillies started to turn things around. They had lost 5 of 6 to the Dodgers and Padres as a couple late-inning meltdowns against the Dodgers helped drop them from first place in the National League East.
But the pitching staff went 25-12 with a 3.56 ERA the rest of the way, shaving nearly a half run from their ERA.
Are the Phillies in position for a similar run? Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ continue to pitch well. But can Cole Hamels ever figure out things? He’s 39th out of 48 National League pitchers with a 4.69 ERA. Pedro Martinez, who makes his Phillies home debut tonight against the Diamondbacks, sounds motivated to improve upon Wednesday’s start in Chicago. He’s the fifth starter, so the Phillies don’t have high expectations for him, which is why I say Hamels is the rotation’s biggest question mark.
“I’m not going to say in words, but just try me out there,” Martinez said. “Try me. Give me the opportunity. I pray to God I stay healthy to do those things. I’ve done it before. I don’t know if you know, but I’ve got three Cy Youngs in my house. In the playoffs, I’ve been there. I’ve been there and I’ve won a lot of games, too.”
But the biggest factor in this team’s finish is Brad Lidge. He is 0-5 with a 7.21 ERA and 23 saves in 31 opportunities. He has the highest ERA of any relief pitcher in baseball. His eight blown saves lead the Majors. His 74.2 saves completion percentage is the second lowest in baseball.
Manuel is sticking with him, but you have to wonder if things will change if Lidge is still struggling like he is entering the postseason. The severity of Lidge’s struggles are rare. He had a 1.95 ERA last season. The last relief pitcher to pitch 40 or more innings in consecutive seasons and see his ERA jump at least five runs was Milwaukee’s Derrick Turnbow. He had a 1.74 ERA with the Brewers in 2005, and a 6.89 ERA with the Brewers in 2006.
Police confirmed that Myers did not injure his left eye at Shannon’s Irish Pub, and that he had no involvement in a physical disturbance that damaged some band equipment. Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, also said police have no knowledge that Myers was involved in any verbal confrontations with any patrons.
“Did he say something? I don’t know,” Mulligan said. “It’s not a crime to say something to somebody.”
No police report has been filed, and Mulligan does not expect one to be filed.
“For there to be a crime there must be a victim,” Mulligan said. “There was no victim.”