Worley, Ibanez and the Game 1 Starter

A quick note from last night’s victory over the Braves:

  • The Phillies have won 14 consecutive Vance Worley starts. The last team to win 14 or more consecutive starts by a pitcher was the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 17 consecutive Chris Carpenter starts in 2005.

In case you were wondering:

  • Baseball Prospectus estimates the Phillies have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs.  It breaks down like this: a 99.9 percent chance of winning the division and a 0.1 percent chance of winning the wild card. Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • Raul Ibanez had a good night last night. I like the idea of Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. platooning the rest of the season and into the postseason. Ibanez is hitting .262/.314/.440 against right-handers and .198/.223/.362 against left-handers, while Mayberry is hitting .286/.341/.607 against left-handers and .244/.320/.458 against right-handers. But maybe the location of the game and not just the pitcher should influence Charlie Manuel‘s lineup. Ibanez is hitting .292/.332/.525 at home and .197/.223/.362 on the road. For whatever reason, Ibanez has been a much better player at Citizens Bank Park. Maybe it’s the “Rauuuuuuuuuul” chants, but it’s something to consider once October rolls around.
  • Lot of people have been asking me about the postseason rotation. There’s no debate to me. If everybody is rested, healthy and can be lined up the way the Phillies want to line them up it looks like this: Game 1 is Roy Halladay, Game 2 is Cliff Lee, Game 3 is Cole Hamels and Game 4 is Roy Oswalt. Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, so I start him in Game 1, even if Lee is hot. Why? Because Halladay is pretty good, too. He did throw a no-hitter in last year’s playoffs. He did win the Cy Young. If he wins Game 1 and Lee is pitching like he has been, Lee will put his foot on the throat of the other team in Game 2. Or if Halladay somehow loses Game 1, then Lee will even the series. Really, there’s no wrong way to go, but that’s the way I go. And I go with Oswalt because of his pedigree. Yes, Worley has pitched great, but I like Oswalt coming up big in the postseason. Got to go with your aces.


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Too early to tell on the starters in playoffs… much can happen between now and then…

Oswalt shouldn’t be handed the 4th spot. If Worley continues doing what he’s doing, and Oswalt’s inconsistency continues, they should go with Worley. But, if Oswalt bounces back and pitches well in September, it obviously goes to him. It’s his spot to lose for sure, but he should lose it if he doesn’t pitch well in September.

Raul Ibanez makes me crazy with his streaky hitting, but he is an established professional who works the pitchers and tries to put the ball where it needs to go. I love Mayberry, but sometimes he seems like he’s auditioning for a role with the Phils (that was Domonic Brown’s problem, too – big time). I wish Mayberry would just relax and try to put the ball in play where it will do the most good. Lots of time he does – like over the fence.

My only thought of using Worley over Oswalt as a starter is Oswalt would be a much better option out of the bullpen in the 7th inning in a tight game. Stutes seems worn down, and I don’t have any faith in Kendrick or Herndon. If Oswalt only needs to come in for an inning or two in a tight game to get to Bastardo/Madson in the 8th/9th, he should be able to bring it hard and not worry about his back stiffening up between innings.

Knowing Charlie, it’ll be set up just like Todd has proposed. Halladay first because he’s the horse, and Oswalt over Worley because he’s the veteran. I would go Lee #1 and Oswalt #4. I think splitting up the lefties is a good way to go.

But that’s just me. I have no say.

Great win last night. Worley got himself into some tough spots and was able to limit the damage. Now where is that Braves troll, Hill Billy Bob Reefer?

Todd, I agree with you 100% about the postseason rotation. But I think the questions of Halladay vs. Lee for first and Oswalt vs. Worley for fourth pale in comparison to who will pitch the 7th inning of close games. I don’t trust Stutes or Lidge AT ALL. In big, close games I really hope Charlie and Dubee consider using Bastardo for more than an inning. He’s the best they have in the pen.

zach, I think they might lose faith in Stutes if he continues to pitch like he has, but they will trust the Worleys, the Blantons and, yes, the Lidges of the world if they need someone earlier than the 8th inning. They will have to avoid using Bastardo or Madson for more than an one inning because they may have to be available almost every night.

Martinez was a veteran in 2009 and look what that got us. That veteran turkey pitched two of the Phillies losses in the WS while Happ rode the pine. What an ideal situation to expose Worley to the “pressure” of post season by putting him behind the top 3 especially considering he has shown he is a solid 4. How could it be any safer? Besides, Worley would be gaining experience for next year as well when Oswalt is gone. How can Charlie not trust Stutes and Lidge? They are part of what has gotten the Phillies this far so why would it be changed? Why would Charlie want to change the the game plan now in the absence of evidence showing it needs to be changed?

Well pherris, if you had your way Happ would still be here. The 5-15 Happ. The Happ who has proved even when he was here that he is a 5-6 inning pitcher. I’ll take the veteran Oswalt every single day and I’m glad we got him.

phan52, check your archives, Buddy. Happ was with the Phillies in 2009, Oswalt was not. The issue was whether to use a young Happ or a burnt out drama queen, Martinez. You always come up with these strawmen. Why don’t you enlighten us and explain how Charlie made the right decision in 2009? If I remember correctly you also said you would take the veteran Martinez in 2009

I wouldn’t say Lidge has really helped us get to where we are. How many games has he played in? 5? 10? The Phils also have Kendrick in the pen. There are many more options for the BP once the playoffs start.

Oswalt has one of the best Sept/Oct records. Plus after last night’s performance he’s regained my confidence.

Karen, I can’t understand how there would even be a debate about this if Oswalt is healthy. He had to prove that first, and I think he has. So, it should be over and Worley should eventually prepare himself for bullpen duty in October.
Oswalt as the #4? Embarrassment of riches.

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