Hunter’s Homer, Worley’s Hurt, Diekman Impressive

Ah, Chicago, Milwaukee’s little brother to the south.

The Phillies got into town last night following a 4-3 victory over Houston in 10 innings. Some crazy things happened in that game, but perhaps none as crazy as Hunter Pence‘s error in the ninth inning that allowed the tying run to score and his game-winning homer in the 10th. (To be fair, a double followed Pence’s error, so the tying run would have scored anyway, but Pence has had his troubles in right field this season and fans have let him hear it.) Elias Sports Bureau found that over the last 30 years only two other players have hit a game-winning home run after making an error that allowed the tying run or go-ahead run to score.

The others? Drum roll please …

Juan Uribe (Aug. 8, 2007) and Jimmy Rollins (June 23, 2010).

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The Phillies today placed Vance Worley on the DL with right elbow inflammation. Worley said yesterday he wasn’t worried, but whenever a pitcher has discomfort in his elbow it’s a concern. We don’t know how serious the injury is, but we should learn more today at the ballpark, so check back later for an update.

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Jake Diekman looked great in his big-league debut yesterday. The Phillies put him into a high-leverage situation and he excelled. If he continues to pitch like that it will be interesting to see how quickly he moves up the bullpen’s food chain because the Phillies desperately need late-inning stability. Antonio Bastardo has looked much better recently, which is encouraging, but Chad Qualls has a 7.36 ERA in his last nine appearances dating to April 24 and Jose Contreras isn’t reliable. He has a 9.00 ERA in 10 appearances, allowing at least one base runner in eight appearances.

One thing on the Phillies using Jonathan Papelbon in a non-save situation Monday: the Phillies often use their late-inning relievers after they have warmed up, even after the game situation has changed. I thought they might have used Diekman in the ninth Monday, but when Papelbon entered the game I wasn’t like, “Holy crap! What are they doing?!?!” I said, “Well, I guess they wanted Papelbon to pitch because he’s already warmed up.” I’m not sure if Papelbon would have been available to pitch Tuesday if he hadn’t pitched Monday, but in my opinion it comes back to this: It wouldn’t be an issue if they had more reliable arms in the bullpen. For example, in 2010 Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee could chose from Brad Lidge (2.96 ERA), Ryan Madson (2.55 ERA), Chad Durbin (3.80 ERA) and Contreras (3.34 ERA). Manuel and Dubee are incredibly shorthanded right now, which is why they really could use Diekman to step up.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

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8 Comments

Is he steps up any more Pap’s going to be setting up for him

Wow dude. Seriously?

Hey f-i-j, how’s that “Diekman as set-up guy” working out?

Seriously, f-i-j. 21 pitches? Really?

Think it’s a bit premature to think a rookie can take Papelbon’s spot. Hopefully he can continue to be relied upon especially since reliable relievers are few and far between.

I think Diekman pitched well enough to make the opening-day roster, but because the Phils had options, they sent him to LV, where he was dominating Triple-A hitters. With the pen struggling and killing the Phils, I was wondering why they didn’t dump the trash and bring Diekman up earlier. The only reason I could come up with is that they were trying to delay his arbitration eligibility for another year, which is retarted if true. They need guys who can get the job done. Last year Stutes and Bastardo made a smooth transition to the Bigs. Why can’t Diekman be that guy this year? He’s got the stuff and he doesn’t wilt under the pressure of a game-on-the-line situation. I’d love to see him replace Qualls as the set-up guy. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

You might be right about his arbitration-eligible status. If so, it’s Bush League (not retarded) and it isn’t what winning ballclubs do. I’m always reminded of when David Bell was stinking it up at third base. The rationale was that “he’s making $5.4 million, so he has to play.” That’s stupid, because you’re paying him anyway, so why not put a ballplayer in.
The first month-plus of Diekman’s year was wasted in AAA. What’s the point of spring training if it isn’t to find out who is the best player for the position? Contreras is a waste of space, yet they keep giving him chances. The mind boggles.

I completely agree with you on this point muleman. It toally boggles the mind!……

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