Results tagged ‘ B.J. Rosenberg ’

Bullpen Blow Up

Jake Diekman,Dan UgglaMarlon Byrd probably summed up last night’s 9-6 loss to the Braves better than anybody:

“For a fan it’s got to be a great game to watch, entertainment-wise. It sucks for us. We came out on the losing end.”

How it happened is incredible. The Braves carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning when B.J. Rosenberg served up home runs to Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons in succession to make it 5-1. Forty-four times since 1950 a pitcher allowed home runs to the only two batters he faced in a game. But according to Retrosheet, Rosenberg is the first pitcher in 100 years (and likely ever) to allow home runs to the only three batters he faced in a game. Records only go back to 1914, but nobody hit home runs before 1914 and relievers were not what they are today so it’s highly doubtful it happened before that.

The Phillies then scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead.

But then Jake Diekman, trying to close for the first time in his career, loaded the bases in the ninth before he allowed a grand slam to Uggla.

The bullpen started the game with a 4.35 ERA following a strong performance over the weekend against Miami. It left the ballpark with a 5.53 ERA, which is the third-highest bullpen ERA in baseball. Of course, it doesn’t help that Phillies starters can’t pitch past the sixth inning. Just twice in 13 games have they pitched more than six innings. Phillies starters are 22nd in baseball in innings pitched, but are seventh in pitches thrown. In other words, they are hitting the 100-pitch mark fairly regularly in the fifth and sixth innings and can’t go any further. And that exposes the bullpen.

(A MLB-leading 14 errors hasn’t helped, extending innings, too.)

Mike Adams is back in the bullpen beginning tonight, but it remains to be seen how much he help.

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Asked this morning about Double-A Reading closer Ken Giles, Ruben Amaro Jr. said on the 94 WIP Morning Show that, “I think we have to think about it.” But Amaro also mentioned how Giles is still learning, how he missed time last season because of injuries and how they need to make sure he can handle the ups and downs of the big leagues first.

“We’re not afraid to bring guys up to the big leagues,” Amaro said.

In six scoreless innings, Giles has allowed one hit and two walks and has struck out 14.

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Tony Gwynn Jr. singled and reached second on a throwing error with one out in the third inning, when Jimmy Rollins bunted Gwynn to third. It was a confusing move at best with Gwynn a good runner and already in scoring position. Rollins gave up a precious out to send Chase Utley to the plate, and then Utley struck out to end the inning.

The immediate reaction: Why would Rollins bunt there? No way the Phillies called that from the bench. It made no sense.

“[Rollins] thought there were no outs,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He forgot [Roberto] Hernandez led off the inning. He thought there was no outs. He was just trying to get the guy over from second to third.”

The Bullpen’s Rocky Start

Mario HollandsYou knew the Phillies would not score 14 runs every night — they needed 81 games to reach 10+ runs in a game last season — and if they planned to win they would need to win close games like the one they lost last night.

It is why Ryne Sandberg drilled fundamentals into his players’ heads in Spring Training. It is why they said they valued versatility and defense when they finalized their bench.

The Phillies would need to play soundly to make up for any lack of pop offensively.

Of course, they also would need to pitch well.

It is just two games, but the Phillies bullpen isn’t off to a great start. They have allowed six hits, four runs, six walks and have struck out six in 6 1/3 innings. They have allowed three of six inherited runners to score. (They finished 29th in baseball last season, allowing 36.2 percent of inherited runners to score.) Sandberg already has leaned twice on left-handers Jake Diekman and Antonio Bastardo and right-hander B.J. Rosenberg. He also chose rookie left-hander Mario Hollands to face the top of the Rangers lineup in the bottom of the ninth last night rather than use one of his more experienced right-handers. Hollands, who was making his big league debut, walked two of the three batters he faced (the left-handed Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder) before Rosenberg entered and allowed the game-winning hit to Adrian Beltre.

“I’m just using the guys in the ‘pen,” Sandberg said, asked if he is experimenting to find the best relievers for the best roles. “They’re here for a reason. They’re here to pitch. … It’s not experimenting at all. It’s putting them in the best situations to pitch and be successful.”

Theoretically, Sandberg could have used a righty to face the bottom of the lineup in the eighth and have Bastardo pitch against the top of the lineup in the ninth, but he said he wanted his best reliever (other than closer Jonathan Papelbon) to keep the game tied with a chance to win in the ninth.

“Bastardo is our eighth-inning guy,” Sandberg said.

Rosenberg has allowed three of four inherited runners to score in his first two appearances. Brad Lincoln, who was a lock to make the bullpen before Spring Training opened in February, and Justin De Fratus are still looking for their first action.

“Coming out of Spring Training, he was throwing the best, as far as throwing strikes and doing the job as a seventh- or eighth-inning right-hander pitcher,” Sandberg said of Rosenberg.

Relievers are going to blow leads and blow games. It happens in every bullpen. But the margin for error for the Phillies is small. They will need an effective bullpen to have a chance this season. This isn’t the start they wanted.

The Big Red Machine

Cliff LeeThe Phillies open a three-game series tonight against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

The Reds swept the Phillies in Cincinnati last month.

A few notes before the series opener:

  • The Phillies finally optioned left-hander Raul Valdes to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was 1-0 with a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances. Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg takes his place. He was 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven starts in Triple-A. I’m not sure why he got the nod over Lehigh Valley relievers like Joe Savery (3.00 ERA in 12 appearances), Mike Stutes (3.86 ERA in 17 appearances) and Cesar Jimenez (3.20 ERA in 10 appearances), but I’m guessing it’s because he has a power arm and gives the bullpen length. But Rosenberg has 24 strikeouts with 20 walks in 37 2/3 innings. But clearly something needed to be done to shake up the bullpen. The middle relievers have struggled tremendously. If you’re asking about Chad Durbin (7.30 ERA in 12 appearances), I think he gets a longer leash because of his contract (one-year, $1.1 million, plus a club option for 2014), plus the Phillies considered him a valuable asset in mentoring some of the younger arms in the bullpen.
  • The Phillies called Roy Halladay‘s right shoulder successful, but he faces long odds to pitch successfully again.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Jimmy Rollins spoke openly and honestly about the reality facing the Phillies: They better get this thing turned around or the front office might blow it up.
  • Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani is looking forward to facing Cliff Lee tonight. “He’s why I run off and on the field, because Cliff Lee did that when I was growing up,” he said. “I also like how he uses his fastball.” Cingrani is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts. He has dominated left-handed hitters, who have just a .554 OPS against him. Chase Utley is hitting .158 with a .554 OPS against lefties this season. Ryan Howard is hitting .190 with a .590 OPS against them.
  • The Phillies have hit .275 with a .331 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage in their last nine games, although they are averaging only 3.9 runs in those games. They were hitting .237 with a .296 on-base percentage and .374 slugging percentage in their first 32 games. It is far too early to say the Phillies are turning around their fortunes, but I guess it’s a step in the right direction. Still, they could use some power somewhere. Too many singles, not enough extra-base hits to score runs.

Cook Released; Triple-A Rotation Practically Set

Aaron CookThe Phillies entered Spring Training with veterans Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez expected to pitch in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation.

Both are gone.

They released Lopez last week and they released Cook today The Phillies had a noon deadline today on Cook. They had to promise him a spot on the 25-man roster, pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to pitch in Triple-A or release him. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said after a discussion with Cook’s agent they decided to release him.

“We decided that was the best thing to do,” Proefrock said. “It was our decision. But I think Ruben (Amaro Jr.) was cognizant and considerate of the player’s feelings of the circumstances.”

Cook went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances, but went 13-29 with a 5.54 ERA the previous three seasons, including 20 strikeouts in 18 starts last season with the Red Sox. Cook’s departure sets up a Triple-A rotation with right-handers Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin and B.J. Rosenberg and left-hander Adam Morgan, although Proefrock said nothing has been finalized.

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Players Option Five to Minor League Camp

Tyson Gillies, Alfredo AcevesThe Phillies optioned five players to Minor League camp this morning:

  • Right-hander Tyler Cloyd.
  • Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg.
  • Left-hander Mauricio Robles.
  • Outfielder Tyson Gillies.
  • Catcher Sebastain Valle.

The Phillies have 42 players in big-league camp (non-roster invitees in parenthesis): 20 pitchers (five), four catchers (two), 10 infielders (three) and eight outfielders (one).

Howard to Appear in Entourage

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Entourage star Jerry Ferrara and Ryan Howard were chummy behind the batting cage today at Dodger Stadium.

There’s a reason for that.

Howard makes an appearance in the Sept. 12 season finale of Entourage on HBO.

Ferrara, who plays Turtle, and Howard would not discuss Howard’s scene, although Ferrara said, “Being the season finale it’s kind of a frantic episode. Ryan’s in a position to help out my character a little bit.”

“It sounded like he had a good time,” Ferrara said. “He’s a fan of the show. We’re obviously a big fan of his. As a Yankee fan I didn’t know if he was going to be too happy that the storyline was with my character, but we didn’t talk Yankees.”

Personally, I would have demanded a scene with Emanuelle Chriqui, but I’m pretty sure she has a restraining order against me. (It was just a misunderstanding!)

Howard and Chase Utley also appear in an upcoming episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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Ross Gload, who is on the DL with a strained right groin, is scheduled to make rehab appearances tomorrow and Thursday with Class A Clearwater. If it goes well he could be activated before Friday’s series opener against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. … Danys Baez, who is on the DL with back spasms, also is in Clearwater. He long tossed yesterday. … The Phillies are sending right-handers Tyson Brummett, Justin De Fratus, Chris Kissock, B.J. Rosenberg and Josh Zeid; catcher Tim Kennelly and first baseman Matt Rizzotti to the Arizona Fall League. Class A Lakewood manager Mark Parent will coach in the AFL. … The Class A Florida State League named Clearwater right-hander Austin Hyatt its Pitcher of the Year. Hyatt, a 15th round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 23 appearances (21 starts) this season.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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