Results tagged ‘ Jake Diekman ’
So far they have not.
Sandberg has tried 12 different lineups in 16 games, but the Phillies enter tonight’s series opener against the Braves averaging just 2.56 runs per game, which are the fewest in baseball. They are 30th in batting average with runners in scoring position (.176), 29th in on-base percentage (.270) and 28th in slugging percentage (.323). Sandberg has dropped Ryan Howard from fourth to seventh before moving him to fifth and sixth. Carlos Ruiz (zero home runs, one RBI this season) and Jeff Francoeur have hit cleanup since Howard’s demotion. In fact, if Francoeur hits cleanup tonight he will match Howard for the most appearances in the cleanup spot this season. (Raise your hand if you predicted that one.) Ben Revere has moved from first to eighth to second. Grady Sizemore continues to start about half the team’s games, despite posting a .159 (17-for-107) batting average and .511 OPS since Aug. 8.
Domonic Brown is expected to return from the DL next week. Can the Phillies really keep both left-handed hitting outfielders?
Meanwhile, Chase Utley continues to hit third, despite having the third-lowest batting average (.120) in baseball.
In the end, it probably does not matter what the lineup is. But so far Sandberg has found none of his combinations working.
Sandberg has made some curious moves in the bullpen in recent weeks. He employed Jake Diekman in a double-switch in the sixth inning April 15 in New York, but chose to have Diekman only pitch the sixth. Sandberg said he did not have Diekman start the seventh because he is the only left-hander in the bullpen and he had been pitching a lot lately. He said he wanted to save Diekman in case he needed him the following night. The problem is that he could have used him that night. Dustin McGowan replaced Diekman in the seventh and he allowed a solo homer to left-handed hitter Daniel Murphy, who was the first batter to hit in the inning. The Phillies lost, 6-5.
The Phillies lost the next night, 6-1, and Diekman was never needed.
That move is mentioned because of what happened in yesterday’s 9-1 loss. McGowan made a spot start, knowing he could pitch only three to four innings. He ran into trouble in the third, but the Phillies got nobody up in the bullpen. He then ran out of gas in the fourth, walking the bases loaded with one out. But the Phillies kept him in the game and he served up a two-run single to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
At that point the Phillies called in rookie Hector Neris to pitch in that high-leverage situation. Neris pitched one inning for the Phillies last season and just joined the Phillies this week. He promptly hit Marlins pitcher David Phelps with a pitch to reload the bases. Neris then allowed another single to allow two more runs to score to make it 4-0.
The game snowballed from there.
Then, interestingly, Diekman pitched the eighth inning despite having pitched Wednesday and the team trailing 8-0. His appearance stood out because of what Sandberg said last week: it’s important to conserve Diekman because he is the only left-hander in the bullpen. Meanwhile, Jeanmar Gomez, who the team touted as its long man, did not pitch until the ninth.
Gomez could have pitched the final two innings. He also could have tried to clean up McGowan’s mess in the fourth and give the Phillies a couple more innings from there. But Sandberg said he wanted to save his long man for Friday, in case he is needed. Of course, Aaron Harang pitches tonight and he has been the team’s most effective starter through three weeks.
That is twice Sandberg has said he did not use a reliever because he wanted him available for a potential scenario the next day.
“He still remains a length guy for tomorrow,” Sandberg said about Gomez. “To preserve that and have him be our length guy, that’s where he really comes into play for us.”
Perhaps Sandberg has such little faith in the offense’s ability to score that once the Phillies are down a couple runs he figures he might as well prepare for the next day’s game. But managing for the next day and not the game at hand certainly is different. It might not make a difference with this team, but it is worth noting.
Before tonight’s game the Phillies honored Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon for last week’s combined no-hitter against the Braves.
They were supposed to stand there and tip their caps to the crowd. That’s it. But Papelbon had other ideas. He led the group behind home plate, where they met Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker. The four stood there for a moment before Papelbon grabbed the mike, beginning the most awkward and awesome 60 seconds of the season.
“I want to thank everybody. Thank the fans,” Papelbon said. “And we have someone here, on behalf of all four of us, that’s going to speak for us.”
Papelbon handed the mike to Giles, who immediately recoiled.
“Really?” Giles said.
Hamels and Diekman started cracking up.
“Well, someone put me on the spot,” Giles said. “That’s all right. Well, thank you everybody for coming and celebrating this great day for us. And, um, I don’t know, what’s, um, I feel really awkward right now. I don’t know what to say. Let’s just out there and, um … let’s play some ball right now!”
He walked Nationals center fielder Denard Span to start the inning. Then after Chase Utley made a questionable flip to second base on a fielder’s choice with a runner on first and one out, he struck out Adam LaRoche for the second out before he threw a 0-2 fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who hit the 100 mph pitch to center field to score the go-ahead run in a 5-3 loss.
Diekman finally got out of the inning, but only after a wild pitch scored Jayson Werth from third.
Diekman motioned to home plate umpire Andy Fletcher and got into a conversation with him as he walked off the field.
Fletcher ultimately ejected Diekman, the first of Diekman’s big-league career.
“I asked him, ‘Were any of those close?’” Diekman said. “He said with a smirk on his face, ‘Were what close?’ I said, ‘Those four or five pitches,’ and that was it. I was told I was kicked out of the game.”
No profanities in that conversation?
“Nothing. That was it,” Diekman said. “So yeah, I kind of want to talk to him. That’s all, literally what I said.”
It only added to the frustration of what happened on the mound.
“Yeah, big time,” Diekman said. “It’s basically what I’ve got. Were any of those close? Were what close? With a smart (aleck, flipping) grin on his face. And then I was like, those four or five pitches, walked in the tunnel and he threw me out.”
During their 7-2 run, the bullpen is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, allowing 15 hits, three runs, three walks and striking out 32 batters in 25 innings.
But its success goes back further than nine games. It is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 games since June 2, allowing 20 hits, five runs, six walks and striking out 46 in 37 1/3 innings. Its ERA, strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.67), strikeouts per nine innings average (11.09) and WHIP (0.70) are best in baseball in that stretch. It also is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 26 games since May 22, allowing 45 hits, 18 runs, 31 walks and striking out 88 78 2/3 innings. It is first in WHIP (0.97), second in ERA and third in strikeouts per nine innings (10.07) in that stretch.
Here is a look at the individual numbers:
- Jonathan Papelbon: He blew his second save of the season Monday in Atlanta, but is 2-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 16 saves in 17 opportunities since he blew his first save April 2 in Texas. He has allowed 16 hits, two runs, seven walks and has struck out 23 in 27 innings since.
- Antonio Bastardo: He has not walked a batter in nine innings this month. In fact, he has allowed just one hit and struck out 10 in those six appearances. He also has a 0.50 ERA in 15 appearances since May 11. He has allowed four hits, one run, nine walks and has struck out 22 in 18 innings in that stretch.
- Jake Diekman: He has a 2.95 ERA in 20 appearances since the end of April.
- Justin De Fratus: He has not allowed a run in 11 appearances since being recalled from Triple-A late last month. He has allowed seven hits, two walks and has struck out 13 in 12 innings.
- Mario Hollands: He has a 2.55 ERA this season, but he has not allowed a run in 14 appearances since May 7. He has allowed seven hits, six walks and has struck out 12 in 12 2/3 innings in that stretch.
- Ken Giles: Since allowing a home run to the first batter he faced in the big leagues, he has allowed one hit, one walk and has struck out six in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
- Ethan Martin: Has only pitched twice since joining the team, and not once since June 7.
Marlon 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.
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.
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.”
He struck out the only two batters he faced in the eighth inning in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He has allowed five hits, one run, two walks and struck out a remarkable 18 in 11 2/3 innings in his last 12 appearances.
He has been impressive as he has touched as high as 99 mph on the home radar gun. In fact, according to FanGraphs, Diekman’s average fastball velocity is third best among Phillies pitchers from 2002-13. His fastball his first two seasons in the big leagues has averaged 95.4 mph, which trails only Billy Wagner (96.7 mph) and Felix Rodriguez (95.6 mph). Wagner pitched for the Phillies from 2004-05. Rodriguez made 23 appearances for the Phillies in 2004.
Interestingly, five of the pitchers in the top 10 have pitched for the Phillies this season: B.J. Rosenberg (94.8 mph) is fourth, Phillippe Aumont (94.7 mph) is tied with Francisco Rosario for fifth, J.C. Ramirez (94.1 mph) is ninth and Luis Garcia (94.0 mph) is 10th.
And for those interested, of the 128 pitchers available to FanGraphs, former Phillies infielder John McDonald ranked last at 78.3 mph. Jamie Moyer ranked 127th with an 81.2 mph fastball.
Diekman was working out of the stretch with runners on first and second when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado wanted to call time and made a movement out of the batter’s box, although he never left the box and time had never been called. Diekman began his delivery to the plate, but upon seeing Arenado move out of the box he believed time had been called and stopped his delivery. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce called a balk.
Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg and Joyce had three conversations about the call during the game. Sandberg’s contention: a hitter cannot induce a balk. Rule 6.02(b) states: “If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a ‘set position’ with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, it shall not be called a balk.”
Joyce spoke about the call following the game with Randy Marsh, who is Major League Baseball’s director of umpires. Marsh is in town this week.
“I implemented the balk wrong,” Joyce said before Tuesday’s game. “The rule actually states if the batter leaves the batter’s box and causes the pitcher to hesitate or stop a balk shall not be called. I got probably a little more technical on that. He didn’t leave the box, but the spirit of the rule is if you make the pitcher stop by some sort of action by the batter a balk shall not be called. I probably was a little overzealous in throwing out that balk.”
Joyce said he spoke with Sandberg and Rockies manager Walt Weiss about it before tonight’s game.
“You could have the hitter step out and if the pitcher delivers a weaker pitch they could step back in and whack it, if they’re just trying to deliver a pitch,” Sandberg said. “So for me it’s a total disadvantage for the pitcher there in all regards to the play. The rule states that and I think that’s why the rule is what it is.”
Can he throw strikes?
If he can, he should put serious heat on the left-handers currently in the Phillies bullpen: Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Joe Savery. The Phillies optioned right-hander Tyler Cloyd to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today as left-hander John Lannan will take his place in the rotation Monday against the Nationals. The Phillies recalled Diekman to take Cloyd’s place, although he will not join the team until tomorrow in Colorado.
Diekman’s overall numbers in Triple-A are not good – 24 walks in 30 innings and a 5.70 ERA in 30 appearances – but he has been fantastic against left-handed hitters. They are hitting just .161 with a .461 OPS against him with just five hits and two walks in 34 plate appearances.
It is no secret the Phillies bullpen has been a major problem this season, and the team’s left-handers have played a significant role in those struggles. Bastardo, who is the bullpen’s top lefty, has struggled in tight spots. He allowed the game-winning run to score Tuesday and put the game-tying and game-winning runs on base Wednesday. He allowed big hits against left-handed hitters each time. Lefties are hitting .263 with an .823 OPS against him.
Lefties are hitting .282 with an .832 OPS against Horst, who is second on the team in appearances despite a 5.55 ERA. Savery has pitched just three times with the Phillies, although lefties are 3-for-4 against him.
If Diekman shows something this weekend at Coors Field he could remain as a lefty specialist and the Phillies could option Horst or Savery to Triple-A on Monday, when they need to activate Lannan for his start at Citizens Bank Park. If you’re wondering about Bastardo, he’s not going anywhere.
I think of the guys currently on the 40-man roster Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Joe Savery are the most likely to be called up next month. De Fratus certainly would have been with the Phillies this season, but he had an elbow injury. He is back and throwing well. Aumont is dominant when he throws strikes. The Phillies want to get a look at him. Of course, Diekman and Savery have been with the team this season. The Phillies like Diekman a lot, but they will like him a lot more if he improves his command.
I only see Sebastian Valle coming up if Carlos Ruiz finishes the season on the DL.
Not sure Cesar Hernandez gets called up.
Tyler Cloyd? This is the guy I hear about constantly on Twitter and e-mail. Cloyd, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, is 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s been great all season, but it’s safe to say the Phillies and other talent evaluators in baseball aren’t as enamored with Cloyd as fans are. I haven’t heard of any teams beating down the Phillies’ door to acquire him, and MLB.com doesn’t list Cloyd among the organization’s top 20 prospects. (That list is compiled through interviews with numerous baseball personnel people.)
Why isn’t Cloyd a top prospect? Simply put, he doesn’t have great stuff. He throws in the 85-89 mph range, which means he has to have pinpoint command to be successful. The Phillies must not believe his abilities to get out Triple-A hitters will translate to the big leagues. It’s the only way to explain why they chose a bullpen game over pitching him June 27. (I still maintain that was a mistake. Maybe Cloyd catches lightning in a bottle for one night. Raul Valdes and the rest of the bullpen were struggling at the time. Almost everybody in the park knew what would happen, and it did.)
Charlie Manuel said Wednesday he wasn’t sure if Kyle Kendrick would make his next start, but he quickly added he didn’t think he had too many other options. I’m really not sure which way the Phillies will go. But you can make a case for Cloyd to get a shot. I mean, maybe he can get out big-league hitters. Besides, what have you got to lose? If he makes a few starts in September, he struggles and the Phillies lose, so what? At least you know for sure. But if he comes up and does well … hey, isn’t that a nice little surprise? Maybe then he’s in the mix next season to get a spot start here or there.
Talent evaluation in baseball isn’t an exact science. If it were the Dodgers would have never let Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth go, Chase Utley wouldn’t have lasted until the 15th pick in the 2000 draft, Ryan Howard wouldn’t have lasted until the fifth round in 2001, Cole Hamels wouldn’t have lasted until the 17th pick in 2002, Juan Pierre wouldn’t have waited until late January to sign a Minor League contract, the Phillies wouldn’t have let Ryan Vogelsong and Jason Grilli go, they would have promoted Brandon Moss last season instead of trading for John Bowker and they wouldn’t have entered the previous two seasons betting on Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. to be everyday players.
Every team has their hits and misses in player evaluation. That’s just the way it is.
One thing to keep in mind: Minor League numbers don’t mean everything. And sometimes they don’t mean anything. Fans thought the Phillies were crazy for not promoting Matt Rizzotti the last couple years. The Phillies traded him to the Twins in March, and the Twins released him a short time later. He’s now with the A’s. I remember Joe Roa went 14-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2002. Fans had a similar reaction then. How can they not call up Roa? The Phillies finally did. Roa went 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) in 2002, but he returned to earth and went 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in six appearances in 2003 before the Phillies released him.
Maybe Cloyd is a younger version of Roa. Or maybe he’s a guy that can be a good option as a fifth starter. The only way to find out is by pitching him. Maybe the Phillies will give him that chance before the end of the season.
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).
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.
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.
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.