Results tagged ‘ Jeremy Horst ’
The Phillies bullpen has allowed 46.3 percent (25 of 54) of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst mark in baseball. (The Mariners have been the stingiest at just 15.9 percent.) Upon further inspection, the Phillies’ mark is one of the worst in baseball in nearly 40 years. Going back to 1974, the 2013 Phillies’ bullpen has been the second-worst in baseball in allowing inherited runners to score.
- 1977 Reds: 48.1 percent (74 of 154)
- 2013 Phillies: 46.3 percent (25 of 54)
- 1974 Mets: 46.0 percent (63 of 137)
- 1992 Phillies: 44.8 percent (73 of 163)
- 1974 Expos: 44.2 percent (69 of 156)
The MLB average from 1974 through today is 33 percent. The best Phillies bullpen in that stretch? The 2011 bullpen, which allowed only 25 percent to score.
“I have a big concern about our bullpen,” Charlie Manuel said. “If we can’t hold people how can we win the game? You can say you’ve got to score runs to win, but at the same time how many runs do you have to score?”
Here is how individuals in the Phillies’ bullpen have fared:
- Justin De Fratus: 0 percent (0 of 4)
- Raul Valdes: 33 percent (1 of 3)
- Mike Adams: 40 percent (2 of 5)
- Jeremy Horst: 42.9 percent (9 of 21)
- Antonio Bastardo: 50 percent (1 of 2)
- Jonathan Papelbon: 50 percent (1 of 2)
- Chad Durbin: 60 percent (9 of 15)
- Phillippe Aumont: 100 percent (2 of 2)
“I think it’s a matter of pounding the zone, being the aggressor,” Durbin said about pitching better with runners on base. “I think we get 1-0 and 2-0 then you have to throw the ball over the plate and all the pressure is on us. So, the success I’ve had in the past with it has been getting ahead with an offspeed pitch or a well-located fastball to put the pressure on them and kind of let our defense get comfortable.”
The Phillies lost to the Reds, 4-2, in what truly was a great game. Great pitching. Great defense. Some clutching hitting (although far too little for the Phillies). But a well-played game from both sides. The Phillies’ bats have been quiet since scoring seven runs Wednesday against the Mets. They have scored just eight runs in four games since. They could get away with that against an awful team like the Marlins, but the Reds are quite a bit better offensively.
Two runs won’t cut it in Cincinnati.
People have asked about the eighth inning and why the Phillies started Jeremy Horst in a tie game, rather than somebody else. The answer is pretty simple: Horst had warmed up and was about to go into the game trailing 2-0 when Chase Utley unexpectedly hit a two-out, two-run home run to right field to tie the game. If you’re asking, “Why weren’t they warming up Mike Adams or Antonio Bastardo just in case they tied the game?” the answer is even easier: you can’t warm up everybody all the time during a six-month, 162-game season in the event somebody might hit a two-out, two-run, pinch-hit home run to tie the game. You’ll blow out the arms of pitchers like Adams and Bastardo, and then you’re really screwed.
But Manuel also acknowledged they are concerned about using Adams too much. Remember he had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery after last season and had pitched in four of the previous five games. Bastardo had pitched in three of the previous four. Of course, if you’re now asking, “Well, they had Adams finish the eighth anyway, so what’s the difference?” They used Adams at that point because they were trying to extend the game and liked his chances of getting a groundball out. He got one. It just wasn’t hit at anybody. If the Phillies were tied or leading before Utley’s at-bat, then I bet Bastardo or Adams pitch. But they weren’t.
On a side note: Horst suffered some crappy luck in the eighth. He allowed a swinging bunt single and a bloop double to right-center field. It’s not like the Reds smoked the ball against them. But the bigger picture is the Phillies’ offense needs to get on track. They’re not doing much of anything right now. I know the pitcher has a big part in it, but the pitcher can’t have a big part in it every night.
A few thoughts: These first four games have been mostly ugly and it is not encouraging at all when compared to the Nationals and Braves. (I predicted this team to finish third in the NL East, but still challenge for a wild card. My third-place prediction looks good, but the Phillies aren’t making me look real good about their chances to win 87-91 games.) That said, it’s just four games. The Phillies have had poor starts in the past. The only difference this time is this team is coming off a down year, not a World Series championship or 102-win season. It’s not like you can say, “They’re fine. They won 100 games last year.” They’re coming off an 81-81 finish.
But take a deep breathe. I read wide-ranging tweets yesterday, everything from releasing or demoting Jeremy Horst (1.15 ERA in 32 appearances last season with left-handers hitting .170 against him) to releasing Chad Durbin (historically a slow starter, his career ERA in April is 1.75 earned runs higher than his career ERA from May through September) to fans drawing concrete conclusions about the offense, bullpen and rotation after just four games.
Let’s reserve judgment a little further down the road.
You know, like next week …
In the meantime, I know many fans enjoy this, but here’s the current Phillies’ at-bat/warm-up music as of today (courtesy of Phillies music director Mark Wyatt):
- Domonic Brown: Pop That -French Montana
- Kevin Frandsen: Snow (Hey Oh) – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Freddy Galvis: Dime Te Me Va Dobla – Chimbala
- Ryan Howard: Started From The Bottom – Drake
- Erik Kratz: Collide – Skillet
- John Mayberry Jr.: Cashin’ Out – Cash Out
- Laynce Nix: Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) – Jay-Z
- Humberto Quintero: La Cosita – Juancho de la Espriella & Silvestre Dangond
- Ben Revere: Feel Me Flow – Naughty By Nature and S.C.O.M. – Fort Minor
- Jimmy Rollins: Function – E40 and R.I.P. – Young Jeezy
- Carlos Ruiz: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
- Chase Utley: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
- Michael Young: So What’cha Want – Beastie Boys
Even the scouting department.
“Just like in any other part of our organization, everybody is being evaluated,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Everybody.”
“Oh, I would think so,” he said.
Every organization has hits and misses throughout the year: good and bad free agent signings, good and bad trades, a player released that should not have been released, a player that got promoted that surprised everybody, etc.
The trick is minimizing the misses.
The Phillies have had some misses lately. They released right-hander Jason Grilli in July 2011. He had a 1.93 ERA in Triple-A Lehigh Valley at the time. He signed with the Pirates, and had a 2.91 ERA in 64 appearances this season. They acquired outfielder John Bowker from the Pirates in Aug. 2011, considering him a better bench option than Lehigh Valley outfielder Brandon Moss. Bowker went hitless in 13 at-bats, while Moss, who had a fantastic season in Lehigh Valley, signed a contract with Oakland in December. He has hit .287 with 21 home runs, 47 RBIs and a .947 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 258 at-bats this season. They signed Laynce Nix to a two-year, $2.5 million deal in December, despite the fact he had never signed a big-league contract before and had a lengthy history of injuries. They signed Chad Qualls in January, despite terrible splits away from PETCO Park. He stunk, and the Phillies traded him to the Yankees on July 1. And one wonders why they did not have legitimate interest in somebody like Josh Willingham, who looks like a steal with the three-year, $21 million contract he signed with the Twins.
Now, the Phillies signed Juan Pierre to a Minor League contract, which was a big bargain. He has hit .310 with 37 stolen bases and has been a positive presence in the clubhouse. They acquired left-hander Jeremy Horst from Cincinnati for Wilson Valdez in the offseason, which looks like an absolute steal. Horst is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 31 appearances, while Valdez (but … but … but … he was the team MVP in 2010!) is hitting .203 with a .458 OPS with the Reds. Other Minor League free agent signings like Kevin Frandsen and Erik Kratz played well enough that they could be on next season’s Opening Day roster. The signings of Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins also worked out well in their first seasons, although a contract can never truly be judged until the end. But Papelbon did his job, and Rollins will finish among the top third of shortstops in baseball in OPS.
“We evaluate all those things,” Amaro said of the good and bad moves. “We don’t hit on every single guy. At the same time I think we’ve done a very good job hitting on most. I have a great deal of trust in Mike Ondo, who heads up our pro scouting staff. He’s as thorough and as good as there is. I think Mike and his people did a great job at the Trade Deadline. We got some very, very good players. We came away with some players that we believe really helped our organization and are going to make some impact on our club pretty soon.
“Listen, we’re talking about human beings here. When you try to make moves that you think will work out and don’t for whatever reason, a lot of the stuff is not under your control. I feel pretty confident in the people that we employ to be the eyes and ears of our organization. I think we have as good a group of people in our baseball ops department as any club in baseball.”
One thing is certain: the Phillies need more hits this offseason. They need to find the next Willingham. They need to sign a relief pitcher or two where, unlike Qualls, they don’t have to cross their fingers and hope things break right for them to have good seasons. They need to find the right solution at third base, despite almost no attractive options.
They are far from ready to draw conclusions.
Domonic Brown has hit .267 (20-for-75) with five doubles and 10 RBIs in 21 games. Kevin Frandsen has hit .350 (28-for-50) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs in 21 games. Erik Kratz has hit .292 (19-for-65) with seven doubles, seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 26 games. Left-hander Jeremy Horst is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 16 appearances.
They are solid performances, but it makes little sense for the Phillies to anoint anybody anything – from backup catcher to left-hander in the 2013 bullpen – based on less than a month’s worth of games.
“They haven’t pitched a ton and they haven’t played a ton,” Amaro said today. “They’ve only played a couple weeks. They’ve done a nice job. I don’t want to take away from the job they’ve done, but you have to understand that two weeks does not make or break you. I had a nice two weeks in my career and then I stunk. I think these guys are probably better players than I am, but everybody likes to jump on the bandwagon, plus or minus. I think we have to show some patience there.”
The Phillies entered tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park with 39 games to play. They will get the opportunity to take a closer look at everybody in those games, but the evaluation process will continue in the offseason and very likely through the closing days of Spring Training 2013.
“Domonic has had about as good as a consistent approach as anybody on our club,” Amaro said. “He and Frandsen have been putting together the best overall at-bats as far as controlling the strike zone and swinging at strikes.”
And the lack of power from Brown so far?
“He’s got a lot of natural power and raw power,” Amaro continued. “I’m not worried about that. It always comes late with young players. Very, very rarely does consistent power come in the Major Leagues when they’re young. He’s been fine in the outfield, too. He’s not a finished product yet. He’s still learning. But I have a lot of confidence he can be an everyday rightfielder or leftfielder.”
Amaro likes what he has seen from Frandsen and Kratz, commending them for making the most of their opportunity. He stopped short of saying either would be on the bench next season, again, because they need to see more.
“It’s a possibility,” Amaro said of Kratz’s chances as a backup. “We’ll continue to watch him play.”
There has been an interesting fascination with fans regarding former infielder Wilson Valdez in Philadelphia. The Phillies traded him to the Reds in the offseason for Horst. Earlier this season even Amaro said he wished he had kept Valdez, but in retrospect it looks like a good trade.
“Guys like Horst and (Raul) Valdes have performed well and much more consistently than some of the other guys in the bullpen, but some other guys have pretty good arms,” he said. “They haven’t really pitched enough to make a decision one way or the other.”
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee summoned Qualls into Charlie Manuel’s office before this afternoon’s game against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park, where he found Ruben Amaro Jr., Scott Proefrock and Manuel waiting for him.
Amaro told Qualls he had been designated for assignment. The Phillies selected left-hander Jeremy Horst’s contract from Triple-A to take his place on the roster. Horst went 1-2 with a 2.11 ERA in 38 1/3 innings in Lehigh Valley.
“We just felt it was the right thing to do,” Amaro said. “There have been some inconsistencies with him. It’s something we’ve discussed a little bit over the last several weeks. His stuff is good. I just don’t know that he’s been as effective as his stuff has shown.”
The Phillies have 10 days to dispose of Qualls’ contract. They can trade him, release him or place him on waivers. If Qualls clears waivers, the Phillies could ask him to accept an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But Qualls could reject the assignment and elect to become a free agent, although he would forfeit the remaining $1.15 million on his contract.
Qualls has asked to be traded, although the Phillies might be hard pressed to find a suitor.