Results tagged ‘ Vance Worley ’

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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The Vanimal Is Winning

The Phillies won their 13th consecutive Vance Worley start yesterday in a 6-4 victory over the Reds. I wrote yesterday the last rookie pitcher to have his team win 13 consecutive starts was Tom Filer, who pitched for the Cubs and Blue Jays from June 1982 to Aug. 1985.

(Filer spent the 1983-84 seasons in the Minors, maintaining his rookie eligibility in 1985.)

Of course, that didn’t feel like a legit stat. So Elias Sports Bureau found today the last rookie pitcher to have his team win 13 consecutive starts in one season:

Cincinnati’s Wayne Simpson in 1970, when the Reds won 14 consecutive of his starts.

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Glorious Bastardo

Everybody knows Antonio Bastardo has been a bullpen savior, right?

He is 6-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 55 appearances. He has allowed just 19 hits, eight runs and 19 walks in 52 1/3 innings. He has struck out 65. Opponents have hit just .112 against him. He got Joey Votto to hit into an inning-ending double play in the seventh inning in today’s 6-4 victory over the Reds. He then struck out the side in the eighth.

“I can’t say enough about him,” Charlie Manuel said. “He’s had a big year. Bastardo to me is outstanding – one of the better years I’ve seen a lefty have.”

Forget lefties. Bastardo is having one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher ever.

His .112 opponent batting average is the lowest in baseball history for any pitcher with 50 or more innings in a season. Eric Gagne held opponents to a .133 average in 2003, which is the second-best in baseball history.

“It’s crazy how dominating he’s been,” Brad Lidge said. “I’ve been in a lot of bullpens with a lot of good pitchers and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone doing what he’s doing right now.”

“He’s always had an invisi-ball,” Vance Worley said. “It was just a matter of time before he came up here and got to show what he can do. He’s doing what he needs to do.”

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Hamels Could Be Back Friday

Cole Hamels threw roughly 25 pitches in an important bullpen session this afternoon at Nationals Park. He said it went well.

He will throw one more bullpen session early next week and if that goes well he said he should rejoin the rotation Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hamels missed a start this week because of inflammation in his left shoulder.

“Cole is moving along fine,” Rich Dubee said.

Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick will face the Mets at home next week. Hamels would open the series against the Marlins with Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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Placido Polanco sounded optimistic he could be back in action Monday.

He has been on the DL since Aug. 7 because of a sports hernia. He recently received a cortisone injection and said today he feels “much better” than he had just a few days ago. He said he thinks he will be activated from the DL Monday.

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Jose Contreras had been scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, but that has been pushed back to Monday. Charlie Manuel called it a “setback,” while Dubee said Contreras simply felt he was not ready to throw off a mound.

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Want a pair of baseline box tickets for Phillies-Mets at Citi Field on Sept. 23? Check out the All Fore ALS Charity Golf outing Sept. 23 at Ramsey Golf and Country Club in Ramsey, N.J.

Click on the link above for more information. Lots of other cool sponsors and donations, and all for a good cause.

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Your Hunter Pence Fix

In case you haven’t gotten your Hunter Pence fix yet, here’s a story I wrote based on a conversation I had with Pence on Wednesday in LA.

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A note from Elias Sports Bureau:

  • Vance Worley allowed six runs in four innings Wednesday, but the Phillies still beat the Dodgers, 9-8. It is the 10th consecutive game the Phillies have won that Worley has started. The Mets’ Dillon Gee accomplished the same feat earlier this season. Before this season that had not happened since 1996, when the Astros won 10 straight starts made by rookie Donne Wall.

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Mayberry’s Big Night

From Elias Sports Bureau:

  • John Mayberry Jr. knocked in five runs last night at Citi Field on a two-run single in the second and a bases loaded double in the eighth. He is the first player this season to have at least five RBIs in a game without a home run.  He also is the first Phillies player to do it since Ricky Otero had five RBIs without a home run Sept. 29, 1996, at Shea Stadium.
  • The Phillies resumed play last night night with Vance Worley on the mound.  It was only the second time in the last 40 seasons a rookie pitcher started the first game after the All-Star break for a team that had the best record in the majors. Joe Torre’s 1983 Braves last did it. They were 49-31 (.613) at the break and rookie Craig McMurtry started their first game.

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Worley Fitting Right In

From Elias Sports Bureau: Vance Worley threw seven scoreless innings in last night’s 1-0 victory over Florida. Worley has a 0.72 ERA in 25 innings in his last four starts, which is the lowest ERA in the National League from June 14 – July 4.

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Elias also reports last night was the Phillies’ 201st game on July 4. They are 101-100.

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Got a tweet from a Phillies fan last night saying the Phillies needed to cut Michael Martinezon the night he got the game-winning hit. My Lord. I understand the frustration, but a little perspective, please. I remember when So Taguchi hit .220 as the team’s fifth outfielder in 2008. I remember when Eric Bruntlett hit .171 and Matt Stairs hit .194 in 2009. I remember when Greg Dobbs hit .196 last season. The 25th man on the roster is not going to cost this team a trip to the playoffs or the World Series. Yes, it’s ideal to have a more productive player in that spot, but there are bigger issues surrounding this team. Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it worth being that angry about? No.

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Kendrick, Halladay to Pitch Doubleheader

Rich Dubee confirmed Kyle Kendrick and Roy Halladay will pitch Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Florida Marlins.

Halladay will pitch the night game.

Here’s how the rotation lines up for the moment:

  • Tuesday vs. Florida: Cole Hamels
  • Wednesday vs. Florida (Game 1): Kyle Kendrick
  • Wednesday vs. Florida (Game 2): Roy Halladay
  • Thursday vs. Florida: Cliff Lee
  • Friday at Seattle: Roy Oswalt
  • Saturday at Seattle: TBA
  • Sunday at Seattle: Hamels

It sure looks like Vance Worley lines up to pitch Saturday, although Dubee would not confirm that. The Phillies will need to make a roster move, of course. David Herndon could be optioned to make room for Worley. Kendrick could then return to his bullpen role. But stayed tuned on that …

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Surprise, surprise: Brown Called Up

Asked last night why the Phillies would not promote Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We don’t think he’s ready to do it.”

His opinion changed over night.

The Phillies recalled Brown to replace Shane Victorino, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. They also optioned Scott Mathieson and recalled David Herndon. I’m guessing the Phillies needed a fresh arm following a bullpen game last night against the Rockies, which is why Mathieson is out and Herndon is in. When the Phillies place Joe Blanton on the DL next week, I think Herndon goes back down and Vance Worley comes back up.

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Who’s In, Who’s Out When Contreras, Lidge Are Back?

Before the season started the Phillies had their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers aligned like this:

  • Jose Contreras in the seventh.
  • Ryan Madson in the eighth.
  • Brad Lidge in the ninth.

But because of injuries to Lidge and Contreras, the Phillies have adjusted. They’ve used Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero and others in critical late-inning situations. In last night’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Phillies went young. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Vance Worley picked up big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.

“I think I put them in the fire, didn’t I?” Charlie Manuel said after the game.

Contreras could be back in roughly a week, although that remains to be seen. Lidge has said he’s hopeful he could be back before the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen lines up upon their return. Who stays? Who goes? Worley has done an excellent job, but it’s probably in the team’s s best interest to eventually send him back to Triple-A to start. (Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much recently.) They need him stretched out in case something happens to another starter. Roy Oswalt already has missed time because of a bad back and Joe Blanton already has missed time because of soreness in his right elbow (he still has discomfort in the elbow). It doesn’t make much sense to have the team’s No. 6 and 7 starters (Kendrick and Worley) both pitching in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson or Vance Worley could be optioned Tuesday when the Phillies activate Oswalt from the DL. The other could be optioned when the Phillies activate Contreras. But what happens when Lidge returns? If Worley and Mathieson are optioned at some point and everybody is healthy, the bullpen would look like this: Baez, Bastardo, Contreras, Kendrick, Madson, Romero and Stutes.

Now it gets interesting. Bastardo, Contreras, Madson and Romero appear safe. The Phillies need a long man, which is Kendrick. That would leave Baez and Stutes. Baez has had his struggles, but is a veteran making $2.75 million. Stutes has options, but has been impressive in limited action. Fortunately for the Phillies the decision does not need to be made today. If Baez is pitching well when Lidge returns I think he stays. But if he’s not pitching well he could be in trouble — unless Stutes himself is struggling.

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