The 2009 Cardiac Phillies
You would think the Phillies would run out of captivating ways to win a ballgame, but they go out the next day and prove you wrong again and again. Once more, the Phillies won in epic fashion despite giving up five tape-measure home runs to the opposition.
When Lou Marson struck out to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phils had a 3% chance to win according to FanGraphs. Pedro Feliz kept hope alive with a single, and Jimmy Rollins followed up with a double to at least put the Phillies within striking distance of a tie game. After a sacrifice fly, a single, and two walks, Raul Ibanez came to the plate with the bases loaded. Joel Hanrahan, who throws 65% fastballs, served up a fat inside fastball to Ibanez and it was politely deposited behind the right field fence to put the Phillies up 13-11 with a 92.6% chance to win. Matt Stairs followed up hoping to tack on but struck out swinging.
Between outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phillies went from a 3% chance to win to a 92.6% chance.
Of the ten wins the Phillies now have, only one has not been a come-from-behind victory. They should consider themselves extremely lucky to be two games over .500 with a pitching staff that is performing so poorly.
The Phils came into tonight’s game leading the National League in HR allowed with 34, ten more than the second-place Chicago Cubs. The Cubs only allowed one tonight, so with the Phillies’ five allowed tonight, they tack on four more to their lead of 39-25. That is, simply put, disgusting.
One thing the Phillies haven’t been doing is walking batters, with a league low 57 heading into tonight’s game, but the combination of Blanton, Taschner, Condrey, Eyre, and Happ walked ten in nine innings tonight.
I would hate to be in manager Charlie Manuel or pitching coach Rich Dubee’s shoes right now. It’s one thing to have one or two pitchers not performing well because you can have them rest a bit or even send them to the minors, but the only pitcher who isn’t getting hit around right now is… Clay Condrey.
Flexibility is nowhere to be found with the Phillies pitching staff. Sure, they could put Happ in the starting rotation and/or call up Carlos Carrasco, but that’s about the extent of it this side of a trade. Like it or not, the Phillies are just going to have to ride out this awful wave of poor pitching. They have mean-regression on their side, though, so it will shape up sooner or later.
Game graph courtesy FanGraphs.
Note: I’ll have a Crashburn Alley fantasy baseball league update some time tomorrow, for the two and a half of you who are actually interested.