What We Know: 30(+2) Games In

The Phillies are 14-18, five games back of first place in the East, and were just swept out of their home ballpark by the Mets in three games. There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the most recent series, one in which the Phillies saw a lead slip away in each game (and sometimes more than once in the same contest).

If there’s a positive, it’s that the team has hit. With double-digit hits in six of the last 12 games, I’m personally almost confused by this thing called “offense” existing at all. Following Wednesday’s game, the Phillies’ collective OBP is above .300 for just the fourth time all season. To the points.

Games 21-32 Recap

  • Record: 5-7
  • RS: 58; RA: 64
  • Notes: Cliff Lee returned from the DL; Jim Thome hit the 15-day DL and Erik Kratz was recalled; Joe Savery was optioned with a corresponding move TBA as of this posting
  • Kyle Kendrick has allowed 16 baserunners in his last two appearances (6+ IP)

The velocity was there. The stuff was crisp and darting as always. Doc rebounded from a
tough start against Atlanta to spin seven fine innings against the Mets, despite surrendering
a lead for the second straight start. Encouraging.

His season line of .225/.233/.268 is still ugly, but JMJ has at least struck the ball better in the last few games (as per the eye test, anyway). It’ll take a serious hot streak to get his
numbers to approach latter-2011 status, though.

  • Crap to Pap

It’s the Bridge to Lidge, only 157 times worse.

Jon Papelbon is having a nice season, Jordany Valdespin or not. Everyone else in the Phillies’ ‘pen, well, can’t really have the same said about them. Peripherally, David Herndon has done some good work, but he’s hurt; Stutes is also hurt; Schwimer and Savery have been up and optioned already; Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls are walking too many guys, Jose Contreras is still old and Brian Sanches is gasoline.

This says nothing of Kyle Kendrick, yet to earn about $6 million of the $7.5 million owed him over the course of the 2012-13 seasons. As tweeted earlier last week, since his debut season of 2007, only two other Major League pitchers with at least 400 innings under their belts have a lower K/9 than Kendrick: Paul Byrd (who last pitched in the Majors in ’09) and Aaron Cook. He was ineffective in his first start in place of Lee, good enough in the next two and an absolute disaster in relief Wednesday. Kendrick’s deal is, to me, the most puzzling move of the past offseason, and certainly doesn’t look to be on the way to being one of the more valuable ones.

Cole Hamels has a 7.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That leads all qualifying Major League
pitchers. He remains a free-agent-to-be.

General Isaac Trimble and Kyle Kendrick

While watching Kyle Kendrick come in with a two-run lead and go walk-double-double-hit-by-pitch against a Mets lineup reminiscent of….you know what, I’m not even going to bother.

But we witnessed Kyle Kendrick, the Michael Bay of Phillies pitchers (keeps getting work without really ever having done anything substantively good, his appearance attended by explosions and disaster, and makes a lot of money), hitting Lucas Duda with a pitch to force in a run in a situation with a 4.30 leverage index (he posted a -0.66 WPA tonight, btw, the worst mark by a Phillies reliever since Ryan Madson blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning against the Nationals on August 19 of last year). Kendrick stood on the mound with the comportment of a man who’d like nothing more than to dig a hole in the infield and escape through the catacombs.

And yet Charlie Manuel sent him out for a second inning. Then replaced him with Jose Contreras, who hasn’t been effective in two years, and the runs continued to pour in.

I was reminded of this iconic scene from the 1993 movie Gettysburg, where a commander’s inaction eventually costs his side the battle.

Now, Charlie Manuel probably had a good reason to leave Kendrick in, but nevertheless, I’ve rewritten that scene in honor of tonight’s events.

Gen. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: General Lee.
Maj. Gen. Cliff Lee: Sir, I most respectfully request another assignment.
Amaro: Do please go on, General.
Lee: The man is a disgrace! Sir, have you been listening at all to… to what the aides have been telling you? Ask General Halladay or General Blanton. Ask them. We could’ve taken that game! God in His wisdom knows we *should’ve* taken it! There was no one there, no there at all, and it commanded the series.
[he sighs] Lee: General Manuel saw it. I mean, he was with us! Me and Halladay and Blanton, all standing there in the dark like fat, great idiots with that bloody damned bullpen empty!
[he stops] Lee: I beg your pardon, General.
[Amaro nods] Lee: That bloody damned bullpen was empty as his bloody damned head! We all saw it, as God is my witness! We were all there. I said to him, “General Manuel, we have *got* to take that game.” General Bowa would not have stopped like this, with the Mets on the run and there was plenty of light left on a game like that! Well, God help us, I… I don’t know wh… I don’t know why I…
[he stops] Amaro: Do please continue, General.
Lee: Yes, sir. Sir… I said to him, General Manuel, these words. I said to him, “Sir, give me one Papelbon and I will take that game.” And he said nothing. He just stood there, he stared at me. I said, “General Manuel, give me one Qualls and I will take that hill.” I was becoming disturbed, sir. And General Manuel put his arms behind him and blinked. So I said, General, give me one *Bastardo* and I will take that hill.” And he said *nothing*! He just stood there! I threw down my glove, down on the ground in front of him!
[he stops and regains his composure] Lee: We… we could’ve done it, sir. A blind man should’ve seen it. Now they’re working up there. You can hear the axes of the Met troops. And so in the morning… many a good boy will die… taking that game.

 

Mets-Phillies Game Thread 5/9/12

No matter what, the Phillies cannot possibly lose tonight in as absurd and forehead-palm-slapping a manner as they have done the past two nights. But let’s not dwell on that. Cliff Lee is back, folks! And he’s once again pitted against his orthographic archnemesis, Mets righthander Dillon Gee. With that said, I’d just as soon bat Lee seventh as Brian Schneider or El Falcon, Freddy Galvis.

The Mets, like the Phillies, counter with a lineup that shows nothing but the utmost contempt for anyone unfortunate enough to watch this game, with Scott Hairston in the cleanup spot and a man named Vinny Rottino (who sounds like he’d be delicious with a side of Tom Gorzelanny) playing left field. Also in the lineup is former University of Southern California quarterback Rob Johnson, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace starting catcher Josh Thole, who was KTFO by Ty Wigginton two days ago. I could have sworn he left the Bills for Tampa Bay years ago, but I’ll admit I’m not as up on my NFL news as a used to be. Between Rottino, Johnson, and Gee, Terry Collins submits for your approval a lineup, fully a third of which has yet to run the bases this season.

Speaking of Wigginton, he, along with Laynce Nix and Carlos Ruiz, are all shaking off minor injuries and will be withheld from the game. Matt Gelb of the Inquirer has the details here, in case you were wondering why the Phillies’ lineup tonight resembles the opening credits of Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation more than it usually does.

Lineups

Mets

Phillies

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