The Tuesday 10: I Am the Unlucki-Horst

The first week of May is over. It’s a little weird to think we’re almost 1/4 of the way through the season already, and frankly, given how slowly the offseason crawls by, I’m inclined to deem it “unfair.”

Spoiled.

Anyway, dive in, the water’s (not quite) warm (but it’s getting there)!

10. Making an Appearance

Well, Jeremy Horst had himself quite the week, didn’t he?

Starting last Wednesday, Horst made three appearances, threw 60 pitches, allowed six hits and three runs in collecting nine outs. Four of those hits and one of those runs came Wednesday, when Horst got dinked and dunked in a way we haven’t seen since Cole Hamels circa 2009.

Infield single to third. Bloop single to left. Infield single to Horst himself. Infield single to short. The Indians were already leading, 5-0, and so this dinky crap ended up having little effect on the game, but I couldn’t help but feel for Horst there. Really, any time a pitcher just sacrificed to the BABIP Gods live on television, you kind of have to have a little pity.

Bill wrote more on this the following day, When you have to write two explanatory pieces on a guy’s misfortune just barely more than a month into the season, you know things aren’t going well. Horst is putting up numbers far removed from his 2012 performance (K/9 down from 11.5 to 4.6, BB/9 down from 4.0 to 2.6, already allowed more HR in 13.2 IP this year than in 31.1 IP in 2012), and when you pair that loss of strikeouts with a BABIP that’s currently .060 higher than last season as of this moment (.354 to .294), well, that’s something best summed up in an outing like Wednesday’s.

9. Grounded (Into Double Plays) Pilot

Well, Michael Young sure has developed a particular skill, hasn’t he?

Young has grounded into 10 double plays already. TEN. Those have come in 123 overall plate appearances, but just 24 with at least a man on first and fewer than two out. Nearly half the time, Young is creating two outs in these spots. This is especially great because he’s been batting third or fifth, prime spots to have people on base ahead of you.

Young has more GIDPs than extra-base hits (7). The single-season record is 36, set by Jim Rice in 1984 in 202 PA with a man on first and less than two out. If Young gets that many PA in those spots, he’ll ground into 84 double plays. Maybe. Probably. Just forecasting, here.

8. The Inevitable

Well, we all saw this Roy Halladay DL stint coming, didn’t we?

There’s an interesting back-and-forth over at The (resurrected) Fightins about criticism surrounding Halladay’s decision to not say anything after feeling more shoulder discomfort two starts before this last
implosion.

I tend to side with Doc’s critics in this case. Ryan’s point that competition is basically all Halladay knows is a fair one, and reprogramming athletes’ thought processes has to be a near impossibility. Hell, that’s surely one reason why we see great players in all sports linger on far past their usefulness: what do they do if they can’t play? A professional athlete – one of the good ones – can play at the highest level until his late 30s or early 40s, while I may throw out my back getting out of bed by that age. But by the time an athlete gets to that age, he (or she, as the hopeful future holds) will have been playing for half his life. And if that player is used to performing in the top tier of this top tier of athletes? The loss of that prestige has to be tough to accept.

Even so, continuing to pitch while injured is ill-advised in all cases. Every single one. t doesn’t matter who you are: if something doesn’t feel right, speak the hell up. You’ll cost the team with your likely sub-par performance and may damage yourself further (or, at least, push back your recovery). I get that it’s hard to admit weakness, but all you need to do is look at Halladay’s performance over his last two starts to see a stark example of what can happen when you force the issue.

That said, booing him is pure and sheer idiocy and if you booed him I probably hate you.

7. May Trade Winds

Well, I guess it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, isn’t it?

The 2012 trade deadline was a bittersweet moment, seeing a couple members of the championship team be dealt while also ridding ourselves of Hunter Pence, but it may be a drop in the bucket compared to this year. If the Phillies continue to stink – and there’s no compelling force to say this isn’t the new normal – far more essential names may soon be bandied about. Indeed, reports are already swirling that teams are circling the Phillies.

Consider the names in contract years: Utley, Ruiz, Halladay, Young (x2). Halladay seems least likely to be dealt, given his health woes, but each of the others could find themselves dangled, not to mention those not in contract years like Cliff Lee or (please, interstellar deity) Ryan Howard.

Utley would be the most jagged pill to swallow of that group. I say that personally, but I’m also projecting. Before the season, I predicted Utley would be re-signed to a new deal. I tried to rationalize it as objectively as possible, but if the team continues to dive and Utley stays healthy and plays well, I can’t stand against the right deal. And I’m already sad. Can we shift gears?

6. Gone Fishing

Well, this is a good way to do just that, huh?

I want to be able to dedicate a number on this list to a Domonic Brown homer every week. Maybe #9. Let’s make this happen, Dom.

5. Tyler Cloyd vs. Adam Morgan

Alright, alright, enough with the lead-in.

Ah, the devil you know and the devil you don’t. Cloyd is a young junkballer, Morgan is a touted prospect. Given that simple comparison, you’d probably want Morgan to be the guy to replace Halladay’s spot in the rotation for a bit. But the continued simple explanation is that Morgan just isn’t quite there yet, and if you bring Morgan up prematurely, well, you risk this.

Really, I feel that reaction is going to come anyway. Morgan is arguably the best prospect in a weak system, which means expectations move on an improperly calibrated sliding scale. No report I’ve ever read has Morgan as anything more than a No. 2-type if every single thing goes right. Now, maybe I’ve read the wrong reports, but I’m expecting a guy who can be an average Major League starter. That means good outings mixed with bad ones, leaning more toward the latter in his early outings. With the patience this fanbase has, especially if armed with inflated expectations, there’s no way Morgan can succeed. Save him for later in the season, when resignation has had a chance to settle in and the future has become the next set for our sights.

4. “Saber-mov-trics”

Pun co-opted gleefully from an e-mail chain started by my friend Jim, who links this New York Times article therein. It’s not really baseball-related, save for that invented pun. But I’m linking it anyway. What’s the forthcoming popularized name? “Moneyreel?” Maybe there’s something wittier out there.

3. #Umpshow

This is the very reason why Keith Law uses the #umpshow hashtag. You’ve got a star player unhappy with a call, and John Hirschbeck just decides to escalate the situation. Nationals announcer Bob Carpenter accurately (to me) describes Hirschbeck’s demeanor as “dying” to throw Bryce Harper out, and so he does.

Phillies fans can bring to mind the most famous recent instance of an #umpshow involving their own star player from a couple years back, when Ryan Howard went bonkers on Scott Barry in a similar situation in 2010.

Side notes on the Howard clip: A) Have you ever seen Howard that jacked up about anything, positive or negative, before or since? B) How terrified would you be if a man Howard’s size came running at you? I’m frankly still a bit amazed Barry basically stood his ground.

2. Papelbon In Brief

A summary of Jonathan Papelbon’s use thus far:

  • 12 appearances
  • 5 saves in 5 chances
  • An average of just over 11 pitches per outing, each of which has been for exactly 1 IP
  • 11 straight scoreless outings with just 4 total base runners
  • A Leverage Index rating of 0.22 for his last 4 outings
  • Only 7 strikeouts in those 12 IP

It’s been an effective-but-unorthodox start to the season for Paps.

1. Sneaky Power

When Mike Fontenot was getting regular playing time from the Cubs a few years ago, some members of a sports message board I frequent took to nicknaming him “Sneaky Power” for his occasional homers (and .514 SLG in a reserve role in 2008) despite his size.

The same could be applied to Freddy Galvis. Galvis is listed at 5’10” (don’t think so) and still doesn’t really hit for average, but he does have a surprising amount of pop: 24 of his 54 career hits are extra-base hits. He’s only 4-for-24 after the third inning so far this year, but those four hits are two doubles and two home runs. If he can continue to improve offensively, he may yet turn into the regular player his defense demands he be.

1a. Flashy Power

I love when guys strut after homers. I love attitude. Maybe it’s not ideally used in batting pratice (see Puig, Yasiel below)…

(Link; thanks @mike_petriello)

…but when you obliterate a baseball, taking a good look for a second or two is a-ok by me.

(Thanks @ericvsthem)

Leave a Reply

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31 comments

  1. TomG

    May 07, 2013 12:24 PM

    Haven’t finished reading yet, but thought I’d point out that the link in #6 leads to Stephen Drew’s walk-off double.

    Or did for me, anyway.

    Brown’s homer was awesomer.

  2. TomG

    May 07, 2013 12:33 PM

    Another thing about Papelbon: he’s not sucking donkey’s in non-save situations, as he did last year.

    And if the Phillies ever trade Utley, I will shoot this puppy. I swear to god, I’ll fucking do it.

  3. Richard

    May 07, 2013 12:39 PM

    Oh, the link intended to show Howard losing it is also (and still) the Drew walk-off…

  4. TomG

    May 07, 2013 12:46 PM

    OMG! When Howard gets mad, he turns into Stephen Drew? Like some kind of reverse-Hulk?

    “Drew SMASH!!!”

  5. Mister Twine

    May 07, 2013 12:47 PM

    Still shows the Stephen Drew clip for me.

  6. Phillie697

    May 07, 2013 12:52 PM

    I think I said in a prior comments section that anyone who brings up the topic of trading Utley will be hit by a monkfish, multiple times. Paul, what’s your address? I’m coming after you with a monkfish.

  7. Bill Baer

    May 07, 2013 12:57 PM

    MLB.com has a pretty crappy video system where the video will change but the URL doesn’t. So if you go to their video page (Drew walk-off auto-plays) and then go to something else, the URL is still the Drew play.

    To get the actual URL, you have to search for it or otherwise get a direct link somewhere on MLB.com. It’s pretty awful.

  8. Richard

    May 07, 2013 01:07 PM

    That IS annoying. Anyway, I just watched the mlb video re-cap of that Howard/ejection game. I’d completely forgotten that Hunter Pence scored the winning run. Fucker.

  9. LTG

    May 07, 2013 01:07 PM

    LTG’s internal dialogue:

    Thing 1: ‘Jagged pill’ is highlighted.

    Thing 2: PB probably doesn’t associate the phrase jagged pill with a single line from an Alanis Morrisette song the way you do. It’s a common phrase.

    1: But it links to YouTube.

    2: Probably an Utley highlight to emphasize how awful it will be when he is traded. Don’t click it. You will get sadder.

    1: Click. /click

    2: /facepalm

    1: I WIN!

  10. Phillie697

    May 07, 2013 01:25 PM

    FYI, if RAJ somehow, in some cosmically inexplicable way, trades Utley but by some miracle bring in a haul like Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez or something (Tigers can use Utley, and they have a boatload of OF prospects, plus Castellanos can play 3rd for us. How is that not a win-win?), I will personally lose it. If that happens, you guys will notice as I post incoherent babble for the rest of eternity.

  11. Paul Boye

    May 07, 2013 01:35 PM

    I think if there’s any lesson to be learned it’s that I’m just the worst at hyperlinking

    Ad that I just called it hyperlinking

  12. kmart93

    May 07, 2013 02:28 PM

    Hard to imagine the Phillies without Utley. I can’t see Utley or Rollins finishing their career somewhere else. It just doesn’t feel right.

  13. JM

    May 07, 2013 02:39 PM

    I’m all for admiring a moon shot. Admiring, no bat flip, no cha cha dance, no thanking GOD, like it’s the first time you’ve ever hit a ball past the warning track (For Ben Revere, I’ll allow it). Watch it, smile, round the bases at 3/4 speed. oh, and if you admire a moon shot that lands in the first 2 rows, I will hire the monkfish guy to hunt you down…

  14. JM

    May 07, 2013 02:41 PM

    1 more thing…that BP homer reaction was AWESOME! I am still laughing about it!!

  15. pedro3131

    May 07, 2013 04:02 PM

    JM a little backstory to the bottom one. The pitcher (jarrod parker) had previously nailed the batter (Mark Reynolds) earlier in the game. It was more of a smug, “that’s what you get” moment then anything you talked about

  16. EricL

    May 07, 2013 04:04 PM

    1. I’m not a booer, but booing the booing of Halladay the other day didn’t bother me. He sucked, really badly, a bunch of times. I think it’s okay for fans to show their displeasure there. Booing a guy’s performance doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate all the positive stuff he’s done over the years, it just means that he sucks right now and you’re not happy about it.

    2. The Puig bat flip is amazing, and if I were in little league I would emulate that on every at bat.

    3. I would not be really thrilled with Castellanos for Utley. Yes, he’s young, and he’s highly rated, and he might turn into a decent player given time, but he’s really struggled with pitching above A level. Maybe he’s been pushed too quickly, but I’d like to see him get on base at something better than a .300 clip and OPS something > .700 at AA/AAA before I buy into the hype.

  17. Phillie697

    May 07, 2013 04:46 PM

    @EricL,

    Utley is 34, with two bad knees, played 115, 103, and 83 games the last three seasons, and is likely a rental. We’re not getting a Jurickson Profar for him, LOL. I’d take Castellano in a heart beat if I am not a Phillies fan.

    But I am. So anyone trading Utley will be monkfish’ed on sight.

  18. amarosucks

    May 07, 2013 05:51 PM

    The people who booed halladay are the same dopes who booed hamels in 2009.

    I love the city, but we definitely don’t have the brightest fans.

  19. MattWinks

    May 07, 2013 06:27 PM

    The problem with trading Utley is where do you go from there. There is no in house solution at second base. The options are Hernandez and Galvis and neither of them have the skills to be an impact player at second (Galvis at short is a different story). To trade Utley you need a player who is cost controlled and fill a problem spot immediately and for the future(corner OF/CF). Even with injury problems Utley is a well above average player and something you really aren’t going to find a good replacement for.

  20. John

    May 07, 2013 08:52 PM

    The best thing about the Mark Reynolds homer is the spit and stare at the pitcher who, two innings earlier, hit him with a pitch near the head. Reynolds called it “the most awesome thing I’ve ever done.” I must concur.

  21. LTG

    May 07, 2013 10:34 PM

    Any insights on Jimmy? He’s having an awful start, but it is basically the same as last year’s. (Here is where I admit that I made an overzealous argument that Rollins was toast.) So, should we expect improvement, a la last year, or is there something different about his struggles this year?

    I will take my answer off the air.

    But first, did Chooch just blow a kiss to the dugout during his 5th inning AB?

  22. Phillie697

    May 08, 2013 10:44 AM

    @MattWinks,

    Those thoughts are fine if you think Phillies can contend next year. I don’t think so. Grab the best talent you can right now and who cares who plays 2B. Sign a scrub for all I care.

  23. Richard

    May 08, 2013 11:45 AM

    they can’t just punt, not with revenue streams at stake, and with the second wild card they’d be silly to

  24. the Philly sports desert

    May 08, 2013 12:18 PM

    A. Makes no sense to do trades now, your leverage is low and it will only peak at trade deadline as teams who are on the cusp tend to overpay.
    B. I am ok with using Cloyd for a few starts, I believe the Phils only need a 5th starter a few times between now and June 15th.
    C. Jair Jurrijens is able to opt out of his Minor League contract June 15th, he is 27 and has been a stud at times. Take a chance.
    D. If not, Lannan will also be returning around than so that will also solve the 5th starter at no cost.

    Go Phils.

  25. Phillie697

    May 09, 2013 09:51 AM

    @Richard,

    Yes, because the difference between winning 80 games versus winning 76 games will be oh-so-important to the revenue stream or our chances of making the second wild card.

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