Doctor Peppered

Honestly, I miss Roy Halladay.

There comes a point in every injured player’s recovery period where some fans sort of forget that they’re not around. It’s almost like you’ve become used to their absence, and the phantom limb feeling you get in the time immediately following their disappearance from the roster dissipates.

It’s a bit more layered than just that, though. I miss the Halladay of old, of pre-injury shoulder strength and command; a domineering, towering mound overlord, a regent of the rubber whose very presence demanded the respect of the opposition before he undressed a single batter.

The truth of the matter is, though, that that Halladay is gone. “Doc” is thought of less as a reference to surgically precise pitches and more about the operating table with which Roy has become all too familiar lately. And it’s a sad thought, because anytime a player who stands above his or her contemporaries for such an extended period of time begins to decline, it triggers fond memories of the past and the bittersweet yearning for their impossible return.

There was hope that, once Halladay’s shoulder underwent its most recent tidying, the aging wonder would resemble something more along the lines of his superlative 2010 and 2011. The reasonable hope was never that he’d replicate those years, but that he’d do his best to imitate them and make us all forget about 2012 and the first half of this season.

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Jake Diekman Emerging As Reliable Bullpen Option

If you have been following baseball with any regularity over the last few years, you are familiar with Aroldis Chapman, a lefty reliever with the Cincinnati Reds. Since making his Major League debut in 2010, he has been one of the most formidable relievers in all of baseball this side of Craig Kimbrel. He utilizes a fastball in the upper 90’s and a slider in the mid 80’s, his bread and butter.

Obviously, Chapman is in a league of his own — nobody compares to him, not even Billy Wagner, one of the greatest left-handed relievers of all time. However, did you know that the Phillies have their own lefty reliever who makes use of a fastball in the high 90’s and a mid 80’s slider? His name is Jake Diekman, and he has emerged as one of the Phillies’ more reliable arms as the season has gone on.

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Phillies Should Consider Adding Roger Bernadina

Update: Per Matt Gelb, the Phillies have signed Roger Bernadina.

The Washington Nationals recently released outfielder Roger Bernadina, the culmination of a very poor season in which he has hit .178/.247/.270. Now 29 years old, Bernadina will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility in the off-season after earning $1.21 million in 2013. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies have expressed interest.

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If there’s one thing the Phillies aren’t short on in the organization, it’s middle infielders. From Chase Utley to Jimmy Rollins to Cesar Hernandez to Freddy Galvis to (if you grin and bear it) Kevin Frandsen, that’s a handful of players under control in 2014 that can, feasibly, play up the middle.

The only problem, of course, is that only one of those guys is a viable Major League player right now.


  • Frandsen has come up with a big hit from time-to-time, but is 4-for-36 in August and leaves something to be desired on defense.
  • Galvis has a .626 Major League OPS in 364 PA; a .617 career Minor League OPS
  • Hernandez has missed the vast majority of the past month with a wrist injury and will get more looks in center field when he returns

And fine, so three bench guys are playing like bench guys. Their problems and presence on a roster mean relatively little when compared to the struggles of the man expected to be the starting shortstop through next season.

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We’re Back

Apologies for the sudden disappearance over the last few days. Since the Charlie Manuel news broke, we have had a surge in traffic, which suffocated the servers and forced me to make an upgrade. The transfer took a bit longer than expected, but everything should be back in shape now. Let me know if you are experiencing any issues going forward.

Analyzing Darin Ruf’s Slump

At the request of some readers, I wrote a column on ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog on August 7 investigating Darin Ruf‘s numbers. I concluded that while his production, as of that writing, was impressive, he was destined to regress because he was relying on an unsustainably high BABIP. Since August 8, Ruf has posted a .171/.256/.429 line, including a .167 BABIP. He has hit three home runs in 39 trips to the plate, but that has been almost all of the positive contributions he has made over the last two weeks.

It is worth diving into the stats to see what has changed recently to alter his fortune. Note that we are dealing with small sample sizes — 96 PA and 405 pitches in the “before” sample and 43/183 in the “after” sample — but at the very least we can keep an eye out for some trends.

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Some Thoughts on Charlie Manuel’s Ouster

Most of the immediate reactions I’ve seen from Phillies fans to the end Charlie Manuel‘s tenure have been emotional. And rightly so–Manuel is the most decorated manager in Phillies history and one of the most beloved figures in local sports. The man who orchestrated his removal, Ruben Amaro, is…well, not universally reviled, but not the most popular person either. It’s a sports story with an easy good guy and a bad guy, where the good guy shuffles off into the sunset with his Wawa bag.

I don’t want to look at it that way. Rationally, was this the right thing to do?

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