What Got Into the Phillies’ Bullpen?

Ken Giles, obviously. But the Phillies’ bullpen overall, even excluding Giles, has been much improved following a rough start to the season. There has been a lot of turnover, as Jeff Manship, B.J. Rosenberg, and Phillippe Aumont have been eschewed. Meanwhile, Justin De Fratus has come on strong and Jake Diekman has been on the up-and-up while Giles has steadily been among the most dominating relievers in baseball.

On a month-by-month basis, here’s what the changes have looked like with the bullpen as a whole:

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The Race to the Bottom

The Phillies’ recent hot streak, in which they have won nine of 13 games, has them tenuously close to falling out of the bottom-ten in the overall standings. At 64-75, they have the ninth-worst record in baseball, just ahead of the 66-74 New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds. They’re on pace to finish 75-87.

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Ben Revere On Pace For A Phillies First

It’s September 3 and center fielder Ben Revere is batting .311 with 42 stolen bases. With eight more bags, and holding his .300-plus batting average through the end of the season — which, if he gets 100 more at-bats, would require him to bat .230 or worse — Revere could become the first Phillie to bat better than .300 with 50 or more steals.

Sherry Magee came the closest to accomplishing the feat, batting .331 with 49 stolen bases in 1910. Only two have come close in the modern era, as you can see on the list of Phillies to bat .300 with 40-plus steals:

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Cole Hamels, Bullpen Combine For A No-Hitter

The Phillies celebrated Labor Day in style on Monday, as Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to toss nine no-hit innings against the Atlanta Braves. Hamels battled spotty control, walking five, but the Braves weren’t able to hit him very hard when he was in the strike zone. It’s no surprise that the Diekman-Giles-Papelbon trio was able to polish off the no-no as they have been lights out for the last several months.

The last no-hitter in Phillies history, of course, was Roy Halladay‘s gem in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s the 12th no-hitter in franchise history, and the first combined no-hitter. The last combined no-hitter in baseball came on June 8, 2012, when former Phillie — and author of a complete game no-hitter — Kevin Millwood and five Seattle Mariners relievers accomplished the feat against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here’s the last out:

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Jimmy Rollins Has Quietly Had A Good Season

A look at his meager .242 batting average, unexciting .324 on-base percentage, and a sub-.400 slugging percentage and it’s easy to conclude that Jimmy Rollins has had a mediocre season. Even by adjusted OPS, of which Rollins has an even 100, he’s simply average.

If we go a little deeper, though, and use a better stat — weighted on-base average — we see that Rollins’ .320 mark stacks up well against his competition at shortstop in the National League, even if we set the plate appearance minimum so low (375) as to include Troy Tulowitzki. Rollins ranked sixth in the league, just a smidge behind Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and far ahead of number seven, Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants at .297.

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Analyzing Domonic Brown’s Base Running Gaffe

The Phillies swept the Washington Nationals out of Philadelphia with an easy 8-4 victory last night, making them winners of six of their last seven games. Though the Phillies pounded out 15 hits, three of which were home runs, the game wasn’t without mistakes.

One of those mistakes occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning. Domonic Brown had doubled in a run, reducing the Phillies’ deficit to 4-3. In the next at-bat, Wil Nieves went ahead 2-0, then fouled off three consecutive pitches. On Nats starter Doug Fister‘s sixth pitch of the at-bat, Wil Nieves hit a ground ball to shortstop Ian Desmond. Brown went on contact and was easily thrown out at third base for the first out of the inning.

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