The starter’s bullets will be dwindling this April, and the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies will be counting the outs to Jonathan Papelbon. For the most part, this will determine who begins to warm up.
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I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated offseason, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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The Path to Papelbon:
The effectiveness of the relief corps is influenced by the rotation’s strength.
One more out doesn’t appear to make a huge difference, but over the course of a full 162, it equals 54 innings off the relievers’ shoulders. Comparing bullpen workloads, the Nationals had to provide 97 more frames than the red pinstripes in ‘12. The average is 5 pitchers per out, which equals 1455 tosses. That’s 208 darts for each man in the ‘pen.
A healthy Doc Halladay only needed more than the 1-2 lockdown punch on 8 occasions. He will do everything that is physically possible to rebound 100%, which means 2011’s dependability. If anybody has the determination, endurance and mentality for a complete recovery, this athlete would be first among only a few. To him–he has lost an entire campaign, which means he’ll return with a vengeance.
Games with more than only Mike Adams and Papelbon:
- Halladay with 8 (25%) during his solid 2011.
- Cliff Lee with 8 (25%) for his 2nd half doubled.
- Cole Hamels with 11 (35.5%) and Kyle Kendrick at 16 (64%).
- John Lannan with 28 (84.9%) for ‘11.
Lee suffered through a dreadful first 3 months, which affected his confidence enough to influence his 2012 results. After his first triumph and some reflection during the break, he was again the dominant ace of old. That is my reason for applying only his stats from July 13 on, and multiplying that by 2 to reach a more accurate expectation. It would not be a surprise for him to accumulate 15-17 wins during the year.
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Hamels experienced a rough patch of 4 contests, where he went 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA. That streak began the day after Halladay was disabled, which was uncharacteristic for the southpaw. Another member of the front five who should have improved 2012 returns is Kendrick. He was yo-yoed from the relief corps to the 5-man staff, which produced a handful of predictably unpleasant starts.
Games with 7th-inning relievers:
- Halladay with 4 (12.5%) and 2 partial frames (6.25%) during ‘11.
- Lee with 4 (12.5%) and 4 partial innings (12.5%) for his doubled projection.
- Hamels with 7 (22.6%) and 1 partial frame (3.2%).
- Kendrick with 3 (6%) and 3 partial innings (6%).
- Lannan with 7 (21.1%) and 5 partial frames (15.2%) for 2011.
Lannan is now on the club that had his number, and–remember–he spent 5 months of ‘12 stashed at Triple-A Syracuse. He was called up to fill rotation emergencies, and be a September replacement for Stephen Strasburg. For his last full summer against other franchises, he went 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA, and the Phils limited him in 5 of his 16 shorter appearances. He should be motivated to have a solid 162.
Bullpen load of more than 3 innings:
- Halladay with 2 (6.25%) during 2011.
- Lee had zero for his 2nd half.
- Hamels with 3 (9.7%) and Kendrick at 10 (40%).
- Lannan with 16 (48.5%) for ‘11.
The bitter taste of the last tour is not limited to the front five, but includes Papelbon and Adams also. There were many nights where Papelbon was a spectator for a brutal defeat. Adams pitched with mild nerve-related numbness for the entire season, and both want to form long-lasting memories again. With a solid 5-man staff and a 1-2 punch at the back end, this group may be on the threshold of a sparkling campaign.
When he returns in late April, Carlos Ruiz will have a boatload of talent to deal with In addition to the above-mentioned hurlers, he will have a kiddie corps of moldable athletes. There is Phillippe Aumont with dazzling stuff but control issues, who probably will be more comfortable in the 7th. He can share that frame with Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo, who may be able to bounce back under less pressure.
Jeremy Horst is the 2nd lefty reliever and he can toil for 6 outs, which is a big plus. He cruised to a 1.15 ERA for the final 3 months of ‘12. Michael Schwimer had a strong run of 11 performances after some mechanical changes before he became injured, and–also hurt–Mike Stutes had some positive showings on his resume from 2011. Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, Raul Valdes, Jake Diekman, Juan Cruz, Rodrigo Lopez and Tyler Cloyd are in the mix for short or long relief.
This is a camp where the stats will mean something for many hopefuls and basically only one mound job.
These are the workload projections for the 2013 ‘pen. Papelbon and Adams will finish 52.9% or 85 battles as the only studs needed after the innings eaters. The 7th frame will require 3 outs 26 times (16.1%) and 1 or 2 on 16 occasions (9.9%). That leaves 35 games where the front end of the bullpen rotation will be exposed, which is approximately 21%
The emerging picture is that the 7 arms from the horses to the 1-2 punch are poised for a variety of comebacks.
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This is the 14th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Red October) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs. The last one was Hammer and Nails.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)