Philadelphia Phillies First Half Report Card: Pitchers

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Today marks the second day off for the All—Star break, so let us continue our mid—season grades for the Phillies. Today we take a look at a pitching staff, who have been fighting their way through injuries and various struggles at this point. How have they fared individually?

Let’s take a look, beginning with the starting rotation.

Cole Hamels
5-5, 4.87 ERA, 85 K, 18 BB

Coming into the 2009 season I had very high expectations for Cole Hamels. To say he has come up short would be an understatement of mass proportions.

After showing a new level of dominance in the 2008 post season Hamels captured MVP honors in the NLCS and World Series, so thoughts of Hamels cruising his way to a 18, 19 or even 20 win season were not to be questioned.

Today we sit with an ace who has posted a 5-5 record with an ERA that is second worst in the starting rotation.

His strike out total sits at 85 and he has only walked 18 batters, which is not too bad, but he is on pace for a number of career highs if his play continues to be mediocre in the second half.

Hamels has already allowed 15 home runs, four shy of his career low of 19 (his career high is 28). He has also given up 117 hits, which already ties his career low for a season (2006).

If the Phillies are going to win their third straight division title they will need Hamels to work things out and have a much better second half. Hamels will need to pick up nine wins in the second half to help hold off the Florida Marlins and a possible late season surge from the New York Mets.

First half grade: C-

Joe Blanton
6-4, 4.44 ERA, 91 K, 33 BB

Joe Blanton got off to a worrisome start to the season but has come on strong lately. Blanton owns the best ERA among the opening day starting rotation and leads the team in strike outs. Due to the mediocre play around the rest of the pitching staff Blanton has become one of the most reliable pitchers to look to.

The Phillies are getting what they need out of Blanton. He is leading the team in innings pitched and has the only arm to throw over 100 innings. He will need to stay healthy and may be looked at as the second pitcher in the rotation in the second half, barring any significant trades that may be made.

First half grade: B+

Jamie Moyer
8-6, 5.99 ERA, 53 K, 25 BB

How is it that Jamie Moyer leads the Phillies in wins? With eight wins the “crafty lefty” leads the Phillies in victories at the All—Star break. But his 5.99 ERA is Adam Eaton-esque. With 116 hits allowed it is no wonder why Moyer’s innings total is at 94.2.

After signing a two-year deal with the Phillies there must be questions spinning around the front office wondering why?

It is no secret that Moyer’s age is of the upper variety, but despite that he finds ways to out—think most batters. Though he has been hit hard in a number of games the reality is that Moyer is no better than a back end of the rotation starter.

At this point the only reason Moyer is the fourth pitcher is because the Phillies can not find a solid fifth starter, a position that is a revolving door after the loss of Brett Myers to injury.

Moyer needs to bring the ERA down. If he ends the season with an ERA in the mid to low 4.00 area, then that should be a good sign for the Phillies at the end of the season.

First half grade: D-

J.A. Happ
6-0, 2.90 ERA, 61 K, 32 BB

On the entire pitching staff, nobody has been as dependable as J.A. Happ. Happ started the year in the bullpen, losing the coveted fifth starter’s job in spring training to Chan Ho Park.

Being sent to the bullpen must have kept Happ’s spirits and motivation high though, because once Park struggled as a starter the team called upon Happ to fill the role he worked hard to obtain.

Whether he has come out of the bullpen or started a game on the mound, Happ has put together a season worthy of NL Rookie of the Year nominations.

Combined with his bullpen work, Happ leads the starters in ERA and is third on the team in ERA. He has walked more batters than you would like to see (32) but he usually finds a way to wiggle out of trouble or at least minimize the damage.

Call me a homer, but a case could have been made about Happ being placed on the All—Star team, although he would have been one of the last guys in. Now Happ has pitched himself into a position where it would either be hard for the Phillies to trade him away or he could be an important piece of a blockbuster trade.

First half grade: A

Chan Ho Park
3-2, 5.49 ERA, 50 K, 26 BB

Grading Chan Ho Park‘s 2009 season can be tricky. While his time in the starting rotation was anything but enjoyable, his move to the bullpen has slowly become a success. For the purposes of this mid—season report though we must combine all of the efforts put out by Park.

As a starter, Park went a frustrating 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in seven games. That includes a stellar game in a pitcher’s duel in which he out—pitched Johan Santana. He gave up five home runs, walked 17 batters and struck out 21 batters.

As a reliever, being replaced in the rotation by Happ, Park took a couple outings to find his groove but has gone 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA. He has allowed nine earned runs (ten overall) in just under 26 innings pitched, has walked just nine batters while striking out 29.

Park will remain in the bullpen in the second half of the season and he could be a key player in the pen for the Phillies.

First half grade: C (But rising)

Brett Myers
4-3, 4.66 ERA, 46 K, 20 BB

Unfortunately Brett Myers‘ season may be done already as he suffered an injury after just ten games. Though his absence has hurt the team it is through no fault of his own, so he will not be downgraded for his injury.

Myers was somewhat mediocre in his ten outings. Seventeen of his pitches found their way to the seats in fair territory, which was reminiscent of his poor play from a year ago that prompted a move to Lehigh Valley.

Myers recorded 46 strikeouts, which would have put him on pace to be among the team leaders if he stayed healthy.

First half grade: C

Clay Condrey
4-2, 3.71 ERA, 22 K, 14 BB

Clay Condrey has been a bit of an unsung hero out of the bullpen, he has played a vital role so far this season.

Now out with an injury of his own, Condrey was called upon more often than planned as injuries and bullpen changes continued throughout the first few months. Add in the fact that the starting pitchers struggled for so long and guys like Condrey were being used often.

Condrey has allowed 31 hits, including four home runs, and for awhile led the team in wins. If he comes back healthy in the second half of the season, Condrey will provide some long relief in blow—outs to save the more important role players.

First half grade: B+

Chad Durbin
5-5, 4.87 ERA, 85 K, 18 BB

Chad Durbin became one of the more reliable relief pitchers last season, but has not been as dependable this season. After the first half of the season is in the books, Durbin is shouldered with a 4.47 ERA with 36 hits allowed in 44.1 innings pitched. He has also walked 28 batters and given up six home runs.

Perhaps more concerning is his seven hit batters, tied for the most on the team with Jamie Moyer. Durbin will have to show more control on the mound when called upon for middle relief in the fifth or sixth innings in the second half.

First half grade: C-

J.C. Romero
5-5, 4.87 ERA, 85 K, 18 BB

J.C. Romero joined the team late in the first half of the season after serving a 50—game suspension for a disputed drug policy violation. As such he has only pitched 14.1 innings so far, so giving him an accurate grade is tough.

Romero has been decent enough for the team but has some things he needs to improve. In his 17 appearances, Romero has given up six runs (five earned), two home runs, and a concerning twelve walks and eleven strike outs.

First half grade: C

Scott Eyre
1-1, 2.16 ERA, 12 K, 10 BB

Scott Eyre has been one of the most reliable pitchers out of the bullpen this season. Only used in certain situations, this limits his appearances, but in 27 games (16.2 innings) Eyre has allowed just five runs to cross the plate, four of which were earned.

Eyre holds the team’s second lowest ERA and after serving some time on the disabled list looks to continue to provide a steady arm in relief in the second half of the season.

First half grade: B

Ryan Madson
3-4, 4 SV, 3.02 ERA, 44 K, 16 BB

After cementing himself as “The Bridge to Lidge” last season, Ryan Madson was supposed to be the solid eighth inning guy that could lock down a close game. It has not quite worked out that way for Madson this season.

Entering with high expectations, Madson has struggled in both a set—up and closer role. Despite some struggles in the last month, Madson still holds a low ERA even with fifteen earned runs allowed. Madson has given up runs in crucial situations, including blowing four saves.

Even with the problems Madson has experienced he is still holding batters to a lower batting average than he did a year ago. The problem is those fewer hits are counting for more bases and runs. Still though, for his role, he has not performed to the level needed to get the job done and he needs to pitch better in the next couple of months

First half grade: D+

0-4, 18 SV, 7.03 ERA, 37 K, 19 BB

Baseball fans everywhere knew that there was no way Brad Lidge would be perfect in 2009. And boy were they right. At the All—Star break Lidge is charged with a woeful 0-4 record and while he has saved 18 games, he has also blown six save opportunities.

Lidge was placed on the DL to work out some problems and since he came back he has, for the most part, been solid. In the first half Lidge did allow eight home runs, the latest coming on Friday night.

First half grade: D+

When you look at the entire pitching staff there is no doubt that there needs to be improvement in the starting rotation, the middle relief, and the back end of the bullpen to close out games.

There are reasons to be optimistic for a brighter outlook from the pitchers in the second half of the season, as the Phillies look as though they are going to take a chance with Pedro Martinez.

Of course the Phillies are also a trendy name in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes as well.

What are your thoughts on the pitchers through the first half of the season? Are any of these pitchers marked too high or too low? I know I left some names out.

Guys like Jack Taschner, Kyle Kendrick, Sergio Escalona, Antonio Bastardo and more were left out as they were either not here long enough to dissect (Rodrigo Lopez) or because they appear to not be a player in the second half of the season anyway (Jack Taschner). Feel free to give an assessment to any of those guys if you wish.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...