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September 25 2007

First and only step is to get the guys you've had all along to start pitching great.  Good luck out there.

The Phillies play the first of the six games they have left in the regular season tonight.  Thanks to an 8-2 road trip, they find themselves in a tie for the Wild Card and just two games behind of the Mets in the NL East.  They never would have won eight games on the trip without the help of an unbelievable performance from the bullpen that has been a weakness of the team the entire season.

The Phils didn't add anything new to their pen, the guys they've been using for much of the season simply pitched great.  Here's a look at what four of the key members of the Phillies' pen have done in September compared to what they have done the rest of the year (Romero's season numbers include the 20 innings he pitched for Boston):

  September Rest of season
Romero 10.2 0 0.00 40.2 12 2.66
Geary 15.1 2 1.17 50.1 28 5.01
Myers 14.0 5 3.21 50.2 27 4.80
Gordon 12.0 5 3.75 24.0 14 5.25

Most Phillies' fans are aware of the job that Romero, Gordon and Myers have done at the back of the pen.  But what Geoff Geary has done at the end of what had been a miserable season for him is just as impressive.  Geary has logged more innings than any of the other three, allowing two runs in 15 1/3 innings with an 0.98 ratio in September.  Like the rest of the group, you have to be worried about how much Geary has been working.  The 15 1/3 innings he's thrown so far in September are the most he's pitched in any month this year.  He seems sure to throw more this month than the 17 2/3 innings he pitched in August of last season, which is the most he's thrown in a month in his career.

Jamie Moyer (13-11, 5.01) faces lefty Chuck James (11-10, 4.11) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with the Braves.  Moyer has come up big in his last two starts, allowing just three earned runs in 13 innings.  He did walk five Cardinals on Wednesday, which was the most he has allowed for the season.  He's pitched well at Citizens Bank Park this season, throwing to a 4.67 ERA in his 13 starts at home compared to a 5.25 ERA in his 18 starts on the road, but has given up a ton of home runs.  In just 79 innings in his 13 home starts he's allowed 17 home runs.  In 109 2/3 innings on the road he's allowed just 12.  In three starts against the Braves this year he's 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA.  He hasn't allowed a home run to the Braves in 19 innings this year.  He faced Atlanta on May 25, August 12 and September 3.  Chuck James was miserable in three August starts, going 0-1 with an 8.59 ERA and missing much of the month with shoulder problems.  He has bounced back nicely in September, however, going 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.08 ratio in four starts.  He gives up a ton of home runs to right-handed batters, who have hit 23 bombs against him this season.  Helms is 3-for-7 with a home run against him this season, but it's almost surely Nunez at third tonight for the Phils with Moyer on the hill.  Other Phillies' righties haven't done a lot against James this season.  Werth, Rowand and Burrell have combined to go 5-for-17 with two extra-base hits, both doubles by Burrell.  Burrell was 4-for-8 with two home runs against him in 2006.  In three starts against the Phils this season, James is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and has struck out 16 in 16 innings.  He started against the Phils on April 5, May 2 and August 10.

Big games.  If you've got any hyperbole you've been saving up for a rainy day, now might be the time.

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