Just about everybody has Chad Durbin down as the fifth guy in the Phillies bullpen as spring training gets underway. It’s not that I don’t believe ‘em, but it just doesn’t make nearly as much sense to me that Durbin would be a sure thing as the other four guys, Lidge, Madson, Gordon and Romero. All the confidence there seems to be about Durbin winning a place on the roster may have something to do with the $900,000 contract he signed.

The righty Durbin turns 31 in December and has pitched eight seasons in the majors, appearing for the Royals, Indians, Tigers and Diamondbacks. He was drafted by the Royals in the third round of the ’96 draft and made his debut in 1999.

He has pitched virtually all of his career in the American League, but his career numbers are still pretty unexciting. Here’s what he’s done overall in his career and as a starter and a reliever:


G

GS

IP

ERA

Ratio
Career 114 75 465.0 5.75 1.57
Starter 75 75 399.2 5.83 1.57
Reliever 39 0 65.1 5.23 1.55

Curiously, Durbin has been a little better against lefties than righties over his career. Righties have hit .292/.364/.508 against him (.872 OPS) and lefties .285/.355/.466 (.801 OPS).

He has also had a problem with giving up the home run. He didn’t pitch in the majors in 2005, but going back to the 2004 season he has allowed 33 home runs in his last 194 1/3 innings.

If you’re looking for a bright spot, here’s what he’s done in Inter-League action:

 
G

GS

IP

ERA

Ratio
  8 7 47.2 3.02 1.20

Not a lot of innings, but that’s much better. His numbers are just about a sure thing to be better in the National League than they’ve been over the last year or two in the NL. Hopefully a lot better.

There’s something else that’s very odd about Durbin’s career numbers. If you look at what hitters have done against him based on how many pitches he’s thrown, he’s way better after he’s thrown a lot of pitches.

Look:

 
AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Pitches 1-75 1500 .289 .363 .494 .857
Pitches 76+ 355 .285 .348 .406 .754

That’s odd enough you have to wonder if it’s right. Take a look at Baseball-Reference or Yahoo!.

I certainly don’t have an explanation for that. Not a ton of at-bats, so maybe it’s a coincidence. The difference in the OPS is mostly about the slugging percentage — the home runs are especially odd. Baseball-Reference suggests that in pitches 1-25, over his career Durbin has allowed 30 home runs in 666 plate appearances. That’s one every 22.2 plate appearances. In 299 plate appearances in pitches 76-100 he’s allowed four. That’s one every 74.75 plate appearances.

The flip side of that is that it’s hard to feel like he’s that well suited for a role in relief. If you look at the Yahoo! stats, they suggest that over his career on pitches 1-30 he’s thrown 164 1/3 innings and allowed 135 earned runs — that’s a 7.39 ERA.

Ryan Howard’s arbitration case is today.

Jose Reyes says he plans to tone down his on-field exuberance this season.

This article from the Phillies web site lists Condrey as one of the guys who can go more than one inning in relief, which may be relevant to the Phils if they try to go with 11 pitchers and keep Helms on the roster. Condrey got at least four outs in 15 of his 39 appearances for the Phils last year and wasn’t charged with an earned run in 13 of them. The other two he was bombed, charged with five earned runs in each (June 1 (Feliz himself hit a three-run shot off of Condrey that game) and August 22).