Last thing on the Phillies bullpen and preventing home runs. For a while at least.

The Phillies relievers were really good at preventing home runs overall last year, but they were especially good at preventing them at home. Looking at the group of five relievers who faced at least 200 hitters in relief for the Phils in ’08 that will also be a part of the ’09 picture, Lidge, Durbin, Condrey, Madson and Romero combined to face 848 batters at home last year. Just ten of them hit home runs. If you look at the career numbers for the group, the rate they allowed home runs both at home and on the road was improved, but the rate they allowed the long ball at home was improved by a lot more.

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By comparison, the group of Hamels, Myers, Moyer and Blanton (’08 numbers as a Phillie only) combined to allow home runs at almost the same rate at home and away during 2008. They also allowed them at a rate that was a little lower than the rate they had given them up over their careers prior to the 2008 season:

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That group of starters actually allowed home runs a tiny bit more frequently in 2008 than they had over their careers. Unlike the group of relievers, they allowed them a little more regularly at home than away from home.

And speaking of starting pitchers who have been a little bit better in the past, it may be early to say who the Phillies’ fifth starter will be, but the who-it-won’t-be picture is getting a little clearer. Kyle Kendrick needed to turn things around quickly coming into yesterday’s start. He didn’t. The Phils lost to the Yankees, falling 12-0 to drop to 6-10 in spring training.

Kendrick went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks. One of the runs was unearned due to an error by Donald. Eyre struck out three and allowed a single in a scoreless seventh.

The Phils didn’t do much with the bats. Paulino 1-for-2. Giles 0-for-2 to drop his average to .154. Donald 0-for-1 with a strikeout in his only at-bat. He’s hitting .318. Mayberry 0-for-1. Harman, back from the World Baseball Classic, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Phillies play the Reds today.

Manuel says Kendrick’s outing yesterday wasn’t as bad as you might think. Moral victories might not be enough for Kendrick at this point, though.

The article linked above says the Phillies reassigned 13 players to minor league camp, including Andrew Carpenter, Sergio Escalona and Mike Cervenak.

Manuel thinks the Phils may have hit bleeping rock bottom with the 12-0 loss.

There’s still something wrong with Cole Hamels’ elbow.