The Phillies open the second half of the season with a big series against the second-place Marlins. The Phils came in to the set knowing they could come out tied atop the division with the Fish or as many as eight games ahead of them. So far, so good. The Phils rolled in game one as Jamie Moyer threw a one-hit shutout with help from Madson and Romero.

The Phils are on a roll and look like they have a chance to put serious distance between themselves and the rest of the NL East. That would be good for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that it would allow them to rest key members of the bullpen down the stretch.

You’ll remember that the Phillies pen was fantastic last year. Durbin and Madson both finished in the top five in the league in innings pitched as a reliever, though. Durbin led the league with 87 2/3 innings pitched in relief and Madson was fifth with 82 2/3 innings pitched in relief. Down the stretch and through the post-season one of them was fantastic and the other faded badly. Durbin ended July last season with a 1.67 ERA and a 1.15 ratio. In his 27 regular season appearances to end the season he threw to a 5.40 ERA and a 1.70 ratio. In seven appearances in the post-season he was charged with just one earned run, but allowed seven hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA with a 3.00 ratio). Madson, on the other hand, ended July with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.31 ERA and was fantastic the rest of the way. In his last 28 regular season appearances he threw to a 2.22 ERA and a 1.09 ratio. He followed that up with an awesome run through the playoffs in which he pitched 12 2/3 innings with a 2.13 ERA and an 0.87 ratio.

Durbin and Madson both find themselves in the top ten in the NL in innings pitched in relief again in 2009. Madson has again been fantastic early in the season this year while Durbin has struggled a bit. I think there’s an added element this season as well — for Durbin, his struggles have meant that in addition to all of the innings he’s thrown he’s also had to throw more pitches to get through innings. In 2008 Durbin used 1,417 pitches to get through 87 2/3 innings. So far this year he’s needed 836 pitches to get through 44 1/3 innings. At his ’08 rate of pitches per inning he would have needed just 717 pitches to get through 44 1/3 frames. In 2009, Durbin is throwing about 1.17 times as many pitches per inning as he did last year.

For the 16 pitches who have thrown at least ten innings for the Phillies this season, here are the rates for pitches per batter, batters per inning and pitches per inning for each of them this year (does not include last night’s game):


Pitchers per batter

Batters per inning

Pitches per inning
T Walker
R Lopez
R Madson
B Myers
C Condrey
C Hamels
J Happ
J Moyer
J Blanton
J Taschner
C Park
C Durbin
B Lidge
A Bastardo
J Romero
S Eyre
3.52
3.67
3.69
3.73
3.76
3.82
3.86
3.87
3.91
4.06
4.12
4.14
4.24
4.25
4.33
4.38
T Walker
R Lopez
J Happ
C Condrey
R Madson
C Hamels
B Myers
J Blanton
J Romero
S Eyre
J Moyer
C Park
A Bastardo
C Durbin
B Lidge
J Taschner
3.82
3.97
4.08
4.21
4.21
4.24
4.30
4.35
4.40
4.44
4.46
4.47
4.50
4.56
4.75
4.88
T Walker
R Lopez
R Madson
J Happ
C Condrey
B Myers
C Hamels
J Blanton
J Moyer
C Park
C Durbin
J Romero
A Bastardo
S Eyre
J Taschner
B Lidge
13.45
14.56
15.54
15.75
15.79
16.07
16.22
16.97
17.25
18.42
18.86
19.05
19.10
19.44
19.81
20.16

A lot of pitches per inning isn’t ideal, but the combination of a guy who throws a lot of innings plus needs a lot of pitches to get through an inning is worse. So I don’t think we should be worried about Romero and Eyre needing a lot of pitches to go through a frame since they don’t throw a huge number of innings. I do think we should be worried about Durbin and Lidge.

Durbin and Madson threw about the same number of innings in the first half of the season. Madson threw 44 2/3 and Durbin threw 43 1/3. Madson threw a lot less pitches, though. He threw just 694 while Durbin threw 836, which is 142 more. Madson has thrown 15.54 pitches per inning this season — if he threw at that rate he could have thrown about 54 innings with the 836 pitches Durbin has thrown compared to the 43 1/3 Durbin has.

In addition to the increasing number of pitches that Durbin has to throw to get through an inning, I think for both he and Madson you have to worry about the number of innings they are both pitching. You don’t really want to see both of those guys in the top five for innings pitched in relief for the league every season.

Lidge is the other guy I think you have to worry about in terms of the number of pitches he’s throwing. He’s throwing about 20.2 pitches per inning this year after throwing 17.18 per inning last season. His pitches per innings is at the highest rate for his career with the exception of 2002 when he threw under ten innings. 2006 with the Astros was the other year where he really struggled — in ’06 he needed just 18.01 pitches per inning.

Whether it’s a physical problem or not, Lidge is either going to work through his struggles this year or he isn’t. The worry, though, is that even if he does, by the time he does it he will have thrown so many pitches that he’s worn out.

Clay Condrey could be activated for tonight’s game.

Kyle Kendrick is engaged to marry a former Survivor contestant, which means that five percent of the Phillies 40-man roster is now engaged to or married to someone who has been on the show. Don’t know for sure, but I would guess that leads the league.

With his home run last night, Ryan Howard became the player to hit 200 home runs in the fewest number of games in Major League history.

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Update: The Phillies activated Condrey and designated Tyler Walker for assignment.