The Phillies went 12-18 in Cliff Lee’s starts last year, which was odd given that Lee was in the top ten in the NL in ERA, ratio, strikeouts and WAR for pitchers. While Lee was off his outstanding 2011 pace, he was still very good and a lot had to go wrong for the Phillies in his starts for them to go 12-18. A lot did.
Here are some of the lowlights:
- The Phillies scored 3.60 runs per game in the games started by Lee and 4.36 in the games he did not start. They scored a total of three runs in the first three games he started in 2012 and a total of three runs in the last three games he started in 2012 and the Phils went 0-6 in those games. 3.60 runs per game of offense in their starts is the worst mark for any starting pitcher who started more than one game for the team in ’12 (although Worley was close behind at 3.61 runs of offense per game he started).
- The Phillies went 10-11 in the 21 games in which Lee delivered a quality start. In those 21 games he threw to a 1.86 ERA with an 0.97 ratio. The Phillies went 52-26 in quality starts that were made by any pitcher other than Lee.
- The bullpen pitched to a 4.82 ERA with a 1.43 ratio in the 30 games that Lee started. In the 132 games that he didn’t start, the bullpen pitched to a 3.79 ERA with a 1.27 ratio.
So Lee was good, the offense was bad, the bullpen was bad and even when Lee pitched well the Phillies didn’t win. There’s got to be more than a little plain old bad luck in there as well. You wouldn’t expect your team to go 10-11 in the games where their starting pitcher throws to a 1.86 ERA and a ratio under one.
Seven of the 18 games the Phillies lost that Lee started were one-run games.
The Phillies were 4-12 in the first 16 games that Lee started. Over those 16 starts, the Phils managed to lose a game in which Lee threw 10 shutout innings, another in which he struck out 12 while allowing two runs over 7 2/3 innings and a third in which he allowed a run on two hits and a walk over eight frames.
That’s not to say Lee excelled at all times during those first 16 starts. That simply wasn’t the case. Most notably, from June 10 to June 29 (outings 10 to 13 on the year), Lee made four starts bad starts in a row, throwing to a 7.30 ERA in those outings and puffing his ERA on the year from 2.92 to 4.13. After June 29, Lee pitched to a 2.44 ERA over his last 17 starts and the Phils went 9-8 in those games.
Bastardo filed for arbitration yesterday.
The Nats appear to have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano that will pay Soriano $28 million over the next two years. Soriano has been very good in two of the last three years.
This suggests that the Phillies may have interest in right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb. It doesn’t suggests that Webb has become an outfielder. Now 33, Webb had six good years with the Diamondbacks from 2003 to 2008, throwing to a 3.24 ERA over 198 appearances, 197 of which were starts. He has been slowed by shoulder problems since, throwing just 16 innings between the majors and minors since the start of 2009.
The Phillies signed Juan Cruz to a minor league deal. Love this move. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cruz. I forget why, cause his results haven’t been especially good and he walks too many hitters to be consistently successful. Cruz is a 34-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.41 career ratio in 655 innings over 13 years. He’s had several miserable years, including 2003, 2005 and 2009. Over the last three years, he’s made 104 appearances, all in relief, and thrown to a 3.41 ERA with a 1.51 ratio. In 89 2/3 innings, he’s walked 51. His walk rate for his career is 4.8 batters per nine innings. The years when he’s been good he still walked a ton of people, just didn’t allow many hits.