Tag: David Herndon

Walks off

In 2010, the Phillies were outstanding at preventing walks. They walked just 416 batters, which was the fewest that any National League team had walked in a season since the Mets walked 401 batters in 1995.

The effort was led by Halladay, who walked 30 hitters in 250 2/3 innings in 2010, but the pitchers other than Halladay on the 2010 Phils were good at preventing walks as well. The non-Halladay pitchers combined to walk batters at a lower rate than the Cardinals, who were the second-best pitching staff at preventing walks overall in 2010.

The Phils weren’t particularly outstanding at preventing walks when pitching in relief, though. Only four NL teams saw their relievers walk fewer batters in 2010, but the Phils called on their bullpen to pitch fewer innings than anyone in the NL. By walks allowed per inning pitched, the relievers of seven NL teams were better at preventing walks in 2010 than the Phillie relievers were.

That has slipped even further in the early part of this season. In 2011, the Phils have allowed fewer walks overall than any team in baseball (although the Braves, who have played three more games, are allowing slightly fewer walks per nine innings). The walk rate for the starters has gotten a little bit worse (2.57 per nine in 2010 to 2.71 per nine so far this year), but the walk rate for the relievers has gotten a lot worse.

The table below shows the number of innings pitched for the Phillies bullpen in the last two seasons, the number of walks and the rate at which each of the teams issued walks per nine innings and how those numbers rank in the NL for that year:

Year IP NL Rank BB NL Rank BB/9 NL Rank
2011 74 1/3 16 36 6 4.36 14
2010 421 16 177 12 3.78 8

So in both 2010 and 2011, the Phillies are at the bottom of the NL in terms of innings pitched by their relievers, but the rate at which their relievers have issued walks per nine innings has gone from the middle of the pack in 2010 to the bottom of it in 2011.

In looking to explain the problems with the walk rate for the bullpen in the early going, you have to look at Kendrick and Herndon. That duo has combined to walk 15 in 23 2/3 innings pitched, which is way too many. If you remove the numbers for Kendrick and Herndon, the bullpen is allowing walks at a very similar rate to 2010 — 3.78 per nine innings in 2010 and 3.73 for the non-Kendrick and Herndon pitchers in 2011.

Kendrick in particular is a guy whose walks we should be watching. He was fantastic as a 22-year-old in 2007. In that year he walked just 25 in 121 innings, about 1.86 per nine innings, and threw to a 3.87 ERA with a 1.27 ratio. Since the end of 2007, he’s allowed 2.95 walks per inning and thrown to a 4.86 ERA with a 1.47 ratio. So far in 2011 he’s walked eight in 13 innings, although four of the eight walks that he’s allowed have been intentional. He leads all pitchers in either league in intentional walks and is tied for 201st in innings pitched.

Cole Hamels (3-1, 3.13) faces righty Livan Hernandez (3-2, 3.23) tonight as Jayson Werth and the Nationals come to Philadelphia. Righties have done nothing with Hernandez this season — they’re hitting 230/284/297 against him for the year without a home run. He faced the Phils on April 12 and held them to a run over 6 2/3 innings. Blanton struggled in that game and Washington won 7-3. Hamels was hit hard by the Mets in his first start of the year and was charged with six runs in 2 2/3 innings. Since then he’s made four starts in which he’s thrown to a 1.55 ERA with an 0.90 ratio and struck out 31 in 29 innings. He’s gone at least seven innings in each of his last four starts.

Someone might know when Chase Utley will return, but it’s not me. According to this article, Utley played in a “semi-simulated” game on Sunday that involved running, fielding and, and I swear I’m not making this up, sitting in the dugout. So at least we can cross that milestone off the list. If he can just break through the drinking with a straw barrier we could see him any day now. It’s probably best if you just read the article, cause I promise I have no idea. I do think someone needs to consider calling, um, balderdash on the “semi-simulated” game, though, cause I’m not convinced that’s really a thing.

Ditto the having no idea on Domonic Brown, who is now hitting 333/385/625 between Clearwater and Lehigh Valley in his first 24 at-bats back.

This says that Oswalt could start on Saturday against the Braves.

Committee working on Kendrick’s Hall of Fame induction speech disbands abruptly and without notice

Ditto for the committees working on the speeches for Bastardo, Herndon, Baez and Romero.

Kyle Kendrick was on a nifty little run coming into last night’s game. He had strung together three very nice starts in a row, throwing to a 1.86 ERA in those games as the Phils won all three. It ended with a thud last night, though, as he didn’t make it out of the fourth and was charged with six runs over 3 1/3 innings against the Dodgers.

The worse news is that the bullpen wasn’t any better. They allowed nine runs on ten hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. Thanks to the combo of bad starting pitching and bad relief pitching, the Phils managed to lose a game in which they scored nine runs. That’s tough to do. Since the start of the 2005 season the Phils are 132-4 in games where they’ve scored more than eight runs and 37-3 when scoring nine.

The game was also notable for the construction of the Phillies roster. The Phils gave John Mayberry’s roster to spot to Bastardo, which means they have 12 hitters and 13 pitchers active. They started last night’s game with four hitters (Schneider, Sweeney, Dobbs and Francisco) on the bench. Things didn’t work out well as Polanco and Ruiz both left early, Schneider had to stay in for a big at-bat late against a lefty and Hamels pinch-hit with two men on base for the final out of the game.

The Phillies are 62-50 on the year after losing to the Dodgers 15-9 last night. They are in second place in the NL East and 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks. Only five of the runs were earned and seven of the eight hits were singles. The other was a double. He struck out one and saw his ERA puff to 4.60.

Scott Podsednik started the game with a single and was running on the pitch when Ryan Theriot grounded out to short. It put a man on second with one out for Andre Ethier and Ethier singled into center, scoring Podsednik to put LA up 1-0. James Loney flew to center and Casey Blake popped to Ruiz to end the frame.

Jay Gibbons started the second with a single and moved to second when Jamey Carroll walked behind him. Brad Ausmus hit into a double-play and Kendrick struck the pitcher Vicente Padilla out to leave Gibbons stranded at third.

Theriot singled with one out in the third. Ethier followed that with an RBI-double that make it 2-0. Loney walked to put men on first and second. Blake hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw to second to force Loney for the second out. With two down and men on first and third, Gibbons lined a single to right and Ethier scored. 3-0. Carroll grounded to short for the third out.

Kendrick continues to struggle against lefties. Ethier 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI through the first three innings. Werth made a really nice play on a line drive by Podsednik for the first out or the inning would have been worse.

Ausmus singled to center to start the fourth. Padilla was next and put down a bunt that was fielded by Kendrick. Kendrick threw to second, but Rollins didn’t handle the throw and was charged with an error. With nobody out and men on first and second, Podsednik singled to right to load the bases. Theriot hit a fly ball to right for the first out. It was deep enough for Ausmus to tag and score (4-0) and Padilla to take third. Bastardo came in to pitch to Ethier and Ethier singled to right. Padilla scored (5-0) and LA had men on first and second. Loney singled. Podsednik scored to make it 6-0 with Ethier taking second. Blake singled. Ethier scored (7-0) and Podsednik took third. Bastardo struck out the lefty Gibbons for the second out and got Carroll on a line drive to third to finally end the frame.

Not exactly a triumphant return for Bastardo in his first action since the middle of June. He faced five hitters and allowed single, single, single before getting a big strike out and a line out.

The lead was cut to 7-1 when Herndon threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Perhaps still in shock at seeing a 1-2-3 frame, Manuel brought Herndon back to pitch the sixth with the LA lead cut to 7-4. Theriot singled and stole second before Ethier walked. Loney doubled to right, Theriot scored (8-4) and Ethier went to third. Blake hit a fly ball to right. Ethier tagged and scored (9-4) and Loney took third. Gibbons hit a 1-1 pitch out to right for a two-run homer. 11-4. Carroll grounded out for the second out before Ausmus hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for his second error of the game. Reed Johnson hit for the pitcher and popped to second for the third out.

Herndon has now allowed 52 hits in 37 1/3 innings on the year. Opponents are hitting .342 against him for the season.

Baez started the seventh with the Phillies losing 11-5. With one out, Theriot reached on an infield single on a ball that was deflected by Polanco. Ethier moved him to second with a single and the game was delayed for a brief ceremony celebrating his 1,000th hit of the game. Loney was next and hit a ground ball back to the mound. Baez fielded and threw to second for the second out. He walked Blake to load the bases. Righty Matt Kemp hit for the pitcher and singled to right. Theriot and Loney scored to make it 13-5. Baez got Carroll on a ground ball to third to set the Dodgers down.

Baez has a 7.88 ERA and a 2.19 ratio over his last 18 appearances.

Contreras pitched the eighth with the Phils down 13-7. He gave up a leadoff walk to Ausmus and then got the next three hitters.

Romero started the ninth. He hit Ethier with his first pitch, which at least spared us all another ceremony. Struck out Loney for the first out before Blake hit a two-run homer to left. 15-7. Then pitcher George Sherrill hit for himself and walked. Durbin entered the game and struck out Carroll and Ausmus to leave Sherrill at first.

That’s pretty awful. Romero has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances. In those games he has been charged with five runs on three hits (including two home runs), three walks and a hit batter. His ERA for the season has gone from 2.59 to 4.38. He has walked 23 batters in 24 2/3 innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Gload (4) Ibanez (5) Werth (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first against the righty and Brown in right. Valdez plays second with Utley on the DL, making his 63rd start of the year.

Down 1-0, Gload singled with two outs in the first. Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

Werth started the second with a single, but Brown hit into a double-play behind him. Ruiz flew to center for the third out.

Down 3-0, the Phils went in order in the third.

Polanco singled to start the fourth with the Phillies down 7-0. Gload flew to left for the first out before Ibanez walked. Werth walked as well and the bases were loaded for Brown. Brown flew to right for the second out. Polanco tagged and scored to cut the lead to 7-1. Ruiz struck out looking to leave the runners stranded on first and second.

Valdez singled to start the fifth. Schneider, who had taken over defensively for Ruiz in the top of the inning, flew to left for the first out before Rollins moved Valdez to third with a single. Polanco grounded to third with Valdez scoring to make it 7-2 and Rollins moving to second. Gload hit a 1-0 pitch out to right. 7-4. Ibanez grounded to first for the third out.

They were losing 11-4 when they hit in the sixth. Brown hit his first career homer with one out, connecting on an 0-1 pitch from Ronald Belisario to cut the lead to 11-5. Francisco hit for Herndon and grounded to first for the second out. Valdez grounded to short for the third.

They were down 13-5 when they hit in the seventh. With two outs and righty Carlos Monasterios on the mound, Dobbs hit for Polanco and singled to left. Gload followed that with his second homer of the game and the lead was cut to 13-7. Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

This says that Polanco left the game because of left triceps tendinitis.

With two outs in the eighth and Monasterios still pitching, Sweeney hit for Contreras and reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by the pitcher. Valdez moved him to second with a single and lefty George Sherrill came in to pitch to Schneider. Schneider flew to center for the third out.

With Ruiz out of the game, the Phillies couldn’t hit for Schneider. They had used all of their hitters on the bench already anyway.

The Phils were down 15-7 when they hit in the ninth. Rollins led off with a single and Dobbs flew out behind him. Gload hit a ground ball to second and Rollins was forced at second for the second out. Ibanez singled and Werth walked and the bases were loaded for Brown. Brown doubled to left, scoring Gload and Ibanez to make it 15-9. Out of hitters, Hamels hit for Contreras and flew to left to end the game with runners stranded at second and third.

Ibanez gets a single off the lefty Sherrill in the inning for his only hit of the game.

Rollins was 2-for-5 and made two errors. 333/429/400 over his last seven games.

Polanco 1-for-3 with an RBI. He’s 13-for-35 (.371) in August.

Gload was 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI. 406/500/719 over 39 plate appearances since the end of the day on July 18.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk. 360/446/550 over his last 111 plate appearances.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a single and two walks in the game. He’s hitting 393/500/631 over his last 104 plate appearances. After going 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts in the first two games against the Marlins he has gone 9-for-his-last-18 with two doubles, a homer and five walks.

Brown 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Still looking for his first walk after 38 plate appearances and on-basing .237.

Ruiz was 0-for-2. He’s 0-for-his-last-7 with four strikeouts.

Valdez 2-for-4.

Roy Oswalt (6-13, 3.50) faces righty Chad Billingsley (9-6, 3.82) tonight. Oswalt has a 4.38 ERA and a 1.46 ratio in his two starts with the Phils this season. Billingsley has allowed three runs in 27 2/3 innings over his last four starts, throwing to an 0.98 ERA and an 0.94 ratio.

It only feels like they’ve already played 18 days in a row

The second half of the season got off to an ugly start for the Phils as the Cubs took three of four in Chicago. In a season where the offense has been a big part of the problem, the losses had a lot more to do with the number of runs the Phillies allowed than the number they scored. The Phils scored 19 runs in four games and didn’t manage to win either of the games in which they scored six runs.

The pitching, on the other hand, was awful. The Phils gave up 28 runs and twice yielded more than ten. Halladay and Moyer combined to allow 12 runs in nine innings in games one and four of the series. The pitching staff gave up 45 hits in 35 innings in the set and seven of the hits were home runs.

It was the bullpen, though, that I think we need to be the most worried about. Contreras and Baez combined to allow six runs in 1 2/3 innings in game one. Madson gave up a critical homer to Aramis Ramirez in game two and Romero, Herndon and Baez combined to allow five runs on seven hits over two innings in last night’s game.

Here’s what the relievers did overall in the series:

10 20 4 12 11 9.90 2.40

The Phils don’t have an off-day until August 2. That means game one of the series in Chicago was the first of 18 games in 18 days. That would be a problem if the bullpen was pitching well. They aren’t.

Here’s what the seven guys currently in the pen have done since June 15:

Pitcher IP ERA Ratio
Herndon 9 2/3 3.72 1.66
Contreras 9 11.00 1.78
Lidge 8 2/3 7.27 1.73
Baez 8 1/3 4.32 2.06
Romero 8 3.38 1.50
Durbin 6 3.00 1.50
Madson 3 1/3 5.40 0.90
Total 53 5.60 1.66

First of all, David Herndon has been pitching pretty well of late, but he shouldn’t be the guy on the team throwing the most innings. In general, with the exceptions of Contreras and Lidge, the ERAs for the group aren’t that terrible. The ratios are, though, with Madson the only guy in the group with a ratio under 1.50. He’s only thrown 3 1/3 innings since June 15.

The biggest worry is the guys at the top of the list, the pitchers who have been throwing the most, are the guys that are getting blasted. If you combine the numbers for the four guys who have thrown the most innings in relief since June 15 (Lidge, Baez, Contreras and Herndon), they have a 6.21 ERA and a 1.79 ratio in those appearances. Hopefully the return of Durbin and of Madson will mean some relief for those guys. Despite the big home run that Madson allowed to Ramirez in game three of the set, the duo combined to allow just that one run over 3 1/3 innings in the four-game set with the Cubs.

Who’s still on third?

The Phils got two extra-innings to try to beat the Atlanta Braves last night. The problem isn’t just that the Braves were better than the Phils in those innings, it’s that they have been playing better than the Phillies for a long time now. Since the start of August, 2009, the Braves are 83-60 in the regular season and the Phillies are 77-66. During those games the Braves have scored 133 more runs than they have allowed and the Phillies have scored 78 more runs than they have allowed.

The offense managed three hits last night as they tried to back a solid start from Hamels. Ibanez homered early, Howard tripled in the seventh and Victorino singled with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh with the Phils down by three runs. With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh, the Phils couldn’t bring Howard in from third with nobody out. Atlanta pulled ahead 4-3 with a single and a double off of Herndon to start the eleventh and extended the lead when Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer off of Zagurski three batters later.

The Phillies are 43-39 on the season after losing to the Braves 6-3 in eleven innings last night. They have lost four of six to start July. In six of their last nine games they have scored three runs or less.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight.

Martin Prado led off the top of the first with a single. Omar Infante was next and he bunted for a single, putting men on first and second for Chipper Jones. Chipper walked to load the bases. Hamels got Troy Glaus to hit into a double-play with Prado scoring to put Atlanta up 1-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right for the third out.

Hamels started the second up 2-1. Matt Diaz led off with a single. Hamels struck David Ross out behind him and got Gregor Blanco to hit into a double-play to set the Braves down.

Prado walked with one out in the third. Hamels got Infante and Chipper behind him.

Diaz doubled with two outs in the fourth. Ross followed him and singled into left center. Diaz scored to tie the game at 2-2. Blanco flew to left for the third out.

Infante singled with two outs in the fifth. Hamels struck Chipper out behind him for the third out.

Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Diaz followed him with a ground ball to short and Escobar was forced at second. Ross flew to right for the third out.

He struck out Blanco and the pitcher Jair Jurrjens to start the seventh. Prado was next and Hamels got ahead of him, but Prado lined a 1-2 offering out to left to put Atlanta up 3-2. Hamels struck Infante out to end the frame.

Contreras started the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. Chipper and Glaus singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Brandon Hicks ran for Glaus at first. Escobar chopped a ball to third. Castro fielded and threw home and the Phils were able to get Chipper for a critical first out. With men on first and second, Diaz popped out to Valdez for the second out. Lefty Brian McCann hit for Ross and Romero came in to pitch to him. Romero got McCann on a ground ball to Valdez to end the frame.

Big play on the ball hit by Escobar helps the Phils escape men on first and third and nobody out. Contreras wasn’t charged with a run in the game but got lucky. Over his last six appearances he has been charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings.

Lidge set the Braves down in order in the ninth, striking out Blanco and Hinske.

Herndon needed six pitches to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He was back to start the eleventh and gave up a leadoff single to Escobar. Diaz was next and fouled off a bunt attempt before ripping a double into right center that scored Escobar and put Atlanta up 4-3. Zagurski took over for Herndon and struck out the lefties McCann and Blanco for the first two outs of the inning before Hinske hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to make it 6-3. Zagurski struck Prado out for the third out.

Herndon has a 4.08 ERA for the season, which makes it easy to overlook his 1.60 ratio. Opponents are hitting .345 against him for the year. The Phils have a bunch of problems in the pen with injuries they can’t control. Trying to keep Herndon on the roster isn’t one of them.

Zagurski threw 19 pitches in the game. Everyone else was 12 or fewer. Nobody was pitching for the second day in a row thanks to the complete game by Halladay in the first game of the set.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha catches his fifth straight game in brutal weather. Ibanez continues to hit third with Utley on the DL. Dobbs at third against the righty. Valdez plays second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Rollins led off with walk and stole second as Victorino struck out. Ibanez was next and hit a 1-2 pitch out down the line in right, putting the Phillies on top at 2-1. Howard and Werth went down behind him to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the second and third.

The game was tied at 2-2 when they went in order in the fourth.

Dobbs started the fifth with a walk, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Sardinha struck out.

They went in order in the sixth.

Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Howard was next and hit a ball high off the wall in left that Diaz nearly caught but didn’t get. Diaz couldn’t find the ball right away and it allowed Howard to wind up on third with a triple. Peter Moylan took over for Jurrjens and struck out Werth for the first out. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Francisco flew to Blanco for the second out with Howard holding. Valdez grounded to third to end the inning with the game still tied.

Phils can’t get another run with a man on third and nobody out. Werth saw five pitches in the at-bat, taking three called strikes without swinging the bat.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero and flew to left for the second out.

They went 1-2-3 in the ninth, too.

Castro walked with one out in the tenth and moved to second when Valdez followed and hit a ground ball fielded by the pitcher. Sardinha flew out to left to leave Castro stranded.

They were down 6-3 when they hit in the eleventh. Victorino singled off of Billy Wagner with two outs and took second without a throw, but Ibanez struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-12.

Victorino 1-for-5 and struck out twice.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 1-for-4 with a triple.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a huge strikeout in the seventh.

Dobbs 0-for-1 with another walk. He’s hitting 313/353/563 in 16 July at-bats after a miserable first three months.

Valdez 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-15 and has a .269 on-base percentage for the year in a career-high 165 plate appearances. Utley getting hurt is almost completely out of the Phillies control — who they give 165 plate appearances isn’t.

Sardinha 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jamie Moyer (9-7, 4.13) faces righty Kris Medlen (5-1, 3.01) tonight. Moyer has allowed more than two runs in one of his last seven starts. Medlen is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and an 0.95 ratio over his last four starts.

Happ was activated and sent to Triple-A. Madson could be back as soon as today.

Early show with David Herndon

David Herndon might be on the Phillies opening day roster or he might not, but he’s making it pretty tough to ignore how well he’s pitching. Herdon has allowed four hits and four walks over nine scoreless innings this spring.

Herndon has an impressive walk rate in his minor league career. He’s walked just 60 batters in 387 2/3 innings or about 1.4 per nine innings. He’s obviously having some success the spring despite walking more batters than that. It’s a little tough to imagine that this stretch of preventing hits can keep up a whole lot longer though — over his minor league career he’s given up about 10 hits per nine innings or about 2 1/2 times the rate he’s allowed hits in his seven appearances this spring. Whether the hit rate can be sustained or not, it’s great to see him on a nice run now as it looks like he may have a chance to impact the bullpen when the real season gets underway.

Yesterday Herndon allowed a hit and two walks in his inning, but again didn’t allow a run.

The rest of the team didn’t have as much luck. The Phillies were shut out for the third time in six games, falling to the Braves 8-0. Three hits on the day for the Phils — Polanco was 2-for-3, raising his spring average to .410, and Rollins went 1-for-3. Happ got the start and didn’t pitch very well, allowing four runs over five innings. Atlanta hit three home runs off of him. Madson gave up a pair of runs in the eighth. He has a 7.20 ERA this spring and has allowed two runs that were unearned in just five innings pitched.

Ruiz was back in the lineup after battling the flu. He went 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his spring average to .211.

The Phillies aren’t worried that Ibanez is hitting .108 this spring. Me neither.

Madson getting so tired of telling people where the bathroom is he may be thinking of having little cards made up

With 12 pitchers left in camp, the Phillies pitching staff could be set. If it is, the bullpen guys aren’t exactly going to wow you with their experience. David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo have combined to throw one inning in relief for their careers. Kendrick, who could still be in the rotation to start the year, and Contreras have mostly been starters — they have combined to toss just 43 2/3 innings in relief. Here’s what the career numbers pitching in relief look like for those four guys, keeping in mind they have a chance to make up more than half of the Phillies pen when the season kicks off:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Contreras 27 2/3 3.90 1.63 28
Kendrick 16 3.94 1.31 8
Bastardo 1 0.00 1.00 0
Herndon 0 - - 0
Total 44 2/3 3.83 1.50 36

That’s not a whole lot of innings. Clay Condrey, for example, threw 42 innings in relief for the Phillies last year. In 2009, the Phils started the year with Condrey, Durbin, Lidge, Madson, Happ, Eyre and Taschner in the pen. By innings pitched in relief, Happ (8), Taschner (140), Durbin (153) and Condrey (158 2/3) were the four guys with the least experience. That group of four pitchers had combined to throw 459 2/3 innings in relief entering the 2009 season.

Howard homered twice yesterday as the Phils topped the Rays 4-3 yesterday. Blanton allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings to drop his spring ERA to 3.86. Contreras threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Durbin allowed an unearned run over two frames, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00. Victorino also homered in the game. Dobbs was 2-for-4 with a double, raising his average to .345.

This article suggests that despite the fact the Phillies have 12 pitchers in camp at this point, they are not necessarily the 12 that will start the season with the team. Interpret that as you will, but I choose to hope it means a secret deal for CC Sabathia is in the works. Fingers crossed.

A post here looks at some pitchers who may be available now or in the coming days.

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