Tag: Kris Benson

The 35th cut is the deepest

Opening day draws nearer and while we’re still not sure who will be on the Phillies on Monday we have some more information about who won’t. Vic Darensbourg and Gary Knotts are gone, sent to minor league camps. Travis Blackley is out of the picture as well, offered back to the Giants. It leaves the Phils with 23 players who look to be locks to make the team and, assuming you don’t think Ray Olmedo is making the team, three, Wes Helms, Chris Snelling and JD Durbin the in-house candidates to fill the two remaining positions.

13 hitters: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Dobbs, Feliz, Coste, Bruntlett, Taguchi, Jenkins

10 pitchers: Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton, Gordon, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Chad Durbin

Without a move, and you have to believe the chances that one is coming soon are big, JD Durbin gets the 11th pitching spot with the Phils carrying 14 hitters and Snelling or Helms making the team. That would be a brutal pitching staff, even with Lidge and Rosario likely to come off the DL soon and contribute. Six relievers, five of them righties and one of them JD Durbin, who would be very tough to put into a game given how terribly he has been pitching.

So maybe there’s more coming before Monday.

Let’s hope so at least.

Both this article and this article suggest that Snelling is more likely to take the 14th hitter spot than Helms if there is one.

Even if the Phils add a left-handed pitcher it will still be interesting what they do with JD Durbin. If they keep the new guy and JD Durbin it means no room for the 14th hitter. Durbin is out of options so they may lose him if they don’t. As bad as the Phillies’ pitching is, if it comes down to a decision about keeping Snelling or Durbin to start the season I think you have to hope it’s Snelling given how abysmally Durbin has been pitching.

The Phils fell to the Reds yesterday, losing Reds 5-3 to drop to 11-15 in spring training.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and was hit hard again. He went five innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and three walks. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four and his ERA dropped to 9.68. In 17 2/3 innings this spring he has allowed 31 hits. Opponents are hitting .397 against him. After Kendrick’s departure, the Phils didn’t allow a hit in the final four innings of the game. Chad Durbin gave up two walks in two scoreless innings to lower his spring ERA to 5.25. JC Romero threw a perfect eighth and Madson lowered his ERA to 1.64 with a scoreless ninth. Madson walked one hitter.

Victorino was 2-for-4 and stole a base. He has his spring average up to .254. Jenkins was 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts. Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Rollins was 0-for-4 to drop his average to .182.

The Phillies play the Yankees today.

Kris Benson did not opt out of his contract despite not being on the 40-man roster.

Blackley hit Curtis Granderson with a pitch on Saturday and broke his finger. The injury will cause Granderson to miss about two weeks of the season.

This article wonders if the Phils have a chance to set a team record for runs scored. They don’t. Their high mark was 944 in 1930. Forced to pick I would comfortably guess they will score fewer runs in 2008 than they did in 2007. At the same time I, and just about everyone else, was sure they were going to score less runs in 2007 than they did in 2006. I’m sure again.

Some combination of less Nunez and much better pitchers may be the way to go for Phils

The Phils had pretty good win-loss numbers when they didn’t allow many runs, too:

Runs Allowed


Cumulative W-L
0 5-0 5-0
1 10-1 15-1
2 18-3 33-4
3 20-3 53-7
4 14-9 67-16
5 7-14 74-30
6 7-6 81-36
7 4-7 85-43
8 2-9 87-52
9 0-4 87-56
10 1-5 88-61
11 1-4 89-65
12 0-3 89-68
> 12 0-5 89-73

Phils were pretty tough to beat when they allowed less than five runs. 67-16.

When they allowed more than six runs they were 8-37. That’s not good, but still better than their opponents did when the Phils scored more than six runs in a game. Per yesterday’s post the Phils were 46-2 when they scored more than six runs.

22-57 when they allowed more than four runs.

You can view the Phillies’ record by runs allowed by their starting pitcher in the start log.

The Phils fell to the Yankees last night, losing 13-4 to drop to 11-14 in spring training.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went four innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. JD Durbin followed Moyer and allowed six runs in an inning on six hits and a walk. Durbin gave up a three-run homer to Robinson Cano and a two-run shot to Melky Cabrera. With Lidge going to the DL the door is wide open for Durbin, but his ERA is up to 12.33 with the outing. In 15 1/3 spring innings Durbin has now allowed eight home runs — no player has allowed more this spring. The door is not quite as wide open for Vic Darensbourg, but he got hammered too. Darensbourg followed Durbin and allowed four runs in an inning on five hits. Only three of the runs were earned. His ERA is up to 5.63. Knotts walked one in a scoreless seventh and Flash struck out two in a perfect eighth.

Feliz was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI for the Phils. The shot off of Phil Hughes was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils. Snelling 0-for-4 to drop his average to .205. Coste was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error. He’s hitting .179. Bruntlett was 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.

The Phillies made four errors in the game, three of them throwing errors.

The Phils play the Reds this afternoon.

The Phillies put Brad Lidge on the DL. He will be eligible to return on April 5.

I think that Condrey and Chad Durbin both make the team. That makes 23 active players that look like they’ll start the season with the Phils:

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Dobbs, Feliz, Coste, Bruntlett, Taguchi, Jenkins

Pitchers (10): Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton, Gordon, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Chad Durbin.

It looks like these six guys are the candidates for two remaining spots: Blackley, JD Durbin, Helms, Knotts, Darensbourg and Snelling. Blackley looks like he’s got the best shot cause of the need for the second lefty and because he’ll have to be returned to the Giants if he’s not on the roster. JD Durbin is out of options. Helms is obviously an issue and his spring numbers are good at this point. I’d say the other three guys are long shots of the group.

John Patterson, recently cut by the Nationals, signed with the Rangers.

Kris Benson can opt out of his contract if he’s not on the 40-man roster as of today. Same article says that the Phils have no interest in Aaron Fultz, who was released by the Indians.

Unlikely quartet doesn’t sweat the Pirates

An unlikely group of Phillies’ hurlers combined to throw a four-hit shutout as the Phils topped the Pirates 3-0 yesterday to improve to 9-13 in spring training. After miserable springs, Kyle Kendrick, JD Durbin and Tom Gordon were all but unhittable as the Phils held the Pittsburgh bats silent. Condrey pitched a scoreless inning as well, but he’s been much better this spring. On the hitters’ side, Geoff Jenkins is suddenly on fire after early scuffles. Over the last three days Jenkins is 5-for-7 with two doubles and a home run.

Kendrick’s outing was the best news of the day as he threw five shutout innings. Doug Mientkiewicz hit third for Pittsburgh and Jose Bautista fourth, so it wasn’t exactly the ’27 Yankees. But let’s accentuate the positive.

Kendrick allowed just two hits and two walks over five frames. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out one. Condrey followed and tossed a scoreless sixth to lower his spring ERA to 3.48. You’ve got to believe that Condrey is just about a lock for a bullpen spot at this point. JD Durbin was next and he showed a much-needed something, striking out three in two scoreless frames to bring his spring ERA down to 9.42. Gordon tossed a scoreless ninth, allowing a single, to nail down his second save.

Jenkins went 3-for-3 with his second home run, improving his spring batting average to .216. Howard and Feliz both hit solo shots, the fifth for Howard and the third for Feliz. Helms was 0-for-1, Snelling 0-for-2 with a walk. Rollins and Victorino, the duo likely to hit one and two atop the Phillies’ order, each went 0-for-3. Rollins is on-basing .275 this spring, Victorino .245.

Adam Eaton starts against the Twins today.

Brad Lidge faced five batters in a minor league game yesterday and got four of them out. He struck out three and walked one.

Kris Benson did not pitch again yesterday for the fourth day in a row. This says it’s likely he won’t make his scheduled start on Sunday.

Article about Vic Darensbourg’s career here.

The people of XM Satellite would like to be sure you know that they will be broadcasting every Phillies game, both home and away. I’m here to help. XM Satellite will be broadcasting every Phillies game, both home and away.

One run blame games

Something must be to blame for all the problems the Phils had in one-run games last season, mustn’t it? Sadly it mustn’t. They could simply be some or mostly bad luck. At the same time, you can make a case that in the one-run games that the Phillies lost in 2007 they had more problems scoring runs than they did preventing them.

Here are how many runs the Phils scored and allowed overall last year, in their games that they won or lost by more than one run and in their games that they won or lost by one run. Below that is the one run games broken down by whether or not they won or lost the game:







All games






Not 1-run games






1-run games






1-run games won






1-run games lost






The number of games played is very small, but the chart suggests that last year the Phils were better at preventing runs in games they lost by one run than in games they won by one run. It also suggests that in all one-run games, whether the Phils won or lost, they allowed fewer runs per game on average than in their games overall. The runs against numbers are very close to each other in the one-run games regardless of whether the Phils won or lost. The runs that the Phillies scored aren’t.

Here’s what it looks like if you take the runs scored and allowed in one run games and divide them by the average number of runs that the Phils scored (5.51) and allowed (5.07) over the entire season:




1-run wins



1-run losses



The runs scored in games the Phils lost by one run is pretty clearly the one of these things that’s not like the others.

The most surprising thing, though, isn’t that the runs scored differ so much between the one run games that the Phillies lost and won. The Phillies scored far more runs in games they won last year than in games they lost and their average runs scored per game in games they won was much higher than their runs scored per game in games they lost. The most surprising thing is how little the runs they allowed differed. Because in the same way that the Phils scored far more runs in their average win than in their average loss, they also allowed far more runs in their average loss than they did in their average win.

Chad Durbin got the start yesterday afternoon as the Phils topped the Indians 6-4 to improve to 7-12 in spring training.

Durbin went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a two-run home run by Aaron Herr. Clay Condrey is making a strong case to win a spot in the pen. Out of options, Condrey followed Durbin and threw a scoreless sixth, allowing one single and lowering his spring ERA to 3.86. JC Romero followed with a scoreless inning of his own in which he walked one batter. Vic Darensbourg was next and he threw a scoreless frame, also walking one hitter and dropping his ERA to 3.00. Tom Gordon pitched the ninth and allowed a run on a solo shot by Victor Martinez, puffing Flash’s spring ERA to 9.64. It’s not really a misleading 9.64 either.

Victorino, surrounded by recent speculation that Manuel is not pleased with his attitude, had a big day with the bat. He was 2-for-2 with three RBI. Ruiz went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI. He’s hitting .417. Feliz was 0-for-4 to drop his average to .238. Rollins was 2-for-3 with two doubles, hopefully he’s heating up in time for the start of the season after a weak spring. Ditto Utley, who 2-for-2 with a walk and a triple. Snelling was 0-for-2 and Helms walked in his only chance.

The Phillies play the Devil Rays today.

Brad Lidge threw live batting practice yesterday and should appear in a Grapefruit League game this weekend.

The article linked above suggests the Phils should trade Wes Helms to the Giants for Steve Kline and the only fly in the ointment is the complete and total lack of interest on the part of San Francisco in acquiring Helms.

Kris Benson will not pitch in a minor league game tomorrow as scheduled due to soreness in his right arm. Everyone seems to say it’s not a big deal. We’ll see.

Jason Jaramillo, Pete Laforest and Brennan King have all been reassigned to minor league camp.

Looking for a stranger

Over the past two seasons there have been a flurry of acquisitions around opening day for the Phils. Here are the moves they made:

In 2006 they played their first game on April 3.

On March 28 they traded Aquilino Lopez to the Padres for two minor leaguers, outfielder Matt Thayer and third baseman Trey Johnston. Lopez didn’t appear in the majors in 2006 but pitched some for Detroit last season. In ten relief appearances he threw to a 5.19 ERA in 17 1/3 innings with a 1.38 ratio.

On April 1 they traded Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock to the Rangers for David Dellucci. Blalock is now back with the Phillies. Tejeda has gone 10-14 with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.69 ratio in 33 starts with the Rangers since. In 2007 he walked 60 in 95 1/3 innings. Dellucci hit 292/369/530 in 264 at-bats with the Phils in 2006.

In 2007 they played their first game on April 2.

On April 5 they traded for Francisco Rosario, sending cash to the Blue Jays. Rosario is a candidate to make this year’s opening day roster and appeared in 23 games for the Phils last season. All of his appearances came in relief and he went 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.78 ratio.

On April 6 they signed Rick Bauer to a minor league contract. Bauer threw to a 7.36 ERA in 33 innings at Triple-A Ottawa before the Phils released him in June. He’s in camp this spring with a chance to make the Indians. Over his career he’s thrown 311 innings in the majors with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.38 ratio.

On April 11 they claimed Michael Garciaparra off of waivers. Garciaparra spent most of the year at Reading last season and hit 240/343/303 in 271 at-bats.

On April 13 they claimed JD Durbin off of waivers. Durbin is fighting for a spot on this year’s team after appearing in 18 games for the Phils in ’07, ten of which were starts. In 64 2/3 innings he went 6-5 with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.65 ratio.

In each of the last two years, the Phils have made additions right around opening day that helped shape their team on the field. Dellucci was a significant part of the ’06 team. In a kinda similar but less impressive way, Durbin and Rosario both left their mark on the ’07 edition of the Phils. I think we can expect more around opening day again this year.

Last night the Phils beat the Reds 10-7 to improve to 5-10 in spring training. A perfect inning from Flash was the best news of the game for those of us unrelated to Casey Smith.

Moyer started for the Phils and went five innings, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. Along with Myers, Moyer is one of two Phillies’ hurlers in the starting rotation throwing well this spring training. His ERA rose to 4.50 with the outing. Outman followed Moyer and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks over two frames. Andy Green hit a solo home run off of him in the sixth. Gordon was next a threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Vic Darensbourg pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two singles and two walks, upping his spring ERA to 3.60 in five innings.

Casey Smith had a monster day offensively for the Phils, going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, a stolen base and four RBI. 467/500/1.000 for Smith in 15 spring at-bats, which gives him the best OPS of any Phil with more than one plate appearance, although I think there’s a good chance Ryan Howard would outhit him over enough at-bats. Helms was 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk. Golson was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Snelling was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.

Francisco Rosario gets a start this afternoon as the Phils face the Braves.

Benson and Hamels both pitched in minor league games yesterday. Benson allowed two runs on five hits over four innings. Hamels, who has been battling the flu, struck out six in five innings and allowed one run.

This suggests it will still be a while, late April at the best, before Benson is a real candidate to join the Phillies’ rotation.

The Cardinals agreed to a one-year deal with Kyle Lohse for $4.25 million. Whether the Phillies mishandled the situation with Lohse or not, that is quite unfortunate. The Phils’ core of young, excellent players is getting older and more expensive. And they’re about to start another season with a pitching staff that, to say the least, lacks depth. That’s frustrating for a lot of fans and Kyle Lohse to the Cards for $4.25 million isn’t going to help.

It’s easy to spend other people’s money and just about all of us are lacking the details about what actually happened in the Lohse negotiations. One of the fears for me is that the Phils are a little gun-shy after the $10 million they spent on Freddy Garcia last season and $24 million plus they gave to Adam Eaton. I don’t think you can say they aren’t willing to spend, but you have to hope they didn’t take their shot, came up empty and decided to call it a day. Cause they’re pretty good and pretty close. But the difference between having Kyle Lohse and not having him is big and the Phillies aren’t going to have to play many games this season before you see it.

Phils hopefully looking for more pitchers or an unusually competitive T-ball league

As the Phillies opened spring training, I saw 22 guys as sure things to make the opening day roster. They were:


1 Howard Hamels
2 Utley Myers
3 Rollins Kendrick
4 Burrell Moyer
5 Victorino Eaton
6 Werth Lidge
7 Ruiz Gordon
8 Feliz Madson
9 Jenkins Romero
10 Dobbs
11 Coste
12 Bruntlett
13 Taguchi

Of that group of hitters I think all 13 are still locks to be on the roster when the season begins. Taguchi is the only guy I question at all and he’s been on fire this spring, hitting 415/545/529 in 17 at-bats.

That’s a full roster of hitters unless the Phils go with 14.

Of the nine pitchers, Hamels, Kendrick, Eaton and Gordon have all struggled badly, but there’s close to zero chance Hamels and Gordon don’t start the season on the roster. As badly as he’s pitched, Kendrick’s hold on his spot in the rotation seems solid unless things get worse for him, which is pretty hard to imagine. If Eaton isn’t on the roster on opening day he’ll be on the DL. Romero has only thrown one official spring inning, Lidge none. Moyer, Madson and Myers have pitched well.

Eaton and Lidge both seem to be question marks for the opening day roster. Lidge because of the knee surgery and Eaton because of the back problems in combination with the 15.75 ERA (fourth best in the Phils rotation). I would guess that both still make the opening day roster. That leaves us with 22.

Just about everyone says that Chad Durbin is a lock for the tenth pitching slot. Here’s what Chad Durbin has done so far:





Chad Durbin




Opponents are hitting .286 against him, but if he really was in when spring training started I don’t think he’s pitched himself out. If he’s the tenth pitcher, that makes 23.

If the Phils are going to carry 14 hitters, the 14th will almost certainly be Helms or Snelling. Here’s what they have done so far:







Helms has just been miserable. Snelling started camp as a longer shot than Helms and hasn’t been much better. At this point I would guess that Snelling is just about out of the picture with Helms still a possibility, especially depending on the injury status of Lidge and Eaton as the season begins.

If you assume that Chad Durbin is the tenth pitcher, Lidge and Eaton both start the year on the active roster and the Phils don’t carry a 14th hitter, that leaves two pitchers who would likely come from this group:




C Condrey 7.1 4.91 1.23
F Castro 7.0 5.14 1.43
JD Durbin 9.1 9.64 2.36
F Rosario 8.2 1.04 0.92
S Youman 6.2 5.40 1.65
T Blackley 7.2 8.22 1.70
G Knotts 3.0 0.00 1.00
V Darensbourg 4.0 2.25 1.00

If you think about the guys who have helped and hurt themselves the most since spring training began, I think you would have to say that Rosario is the guy who has opened the most eyes while JD Durbin and Blackley are the pair that came in with a real opportunity to make the team but have hurt their chances.

I still think the Phillies need a second lefty in their pen. I see them as needing one pitcher from the group of lefties (Castro, Youman, Blackley and Darensbourg) and one from the group of righties (Condrey, JD Durbin, Rosario and Knotts). Rosario is out of options and has been pitching great. I see him as the pick from the righties with Condrey close behind. The lefties are harder. In limited action, Darensbourg has been the least bad, but I think he came into camp as a long shot to win a roster spot. I don’t feel real comfortable about, but if I’m going to guess again I’d still take Castro. There’s also a good chance, as this article suggests, that the second lefty in the pen will be a player not currently in the organization.

That would make their opening day roster:

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Burrell, Victorino, Jenkins, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Coste, Taguchi

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer, Gordon, Lidge, Madson, Romero, Eaton, Chad Durbin, Castro, Rosario

My most recent guess was on February 13. I had JD Durbin as the last pitcher instead of Rosario.

Last night the Phils lost to the Reds 6-1 to fall to 4-10 in spring training.

Ryan Madson got the start for the Phils and went three innings, allowing a run on solo home run to Jerry Hairston. Madson walked one and allowed three hits. Castro was next and he allowed two runs on five hits over two runs. Both of the runs scored on a two-run homer by Scott Hatteberg. Blackley followed Castro and struck out five over three innings, but allowed two runs on two hits and two walks to puff his ERA to 8.22. Both of the runs he allowed came on a two-run shot by Craig Tatum. Condrey pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two hits.

Offensively the Phillies lineup featured basically all the Phillies regulars with Dobbs at DH. They scored one run on five hits, all singles, and a walk. Dobbs was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. Utley was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts to drop his spring average to .214. Jayson Werth played center for the Phils, which is just great. I really hope the Phils see Werth as a viable option in center behind Victorino — he’s by far a better hitter than Taguchi or Bruntlett. I believe he can handle the position defensively. He doesn’t have a lot of innings there, but in the innings he’s played the numbers are good.

The Phils play the Reds again tonight.

The Phillies offered Lincoln Holdzkom back to the Red Sox, who refused him, making him a free agent. That may help create room on the 40-man roster for Benson, who can opt out of his contract on March 25 if he’s not on the roster.

This article says that 1) Lidge hopes to be able to pitch in a game next week 2) Eaton felt good in a bullpen session and will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday 3) Benson will throw in a minor league game today and 4) Hamels didn’t pitch in a minor league game yesterday because he has the flu.

Moyer will start the third game of the season for the Phils, Kendrick the fourth. Whether or not Kendrick can get anyone out is going to be a lot more interesting than whether he’s the third starter or the fourth.

This suggests that Kyle Lohse is being pursued by the Cardinals, Giants and Rangers. This suggests that Lohse may get a one-year deal worth less than $5 million. The Phillies have big problems with their pitching, in the rotation and in the pen. If they had an opportunity to sign Lohse to a one-year deal worth around $5 million and didn’t do it that would be really disappointing.

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