Thursday, July 7, 2011

Only pitching this bad could stop a hiatus this long

So... anyone else have a nice April?  How about May?  June?

Yes, it's been three months since I've posted anything on here, but I was thinking of starting back up anyway and last night's Phillies game got me all riled up.

For those of you who missed it (or slept through the final few innings, like myself), Kyle Kendrick was given a 4-0 lead, but squandered some of it away and ended up leaving the game after the 5th inning with a 6-3 lead.  

Then we saw what happens when the Phillies' starters don't go a solid 7 innings like Halladay, Lee, and Hamels have for most of this year.  David Herndon came in for the 6th and gave up a 2-run home run to make it 6-5, Andrew Carpenter allowed 1 run in just over an inning, and in the bottom of the 10th Danys Baez allowed a walk-off homer to end it 7-6.  Just to point this out, Michael Stutes didn't allow a run in one inning of work.

This got me thinking: everyone knows at this point that Herndon and Baez are terrible and should be booted off the team immediately upon the return of some of the Phils' injured bullpen arms.  But how bad have they really been for the past two years they've been on the team?

The answer?  Adam Eaton bad.

Don't remember him?  In 2007 and 2008 with the Phillies, Eaton went 14-18 in 51 starts with a 6.09 ERA and 1.63 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched), earning $15.2 million in that span.  
This year, David Herndon has posted a 5.14 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, and Baez has put up a 5.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.  Remove Baez’ 5 shutout innings in the Phillies’ 19-inning win over the Reds earlier this year, and his ERA and WHIP balloon to 6.30 and 1.63, respectively. 
The average ERA and WHIP for pitchers this year are 3.83 and 1.31, respectively.

This is not a new phenomenon either.  Baez was worse on both statistics last year, and Herndon’s lower ERA in 2010 (a still-sub-par 4.30) can be mostly accounted for by an extraordinarily low ratio of home runs to fly balls (4.2%). 

Even worse news for Phillies fans is that there really isn’t much hope for improvement.  A statistic called FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which attempts to isolate a pitcher’s skill from the skill of his fielders and random luck, shows that Herndon (5.20 FIP) is actually pitching worse than his ERA indicates, and Baez (4.70 FIP) is still pitching significantly below average.

The only glimmer of hope for Phillies fans is that eventually Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, and Brad Lidge will return to the bullpen and quell Charlie Manuel’s desire to put either of these mediocre mound minders in the game. 

Or Ruben Amaro Jr. could cut them.

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