Jun
17

Is it the pitcher, or is it the opposing offense?

By

The Phillies, as we’ve frequently heard, have had trouble scoring runs lately. After they beat Boston on May 21 they led the NL in runs per game, and given what we know about their offensive players that should have come as no surprise. Since then, in a 22-game span, they’ve dropped a full run per game to ninth in the NL, a half run per game behind league-leading Cincinnati. Yet last night they broke out for six runs on six hits, three of which went for extra bases. Were they breaking out of a slump?

As Ben noted this morning, “Last night’s affair was one of those ugly outings where the pitcher shoulders all the blame.” Given how the game unfolded after he left, I have to agree with that. The Phillies reverted to the futility we’ve seen, or at least heard of, during the past few weeks. Worse, they did it against two of the Yankees’ worst pitchers.

Photo credit: Paul Sancya/AP

It’s not secret — not to Yankees fans, not to anyone who follows baseball with a modicum of intensity — that Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin rank among the lesser relievers in the league. If not for injuries they probably wouldn’t have major league jobs right now. But they were easy options, and since the Yankees have two relievers on the DL their presences are understandable. Temporarily, at least.

Their troubles are well known. Gaudin walks too many hitters and has a tough time with lefties. In an ideal world he’d come in from the pen to face a string of righties, but there’s always that lefty on the bench that can trip him up. This leads to a high number of hits, particularly extra base hits. Logan walks even more batters than Gaudin, and even has troubles throwing strikes to same-handed hitters. The only reason he ever sniffs the majors is because he throws the ball with his left arm.

Yet those two combined to not only hold the Phillies scoreless during the final 5.2 innings last night, but to no-hit them. While Burnett used 87 pitches to record 10 outs, Logan and Gaudin combined for 78 pitches to get the final 17 outs. They threw two-thirds of their pitches for strikes. They each struck out three hitters, Logan in 2.2 innings and Gaudin in 3. It was quite the change from what we saw earlier in the game.

Could it have been the Phillies offense getting complacent after scoring six runs? It could be, I suppose, but I’d never turn to this as a primary explanation for their late-inning futility. They know that a four-run lead isn’t safe with the Yankees’ offense — hell, they brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, and it wasn’t all that surprising. So I’m sure they didn’t just turn off some switch and slide into cruise control. Maybe it was something subconscious, a sense of satisfaction that they had scored six runs after battling and struggling to score just one during many games in the past few weeks. None of us can really say for sure.

The most likely explanation is that Burnett was just bad. We know that he has terrible outings from time to time, just like we know that Guadin and Logan are bad pitchers. We also know that the Phillies offense has struggled during the past few weeks. When those elements combine in my head, it points to Bad A.J. and not much else. We’ll have to learn to live with these starts. At least it bodes well for today.

Categories : Pitching
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Take it away, Bexy.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I spent a couple of minutes going “???” over this comment. I was like, “But this isn’t even an article about Andy Pettitte!”

      Then, I realized. YOU CAN’T PREDICT BASEBALL!!!!!!!
      /building the brand’d

      No, seriously, this was a good article. I had the same thought last night, pretty much.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I sets ‘em up, you knocks ‘em down.

      • http://www.soxandpinstripes.typepad.com/ Angelo

        I’m Angelo and I approve of this message.

  • Rose

    AJ Burnett is the Cuba Gooding Jr. of pitching.

    He has a string of some incredible outings…and then comes Snow Dogs

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Hah.

      Wait, Snow Dogs was the anomaly? And he had “a string of incredible outings”? What movies were those? I count Boyz N Tha Hood, A Few Good Men, and Jerry McGuire. Everything else… blech.

      I take it you don’t remember Kangaroo Jack. Or Chill Factor. Or Men of Honor. Or Boat Trip.

      • deuce bag poster

        Kangaroo Jack is very underrated.

        Snow Dogs wasn’t bad either.

        • Rose

          Was he even really in Kangaroo Jack? I remember him being in “Lightening Jack” with “The Immortal” Paul Hogan…I don’t recall Kangaroo Jack though. lol

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Wait, those were two different movies?

            :: head explodes ::

          • deuce bag poster

            I don’t even remember dude. TSJC mentioned Kangaroo Jack, I pointed out it was underrated. Don’t remember if he was in it or not.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              He wasn’t. Rose is right, I was wrong. I confused the two equally shittastic films.

              In situations like this, always trust Rose. His innate knowledge of important details of the worst traveshamockery films in American cinema history is unparalleled. He’s like the Manny Ramirez of bad movies.

      • Rose

        Well that’s the inconsistency part lol.

        Boyz N Tha Hood, (couple of B movies that never hit theaters we don’t count), A Few Good Men, (a few more B movies), Outbreak, (fewer B movies), Jerry Maguire, As Good As It Gets, What Dreams May Come (not that bad…the imagery did it for me lol plus I’m a big Robin Williams fan), then the wheels started to come off…I could have named Boat Trip or Rat Race in there but decided to go for the big blow…

        Radio wasn’t bad…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Radio wasn’t bad…

          Yes it was.

          • Sweet Dick Willie

            The movie wasn’t great, but he was.

          • Rick in Boston

            Isn’t that the movie about AJ Burnett’s childhood?

            /last thread’d

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Sarah Palin is gonna be so pissed at us all for these threads.

  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

    It’s not secret — not to Yankees fans, not to anyone who follows baseball with a modicum of intensity — that Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin rank among the lesser relievers in the league. If not for injuries they probably wouldn’t have major league jobs right now.

    Sigh.

    Aren’t guys like that supposed to be on the Nats or something?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      T-Clip is not amused by your petty insults.

      Fun Fact: Washington’s team bullpen ERA of 3.52 is eight-best in baseball. Their 22 saves is second best.

      Natinals Fever: catch it.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Fun Fact: Washington’s team bullpen ERA of 3.52 is eight-best in baseball. Their 22 saves is second best.

        /MSM’d

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Come on, work with me. I’m playing from behind the eight-ball here.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Ok. With 22 saves and 31 wins, the Natinals have the highest save/win percentage in baseball, proving that their bullpen is beyond lights out. Because their bullpen is already so great, they will keep Strasburg in the rotation for the time being. If the bullpen begins to fail, the calls for Strasburg to the 8th are bound to happen. If you can’t close out games, you can’t win them.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              If you can’t close out games, you can’t win them.

              It’s science.

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              they already threw storen in the pen….wasnt he a touted sp prospect?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Nah, not so much. Everyone knew he was a reliever from the moment they picked him at #10.

                • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                  Of course they only picked a signable reliever at #10 because they failed to sign Crow the year before.

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    True. Which makes it (slightly) more justifiable, since they knew they couldn’t gamble with the pick since it was no longer protected and their leverage was decreased.

                    (Still, though, you probably could have found a decent middle infielder or first baseman who would have signed for near slot and gotten a little more value than a simple reliever. But I digest.)

  • deuce bag poster

    Don’t worry guys…our ACE is pitching tonight.

    /Bexy baiting’d

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Why would they run out Hughes on short rest?

      (I AM SO SORRY ANDY I DON’T MEAN IT BABY)

      • deuce bag poster

        Way to kill the optimism. :-(

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          You’re the one who ruined it, you deuce bag. ;)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            YEAH, YOU DEUCE BAG!!!

            (Sweet Mo, that is an awesome new name.)

          • deuce bag poster

            Hey, be nice. I’m our last defense against the terriosts!

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Gaudin walks too many hitters and has a tough time with lefties. In an ideal world he’d come in from the pen to face a string of righties, but there’s always that lefty on the bench that can trip him up. This leads to a high number of hits, particularly extra base hits. Logan walks even more batters than Gaudin, and even has troubles throwing strikes to same-handed hitters.

    This is so true, yet for any given night, these guys have the stuff to pitch very well and get out major league hitters. It just rarely happens. It’d be one thing if they just threw puss all night. The stuff is there, they just don’t have the other factors needed to be successful. This could just have been one of those rare nights (and even rarer that they both did it.)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      It’s like rain on your wedding day.

      /Morrissette’d

  • mike c

    boone was throwing strikes last night, hopefully this is a revelation for him, he did pretty well in AAA also. he might be the phil coke role if he keeps it up

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      There is way too much evidence of Logan not throwing strikes that I doubt last night is the beginning of a turnaround for him. I’d love to see it, but the odds are about .000000000001%.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        In mike c’s defense, he did say that Logan could fill “The Phil Coke role”. That’s not necessarily “a turnaround”, unless that turnaround involves turning around to watch a homer fly out of play.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          that turnaround involves turning around to watch a homer fly out of play while pointing at it as if your fielders don’t know.

          • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            tcwa

      • rek4gehrig

        I’m with you….0.000000000000000001%

      • Chris

        He’s only 25, so it’s not like improvement is out of the question (or even unexpected). He’ll never be Greg Maddux out there, but if he can cut his walks slightly he’ll be a reasonably useful reliever – particularly since he’s making less than $600k.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          but if he can cut his walks slightly he’ll be a reasonably useful reliever

          Completely agree. I just don’t think last night’s performance has any saying on whether he will or will not improve. I think he probably will, and will still be pitching at 35 because he’s a lefty with good stuff and will likely cut his walks, even if slightly.

      • Nickel

        “There is way too much evidence of Logan not throwing strikes that I doubt last night is the beginning of a turnaround for him. I’d love to see it, but the odds are about .000000000001%.”

        So you’re sayin’…there’s a chance!

      • Mike HC

        Should we take into account that Cashman and the Yanks seem to think Logan can at least be useful. They are giving him a real, legitimate shot. They must have some faith in him.

        I get as frustrated as the next for relievers that can’t throw is over the plate, but maybe if the Yanks have some faith, I should too.

        (he will prob get demoted within the week now, ha)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I don’t think it’s “They’re giving him a real, legitimate shot” as much as it’s “They want two lefties in the pen”, and our lefty reliever depth chart is currently as follows:

          1.) Marte

          (big gap)

          2.) Logan

          (gigantic, titanic, massive, brobdignagian gap)

          3.) Kei Igawa
          (tiny gap)
          4.) Wilkin De La Rosa

          • Mike HC

            quite true.

  • rek4gehrig

    Same huh? thoughts for me last night. Bexy’s Andy will shine tonight.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I have the buffing fabrics ready.

      • Mike HC

        I had about three different indecent thoughts there until I figured out what you meant.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Only 3?

          • Mike HC

            haha, well, I played them all out to their eventual completion, so it took awhile to get through all three

            (reads that back to see how it sounds … sounds worse than intended … still submitting)

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              I still haven’t figured out what she meant, so I’m up to indecent thought #7.

              • Mike HC

                hahah … she is using the buffing fabrics to “shine” her Andy. I guess the legitimate meaning is also indecent, depending on what was going through her mind when writing it.

                • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                  Ahhhh. It goes back to rek4gehrig’s comment. I got it now.

                  And I have to say I’m quite disappointed.

                • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                  Yeah, buffing fabrics, like what you use to shine shoes/furniture. I didn’t mean it in any indecent way but I’m not really surprised that people have interpreted it as such considering what I’ve said in the past. Plus, it’s funnier that way. =P

                  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                    I’m not particularly sure the process of shining a person could be anything but indecent.

              • RL

                I’m still enjoying the thought of my first interpretation!!!

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              I played them all out to their eventual completion, so it took awhile to get through all three

              … oh my.

              Yeah, I didn’t mean that in any sort of dirty way but I knew it would be interpreted as such and I suppose I deserve that.