Just when we were getting ready to give up on seeing Vance Worley shut down due to bone chips in his elbow and Tyler Cloyd called up due to his 15-1 record in the minors this season – at least until the last week of September – it now turns out that Cloyd finally got the call this past week, while Worley got the knife.
Whether that turns into a knife in the back for 2013 remains to be seen.
Cloyd, who can barely reach 90 mph on the radar gun, lost his major league debut Wednesday night against the Mets, but pitched well, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, striking out 5. On Monday, Cloyd was superb, pitching 7 innings of 1-run ball at Cincinnati, striking out 9 and earning his first major league win.
It’s not exactly like Cloyd, who turned 25 in May, suddenly woke up in 2012. His 2011 numbers at Clearwater (high A) and Reading (AA) were 9-4 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP, with 138 strikeouts in 146 innings. In 2012, Cloyd improved to a 2.26 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, though his strikeouts were down (113 in 167 innings). Cloyd’s terrific season earned him the pitcher’s share of the Paul Owens Award as the Phils’ top minor league hurler this season.
Cloyd’s emergence as a back end of the rotation starter who can keep hitters off balance would leave the Phillies with 6 viable options for 5 rotation spots in 2013. Whether that brings a trade, a move of Vance Worley to a set-up role in the bullpen, or leaves Cloyd as an insurance policy to toil once again at AAA remains to be seen.
Same problem, different reaction: After we chided Jimmy Rollins on our August 19 radio show for not running out two ground balls that week, and after I made specific mention of the potential for Rollins’ bad example leading to another Phillies player forgetting the outs and getting doubled off, not running out a grounder of their own or failing to run out a dropped pop up and getting one base instead of 2 (at 10:30 mark of show), lo and behold that very thing happened (the one base on a dropped pop up by Mets’ pitcher Jonathon Niese on Thursday).
Unlike the two prior incidents, where Charlie Manuel expressed his displeasure but let Rollins keep playing, this time Manuel pulled Rollins from the game between innings. Not even Rollins’ subsequent steal of second would change Manuel’s mind about taking corrective action this time.
Rollins was back in the lineup at leadoff the next day, however.
With two more guaranteed years on his contract and a likely third year via vesting option, if Rollins keeps loafing, he will have plenty of time to also keep getting the message.
As an aside, Rollins figures to reach the 2,000 career hit mark this upcoming week. Don’t count on it being an infield single.
Braves new world: Just when it looked like the Phillies, who had lost 8 of their last 9 to Atlanta, might sweep the Braves at Turner Field on Sunday, the Fightins did anything but.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, and holding a 7-1 lead after 3, the Phillies gave up a pair in the 6th, but still entered the 9th with a 7-3 leads and Cole Hamels on track to win his 15th game of the season, which would have matched his career high from 2007.
Instead, Jeremy Horst faced 3 batters, getting only 1 out, and Jonathan Papelbon entered in what was now a save situation. After striking out Lyle Overbay, Papelbon walked Michael Bourn. Martin Prado then hit a chopper that Kevin Frandsen could have fielded for the game-ending out. Instead, the ball ticked off Frandsen’s glove for a double, the game was now 7-5 with runners on second and third, and Chipper Jones stepped up and greeted Papelbon with a game-ending walk-off home run on a 1-1 fastball.
It was all Charlie Manuel could do to keep from boiling over: “We won the series, but so what? We had a chance to sweep them. We need to win all the games we can. That’s a tough game. That’s hard to swallow.”
Earlier in the week, Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 30th and 31st saves, hitting the 30+ save mark for the seventh year in a row.
On Monday, 8 days after Josh Lindblom got his first major league save, this time it was Phillippe Aumont and his 98 mph heater getting the nod for his first MLB save.
Which brings us to a trivia question: Name all the pitchers who have an active 30+ save streak of seven seasons or more.
92 and counting down: With 70 losses, the Phillies maximum number of possible wins this season is 92 – if they go 27-0. With our speculating that 88 wins would be the minimum number to have a shot at a wildcard berth, the Phillies would need to go 23-4 just to get there.
While not likely to be mathematically eliminated by the next Phillies notebook, that 92 max figures to be a lot closer to 88 by then.
And soon after we can stop talking about a miracle finish – even with the 13 straight games against losing teams starting after the Reds series.
Trivia answer: If you said no pitcher other than Papelbon has an active 30+ save streak of seven seasons or more, you’d be somewhat correct. Mariano Rivera, who is out for the rest of the 2012 season and stuck on 5 saves this year, entered 2012 with a 9-season streak.