Smashing September Still Showing Weaknesses

As painfully frustrating as the Phillies have been, and still are, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the stretch run of the season. September has begun with a 5-1 mark for a team still searching for a semblance of consistency.

In those six games, the Phillies have won in a number of different ways. However, questions are still abound as to how this team can better itself as it has crept as close as possible to the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. On both sides of the ball, there are a few troubling signs.

Kyle Kendrick:

Can he continue to start? Many will say no, that he’s worn out his welcome. I’m starting to agree with that sentiment. In his last eight starts, KK has failed to finish seven innings. He’s also given up 28 earned runs over those starts, losing four decisions. His inconsistency as the fifth starter isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s the same with many teams.

Atlanta can’t find a guy to successfully fill that position, either. Kenshin Kawakami, the Braves fifth guy, is 1-10 on the season, yet the team is in a playoff position. The Giants ran Todd Wellemeyer out there for 11 starts before realizing it was an awful idea, then turned to youngster Madison Bumgarner. Cincinnati’s rotation is ugly at the bottom as well, with an old Aaron Harang and an inconsistent Homer Bailey sharing duties as a “fifth starter”.

Every game, every inning, every pitch becomes much more important at this point in the season. Where do they turn now? Do they stay with Kendrick, knowing he’ll provide 5-6 innings and allow 4-5 runs? Or do they take their chances with the unknown?

Vance Worley made his first career start on Monday and showed some promise, however, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff either and is likely to get hit around, too. Worley is a guy who will allow baserunners (160 hits/46 BB in 158 innings in Double and Triple-A this season) so his job is to minimize the damage, just as Kendrick attempts to do.

Nate Robertson is another name that has surfaced recently. He’s been around the block before, but offers little to no upgrade over either pitcher.

Those three are basically your options at this point in the season. Which do you feel most comfortable with? I’d be remiss in saying I didn’t want to see more of what Worley can do, because let’s face it, it can’t be much worse than what Kendrick has given. On the other hand, is there really a difference? We’ve come to find that Kendrick can be very good when he’s on. Perhaps his flaws, mechanical or otherwise, will be fixed in time for his next start.

Werth with runners on base:

One-hundred. Jayson Werth’s average with two outs and runners in scoring position is exactly .100.  He has six hits in 60 at-bats, a hugely disappointing number. To show a parallel, or not, Wilson Valdez is hitting .286 in that same spot over 36 at-bats. Hell, even Jimmy Rollins, who is batting 60 points lower than Werth for the entire 2010 season, has a .371 average with a RISP/2 out.

This is scary.  Of course, looking at it from a wider angle you’ll see it’s a small sample size that we’re using to justify Werth’s clutchitude. Still, in 60 at-bats, if you’re really the superstar you believe you are, you’ll have to come up bigger in those situations. He hasn’t done it. It’s a worrisome fact that he hasn’t really produced under pressure this year and how can you prove otherwise?

Forget the two outs on the board, Werth is just as awful in any situation that would require a hit of some sort with runners at second or third, or both. He’s hitting .158 overall with RISP. Does this mean that his nearly-.300 average is hollow? You could make that case, because Werth does most of his damage without anyone on base, which is nice for his personal numbers, but sad for the team. Werth is hitting .327 with the bases empty.

If the Phillies want to make some noise as a unit on offense, Werth will have to pile up the RBI. Many have wondered why that total has dipped dramatically. Look no further than his inability to show up in big situations. He still has time to turn it around, the questions is; can he?

Madson’s arm is falling off!:

It’s am important time of year, sure. And during this time, the best relief pitchers are needed. However, Ryan Madson has been seemingly overused. Since early August, Madson has gotten more than two days rest just twice and lately he’s been a horse. That’s all fine too, because it appears he can handle the load. Madson has been a savior in the back end of the pen as he has not allowed an earned run since August 23, a span of nine straight appearances.

It worries me how much he’s been used, and I understand Charlie Manuel needs him, but I hope they give him a fresh start right now by saving him for a few days, if possible, to ready him for an extreme workload from here on out. They’ve given Lidge many breaks recently, they should do the same for an equally-important arm in Madson.



  1. Bart Shart

    September 7, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Excellent points by Mr. Gallen. Nelson Figoroia looks good about now. How about a tandem of call-ups starting along with Kendrick. Another question: When will Howard get it started with the bat?

  2. Scott in D.C.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I appreciate your point about Madson’s workload, but no one needs reminding that the guy missed eight weeks because of a temper tantrum.

  3. Michael

    September 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

    agree with Scott in D.C.

  4. George

    September 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

    These are all pretty obvious problems, which I’m sure Manuel is also aware of. He’s changed his lineup some lately, trying to get more production, and he HAS given his relief arms rest when he can. Madson, despite being used a lot lately, has fewer innings pitched this year because of the broken toe, and may be stronger than usual. The ‘pen was worked just as hard at the end of 2008.

    As was said, there is always a problem with number five starters.(In another context, they’d be labeled “Number two” because most of them stink!) There are some days off coming up and maybe the #five man should be skipped. Manuel and Dubee right now are probably mulling over the Kendrick/Worley thing, but there is no real answer. Either pitcher could suck. Either pitcher could have a good game.

    The team has gotten this far with what they’ve got. They’ll just have to do their best to get further. We’ll just have to worry more ’til the end of the season.

  5. Manny

    September 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I’ll keep KK as the 5th starter… at least he had a great outing vs the Mets a few weeks ago (1 ER, pitched into the 7th). You could have Worley ready to go in the pen if Kyle explodes in the early innings…

    KK is the known quantity and has shown flashes of brilliance several times this season… hanging out with Roy has done wonders for him.

  6. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Like I said in the other thread and I will repeat it here:

    “I think everyone just needs to stop and realize that the Phillies are now 5-2 in Sept……9-3 over their last 12……and since July 22 they are 31-14…..and over that span of time have gone from being 7 games out to just one half. We’ll be fine.”

    There’s no need to overthink this.

  7. Pingback: Smashing September Still Showing Weaknesses « Acrylic Sports

  8. The Dipsy

    September 7, 2010 at 11:32 am

    There is inly one thing KK had to know when he was pitching to Fielder and that was to NOT pitch to him. He threw him a meatball and it landed on Venus. That is sheer stupidity by KK. He admitted after the game that he spaced out. Well guess what? You’re not allowed to space out. You’re a pitcher. You have time to stand there with the ball in your hand and think about what you’re gonna do so there are no excuses. Missing your spot is one thing. He’ll stay the fifth starter. Why wouldn’t he? Fifth starters generally stink and KK does not disappoint in that regard.

    The Dipsy

  9. bfo_33

    September 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Nice post. To reiterate Chuck in a slightly different way, when your #5 starter is your biggest issue, you don’t have a lot of big issues. Halladay, Hamels, and to a lesser extent, Oswalt, has made middle relief obsolete on this team. If KK goes 6, gives up 4 or 5, he’ll still probably have a 0.500 record, and the bullpen should be rested.

    I would like to see Durbin or Contreras take over some of Madson’s workload. Feel pretty good about either in a close game, especially if we can get a game or two up on Atl.

    If it was June, I’d bat Werth at lead-off, Rollins 5th. At this point, leave it alone. 3-4-5 are hitting the ball hard over the past week, looking for a big Sept.

  10. bostonkate

    September 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Inquiring minds would like to know how KK even made it to the majors.

    It baffles me. Well written piece, pat!

  11. Bob in Bucks

    September 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    A fifth starter is always an issue. At this point Kendrick has been OK in that position. We know he can be good on occassion and if he is Ok 2/3 of the time that is all we can ask for. The new kid did OK but he did nothing to demonstrate he will be better than Kendrick. Go with the known quantity.

    Madson is well rested compared to 08 and 09. I don’t see a problem. If we have a problem in the bullpen it is Durbin. He has been pretty bad lately and his ERA is now over 4. He was a rock earlier in the year but no longer. So all Charlie has to lean on is Contreras.

    If every game counts as you say then you keep going to Madson UNTIL his arm falls off.

    Personally I don’t care how they win, 1-0 or 11-8, a W is a W. We have excellent starting pitching which is why we are still in the race. The offense is not what we hope for and if you are looking for the reasons they are Rollins and Victorino. The table-setters simply don’t. Fortunately, we don’t need all those runs with H2O.

  12. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thank God for the Thursdays off for the rest of the regular season.

  13. The Original Chuck P

    September 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I’m not a KK guy… a friend and I were debating KK versus Joe B last week. I can live with heavy Joe because he rarely doesn’t make it into the 6th. You might as well be rolling dice when you’re rolling with KK… there are some nights when he is able to work out of jams and be successful but there are also nights when he’s absolutely awful. Take away his last outing, and Joe B has been pretty solid since mid June… he has his hiccups but I can live with them as long as he’s not taxing our pen too much (and exiting games with a huge deficit).

  14. Brooks

    September 7, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Bob, if this were the beginning or middle of the season you might have a valid argument for keeping KK as our #5. You said 2/3 of the time if he has been OK? Not lately my friend. As a matter of fact, since August, he has 2 starts where he has given up less than 4 runs, that is 2 out of- 7 now quite 2/3 of the time for a decent outing – his ERA in that time frame is 6.46.

    I’d say why not give Worley a chance at giving us some decent innings. We really dont know what Worley will give us but we are pretty sure what KK is going to hand us.

  15. The Original Chuck P

    September 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    By the way… I think we head into next week with a 2 game lead in the division. Braves have Hudson/

  16. The Original Chuck P

    September 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Hudson/McDonald tonight (an absolute must win for them), Lowe/Duke tomorrow, Jurrjens/Wainwright on Thursday and Minor/Carpenter on Friday… we’ve got the Mets coming up.

  17. Andrew from waldorf

    September 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Stop focusing on ATL
    If they catch about 30 more breaks they may make the wild card. But I doubt it.
    I hope they do though. They offer nothing that SF or colorado does. Those teams are a threat.

  18. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Braves should win both games vs PIT. Jurrjens/Wainwright is a draw and Carpenter should beat Minor. I think we take 2 of 3 from the Mutts.

    2 game lead starting next week?? Uhhhh..I don’t know.

  19. Brooks

    September 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    We have to be somewhat concerned Andrew – no doubt, the Phils need to take care of their own schedule but, we are in the position of looking up –

    The 2010 Phils are an enigma. Who can understand why teams with sub .500 records seem to give us fits? The Nats, Marlins and Mets never quite seem to sally up for us (like the Muts did for the Braves), its always tough. Then we need to go at least 4-2 head to head with Atlanta.

    It probably should be easy but with these 2010 Phils, nothing has really come easy since early May.

    If the Phils can win the remaining series, say finish 16-7 with 95 wins, it’s looking pretty good. The next 2 games are vs Florida and I think they are a must win. 6 games away, in NY and Florida where a split 3-3 would not be devastating. Then a 9 game homestand where I think the Phils could all but seal this division. By going 7-2 and soundly defeating the Braves in the process. The final 6 games are on the road, where 4 wins and 2 losses are not that out of touch. That would be 3 games in DC finishing with what could be a showdown in Atlanta for 3 to end the season.

    It’s been a crazy season and there is only one thing that the nation might agree upon; if the bats come alive there is no way the Phils do not take the division.

  20. RichieAllen

    September 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I really didnt want to focus on the Werth conundrum at this point because we’re playing pretty well right now anyway.
    But since it was brought up…..My question to you guys is….
    Even though he is slumping with risp….this year,is it a GIVEN that he WONT be in Philly next year?

  21. betasigmashag

    September 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I would have to agree with most of you that Madson should be ok since he was out for 7-8 weeks his total innings have to be down from last two years, and he has not had many tough innings in the last few times as far as pitches thrown. Lidge needs to be watched more, and not used in 7-3 games. Contreous should be used a little more I think in 6-7 inning, Durbin also has been used a lot and could use some days off I think, Because we will need him in the last week or so in really meaninful games where you will not run out Herden, even though he has shown some signs of being able to get one or two guys out.

  22. Bruce

    September 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    To answer “RichieAllen’ question..YES, it’s a GIVEN that he WONT be in Philly next year.

    It’s funny that not one comment so far in this thread was made about Werth’s ineptitude in hitting with RISP. I put Werth lower in the lineup where he will do less harm to the offense. Again, put another RH hitter in the 5th spot (behind Howard) and that would be “Mr Clutch”, Carlos Ruiz.

  23. bfo_33

    September 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    – Werth hired Boras (indicates he wants to maximize the market)
    – Phils have $135M payroll already for next year, and have seven roster spots to fill. Not all will be at the minimum. Figure on Werth making 13 – 15M/yr, + another 10M or so to fill out the roster. Phils are not going into the season with a $160M payroll.
    – Brown needs to come up next year – where is he going to play?
    Vic signed for 2 more years at a reasonable contract
    Ibanez signed 1 more year, not tradeable, unless you are going to eat some of the contract
    – Even if Brown is only average next year, will probably not have a significant impact on the 2011 record (maybe 2 or 3 games?).
    – Phils need some cheap young guys to get experience, team is getting old fast, don’t want to through a crash rebuild.

    I like Werth, but think it makes sense for both him and the Phils to part ways after the season. Not impossible that he comes back, but think it is highly unlikely. Hope he leaves with another WFC ring.

  24. The Original Chuck P

    September 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Not focusing Andrew, just peering in that direction… keeping an eye on what’s going on around us and waiting for the inevitable leap frog.

    If the Pirates find a way to beat Hudson tonight, that would be devastating for them. Regardless, Zach Duke is certainly capable of outdueling Derek Lowe and his bad back. Speaking of Derrek’s… Has anyone else noticed how bad Derrek Lee has been? .245 with 0 HR as a Brave… not quite the spark they hoped he would be.

  25. The Dipsy

    September 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Optimally, you could do this IF Werth is on the planet Earth with his demands:

    Trade Vic: He makes 7.5 in 2011 and 9.5 in 2012
    Sign Werth to a 4y/52.5m that pays him 7.5m in ’11, and 15m for 2012-2014.
    Ibanez drops off after 2011 and so does his salary.

    This way the contract doesn’t kill you. You would have to worry about a LFer for 2012 and isn’t that something we can all live with?

    The Dipsy

  26. Manny

    September 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Do people really think Dom Brown is THAT ready? I’m not fully on board yet with having him play as a regular all next season…

  27. The Dipsy

    September 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    If Werth and Ibanez and are in the outfield with him, and you have a nice righty bat to work in with him, I think he would be just fine. To be quite honest, I think DBRown gives you just as good a season next year as Vic would give you.

    The Dipsy

  28. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    No way the Pirates beat Hudson tonight. I’d be willing to bet whatever on that.

  29. BravoMan

    September 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Chuck, yeah, Derek Lee has been awful with us. He can’t catch up to anything 89 mph or over anymore. His back will probably give out at anytime now. Already sick of him.

  30. biz

    September 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Vic is a better CF than Werth. He can cover more ground than Jayson. I don’t think you can put Jayson in center, have a rookie in right, and Raul in left. That could spell real trouble defensively. The defensive scheme will be bad enough with Raul, Vic and Brown and a Fransico platooning, I just don’t see how you can go and make it any weaker.

    Brown has looked like, well, a rookie out there. He’s not a gold glover yet.

  31. The Dipsy

    September 7, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I think they would be fine. Werth can play center.

    The Dipsy

  32. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Brown in right
    Werth in center
    Ibanez/Ben Fran in left

    Oh, and….Michael Cuddyer.

  33. biz

    September 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    That would be a brutal defensive outfield. I think we’ll have some problems with just Vic patrolling out there, but with Werth it would make it a little bit worse.

  34. biz

    September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    97.5 says Cholly’s using the same lineup as last night. No Werth and Vic leading off. Jimmy 5th.

  35. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I don’t think it would be brutal at all. Werth is good defensively and Brown will be once he learns all the angles, etc. Both Brown and Werth have cannons for arms, too. And they have speed.

  36. The Original Chuck P

    September 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Michael Cuddyer is a great player… the Twins havea a $2.5 million club option in 2011, which is a bargain for them… he’s not leaving Minnesota so I’m not sure how this Cuddyer thing grew legs.

  37. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    It’s a $10.5M option.

    Dipsy’s idea. I just happen to like it. Ya gotta admit….it’s better than the Jermaine Dye plan.

  38. biz

    September 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Now Cholly has scratched D Brown. Werth is back in. Werth is 1-17 against Volstad. Put Brown back in! Wtf, Cholly?

  39. George

    September 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    This last minute lineup change is an odd move. Maybe Brown got sick. Maybe Manuel decided he needed his best defensive outfield tonight. Maybe Charlie just has one of his hunches.

    I, too, doubt Cuddyer is a possibility.

    Also, from what I’ve read, Werth going with Boras is not a done deal. Maybe the fat lady hasn’t sung about Werth’s departure just yet.

  40. MikeB.

    September 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Kendrick has had all season to fix his flaws, mechanical or otherwise. The guy is terribly inconsistent and so far does not seem to have the talent to be a consistently successful and dependable major league pitcher. I say give Robertson the next start over Kendrick to see how he does in comparison with how Worley pitched and pick one to finish the remainder of the regular season or let them share the fifth pitching spot. Has to be better than what Kendrick has to offer.

  41. The Dipsy

    September 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I would flat out take Michael Cuddyer on this team instead of Werth. I think he’s better for the team and the way its composed.

    The Dipsy

  42. bacardipr05

    September 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I just touch on this. I am not sold on Dom Brown just yet. Werth can definitely play center field if he has two he has the speed and Glove I wouldnt worry about that. The moment I heard that Werth was seeking Bor-Ass i knew any shot of resigning him is down the toilet with the Burrito i just ate. The Phils have a few spots to fill in next year and they wont have any funds to cover all that payroll. Can they do it yes I believe they can as Ibanez only has 1 more year left. Ibanez contract and Howard’s at the start of the year is the key in resigning Werth. I think Werth knew that as well.

  43. Chuck

    September 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Cuddyer probably WON’T come here. But it’s a nice idea…ESPECIALLY if Jayson doesn’t come back.

  44. psujoe

    September 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I believe Cuddyer’s option is $10.5 million, not $2.5 million? Twins are able to spend more so he’ll probably still stay in Minny.

  45. pheeling it

    September 7, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Why do people want cuddyer? I think I’m sticking with KK as fifth starter and have Worley up to pitch on some days too.

    Season is almost over I’m not worried about fifth starter.


    Are you kidding me?

    Hamels after a roughed up season


  46. pheeling it

    September 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    3 starter rotation, these 3 are hungry.

    I think Lee was the only hungry one last postseason. The Roy Bros. Are hungry, without a doubt. ACE. Hamels is in it for revenge. I think Hamels could win Phillies MVP the season but Chooch is my brother. 2010 is the year.

    80, 08, 10, 11

  47. pheeling it

    September 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Chooch is everyone’s brother

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