According to Todd Zolecki, David Herndon is headed to the DL with right elbow inflammation. Herndon has pitched to a career high 4.70 ERA but is also posting a career high in K/9 IP and low in BB/9 IP. At best, Herndon has been a reliable reliever whose peripherals (1.95 xFIP, .391 BABIP) indicate that luck has not been on his side. At worst, Herndon has been ineffective. No corresponding roster move has been announced.
My take: Herndon was showing flashes of effectiveness in some appearances but looked rocky in others. Jake Diekman (0.82 ERA in 11 IP, 17 Ks) has pitched his way into the conversation for a call-up but is a lefty. If the Phils are looking to replace Herndon with a similarly-handed pitcher, former Phil Brian Sanches (3.21 ERA in 14 IP, 12 Ks) has been pitching well for the Pigs. After a hot start, righty Phillippe Aumont is struggling (6.48 ERA in 8.1 IP, 13 Ks against 9 walks) and likely will not be considered to replace Herndon.
The offense, somehow, saved the day.
After blowing a 4-0 lead, Placido Polanco’s two-run double in the eighth inning was the game winner as the Phillies split the 4 game series with the Cubs, winning 6-4 on Tuesday night.
BULLPEN BLOWS IT
-Antonio Bastardo was lights out last year and was the pleasant surprise of the 2011 roster. This year, he just hasn’t looked the same. He, along with Chad Qualls, allowed the Cubs to tie it in the eighth inning. Bryan LaHair’s 2-run home run wiped away a Vance Worley win.
-As @TheLollipopking said on twitter – “I know Qualls gave up the HR, but it’s a shame Bastardo has gone from being awesome last yr to a guy you can’t trust anymore.” Well put.
WORLEY STAYING STRONG
-Worley began the night thanking his right fielder for a strong defensive play. David DeJesus roped a ball off the wall that was picked up cleanly by Hunter Pence, who threw a strike to get DeJesus at second base. Except, he wasn’t out. The umpire just called it that way. So, Worley started with a mulligan. From there on, he retired the first 11 batters of the game.
-His trouble spots were the fourth and fifth, and seventh innings. In the fourth and fifth, he got out of jams with two runners on base. In the seventh, he loaded the bases with no outs, but got a little help from his defense as Placido Polanco turned a 6-3 double play. A run would score on that play and one batter later, Worley would get Reed Johnson to ground out to first. Crises averted.
-For the past two seasons, Vance Worley has been a K-looking machine. Heading into Monday night’s game against the Cubs, Worley had fanned 57% of his strikeout victims on called third strikes. This year, that number is at 67% (thanks Corey). On Monday, he fanned five Cubs, three of them looking.
-Worley ran his scoreless-innings streak to –. He has been unreal recently and, as I’ve been saying, is just fun to watch. He has that swagger going. The glasses are still cool. Everything about him is just working right now.
-It wasn’t a full-on breakout, but the Phillies did put up a crooked number in the first inning to get the crowd involved early. They put up four runs on five hits (all singles), making Chris Volstad throw 30 pitches. If you’re unaware, the Phillies have owned Volstad.
-After the first inning, it was another bore-fest by the Phils. More terrible at-bats and stranded runners plaguing them. After Volstad’s 30-pitch first frame, the next 11 Phillies batters saw just 27 total pitches.
-It wasn’t until the bottom of the eighth that the Phillies slowed down and took advantage of mistakes at the plate. Juan Pierre was hit by a pitch and Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco followed that up with two solid plate appearances. Eventually, Polly would win the Phillies the game with a two-run double. That’s the kind of hitting this team needs.
-Jonathan Papelbon walked Geovany Soto to lead off the ninth, but set the next three batters down in order for his eighth save in as many tries.
-Phillies hit the road for the next six games; three in Atlanta, three in DC.
-Tuesday is the start of May. So I guess those who wanted April to end have their wish. Will it get better from here?
The voting was close. The voting was fierce. But in the end, only on GIF from the extremely GIFable Flyers vs. Penguins Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series could be declared a winner.
Let's see just how close this battle to the death was.
And ... yes, every vote did indeed count.
Congrats, GIROUX SMASH. You shall live forever in the history books. Thanks for playing, LAVY FIST-PUMP and LETANG ROBBED. And thanks to all who voted.
-Cliff Lee is getting closer to a return, but it won’t happen on Friday. Lee was eligible to be activated from the disabled list at that time, however, the Phillies will play it safe and keep him there until he throws two bullpen sessions. Rich Dubee gave that news today, saying that Lee was progressing.
-Ryan Howard started his rehab program in Clearwater today and had some encouraging words to say on twitter.
-There was no update on Jim Thome and his balky back today. He was scheduled to take part in some BP and then reassess.
Tonight's playoff discussion thread. Two games. NYR-WSH at 7:30, STL-Flyers West at 9.
Also, odds are that Dale Hunter is saying nothing of substance in that photo? High.
Let's follow up on the earlier story on forward line matchups with a look at how the defensive pairings lined up in Game 1:
Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle joined Sean Couturier's line in handling primary defensive duties on Zach Parise. Nicklas Grossmann and Braydon Coburn worked with Claude Giroux on Ilya Kovalchuk, and the Andreas Lilja-Erik Gustafsson unsurprisingly got the softer minutes.
As before, here are the head-to-head results (numbers below are the fraction of the shots the Flyers got with both players on the ice, adjusted for how often the head-to-head matchup started in the offensive zone):
|Flyers' Adjusted Corsi||Parise||Kovalchuk||Henrique||Gionta|
This is reasonably neutral, except that Kovalchuk's line got the better of Grossmann. However, Kovalchuk ended up with a quiet day in part because of how well Carle did against him: the Flyers outshot the Devils 9-1 when Carle and Kovalchuk were both on the ice (4-1 for Carle-Timonen, 3-0 for Carle-Gustafsson, 2-0 for Carle-Coburn).
After the jump, we look at how the Devils are deploying their defense.
The Devils used Anton Volchenkov against Danny Briere a lot, but other than that, there isn't a strong pattern here. Zidlicky and Greene basically split the Giroux and Couturier minutes evenly. The zone starts aren't very different from defenseman to defenseman either; it would seem that the Devils just rolled their pairings without worrying too much about matchups.
And the results:
|Flyers' Adjusted Corsi||Zidlicky||Greene||Volchenkov|
As before, these tiny sample sizes don't hold any predictive value, but it helps show how things went on that particular day.
Philadelphia Phillies (10-12) vs. Chicago Cubs (8-14)
INJURY UPDATE: Cliff Lee will NOT come off the disabled list on Friday, the first day he would have been eligible to do so. That doesnt mean he isn’t doing well; Rich Dubee says he’s improving. But they don’t want to rush it and he’ll have to throw a few bullpen sessions before they bring him back to the rotation…
Offense, where art thou? It’s back to being ugly again – Charlie Manuel says plain and simple, they’re pressing. I think that’s pretty evident. It’s another different lineup this evening, as Pete Orr is at second base, Laynce Nix plays left field.
Will Jimmy Rollins bust out? He has looked downright awful. He’s getting on base at a .264 clip, which just won’t do. J-Roll is 4 for his last 40. We know when J-Roll goes, so go the Phillies.
They’ve absolutely torched Cubs starter Chris Volstad during his days with the Marlins. He’s 2-5 with a 5.88 ERA in 12 career starts against the Phillies, so it’s the perfect storm for the Phillies tonight. I’m going out on a limb tonight – 7 RUNS! Bring it to the bank. Bet the over. Phils drop a 7-spot this evening.
Vance Worley is responsible for holding it down on the mound tonight. He’s done that so far this year, posting a 2.16 ERA. It’s been tons of fun watching Worley pitch with swagger on the hill. Let’s hope that can continue tonight as he shuts up the critics who believed a sophomore slump was inevitable.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Victorino CF, Pence RF, Wigginton 1B, Nix LF, Ruiz C, Orr 2B, Worley P.
Your gameday beer: Stella Artois
A cold Stella on a crisp night with a little baseball? Love it. Stella is a Belgian beer and the name is Latin for the word “star”. The Phillies could use some Stella’s tonight in their lineup. It’s been far too long since we’ve enjoyed one of their patented offensive tears. Enjoy it with a Chicken Caesar salad and a Phillies victory. You won’t be let down tonight – by either. – By Pat
Here's a quick look at how the lines matched up in game 1 courtesy of timeonice.com:
And here are the head-to-head results (numbers below are the fraction of the shots the Flyers got with both players on the ice, adjusted for how often the head-to-head matchup started in the offensive zone):
|Flyers' Adjusted Corsi||Parise||Kovalchuk||Henrique||Gionta|
Analysis after the jump.
The sample sizes here are so tiny that they are irrelevant for making predictions about the future, but they can still provide insight into what happened in the past.
The Flyers have clearly identified Parise's line as the one that needs the most defensive attention, and are using Couturier and Giroux against that line as a result. Not surprisingly, the remainder of Giroux's line is being used against Kovalchuk, and Briere is then being used against Henrique.
The thing that jumped out at me most when I prepared this table is that Briere's line wasn't as remarkable as I thought it would be. After all, Briere was a mind-boggling +22 Corsi for the game -- the Flyers got 29 shot attempts with him on the ice and gave up only 7.
But the table is adjusted for zone starts, and Briere (and van Riemsdyk, for that matter) took 11 offensive zone faceoffs and 0 defensive zone faceoffs.
Did they really elevate their game in the playoffs, or were they just put in position to be noticed at the offensive end time and again?
The team will drop SportsRadio WIP as their radio partner after the current playoff season, switching to 97.5 The Fanatic for the 2012-13 season. Comcast-Spectacor will announce at 5 p.m. today that they've made a multi-year deal with Greater Media Philadelphia, the parent company of 97.5 The Fanatic. Games will be simulcast on 950 AM WPEN, and a select number of games will also find a home on 93.3 WMMR.
Tim Saunders and Chris Therien will continue to call games.
Flyers games were on FM radio this season as WIP moved from 610 on the AM dial to 94.1 FM, but WIP has opted to relegate most Flyers playoff games back to 610 AM in favor of Phillies coverage on 94.1. Could that have played into the decision to make the switch? It's a theory.
The Sixers also made the move to 97.5 The Fanatic, effective as of the start of the 2012 playoffs last Saturday, so the Flyers aren't alone over there. The two networks -- 94.1 WIP and 97.5 The Fanatic -- have a similar coverage area. 97.5's range is slightly smaller, but not terribly smaller according to Radio-Locator.com. All in all, this move shouldn't affect us fans much at all.