Thursday, July 07, 2016

Phillies at Rockies

The Phillies are skipping Aaron Nola's start today. It makes sense. He's been roughed up lately. Let's see if we can find out why.

As of June 5, he'd made 12 starts, tossed 78 innings. He compiled a 2.65 ERA. His per nine rates were 7.15 hits, whiffed 9.8, walked 1.73 and gave up .8 homers.

Since then, he's made five starts, tossed 18 innings and compiled a 13.50 ERA. His per nine rates were 19 hits, whiffed 10.8, four walks and 1.5 homers.

So he's still striking out batters at a good rate, but he's giving up hits and an uncharacteristic amount of walks. Nola's young, but he's got a track record of throwing strikes. Beyond the numbers from earlier this year, he gave up just 2.2 walks per nine as a rookie and 1.5 in the minor leagues. The walks don't bother me because it's really rare that pitchers with strong command lose it like this. It's so rare, you remember the names of players who suffer from it: Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel.

Let's delve a bit deeper. When he was pitching well, he threw 68 percent of his pitches for strikes, 25 percent of those pitches were called strike and 11 percent were swinging strikes. Twenty-five percent of his at-bats ended in line drives; four percent in pop-ups.

Since then, he's thrown 63 percent of his pitches for strikes, 22 percent were looking and seven percent were swinging strikes. Thirty percent of his at-bats ended in line drives and three percent ended in pop ups.

One thing that shows you is how close a pitcher can be from being dominant to being dominated. But there were signs of improvement in his last start. He made it out of the fourth inning for the first time in four starts. He also retired the last nine straight batters he faced. Nola might have turned a corner, but giving him some extra time off over the All-Star break is still probably a good idea. It's worth noting he's already tossed 96 innings this year. He tossed 187 innings last year. Missing a start here is probably not a bad thing.

Before we move onto the preview of this week, I think we should disspell one train of thought: that Nola should be sent down because he's struggling.

Plenty of good young Phillies pitchers had struggles in their first few seasons.

Randy Wolf started off his Major League career with a 3.33 ERA through mid-July. Afterward he pitched to a 6.90 ERA before moving onto a successful Big League career.

 Brett Myers looked like a future ace in 2003, but he had a 6-start stretch that included a 6.90 ERA.

In 2006, Cole Hamels had a 6-start run with a 7.13 ERA.

Nola should be allowed to work through this, within reason.

The Games
Thursday, July 7: 8:40
Friday, July 8: 8:10
Saturday, July 9: 8:40
Sunday, July 10: 4:10

The Matchups
Adam Morgan (1-6, 6.31) vs Chad Bettis (6-6, 5.85)
Vincent Velasquez (7-2, 3.34) vs Jon Gray (5-4, 4.81)
Jerad Eickhoff (6-9, 3.30) vs Tyler Anderson (0-3, 3.03)
Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.30) vs Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 3.08)

What we know about the Rockies
Colorado was 37-39 before losing six straight earlier this week. The squad has struggled in one run games, going 5-11. It's also winless in extra innings. But as Chris Wheeler often reminded us, "No lead is safe" in Colorado.

What we can't wait to see
Maikel Franco is still on fire. We told you to look out for him during the Braves series and he launched three home runs. If he stays within himself in Colorado, he could do a ton of damage. That said, the guy I want to see this series is Cesar Hernandez. The coaching staff has been saying how they want him to hit ground ball after ground ball. He's been doing that and it's paid off. But will the light air of Denver come calling? If Cesar can stay within himself, he could have a big series and set the table for the rest of the team.


ripjgarcia said...

It's almost like the Phils are gonna give up a win today to rest Nola. Morgan in the high mountain air.. recipe for disaster. Hopefully that works as reverse psychology.

Bob D said...

I can see Morgan being optioned to AA so Stump or Bailey can be activated over weekend, he wont pitch in final 3 days anyway and then the All Star break. so there is 7 of the 10 days he can be sent down before being recalled. Oberholtzer would be a good candidate but he has no options left.

GM-Carson said...

I'm predicting a lot of runs scored this series, collectively for both teams.

Nola's struggles can be blamed on BAIP as well, as batters have hit over .500 against him during this bad stretch. That is unsustainable, so he will be good again.

jhilton32 said...

I don't think it's as simple as saying other SPs have struggled so Nola shouldn't be sent down. Each player is different. I think you consider sending a guy out IF he's just getting bombed every time out, and there's a clear loss of confidence. I think both happened here. Aaron is trying to be too fine. Unlike Eickhoff earlier in the year, who got hit around a bit, but kept challenging hitters. Gave up some homers but he worked through it. Anyways, you also consider the players psyche and his standing on the squad. Sounds like they pondered all this and opted for the skipped start. I like that decision.

GM-Carson said...

Also, of all those pitchers listed, Nola has been hit the hardest during his bad stretch. A 13.50 ERA over 5 starts is nothing to just chalk up to bad luck. That's just plain awful.

Bob D said...

In his last start we did see after a bombing in the 2nd inning (if I remember correctly) he threw a few good innings. I'm not too worried about Nola. Now in AAA Thompson threw yet another great start. He is getting to the spot where it screams promotion time. In a few weeks time we will see if Hellickson is moved to make room.

GM-Carson said...

Adam Morgan at Coors...oi vey.

Might be the renaissance of Ryan Howard though. I kid, I kid.

ripjgarcia said...

I guess the thought process was Nola coulda gotten beaten up at Coors too. They could have just done a pitch by committee and started Oberholtzer considering we are a couple days removed from a complete game. #nomoreadammorgan

GM-Carson said...

Well, that was ugly.

GM-Carson said...

2 runs for Phillies offense in 13 Coors Field innings...what the hell?!

GM-Carson said...

Aaron Altherr 1-1 with HR and 2 BB in 1st rehab game yesterday. Time to find a trade partner for Bourjos.

Bob D said...

Bourjos and any mid infielder (Blanco, Galvis, Hernandez, Parades, and even Asche) could be traded to free up a roster spot, and I figure that a couple of spots freed up could be done for both Altherr and Crawford and possibly Knapp and Williams to. Asche and Rupp I would like to see remain for next year but if the right offer came up then trade them. Only for the right trade offer not to just move them.

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