Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Sluggish Race for Phillies 5th Starter

Yesterday I wrote a piece about Adam Eaton and his struggles this spring. Eaton is the leading candidate for the 5th starter spot, but with the terrible spring he is having, he is losing his grip on the spot. Too bad there isn't anyone stepping up to take it away from him.

Travis Blackley is one of the four options the Phillies are considering for the final spot in the rotation. He pitched 1 2/3 innings, walked 4 and gave up 5 earned runs in an appearance today against the Indians. He did strike out three batters, but he had trouble with his control all day. Blackley was considered a long shot for the rotation, but with Eaton slipping he could have asserted himself and grabbed the role.

Here are the Spring Training statistics so far for all of the 5th starter candidates:

Travis Blackley: 4.2 IP, 5 K's, 4 BB, 5 ER, 9.64 ERA
Chad Durbin: 5.0 IP, 5 K's, 0 BB, 4 ER, 7.20 ERA
J.D. Durbin: 6.0 IP, 3 K's, 3 BB, 5 ER, 7.50 ERA
Adam Eaton: 4.0 IP, 2 K's, 0 BB, 7 ER, 15.75 ERA

Not exactly the type of competition the Phils were hoping for. Each one of the candidates has had at least one bad outing that has caused their ERA to increase dramatically. Blackley had looked the best out of the group until today's performance. Chad Durbin probably has overtaken him, at least he has shown good control to go with his high strikeout rate. Clearly Eaton is struggling the worst out of this group.

Of course, it's always important to take Spring Training statistics with a grain of salt, especially for pitchers. It's long been said that the hitters are ahead of the pitchers during the spring, and by the time the season starts the pitchers are caught up.

Still, these numbers are concerning. It will be interesting to see what the Phillies decide to do, if all four pitchers continue to struggle. Kris Benson will probably be the next option down the road, and it will be interesting to hear how he did in his simulated pitching experience today. He's got to do better than Adam Eaton, right?


John said...

You can't feel too sorry for the Phillies on this one. After all they should have knew Eaton was going to blow before they even signed him last year. And his preformance last year only enchanged that.

Something about guys named Durbin always turns out bad and well I saw Travis Blackley more then a few times when he was in Double-A the second time for the Mariners and I'll tell you he's not the pitcher he was before the shoulder surgery.

It's true a team doesn't need five starters to win, look at all the teams last year but it sure does suck when you go out there knowing you got to score 10 to have a chance.

Behind the Dugout

EnriqueFed said...

Great thoughts. Maybe the Phils should try out a four man rotation?