Sometimes, things are too good to be true. Take the lottery as an example, though you may “win” hundreds of millions of dollars, the chance of you winning the lottery are slim to none, and even if you manage to win, more than half the winnings will be taken in taxes. Though Tuesday’s Phillies game wasn’t nearly as drastic as winning the lottery, the 9-4 win had it’s flaws, some that could have been seriously harmful, and others that were easily avoidable.
The game began with a tough 1st inning from rookie starter Vance Worley, an inning in which he would throw 33 pitches, working his way out of a bases-loaded jam. He would get some run support in the middle innings, as the Phillies would score a total of nine runs from the 4th inning to the 6th, including home runs by Shane Victorino (14) and John Mayberry Jr. (14). With a nine run lead, it looked as though the game was all but over, and the Phillies might as well go into cruise control.
By the end of the 5th inning, Worley had struggled through 80 pitches, allowing four hits, but stranding all of the Mets runners. Though on paper it looked as if Worley had been doing fine, it was clear, especially from his pitch count, that it took him a lot of effort to get through the first five innings. Worley had averaged only 76 pitches per game coming into the match-up, so just five innings of work had given him a good amount of pitches.
With the nine run lead and the amount of pitches that Worley had thrown, it was the logical choice to take out Worley in order to protect his arm, as he would still be in line for the win. Of course, it would have been disappointing to see a pitcher with a shutout going be taken out of the game, however, with Cole Hamels’ recent injury, earlier injuries to Roy Oswalt, the Phillies need to be protective of their starters in case any serious injuries were to occur. However, Charlie Manuel went against better judgement leaving in Worley for the 6th inning.
The move to keep Worley in for a 6th inning was understandable, especially since on paper, it looked as though Worley had been putting the Mets in a stranglehold all night. Worley got out of the inning unharmed, however, he threw 12 pitches, raising his total to 92. Add Worley’s pitch count to a Phillies bullpen that rarely gets work due to the workhorse mentality of the rest of the rotation, and you have a perfect reason to take out the rookie Worley.
However, once again, Charlie Manuel left Vance Worley in the game. Worley would get through the inning, but not before allowing a run, breaking up his shutout. Though Worley’s line of seven innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, one walk, and nine strikeout looked good, at what price did they come? Worley’s 109 pitches could have seriously done damage to his arm, and though they didn’t Manuel needs to start being more precautionary with his pitchers. Yes, it’s true that nobody likes to be taken out of a start no matter what the reason (Eg. Roy Halladay looking like he’s about to murder someone after being taken out of a game) but it’s Charlie Manuel’s job as the manager and the leader of the team to protect his players and think not only of the current game, but also for the future of the team.
The Mets were able to score three more runs after Worley was taken out, against Michael Stutes. Stutes, who has struggled as of late, allowed four hits and three runs in just two innings, including a home run. Though this is nothing to be totally worried about, as poor performance are expected from rookie pitchers, Stutes should be monitored more closely, especially when the playoffs come around.