Pete Mackanin and The Phillies Piss Another Game Away
Just a tough, tough loss last night for the Phillies. They embarrassed the Mets on Tuesday and the effects from the drop heard round the world seemed to carry over until about the 6th inning last night. A 2-0 lead should never be taken for granted by this team and like all good teams, the Mets (Jay Bruce) found a weakness and exploited it. Vinny made a mistake last night. It happens. So instead of repeating the same nonsense that the Philly media spews about tossing Vinny Velasquez in the bullpen, let’s instead break down what the hell Pete Mackanin is thinking and why this lineup stinks.
I am not upset at Vinny one bit for his performance last night. He looked polished, like a pitcher who isn’t trying to break the catcher’s mitt every pitch. He mixed in the curve more and induced more grounders on the change from my vantage point. Most importantly, he was staying around 92-94 and maintaining strong command on the fastball that he usually doesn’t have at 96. What I am disappointed in is the 3 walks, especially the one to Cespedes with 2 outs which set up the Jay Bruce home run. The change up gets away from you sometimes, more so in high-stress situations like men on 1st and 2nd. Jay Bruce caught a hanger and he capitalized.
I didn’t like Velasquez’ body language in the inning after that home run. The dropped popup was dumb too, but it didn’t hurt anybody. I sincerely hope he uses this game as a learning experience and takes something positive out of it instead of basking in the negative.
Before I complain about Mackanin again, here is my take on the Velasquez to the bullpen nonsense; If this team was projected to win more than 72 games, sure throw him in the closer conversation. However, we are not that team and it is the main reason why we traded away an elite closer in Ken Giles. We can’t get in save situations if we don’t have the staff and/or lineup to get us there. Plus, he is only 24. It is moot point and some of these media hacks forget to think and just type. When we are a better team, say one that is projected to win 85 games, I think it’s a valid point.
Now I know I nit-pick the guy, but some of his decisions should not go unnoticed. It started out simple yesterday, like letting Velasquez swing away with Freddy on 1st and nobody out in the 3rd. Velasquez whiffed on that first pitch as pitchers tend to do, fouled off the bunt attempt on the 2nd pitch, then grounded into a double play on the 3rd pitch. Like, why?
Then in the bottom of the 7th, he kept Edrubay Ramos in to face Jay Bruce after Ramos failed to get out Cespedes. Joely Rodriguez, our only lefty in the pen was available and rested. Nope, the thought doesn’t even cross his mind. I don’t care what Bruce’s splits are vs. Joely. I don’t care that he took him deep just a few weeks back. You need a lefty ready to go in this situation. Jay Bruce has a career .709 OPS vs. lefties and a .819 OPS vs righties. I’ll even dig a little deeper here. In 2016, the MLB average for OPS for Lefties vs. Right handed pitching was 78, I repeat, 78 points higher than it was vs. left handed pitching. NEVER should you give an opponent that type of statistical edge ya dope.
The lineup had an interesting evening, to say the least. After seeing 209 pitches and working the hell out of the Mets staff on Tuesday, they could not make anything happen last night. 2-11 with RISP is painful. Michael Saunders has been heating up a little bit with 7 hits over his last 5 games had the game tying single in the 8th, but Maikel Franco was another story. Franco, who was 0-3 with RISP, needs to be moved from the cleanup spot. The dude just isn’t doing anything productive. I want to rattle off all of the situational numbers, but we get the point after watching him play for 3 weeks. Move him down to 5 vs. lefties and 6 vs righties and move Joseph up to 4. They both have better career numbers at those spots in the order, so see how that works out for the time being. Because an 0-21 stretch from Franco including THIS is not cutting it.
Look, I know this team isn’t built to win now. I can only hope that there is some method in place to all the madness with this Phillies team. However, as fans, we should always be concerned about the direction of the coaching staff first and foremost. With the way baseball evolves year after year, we need a high IQ baseball guy in here if we plan on contending in 2 years. From my perspective, Mackanin just doesn’t seem like the guy.
-Cesar Hernandez lost his hitting streak last night going 0-5, even though the error he reached on should have been called a hit. During his 11-game streak, he hit .388 with a 1.046 OPS while the rest of the lineup was hitting just .222 during that stretch.
-Howie Kendrick hit the DL retroactive to April 16 with the same oblique injury that has bothered him his whole career. My man Aaron Altherr did just fine last night as his replacement. RHP Mark Leiter Jr. was called up to replace Howie for the time being.
-Pat Neshek is on paternity leave. RHP Ben Lively was called up from AAA to replace him. Both Lively and Leiter will work out of the Pen and make their Major League debuts.
That was a long one, sorry about that. We got Nola v. Syndergaard tonight. Time to pray.
PS How about Baseball Reference dot com, a company based in Philadelphia, trying to clown Brock Stassi on his page by calling him a “Pinch Hitter.” What kinda bush league shit is that, BREF. Like David Puddy says, “Gotta support the team.”