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Phillies give up 13 runs to Royals, but it didn’t have to be this way

Apr 5, 2013, 8:18 PM EDT

Erik Kratz, Chris Getz AP

I should start by writing about the intentional walk that went bad in the Royals’ rout of the Phillies on Friday.  With the Phillies up 4-2 and one out in the sixth, manager Charlie Manuel decided he’d rather have lefty Jeremy Horst face Alex Gordon with the bases loaded than Kyle Kendrick or a right-handed reliever face pinch-hitter Billy Butler with runners on second and third.

That, I think, is a defensible decision. Gordon is excellent, but not so much against lefties, while Horst limited lefties to a .170 average last season.

Gordon, of course, made it look bad, delivering a triple that put the Royals on top 5-4. Kansas City just kept piling on from there, finally winning the game 13-4.

But rather than focus on Manuel’s intentional walk, I’d rather point towards Ruben Amaro’s bullpen. Because it should be noted that five of the Royals’ runs today came against a pair of 35-year-old journeymen: Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes.

The Phillies finished last season loaded with talented, but unproven, young relievers: Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Josh Lindblom, Michael Schwimer. All were rather successful in the minors, some had shown flashes in the majors. All were 24-26 years old.

Right now, just one of those pitchers in on the major league roster: Aumont. He worked one scoreless inning in the Opening Day loss to the Braves and hasn’t been seen since. De Fratus and Diekman are in Triple-A. Lindblom was sent to Texas for Michael Young. Schwimer was given away to the Blue Jays because he threatened a grievance over how the Phillies handled an injury last year.

Instead of those intriguing younger arms, the Phillies are going with Durbin and Valdes. And it’s not because they needed the experience late in games. They’re paying through the nose for Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams to work the last two innings. It’s because Amaro, when it doubt, much prefers his veterans. Time will tell whether it pays off.

  1. rpink24 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Valdes is a lefty

    • dondada10 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM


    • Matthew Pouliot - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Yes, yes he is.

      Also, to be fair, he was pretty good for the Phillies last season.

      I have a bigger problem with Durbin’s presence.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:49 PM

        Durbin is only o.k. in even years. Obviously signing him for an odd year was a huge mistake.

  2. schmedley69 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    I love Charlie, but every time he tries to be Tony LaRussa I think of what Crash Davis told Nuke Laloosh in Bull Durham: “Don’t think. It can only hurt the ball club.”

    The Phillies have always held guys down in the minors too long, even before Amaro got there. Raul Valdes shouldn’t be in the majors. I’m not a fan of Durbin either, but apparently he got off to a slow start last year with the Braves and then settled in and had a good year. Mike Stutes was injured most of last year and I think they want to get him some innings in the minors before bringing him up. My guess is that Stutes or Diekman will replace Valdes by the end of the month.

  3. Dan Camponovo - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Valdes is a lefty. Also, it’s not necessarily a problem that Charlie plays his veterans, it’s just that for some reason he went with Jeremy Horst and Chad Durbin in a close game instead of Bastardo (who is not a veteran, but flat-out better than Horst) and Adams or Papelbon when the game’s on the line. Adams was the big free agent signing this offseason — that itself is a statement of how messed up the Phillies’ offseason was, but if you’ve got him in the pen, use him (and his 81.4% strand rate, compared to Durbin’s 70.2%) in high leverage situations.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:54 PM


    This bias is getting out of hand!

    • mirmz - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      The Phillies lost?

    • sabatimus - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      I’m not even a Philly fan, but Pouliot says he’d rather not talk about the intentional walk and yet spends nearly half the post doing so. If he’d rather not talk about it, then don’t talk about it.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:21 PM

        I’d rather not go to my wife’s parents house on Thanksgiving.

        Guess where I end up on Thanksgiving.

  5. hittfamily - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Get off Amaro’s case. Dom Brown is hitting .333 and Amaro has yet to offer him a Ryan Howard extension yet.

  6. chew1985 - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    John Lannan starts tomorrow.

    And the Phillies they think they have a chance in the NL East.

    Might as well bring back Chad Ogea and Travis “Babe Lee.” The WFC window is closed.

  7. cowartsh - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Durbin was a decent reliever for the braves last year but he is probably close to being done just like most of the phillies roster.

    • misterj167 - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Durbin started out like crap last year for Atlanta but finished strong

  8. blingslade - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Note to Phillies: The Pain Train is coming again on Saturday and Sunday!

    Go KC!

    • schmedley69 - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      I used to feel bad for the Royals and their fans for sucking for the last 25 years, but after being forced to listed to that obnoxious homer Rex Hudler on MLB Extra Innings yesterday, here’s hoping the Royals suck for the next 25 years as well.

  9. psychranger - Apr 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    This team really sucks and will be fighting the stink in’ Mets for 3rd in the division. The big guns are winding down in their careers while the Nats and Braves are stocked with young talent. Oh well, at least we have the Eagles and Mike “the canine executioner” Vick to be proud of!

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