Philadelphia Phillies Finish Month of September: Grading the Pitching, Player By Player

By Cody Swartz

The Phillies led the major leagues in ERA again in the month of September, posting a 2.95 mark in 30 games. Even though the Phillies suffered through an eight-game losing streak near the end of the month, this club posted the lowest season ERA by a pitching staff in 20 years.

Roy Halladay: Halladay is as consistent of a pitcher as you will ever find in this game. Check out his ERA by month for the 2011 season: 2.14, 3.00, 2.00, 2.57, 2.62, and 1.70. His wins: 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3. This month was a typical Halladay month: 3-1, 1.70 ERA, and a 1.1 WAR. Grade: A

Cliff Lee: Lee outdueled the Doc in September, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.42 ERA. He walked just two batters in 38 innings and struck out over a batter per inning. He ended the year with 27 strikeouts and no walks in his final three starts. Grade: A

Cole Hamels: Hamels was a little off in September, removing himself from the Cy Young race with a less-than-spectacular month. That shouldn’t at all take away from his fantastic season, and a 1-2 record with a 3.79 ERA in 38 September innings isn’t the end of the world (although his 5.21 FIP was much more revealing). Either way, Hamels should be fine come October baseball. Grade: C-

Roy Oswalt: There was some talk about Vance Worley getting the fourth spot in the playoff rotation over Roy Oswalt, but Oswalt put those talks to rest with a strong final month, going 3-2 with a 3.51 ERA in six starts. He finished with an 0.8 WAR. Grade: B

Vance Worley: Worley came back to earth a little in September, going 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA after going 14 straight starts without the Phillies losing one of them. He won’t be featured as a starter in October since there will just be a four-man postseason rotation, but he should provide valuable help out of the bullpen. Grade: B-

Ryan Madson: Madson was lights out in his final month of baseball, as he bids for a new contract. He pitched 13 scoreless innings, saving seven games in seven opportunities, while striking out a batter per inning. With Antonio Bastardo struggling mightily in the final month, it was essential that Madson provided the success that he did. Grade: A

Antonio Bastardo: Bastardo gave up eight earned runs in his first 53.1 innings on the mound, but nine in his final 4.2 innings. Whether it was from being overworked or tipping his pitches, something was wrong: Bastardo walked seven hitters during that span and saw his ERA rise a full run. He finished September with an ERA of 11.05, a walk rate of 8.59 batters per nine innings, and a WAR of -0.3. Grade: F

Brad Lidge: Lidge was extremely successful down the stretch, finishing with a 0.96 ERA in 12 games in September. In 9.1 innings pitched, he struck out 11 and registered a WAR of 0.3. Grade: A

Michael Stutes: Stutes ended the year really strong, retiring the final 11 hitters he faced, six of them via strikeout. He put together a 3.00 ERA for the month, and given Bastardo’s struggles, Stutes may pitch in the eighth inning this postseason. Grade: B+

Kyle Kendrick: Kendrick should be an important long reliever (and emergency starter) for the Phillies in the postseason, and he fared well again in September. He was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four games and two starts, accumulating 13.1 total innings pitched. Grade: B

David Herndon: Herndon pitched 12.1 innings in September and posted a 2.92 ERA. Pretty good numbers, right? Not so much if you look at his walk rate of 10.2 batters per nine innings, a home run rate of 2.19 per nine innings, and a FIP of 8.54, all of which accumulated to a WAR of -0.8, the worst of any big-league reliever in September. (Then again, four of Herndon’s walks were intentional in that one relief appearance, and it’s unreasonable for the Phillies to expect 69 pitches out of him). Grade: D

Joe Blanton: Blanton was amazing, to say the least, in seven September innings. He allowed only two earned runs, struck out 11, didn’t walk anyone, and all but managed to grab the last spot on the postseason roster. Grade: A

Michael Schwimer: Schwimer looked a little lost pitching against major-league hitters in September, recording a 5.79 ERA and 4.82 walk rate per nine innings. He still could easily turn into a solid relief pitcher for the Phillies – much of his past resembles that of Michael Stutes – but he was a disappointment in his short work in September. Grade: D+

Joe Savery: Savery finally made the major leagues after an extremely interesting minor-league career as a pitcher, then hitter, and now pitcher again. He threw 2.2 innings in September and didn’t allow a run, finishing his first ML season with an ERA of 0.00. He didn’t walk anyone, gave up one hit, and struck out two. Grade: A

Justin De Fratus: De Fratus will be a bright part of the Phillies bullpen in the future. He was a September call-up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and posted a 2.25 ERA in four innings on the mound, striking out three and walking three. Grade: B

Overall Pitching: The starters led the NL in team ERA (2.70) and the relievers were solid, finishing with a 3.56 mark. The bullpen, which has struggled at numerous times this year, finished with the third-best WAR in the NL in September. Grade: A

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