The Philadelphia Phillies entered the month of August with just a glimmer of hope that they could still fight their way back into the National League playoff race.
By going 17-12 though, the Phillies are still eight games back in the hunt for the final NL wild card spot, and they would need a truly spectacular September to be still playing October ball.
Roy Halladay: Roy Halladay was pretty good in August, going 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA and 32 strikeouts to eight walks in 40.2 innings pitched. That was good enough for an 0.7 WAR, which is a slight step below Halladay’s typical monthly averages but it’s still very good. Grade: A-
Cliff Lee: How in the world does a starting pitcher strike out 37 hitters to just one walk and pick up only one win?! That sums up Cliff Lee’s season. He was just 1-1 in August although his 3.47 ERA and 0.6 WAR were very solid numbers. He did give up a few too many hits and long balls but that K:BB ratio is just out of this world. Grade: A-
Cole Hamels: Fresh off a $144 million deal, Cole Hamels pitched as if he wanted to show Philly fans he’s worth every penny – and he may be. Hamels was 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA in five starts, averaging 7.7 innings per start. He struck out 34 batters and walked just six, and threw a pair of shutouts. What a month for Hamels, whose 1.1 WAR rated fifth-best among National League starters. Grade: A
Vance Worley: Vance Worley was pretty awful in August, going 1-3 with a 5.23 ERA, averaging just a paltry 4.65 strikeouts per nine innings – significantly down from his career totals – but then again, he was severely injured and the Phillies had absolutely no business pitching him. Worley had bone spurs in his elbow and there’s a pitcher in Triple-A with a 12-1 record, so what in the world was Charlie Manuel doing by putting Worley out there every five games?! Grade: C
Kyle Kendrick: I’ve had mixed emotions about Kyle Kendrick since the day he debuted in the major leagues. Kendrick was spectacular in August, as he posted a 4-1 record with a 2.95 ERA in six starts, fashioning a terrific 1.47 walk rate per nine innings. What’s surprising is that he rated just fifth among the five starting pitchers on the team in WAR for the month, putting up an 0.4 WAR that is still pretty good. Grade: A-
Jonathan Papelbon: Jonathan Papelbon was everything in August that the Phillies are paying him to be – he converted all seven save opportunities, posted a 0.63 ERA, .130 opponents batting average, and .417 OPS against him. He faced 51 batters, striking out nearly a third (16) and walked just three. He was taken deep just once, and the Phillies went 12-2 in games in which he pitched. Grade: A
Antonio Bastardo: Antonio Bastardo was a tale of two stories in August, as he’s been the entire season. For the first five games, he posted a 9.53 ERA and gave up three hits and three walks in 4.2 innings, getting hit hard for a .853 OPS. In his last five games, he’s posted a 0.00 ERA in 3.1 innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while recording seven strikeouts. For the month, that works out to a 16.4 strikeout rate but a 5.14 ERA and 3.86 walk rate. Grade: B
Michael Schwimer: Michael Schwimer had a rough month, putting up a 7.04 ERA while getting sent down to Triple-A for an injury he claimed he didn’t have. He has developed into a solid relief pitcher at the major league level, as he records a high number of strikeouts and posted a pretty good 3.62 FIP. Grade: C-
Raul Valdes: Raul Valdes continues to be a very pleasant surprise for the Phillies. He put up a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings and 11 appearances and struck out 11 while giving up just three hits, one walk, and no home runs, and he’s been the most effective lefty on the team this season considering how much Bastardo has struggled. Grade: A
Jeremy Horst: Jeremy Horst was another fantastic lefty who had a strong month – he had a 1.64 ERA, struck out 12 in 11 innings, and allowed just eight hits. That’s pretty good for a guy the Phillies got for Wilson Valdez. Grade: A
B.J. Rosenberg: I absolutely cannot understand why this pitcher is still in the major leagues. B.J. Rosenberg posted a 9.72 ERA in 10 appearances, giving up home runs on a ridiculous 20 percent of the fly balls against him. He strikes out a high percentage of hitters but until he limits his home runs, he’s not going to make it in this league. Grade: F
Phillippe Aumont: The guy the Phillies got for Lee back in the 2009 offseason has done pretty well, pitching three scoreless frames while allowing just one hit and striking out three. I think he could make a big impact on the team in ’13. Grade: A
Tyler Cloyd: In his first big league start – and one that was much overdue at that – Tyler Cloyd pitched pretty well. He went six innings, allowing three runs, which gets him a quality start. Cloyd struck out five, walked just two, and would have picked up the win if the Phillies could have scored more than two runs all game. Grade: B
Josh Lindblom: I was a big fan of Josh Lindblom when the Phillies got him in the Shane Victorino trade, but not anymore. He can’t stop giving up home runs, having been taken deep three times in 12.2 innings in August. Lindblom posted a 5.68 ERA and 6.68 FIP, and also walked 11 batters, showing he really can’t find the plate. Grade: F