August 31, 2009 1:27 AM

Bunts and Balks (8/30)

Tampa Bay Rays vs Philadelphia Phillies World Series Game 3

Brett Myers made his second rehab start at Reading (AA) on Saturday, with mixed results. Myers allowed one run in two innings. He threw thirty pitches, only sixteen for strikes. He allowed two hits, one of which was a flukish inside-the-park-homer. (The long fly ball hit off the outfield fence, and bounded far away from outfielder DomOnic Brown.)
Myers was expected to throw fifty pitches, but rain forced the game to be suspended early.
Myers is expected to pitch on consecutive days, later this week, and then be recalled to Philadelphia. (The appearances are supposed to be for Lehigh Valley (AAA), but I'm officially voting for them to take place for pitching-strapped, playoff-hungry, Reading.)
A positive for the R-Phils was that Myers' start saved them from using one of their starting pitchers, as the game was turned into a Myers + bullpen effort. A rain-wasted start by one of Reading's remaining starting pitchers would have been damaging to their playoff hopes. Reading was very lucky that Myers' unfortunate eye injury (that did NOT happen in a bar) pushed back his rehab schedule, enabling him to pitch for them on Saturday.

The Phillies announced that top prospect Kyle Drabek has been shut down for the remainder of the season. Drabek is not injured, the Phils are merely shutting him down, for precautionary reasons. It is a prudent move, considering that Drabek is coming off TJ surgery, and has pitched 158 innings.
Drabek's final stats at Reading: 8-2, 3.64 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .298 BABIP, 7.1 K/9, 2.45 K/BB, 3.83 FIP. One notable red flag: LHB hit .322 against the 21-year-old northpaw.
It's a shame that Drabek's workload wasn't reduced earlier in the season, so that he could perform for the R-Phils during their playoff run, and their inevitable postseason games. But the Phils made the right move, in shutting Drabek down.

So, who's left in the Reading rotation? How are they going to get through a week in which they have ten games scheduled?
The current rotation seems to include Yohan Flande, Mike Stutes, Mike Cisco, Vance Worley, and Alex Concepcion (?). (Concepcion has pitched mostly as a reliever, and would be fortunate to pitch four innings. Considering that doubleheaders in AA are only seven innings long, those games would be the best fit for him, as a starter.)
Flande and Concepcion are scheduled to start Monday's doubleheader, and could both start Saturday's doubleheader, on four days rest.
Mike Cisco has been announced as Tuesday's starter, with Mike Stutes scheduled to pitch Wednesday.
Friday would be Vance Worley's fifth day.
It looks like Reading needs a plan for Thursday.

Who makes the start for Reading on Thursday?
I'd like to see a "rehab game" featuring Brett Myers, Clay Condrey, and Antonio Bastardo. That could really help the R-Phils' playoff hopes. We may see some of the aforementioned rehabbers in Reading this week, but the R-Phils need to find a starting solution for the rest of the season.
They will, likely, need to recall a pitcher from Clearwater (A), one who would be pitching with (at least) four days' rest, on Thursday.
The available candidates are: Drew Naylor, Jon Velasquez, Tyler Cloyd, and Darren Byrd.
Naylor is twenty-three, on the 40-Man Roster, and has pitched the most innings in A (151). Naylor has a K/BB of 3.06, and a FIP of 3.67. If you remove the worst of Naylor's last ten starts, he has a 3.97 ERA, in that timeframe.
Velasquez turns twenty-four in October, has a K/BB of 2.82, and a FIP of 3.83 (64.2 IP).
Velasquez has an ERA of 2.82, in the best nine, of his last ten starts.
Cloyd is twenty-two, has a K/BB of 1.76, and a FIP of 4.02 (71.2 IP).
Cloyd has an ERA of 3.27, in the best nine, of his last ten starts.
Byrd turns twenty-three in October, has a K/BB of 1.66, and a FIP of 3.85 (81 IP).
Byrd has an ERA of 2.58, in the best nine, of his last ten starts.

So, esteemed blogger, who should get the call from Clearwater?
I'd recall Naylor to make the start for Reading, on Wednesday, on six days rest.
I'd recall Velasquez to make the start for Reading, on Thursday, on five days rest.
(The R-Phils never beat the New Britain Rock Cats, so they might as well try some different starters against them, in Naylor and Velasquez.)
Mike Stutes would be pushed back to Friday, facing 1st place Connecticut, on seven days' rest.
Vance Worley, pitching on five days' rest, would split the Saturday doubleheader, with Yohan Flande.
Alex Concepcion would return to the Reading bullpen.
Mike Cisco (6.41 ERA/519 FIP in five AA starts) would return to Clearwater, after making the start for Reading on Tuesday.
Naylor and Velasquez would assume the roster spots vacated by Drabek and Cisco.

Clay Condrey and Antonio Bastardo are scheduled for rehab appearances on Monday, with the GCL Phillies (Rookie). They are getting closer. With no setbacks, and two (or three) more rehab appearances (in AA/AAA?), we might see them with the parent club next week.

J.C. Romero might long toss, at some point in the near future. Starting to look like Eyre and Bastardo will be the (only) lefties in the postseason bullpen.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA) lost to the Syracuse SkyChiefs on Sunday, 3-1. A bunch of non-prospects, playing out the string, and hoping to become Phillies (MLB) on Tuesday.
I find the SkyChiefs' logo to be aesthetically displeasing.

The Reading Phillies lost both games of a doubleheader on Sunday, 1-0 and 5-2, to the Bowie Baysox. Two very disappointing seven-inning losses for the R-Phils.
In the completion of Saturday's suspended game, Chance Chapman (3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB/4 K) and Scott Mathieson (2 IP, 4 K) shut down Bowie. But Reading was held to five singles, and the inside-the-park homer allowed by Brett Myers was the game's only run.
The R-Phils were also held to only five hits (all singles) in the second game. Two games, fourteen innings, zero extra-base hits for Reading.
Starter Vance Worley was ineffective, pitching four and two-thirds innings, and allowing four runs (four hits, five walks/four whiffs). His record dropped to 7-11, with a 5.22 ERA. Worley is now 1-5, with a 7.44 ERA, after the All-Star break. In his last ten games, Worley is 2-6, with an 8.15 ERA. Perhaps Worley needs to be shut down also, as he is nearing 150 IP, after pitching 69 in 2008.

The Clearwater Threshers (A) beat the Daytona Cubs on Sunday, 4-2. Edgar Garcia got the victory, surrendering only a single run, in six and one-third innings (four hits, one walk/four whiffs). Tyson Brummett pitched one and two-thirds scoreless innings, reducing his ERA with Clearwater to only 9.00.

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