Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Not Quite An Embarrassment of Riches After All

So much for what to do with all of those quality starters.

Vicente Padilla’s 2005 debut wouldn’t have had to share top billing for the disaster du jour with Gavin Floyd’s inaugural outing as a relief pitcher if both of them hadn’t given up eight runs. Padilla might get the nod only because he allowed five home runs while Floyd held the Mets to a mere two.

It is difficult to assess Padilla’s performance given that this was his first big league start since suffering biceps tendonitis. Watching catcher Mike Lieberthal set up on the outside only to have Padilla come inside clearly indicated he lacked command at this stage. He also didn’t appear to have that much zip on his fastball, when he threw it. One start, no matter how terrible, provides insufficient data with which to evaluate Padilla’s recovery. The next start should tell all of us a lot more.

Gavin Floyd’s performance was another matter. We can endlessly debate whether or not it was a wise decision to relegate the youngster to the bullpen (I vote an unequivocal “no”), but two things are indisputable. One, this is his second straight poor performance, marked in large part by a complete lack of command of all of his pitches. Second, Floyd’s mechanics and delivery look all screwed up to this observer. He seems to be laboring in his delivery, pushing the ball up to the plate and following through in an awkward manner. In sum, he looks uncomfortable on the mound and the results show it. On the job training is bad enough; working fitfully out of the bullpen rather than on a predictable every fifth day is worse. The prediction here is that Floyd will be sent down to AAA where he can work regularly and out of the glare of the big-league spotlight. Let’s just hope he sees the “demotion” for what it should be, namely, a chance to gain more experience. The Phillies continue to be lousy at managing players’ psyches.


Jason Weitzel said...

You and I are really on the same page this season, Tom. I know it's early, but I'd be curious to read your initial thoughts on Manuel.

Tom Goodman said...

Jason: I haven't really formed much of an opinion of him as yet. I don't care for the platoon at second base though the two principals involved don't appear to be too upset about it. I don't like the decision regarding Gavin Floyd one bit, but I suspect Ed Wade is behind that one. I cannot fault Manuel for the lousy outings by Tim Worrell either. I haven't seen too many decisions yet that make me question his approach. I think we need more time to evaluate his impact.