Sunday, May 28, 2006

How Much Longer?

How much longer are we, to say nothing of his teammates, going to have to endure the Gavin Floyd experiment? I thought the minor leagues were the place where pitchers learned the basics of their craft.

For the umpteenth time, Floyd gave up a home run in the opening frame and before half the promenading fans had taken their seats at CBP, the Phillies were down 2-0. For the remainder of his brief and untidy tenure on the mound, Floyd threw (not pitched, mind you) in trouble, allowing 11 base runners in 4.1 innings. At no time was his performance more baffling and infuriating than when he had Carlos Lee 0-2 only to try and finish him off with a fastball, the one that has absolutely no movement on it. The results were predictable. Major league hitters can handle the fastball, especially one that arrives in the low ‘90’s and is belt high and right down Broadway. Maybe we should also blame Floyd’s personal catcher, Sal Fasano, the guy who is allegedly a steadying influence on and all-around cheerleader for the fragile right-hander.

Floyd may yet develop into the pitcher the Phillies envisioned when they drafted him number one, but it won’t be any time soon and it may never be here. Frankly, if the Phillies insist on more on-the-job training for young hurlers at the major league level, why not bring up Giao Gonzalez? Could he be any worse? And make absolutely no mistake about it; the Phillies are experimenting with Floyd. Charlie Manuel said as much as week or so ago when he decided to leave Floyd in to see how he would handle a tough situation.

Enough about Floyd. Literally.

Then there is Ryan Franklin. In his case we are far beyond on-the-job training. Instead, we are witnessing regression to the mean. Franklin arrived in town with a reputation as a guy who gives up home runs and fly balls. For a while he toyed with us, but lately he has lived up to his advance notices, yielding back-breaking home runs to Jose Reyes against the Mets at midweek and a devastating pair of home runs to the Brewers in last night’s latest come-from-behind collapse.

From the opening frame last night the Phils seemed poised to drop their fifth straight game to Milwaukee, trailing 2-0, 2-1, 4-1, 4-2, and 6-4 before Ryan Howard delivered a dramatic game-tying two run homer in the seventh inning. But Manuel decided to bring in Franklin and with two outs (same scenario as against the Mets), the right-hander gave up two long home runs and it was all over.

Following the second home run, I announced to my party I’d had enough and was leaving, and since I was the one who drove to the game, they pretty much had to fall in line. No one balked.


Tom Goodman said...

Rather than post this in the piece above I also wanted to mention that Floyd and Franklin wasted a nice effort by Jimmy Rollins who returned to his leadoff spot and produced 2 doubles, a home run and a stolen base. Just the sort of spark the Phillies must have from J-Roll if they are to compete. But Jimmy can't pitch.

Aaron Rowand also received a very moving standing ovation from the crowd when he came to bat the first time. Throughout the night Rowand showed absolutely no signs of rust. He was involved in several outfield plays and throws, all of which he handled in his usual flawless manner, and though he went hitless, he stung the ball hard his last two AB's.

Dick Richards said...

How much more clear could it be that the difference between 13-1 and 2-9 is the pitching. I'm no great fan of Cholly's, but I do feel sorry for him, having to send Floyd and Franklin out there.

Tom Goodman said...

Frankly, I feel sorry for him having to send out Lieber and Lidle, too.

There has to be a reason why every pundit worth his laptop picked these guys to finish in the middle of the pack based on their pitching. They are a long way from fixing the holes in their rotation and bullpen and the faint signs of hope, aka Cole Hamels, don't appear to be nearly enough to put them on the right track.

Tom G said...

I forgot you were going to that game, I'm glad you got to see Rowand return.

I could not be more disappointed in the way things are going for this team as a whole, and part of that is Gavin Floyd's fastball. It is 90 at most and has almost no movement on it at all.

Dick Richards said...

I wouldn't feel sorry for Cholly sending Leiber and Lidle out as his #3, #4 or #5. So...who fills the two or three top spots along with Myers? All he has there now, or for the near future, are a bunch of "maybes" - Floyd, Hamels, Madson, Brito, Wolf.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I really am looking forward to Lieberthal's return.

RickSchuBlues said...

The sooner this organization admits there is nothing promising about Gavin Floyd's future, the better. It's like watching a doomed couple keep trying to make it work only to have it keep turning inevitably ugly. It's painful to watch. It's not going to happen. End it already. Either throw up the white flag or send him packing.

Tom Goodman said...

Jason Weitzel put it best yesterday: Madson's start was the most important of Floyd's season. If Hamels returns soon, Floyd has to be the odd man out at this point following Madsson's last two performances.