Is There A Doctor In The House?
Ryan Howard's injury-plagued season is also over. No, he didn't aggravate the Achilles heel injury that sidelined him until July. This time he dropped a batting weight on his foot, breaking a toe. If that circle from the back to the front of his size 15 foot (guessing here) isn't a leading candidate for poster injury for the 2012 Phils, I don't know what is.
About the only excitement remaining with four games to play out is whether or not Michael Martinez will end up hitting his weight. As of this morning, his avoirdupois leads his average .176 to .173. It doesn't appear there are enough AB's looming to get his average below .100. Too bad. It would make a nice storyline in a season with precious few of interest.
Kevin Frandsen may be the most consistent sub ever to be ruled out for more playing time six months in advance of the next season. All the career minor leaguer has done is bat well over .300, field decently (at best) and play the last few weeks with a stress fracture in his leg. For all that he gets a shot at a bench position next year. True, he doesn't have the power numbers or flashy glove normally associated with the better third basemen, but with so many other holes to fill, are the Phillies really expecting a big name to land at the hot corner next season, especially with the abortive Chase Utley move off the table? On the other hand, he has hit well above his career average. He is, at best, an uninspiring option.
Phillipe Aumont has gotten a lot of work with the Phils since his September call-up and his performance has been consistent with his reputation in the minors: hard stuff, lots of strikeouts, lots of walks. It would seem to this non-expert that by this point in his career command is either there or not and never will change much. Sure, a pitcher can develop a mew pitch over time, but command is harder to acquire. Aumont isn't a Steve Dalkowski by any means, either in terms of speed or lack of command, but he is consistently erratic. When he overthrows his breaking stuff, the guys in the dugout should be on alert!
Josh Lindblom, picked up from the Dodgers at the trade deadline, is another inconsistent pitcher about whom the Phils remain optimistic. Like Aumont, he has good stuff, and like Aumont, he doesn't control it very well.
For all the arms that have paraded through the bullpen this year, very few answers have been provided. At least one good, consistent one is a high priority along with an outfielder. More on this after the patient is put out of his misery.