April 20, 2005

Phils-Mets series recap

The 2005 season premiere of Vicente Padilla, and the bullpen debut of Gavin Floyd, unraveled into a complete debacle as the Mets split their road series with the Phils 1-1.

Spliting two at home to the Mets may not seem like the end of the world, but it’s a loss anyway you shake it, and a situation the Phils must exploit in order to gain ground in the NL East rat race. The Phils may not face worse pitching within the division than the two stiffs they saw in this series: Kaz Ishii and Victor Zambrano.

Vicente Padilla, giving up five homers and eight runs in his three inning dud of a debut, pitched like a guy that missed most of the spring. In addition to working through arm problems, he’ll need to adjust his game and get his changeup working since he can no longer deliver his fastball with the same velocity. He could learn something from Jon Lieber on how to get batters out without a blazing fastball.

Righting the Padilla Flotilla could take lots of time, coaching and mentoring. Vicente is a concern, and at this point, somewhat of a resurrection project as his calling card was his dancing heater.

In his relief, Gavin Floyd wasn’t any better, giving up a solo homer to Jose Reyes and a grand slam to David Wright, making it seven Met home runs for the game, setting a new club record.

Floyd was so rattled in his three painful innings of work, he even surrendered a triple to the pitcher Zambrano. His final line was very close to Padilla’s: eight runs, eight of them earned, three walks, God have mercy.

Saving Gavin Floyd
If Floyd’s performance resembled a rookie who was pitching on short rest, coming off a game he got shelled, and working from the bullpen probably for the first time since t-ball, that’s because it was.

The question now is how to get Floyd back on track, because they’ve got kind of a potential mess on their hands and are in danger of spoiling a good thing. His biggest visible problem last night was location, but his face told the story: He looked like a ghost - scared and lost.

Maybe time is the answer, but the more they work on Floyd the reliever the less time he spends as Floyd the starter. His confidence entering last night was probably shaken, and now, it has to be shot.

There won’t be many more blowout games where Floyd can get low pressure work from the pen, so what do they do? What happens if he gets bombed again?

The best thing that could happen if Floyd stays up is if Padilla says “Put me back on the DL. I’m not ready.” Then, move Floyd back to starter and let Todd Pratt catch him on the road. The next road game is in six days, Monday at Washington.

Gavin Floyd poll results
Fourty percent of BPF readers taking part in a recent poll said the Phillies would have been best served by keeping rookie pitcher Gavin Floyd in the starting rotation and moving an existing starter to the bullpen when Vicente Padilla returned from the DL.

Thirty readers took part in the poll that ended before Tuesday night’s pitching meltdown against the Mets.

The Phillies final decision, as it played out in grizzly detail, was to move Floyd to the bullpen, the option that received the second-lowest amount of votes (4) on our poll.

Here are the complete results:
-40% Keep him in the starting rotation and move an existing starter to the bullpen, send someone to Triple-A
-23% Keep him in the rotation and trade an existing starter
-17% Send him to Triple-A
-13% Move him to the bullpen, send someone to Triple-A
-7% Keep him in the rotation to pitch in a six man rotation, send someone to Triple-A:


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