A hodge-podge of stuff today:
1) Emailer Estep Nagy checked in late last night wondering how Cliff Lee's performance has stacked up against that of Roy Halladay since the trade. Coincidentally, both men were in action last night, with Halladay allowing two runs on 11 hits in six innings of a 10-4 win over the Yankees and Lee pitching a complete game shut-out in a 5-0 win over the Nationals.
Before we look at the breakdown, a quick High Cheese Trivia Question, to be answered at the end of the post -- What is Roy Halladay's given name?
Lee since July 30: 9 GS, 7-2, 2.67 ERA, 64.0 IP .246 BAA, .272 OBP, 4 HR, 60 SO, 9 BB, 59 H, 3 CG
Halladay since July 30: 9 GS, 4-5, 3.82 ERA, 66 IP, .285 BAA, .310 OBP, 10 HR, 60 SO, 10 BB, 3 CG
But keep in mind that seven of Halladay's nine starts have come against three of the four top-scoring teams in baseball (Yankees three times, Red Sox twice, Rays twice). And eight of his 10 home runs have been allowed against those three teams, all of whom are in the top five in baseball in that department.
Lee, meanwhile, has shut down the Rockies (6th in RS), but also has pitched against the Giants (26th in RS), Nationals twice (21st in RS), Astros (25th), Braves (19th), Mets (23rd), Diamondbacks (20th) and Cubs (22nd).
2) Another e-mailer, George Devenny, asked for an early prediction of the postseason roster. Until now, I've resisted the urge to broach the subject. There are simply too many unknowns at this point in time, particularly concerning the statuses of lefty relievers Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero.
But since I was asked:
Definite Position (13): 2B Chase Utley, SS Jimmy Rollins, CF Shane Victorino, LF Raul Ibanez, RF Jayson Werth, C Carlos Ruiz, 1B Ryan Howard, 3B Pedro Feliz, OF Matt Stairs, C Paul Bako, OF Ben Francisco, 3B Greg Dobbs, INF Eric Bruntlett
Definite Pitchers (8): LHP Cole Hamels, LHP Cliff Lee, RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Pedro Martinez, LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Brett Myers, RHP Chan Ho Park
That's 21 players who, according to my count, are stone-cold locks for the postseason roster. Although Eric Bruntlett hasn't had a plate appearance since Aug. 25 in Pittsburgh, he has five hits in his last 10 at-bats and proved his importance last season as a base-runner. He just hasn't had much of a chance to pinch-hit thanks to the success of the Phillies' starters down the stretch and the presence of Ben Francisco.
That leaves four open roster spots for the following pool of players:
RHP Brad Lidge, RHP Tyler Walker, LHP Scott Eyre, LHP J.C. Romero, RHP Clay Condrey, RHP Chad Durbin, LHP Jack Taschner, LHP Jamie Moyer
As you can see, the Phillies will be faced with some tough decisions. At least two pitchers who were on last season's postseason roster will not be there - at least to start - this time around. If the postseason started tomorrow, I expect the Phillies would keep Lidge, Walker, Durbin and Condrey. Moyer would be headed to Clearwater to stay sharp in case he is needed to fill in as a starter. J.A. Happ would slide into Moyer's role as a long man, plus would provide the team's only left-handed option in the bullpen. Would the Phillies really head into the playoffs without an experienced lefty reliever? At this point, they would probably have to. But again, there is a lot of baseball left to play. If Walker continues to pitch like he has -- 14 consecutive scoreless innings and counting -- I see no way the Phillies could keep him off the roster. That would likely be bad news for Durbin and Condrey, seeing as though Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ can pitch multiple innings, and Park and two of Lidge, Myers, Walker and Madson can be your righthander in the seventh and eighth, depending on who is closing.
A lot could depend on who the Phillies face. For example, Clay Condrey has allowed five hits in 33 at-bats against the Rockies current roster. Todd Helton is 1-for-7 lifetime against him while Brad Hawpe, Yorvit Torrealba, Chris Iannetta and Troy Tulowitzki are a combined 0-for-14. But the Dodgers' current roster has hit a robust .429 off of Condrey in his career including Matt Kemp's 7-for-8, Rafael Furcal's 3-for-5, Andre Ethier's 3-for-8 and Juan Pierre's 4-for-8.
Walker, meanwhile, has a .275 BAA against the Dodgers (0-for-12 against Juan Pierre, Russell Martin, Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Casey Blake, but 8-for-14 against Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Orlando Hudson) and .196 against the Rockies (4-for-26 against Brad Hawpe, Clint Barmes, Garrett Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Spillborghs, 3-for-9 with a HR against Todd Helton). Looking forward, Walker is 2-for-12 against the Cardinals Matt Holliday.
Long story short, it's way too early to make any projections.
Even if the Phillies clinch early, the battle in the bullpen will provide a certain level of intrigue through the close of the regular season. If one, or both, of Romero or Eyre is healthy, it will make things really interesting. The Phillies really need one of those two, or else they will be forced to either use Happ as their lone lefty out of the 'Pen, or add Taschner - who isn't a true situational lefty - or rookie Sergio Escalona. The Phillies could still call up LHP Antonio Bastardo.
3) The Phillies' magic number is 12. They are a game behind the Cardinals for second place in the National League. They are seven games ahead of the Marlins, 7.5 ahead of the Braves.
4) High Cheese Trivia Answer: Roy Hallday was born Harry Leroy Halladay.