If you look at the peripherals, there aren't many relief pitchers more ideal for the Phillies than Astros righthander Wilton Lopez. He strikes batters out (7.3 per nine innings last season), does not walk any (1.1 BB/9) and has one of the better ground ball rates int he league (1.22 per flyball last year, nearly a half a ground ball better than the league average).
Lopez is also 29 years old and under club control for the next three seasons, so you can understand why, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Phillies have finalized a deal to acquire the right-hander.
The Phillies lost 12 games in which they carried a lead into the eighth inning. They finished seven games behind St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot in the NL. In 2011, they lost 5 games in which they carried a lead into the eighth inning. You do the math.
Lopez recorded 10 saves and nine holds with three blown saves last season. He allowed 32 percent of his inherited runners to score, which is slightly above league average, although a drastic improvement over the 24-of-44 mark that the triumvirate of Michael Schwimer, Josh Lindblom and Chad Qualls combined to surrender.
Details on the move are still slim. A Sebastian Valle for Lopez deal would make sense for both sides, but that is just speculation. We will update as we get them. But if Lopez is indeed in the fold, it will give the Phillies a tremendous boost in the eighth inning, where they struggled mightily last season.