For a year and a half, Vance Worley has been a revelation for the Phillies.
Despite stuff that doesn’t overwhelm anybody, he’s been a pitcher who has shown an uncanny ability to throw quality strikes repeatedly so far in his young career.
However, it’s been a struggle of late for the 24-year-old. He has an ERA of 5.80 in his last 11 starts, and a 6.75 ERA in his last five.
So, what’s the problem? Is he hurt? Are his goggles defective? Has the league caught up to him? Or is he simply making mistakes?
Worley is pitching with calcium deposits, or “loose bodies” as it’s called by medical scienceticians, in the lining of his pitching elbow. He went on the disabled list back in May because of the problem, but is said by these same scienceticians to be pain-free. Worley also isn’t blaming his recent struggles on all these Lyndsey Lohans in his throwing arm (get it?… loose bodies?… Lohan?… yeah, I’ll go back to sleep now).
“It hasn’t affected me,” Worley said. “I’m just not getting pitches where I need to get them. It’s all about pitch location. That’s why I got beat tonight and pulled from the game. I don’t feel anything at all. I’m just having a tough stretch.”
Worley lasted just 4 1/3 innings in last night’s 9-5 loss to New York in 10 innings, giving up 9 hits and 4 earned runs. The bullpen didn’t help, allowing the Mets to tie the game at 5 in the eighth with a run off of Bastardo and Lindblom, and then four in the disastrous 10th inning, all given up by B.J. Rosenberg.
The bullpen’s bad night came after a string of solid performances in which they had gone 15 straight innings without giving up a run.
Offensively, the Phillies got on the board quickly thanks to a first inning grand slam by Ryan Howard that staked Worley to a 4-1 lead. Chase Utley later followed with a solo shot of his own to put the Phils up 5-4.
It really is great to see Howard and Utley both hitting the ball with power. Howard’s shot was a blast to right-center field, while Utley’s was an absolute bomb to right. Both are very encouraging signs that maybe each could return to their power-hitting ways in 2013.
But last night was about Worley and his injured elbow that doesn’t hurt. And if that doesn’t make any sense to you, you’re not alone.
Where It All Went Wrong
In the eighth inning, where so much of this 2012 season has gone wrong. Josh Lindblom and Antonio Bastardo teamed up to give up the tying run, sending the contest into extra innings.
Most Attractive Play
This play by Jimmy Rollins, a tough, yet smooth, back-handed catch of a foul pop along the third base line that was a lot harder than it looked. It’s possible the ball could have dropped fair had Rollins not caught it. Despite his low on base percentage, Rollins is still a plus-defender in the field.
Howard and Utley, who are starting to show signs that their power may be back for good. This would be incredibly good news for 2013. If only they can stay healthy between now and then.
Mets catcher Kelly Shoppach, who went 3-5 with 3 RBIs, including the game-tying double in the eighth off Bastardo and a game-clinching two-run blast in the 10th that put the ballgame out of reach.