You probably suspected that the Phillies' pitching was not as good in 2013 than it has been in other years. Today, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly passed along a rather alarming stat. The Phillies pitching has walked many more players than in recent memory.
The big-league club, after recording the fewest walks in the majors in 2012 (409) and 2011 (404), saw its walks total balloon to 506, the 12th most in the majors, in 2013. The team’s WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) was 1.37. Only four teams in the majors had a worse WHIP. Two years after having the best ERA in the majors (3.02), the Phils had the 27th worst ERA (4.32) in baseball in 2013.
I think rather than worrying about a full-scale pitching staff, we should worry about some key pitchers and how their walks compared to previous years. Here are the totals of some of the big name pitchers in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively:
Cliff Lee - 42, 28, 32
Cole Hamels - 44, 52, 50
Roy Halladay - 35, 36, 36 (Note: 77 fewer innings in 2012, 171 fewer in 2013)
Kyle Kendrick - 30, 49, 47 (Note: Kendrick spent some of 2011 in the bullpen)
Jonathan Papelbon - (With Boston in 2011), 18, 11 / .178 walks per inning
Antonio Bastardo - 26, 26, 21 (With 51 games missed) / .492 walks per inning
I think it is safe to say that the players the Phillies relied on are mostly the same, with the exception of Roy Halladay. Halladay essentially averaged one walk per start during his dominant 2011. In 2013, Halladay averaged almost three. But, Halladay himself cannot be the problem.
Here are some of the culprits. A lot of it was the bullpen:
Chad Durbin - 9 walks / .563 walks per inning
Phillippe Aumont - 13 walks / .681 walks per inning
J.C. Ramirez - 15 walks / .625 walks per inning
Jake Diekman - 16 walks / .417 walks per inning
Zach Miner - 17 walks / .593 walks per inning
Luis Garcia - 23 walks / .734 walks per inning
Tyler Cloyd - 25 walks / .414 walks per inning
Justin De Fratus - 25 walks / .536 walks per inning
Ethan Martin - 26 walks / .650 walks per inning
The Phillies' bullpen pitched too much. And with those players on the roster they walked more than ever.
2011 - 183
2012 - 178
2013 - 227
2011 - 221
2012 - 231
2013 - 279
2011 - 412
2012 - 418
2013 - 474 2/3
2011 - 1064 2/3
2012 - 1033
2013 - 962 2/3
Walks per inning:
2011 - Starters .207; Relievers .444
2012 - Starters .224; Relievers .425
2013 - Starters .236; Relievers .589
The starters jump has a lot to do with Roy Halladay. The fewer innings pitched and the jump in walks can be directly traced to Halladay's absence and starts made by the Tyler Cloyds of the team. Jonathan Pettibone's number of walks was comparable to that of Vance Worley in 2012. Cliff Lee continues to issue very few walks. Lee averaged .144 walks per inning in 2013. Cole Hamels walked .227 per inning, a decent number. Kyle Kendrick walked .258 per inning in 2013, below the starters' average.
So yes, with three aces, the walk numbers will be much lower. When you have two aces, an injured Roy Halladay, Kyle Kendrick, and a question mark beyond that (John Lannan and company), the Phillies walks will go up. The best way to combat this? Somehow find a starting pitcher closer to what Roy Halladay gave the Phillies in 2010. Those 170 innings he threw fewer in 2013 than in 2014 and not being his dominant self, yes, the Phillies would indeed walk a hundred more.