Vance Worley live game log

Hi all. I figured that it would be interesting to do a live blog of Vance Worley’s start today, his first MLB start. We got a very brief glimpse of Worley a while back, as he pitched 1 inning in relief, but we’ll get a chance to see more of what he can do today in his first big league start. Worley has been solid this season at AA/AAA, logging 158 IP with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. His 6.78 K/9 isn’t eye opening, but its passable, and he’s limited his walks, with a solid 2.62 BB/9 rate. Check below the fold to find out what I’ll be watching for.

There are a few things I always look for when watching any starting pitcher.

* Command. Is the pitcher able to throw the ball where the catcher puts the glove? Velocity is great, its important, but hitting spots is more important.
* Velocity. Its important. The adrenaline will no doubt by pumping, so it will be interesting to see where he comes out throwing, and then where he settles in velocity wise.
* Delivery. Is his delivery under control? Is his release point consistent with all of his pitches? Does he throw across his body or cause any additional stress with his landing/follow through?

I’ll update this post as the game progresses, use the comments to discuss! Im using Gameday for all velocity readings, I don’t trust the TV gun

1:05 PM – Its go time. Logan Morrison is a guy he has to be careful with, though the Marlins big power all comes from the right side, and Worley has been better against RHB in his career.

First Inning – Fastball is 88-91. His two decent sliders came in at 82, he overthrew one at 84 in the dirt for a wild pitch. He strikes out Hanley Ramirez on a high fastball at 90. He seems to create some deception in his delivery. He started Uggla off with a curveball, which has a more pronounced 11-5 break than his slider, but still came in at 82 mph. Worley gets squeezed on a fastball on a 1-1 count that looked a strike, and then Uggla rips an 84 mph slider into LF. He then saws off Gaby Sanchez with an 88 mph fastball in on the hands.

So 88-91 with his fastball. His sliders with sharper bite have been 82, he’s overthrown 2 of them at 84, one of them hanging that Uggla ripped for a base hit. His release point looks consistent, but he’s not getting the high strike early, which could be problematic. Only 1 curveball so far.

Second Inning - An 89 mph fastball down the middle, and Chad Tracy pummels it. Less than optimal location. He breaks out the slow curve to Stanton at 75 mph and throws it for a strike, then shatters Stanton’s bat with a 90 mph fastball in on his hands. Good location on an 83 mph slider to get Davis to bounce back to the mound. He gets the pitcher to weakly ground out on another curveball, this one firmer at 79 mph.

So, two mistakes thus far, the hanging slider to Uggla and the fat fastball to Tracy, but he settled down after the HR and had a quick inning. When you don’t have elite stuff, commanding your fastball down in the zone is crucial.

Third Inning – Nice sequence to Bonerface, getting him with a 92 mph fastball on the inside corner which gameday called a “cutter”. His fastball now appears to be ticking up slightly, as he’s more 91-92. His first changeup at 85 misses low. He doubles up with a changeup and takes one off the leg. He starts Hanley with a slider outside at 84 mph. Another slider lined into LF for Hanley. Not terrible location outside, but too far up in the zone. He’s throwing a lot more offspeed stuff the 2nd time through the order it would seem. He gets Uggla to hit one off the end of the bat on a looping curveball inside. Dangerous pitch, but Uggla was fooled. Now getting squeezed a bit at the bottom of the zone, but gets a called strike on a nice tight slider at 81 mph. Puts a high fastball with a bit more movement past Sanchez to get the strikeout.

Its interesting that he’s getting squeezed low in the zone, as someone without overpowering velocity, that’s where he has to pitch to be successful. He’s at 51 pitches already, but did a nice job limiting the damage so far. His command has been average.

Fourth Inning – Worley now throwing more curves, which is promising. He gets Tracy to waive through a 90 mph fastball well out of the zone high. Gotta think the ball is tougher to pick up out of his hand. Stanton turns on an inside fastball and this time pulls it into LF for a hit. Davis lines a hanging curve into LF for a hit. Worley’s command not sharp this inning. He gets Bonifacio to ground out sharply on the first pitch, a curveball, to avoid damage.

64 pitches through 4, 42 strikes and 22 balls. A good ratio, but his command hasn’t been sharp

Fifth Inning – Third time through the order, should be interesting to see how his approach changes. He gets Morrison to fly out on the first pitch, a 91 mph fastball. He gets ahead of Hanley 0-2, then just misses with a 93 mph fastball on the outside corner. Gameday says that pitch was on the black, a borderline call. He comes back at 2-2 and hits the same spot, this time Ramirez foul tips it into the glove for a strikeout. He continues to not get the borderline low strike, which isn’t surprising for a rookie. He hits 94 mph on a fastball to Uggla, but misses high and away. He comes back to get him with a slider, though it was a bit of a hanger. First 1-2-3 of the day.

76 pitches through 5, 49 strikes and 27 balls. He seems to have settled down a bit and he’s commanding the ball a bit better, not missing out over the plate.

And that’s it for Worley. Overall impressions were mildly positive. He made 2 mistakes and gave up 2 runs because of it. His fastball was just average or a tick below today, and his curve was solid. His slider was a tick below average, as he didn’t really locate it well, and he threw only a few changeups, leaving them up in the zone. All in all, a pretty decent performance.

41 thoughts on “Vance Worley live game log

  1. For Worley
    48.9% groundball rate on balls in play at LHV
    46.2% groundball rate at Reading and his career rate is sitting around 46%.

    Most of the pitching prospects the Phils have tend to be pretty decent with their ground-ball rates… JC Ramirez being one of the extreme exceptions since he’s sitting around 37% which explains why he gives up so many gopher balls.

  2. From what I’ve heard, he has two fastballs he works with, the one he’s been using and a faster one with less movement.

  3. Bad pitch to Tracy but great composure to get the side. Feel more confident with him in there, than with Kendrick.

  4. Hopefully he can get a shut down inning his next time out to keep his confidence up, he looks alright out there so far. It would help to get some runs and it looks like the Phils should be able to get a few off of the Marlins guy, but who knows.

  5. A 90mph FB right down the middle is a batter’s delight. At least he responded well from it and settled down.

    I can’t believe this hack pitcher for the Marlins is doing good though as his AAA stats as a starter were not good at all.

  6. It would be nice if the offense decided to show up. Your pitcher is battling to keep this a low scoring game and I’m sure he would appreciate some run support. Its a shame that this offense competes when it feels like it.

  7. “I can’t believe this hack pitcher for the Marlins is doing good though as his AAA stats as a starter were not good at all.”

    It’s the same G-D thing every single time with the Phillies. Whenever I see a scrub pitcher or a new guy from AAA, regardless of how bad he is, my reaction is “we are totally screwed today.” It’s like clockwork and it suggests to me that there is really something wrong with the team – like cockiness or lack of focus. I don’t get it. It should not happen yet, every time, it seems like it does.

  8. Maybe one more inning. Decent outing. Will somebody with a bat please wake up?
    Command might be off a bit but he’s kept his composure all game. I’m encouraged.

  9. Not too bad. I’m giving Worley a partial mulligan for his command problems today, as the ump seemed to be squeezing the zone and he may have been nervous. His command is normally fairly strong.

    What I’m saying is, not bad and I’d like to see another start.

  10. Worley pitched well considering the circumstances. The Marlins have a very potent offense led by Ramirez, Uggla, Morrison, etc and he was able to minimize the damage. If you consider the fact the Marlins hammered the Braves pitching, this was a strong outing. The objective of every pitcher is to keep the game competitive and give your team a chance to win. He accomplished the task; unfortunately, the offense didn’t get the message.

  11. Maybe the Phils caught a break…looks like a sniper picked off the the Marlins pitcher as he hurt himself on a base hit. The kid (well not really as he is 28) pitched well.

  12. The ump is definitely calling a small strike zone today. I keep mlb.com’s gameday open for speeds to see the pitchFX and both starting pitchers had a number of strikes called balls by the umpire.

  13. Catch 22
    How long have the Phils been losing to first time pitchers. Answer FOREVER

    I liked that Worley got stronger ,the longer he pitched. He might of been tipping his
    breaking ball. There was a mound conference that seemed to pay off.

  14. Worley did a good job today but you can’t win with 1 hit usually. On the other side; Mike Zagurski probably destroyed his future with the Phillies and will not be protected.

  15. I was at the game today. Worley looked shakey in the beginning but he really settle down. I was livid when Manual pulled him for Dominic Brown for no reason. Anyone with a brain known Brown is cold right now, primarily because he doesn’t start enough. He’s not a pinch hitter. So pulling a pitcher who is cruising for a cold hitter when you’re in a double header and need bullpen help is moronic. Charlie also pulled the only guy with a hit for a pinch hitter – which is also moronic. He should have pulled Howard if he wanted to get the message across.

    All in all, Worley looked good, much better than Kendrick, and he deserves a second chance at going longer – and at getting some hits behind him.

  16. The way he pitched the last inning I never suspected that Worley would be pulled.
    Is this Charlie’s way of protecting KK and Blanton. KK is usually down two runs by the third batter.

  17. I think with a 10-11 man BP and no runs Charlie was hoping to get some offense and that’s why he pulled Worley. I think he deserves another look.

  18. I think Worley flashed some ability at moments but his fairly flat fastball is not a plus pitch by any means. He looked like a decent 5th starter/middle reliever. Not a bad upside to have. Guys like that (see Durbin, Chad) can be very valuable to a good team.

  19. I was at the game today too. Vance pitched OK…not great…not bad. Good enough to win if the offense had helped him with a few runs.

    OTOH, Zagurski looked awful and he let the game get WAY out of hand. You could tell Charlie wanted nothing to do with using his BP regulars.

  20. What do you mean ok? Two runs in five innings is great! He was cruising, so odds are he’d have given up two runs in 7 innings. I mean it is speculation, but he really settled down.

  21. NEPP
    Worley’s fastball seemed effective high out of the zone ala Happ. His breaking ball got lots better after he killed the butterflies.

  22. Catch, the Yankees have the same problem with a pitcher they never saw before. The better hitting teams usually don’t do well against someone they never saw but I bet if he ever pitches against the Phils again he gets smoked.

  23. i thought he had a very effective curveball and a very straight fastball. meaning, if he misses with his fastball, he will get into trouble. as much as i want him to be better than Kendrick, i am not too hopeful. he’s just newer, which may be enough to steal a win out of the 5 spot. we need to address this spot in the off season. hopefully Cosart and Colvin (or even May) can be ready in 2 years.

  24. I would like to see Worley get at least one other start in Kendrick’s spot. If I recall, the Phillies dropped Kendrick from the rotation late in the 2008 season, and Happ got some starts. Time for history to repeat itself.

  25. I think we have to remind ourselves that guys like Worley, Bastardo, Zagurski, and Mathieson have been visualizing their September debuts all year, even if they were up earlier. Give 1-2 games to get the butterflies out, please.

  26. One game tells us little one way or the other.

    I think Worley’s ceiling is a back of the rotation starter, but next year I’d like to see him have a shot at that 5th spot over Kendrick. This year … it doesn’t matter what we think. I can’t imagine the Phillies’ making that change at this point in the season, and I doubt it would make much difference anyway. Neither one of them is going to be starting in the post season.

  27. The Phillies have virtually no institutional loyalty to Kendrick. If they think Worley will be better, he’ll get the start and, if he does well, he’ll keep getting the ball. The fact that there is no good book on Worley, probably validates this approach.

  28. Catch,

    I agree about the lack of institutional loyalty to Kendrick, and probably even as to the fact that starting Worley would be the better option.* But the Phillies are conservative when it comes to inserting rookies into pennant races. Maybe too conservative, though I think it’s less of a problem than do some people on this site.

    *We’re talking 4 starts. Even if Worley is better, how much better, and how much of a difference would it make over 4 starts? Okay, they are in a close pennant race & the value of a win is magnified. Still ….

  29. “The way he pitched the last inning I never suspected that Worley would be pulled.
    Is this Charlie’s way of protecting KK and Blanton.” Not sure exactly what you mean by this, nowheels, but it sure sounds like the fixin’s for some of that coo coo stew you’re always cooking up. Remember that Blanton 22-14 with a better-than-league-average ERA during his three seasons in Philly. If Worley ever becomes as effective a big league pitcher as Blanton, I think Cholly would turn cartwheels from foul pole to foul pole.

  30. “If Worley ever becomes as effective a big league pitcher as Blanton, I think Cholly would turn cartwheels from foul pole to foul pole.”

    True, of course. I mostly ignore nowheels’ odd Blanton obsession, but I’ll put it this way: Worley probably has less than a 5% chance of getting as many career wins as Blanton has right now, and probably about a 2% chance at best of overall having a better career. And I LIKE Worley (in the sense that I think he can be an effective, albeit back of rotation, major league starting pitcher, and would like to see him get a shot at that role).

  31. Isn’t this an interesting trip down memory lane. You have all the usual players including Larry’s trademark pragmatism.

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