Released Durbin: 'My lack of production is disappointing'

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Released Durbin: 'My lack of production is disappointing'

The Phillies gave Chad Durbin two months to get going. It didn’t happen. On Friday, the team released the veteran reliever and added lefty Joe Savery to the bullpen.

“Chad was a professional, a great ambassador for baseball,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “But it got down to we wanted to do something with our pitching. We wanted to try to get better.”

Durbin, with a 9.00 ERA in 16 appearances, was an obvious cut. The right-hander was a key member of the Phillies’ World Series-winning team in 2008. He moved on after contributing to another World Series team in 2009 and a division champion in 2010 and returned as a free agent this winter.

“We signed him to give us a veteran presence in a young bullpen,” assistant GM Scott Proefrock said. “Unfortunately he never got into a rhythm and we just decided to go with younger guys. He had a tremendous amount of success here and had a lot to do with the successes this organization has had for the last seven years. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Durbin, 35, returned the sentiment.

“I am grateful for the opportunities the organization gave me this year,” he told Leslie Gudel of Comcast SportsNet. “My lack of production is disappointing on so many levels. Winning was and is the reason to play in Philadelphia. I wish everyone the best the rest of the season.”

The Phillies are on the hook for the remainder of Durbin’s $1.1 million salary.

Manuel said the release of Durbin wasn’t meant to send any messages to a struggling bullpen and an inconsistent team.

“We want to do things to make our bullpen better,” he said.

Savery was 3-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 18 games at Triple A. He allowed just 17 hits in 22 1/3 innings while walking 29 and striking out eight. Savery has been up and down twice this season. The Phillies seem ready to give him more of a look this time.

“He’ll get a chance,” Manuel said. “They say he’s been pitching real well.”

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts for 4th straight game, Andres Blanco gets night off

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts for 4th straight game, Andres Blanco gets night off

Following a 15-hit, seven-run effort from his team on Thursday afternoon that ended its nine-game losing streak, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin made three changes to his lineup for the series opener against the Giants in San Francisco on Friday night.

One of Mackanin's changes is enforced; with the Phillies shifting back to National League play, starter Zach Eflin hits ninth.

Ryan Howard, who filled the DH spot in Minnesota, plays first base and receives another start versus a righty, one in which he has nine career at-bats against (see game notes).

It marks Howard's fourth straight start. He's 3 for 9 over his last two games with a homer and two RBIs. Tommy Joseph is not in the lineup. He was a late scratch Thursday because of illness.

After starting in six straight games, Andres Blanco gets the night off. The extremely versatile Blanco was the Phillies' first baseman on Thursday.

Cameron Rupp, one of the Phillies' more productive hitters over their recent abysmal stretch, with two homers in his last two starts, comes back into the lineup for Carlos Ruiz.

Phillies lineup
1
. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Peter Bourjos, RF
9. Zach Eflin, P

Giants lineup
1
. Denard Span, CF
2. Joe Panik, 2B
3. Brandon Belt, 1B
4. Brandon Crawford, SS
5. Angel Pagan, LF
6. Gregor Blanco, LF
7. Conor Gillaspie, 3B
8. Trevor Brown, C
9. Jake Peavy, P

Phillies call up top minor-league reliever Edubray Ramos; Andrew Bailey to DL

Phillies call up top minor-league reliever Edubray Ramos; Andrew Bailey to DL

The Phillies' best minor-league reliever this season earned himself a promotion to the majors. The Phils on Friday called up right-hander Edubray Ramos and placed Andrew Bailey on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain.

Ramos, 23, had a 1.16 ERA in 38⅔ innings at Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley this season. He struck out 41 and walked just four. He was even better at Triple A than he was at Double A, allowing just one run in 23⅔ innings (0.38 ERA) for the IronPigs.

Ramos has a mid-90s fastball and a solid breaking ball. It will be interesting to see how he fares against major-league competition.

Bailey injured his hamstring on Wednesday covering first base. He stayed in the game to finish a clean inning against the Twins but limped off the field. Bailey has a 4.39 ERA for the Phillies in 26⅔ innings with 28 strikeouts.

Stumpf to rehab
Down in Clearwater, left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf will begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Stumpf, 25, was suspended 80 games on April 2014 for violating MLB's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. 

The Phillies were nine games into their season then, meaning Stumpf would be eligible to return in Game No. 90. Barring any postponements, the Phillies' 90th game will be their final game before the All-Star break.

Stumpf, a Rule 5 selection by the Phillies from the Royals in December, allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning in three early-season appearances.

Phillies-Giants 5 things: Giants aces up next, so tonight's the night to score

Phillies-Giants 5 things: Giants aces up next, so tonight's the night to score

Phillies (31-43) at Giants (47-27)
10:15 p.m. on TCN

The Phillies begin the second series of their nine-game road trip Friday night at beautiful AT&T Park in San Francisco. 

The Phils have at least a little bit of momentum to begin the set as they won their series finale in Minnesota and scored 22 runs in that series.

This will be a completely different challenge, though.

1. Giants among men
It's been Cubs, Cubs, Cubs nationally all season. And yet entering the weekend, the Giants have the same number of wins as Chicago (47-24).

It just never seems to matter which players the Giants lose or which anonymous minor-leaguers are called up to replace them. The Giants have won nine of their last 10 games despite Hunter Pence and Matt Duffy being on the DL and Brandon Belt missing a few games. 

Just look at the Giants' lineup Thursday in their win over the Pirates. Mac Williamson batted third and played right field. Trevor Brown caught and batted fifth. Ramiro Pena played shortstop, Jarrett Parker played left field and Conor Gillaspie played third base. You could argue that all except Brown are 4-A players — i.e. guys who are good enough to hit at Triple A, but not good enough to be productive at the major-league level.

It's amazing how the Giants win despite all the hurdles. Buster Posey's presence obviously helps, but he's not even having his typical MVP-caliber season. Posey is hitting .277/.338/.450, which is solid but well below his career slash line of .308/.372/.481.

San Fran has been led mostly this season by great starting pitching and the emergence of Belt into one of the best hitters in the National League. Belt is hitting .302 this season with a .409 on-base percentage. He has 44 walks to 50 strikeouts, and he's been an extra-base hit machine with 19 doubles, three triples and 10 home runs. 

2. Start No. 3 for Eflin
Zach Eflin is a level-headed 22-year-old, so it's unlikely he's going to look at this assignment and overhype himself. And if he can keep things in perspective and focus on just commanding his sinker low in the strike zone, he could find some success against that previously described patchwork Giants offense.

Eflin pitched well last week in his second start, allowing two runs to the Diamondbacks over 5⅔ innings. It lowered his ERA from 27.01 to 10.80. Tonight he'll look to get that thing under 9.00.

It seems unlikely the Phillies called Eflin up from Triple A only for him to make three starts in place of injured Vince Velasquez. If nothing else drastic happens, it looks like Adam Morgan will be the odd man out when Velasquez returns either Monday in Arizona or later in the week. But if Eflin gets bombed again tonight, who knows.

3. The night to score
The Phillies' best chance to score some runs this weekend is tonight against 35-year-old, now-mediocre right-hander Jake Peavy. Why? Because on Saturday and Sunday the Phils will face Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, who are a combined 19-4 with a 1.96 ERA this season.

Peavy (3-6, 5.47) hasn't been able to retire lefties with any regularity this season. They've hit .331 with a .908 OPS against him, although all eight home runs Peavy's allowed have been by right-handed hitters. It's obviously difficult to hit one out at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park.

Peavy had an ERA of 8.21 through his first nine starts this season but has been much better since, giving the Giants four quality starts in his last five tries. Over that span Peavy has a 1.76 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and .189 opponents' batting average. He's allowed just five extra-base hits among 114 batters faced.

Peavy has a diverse repertoire. He's thrown six different pitches this season: four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, sinker, changeup and slider. His main pitches are the four-seamer, cutter and curve.

He likes to throw the cutter to lefties to jam them but it hasn't worked this season. They've hit .404 with a .575 slugging percentage in 47 at-bats ending in that pitch.

The only three Phillies to ever face Peavy are Ryan Howard, Peter Bourjos and Carlos Ruiz. Howard has had some success, going 3 for 9 with two doubles and four RBIs. Bourjos owns a triple off Peavy.

4. Prospect update
Nick Williams remains hot from a power standpoint, Jorge Alfaro is drawing rave reviews with his defense, and a piece of the Ken Giles trade debuted at Double A Reading this week. 

For more on those prospects and a handful of others, check out Friday's Future Phillies Report.

5. This and that
• The 22 runs scored by the Phillies in the Twins series were their most in a three-game span since last Sept. 27-30.

• Howard's multi-hit game Thursday was his first since April 29, a stretch of 37 games.

• Maikel Franco has five walks in his last two games. He walked six times all of April and seven times in May.