The Philadelphia Phillies' press release setting forth their September call-ups was so understated and so uninspiring that it reminded me of the late, great David Foster Wallace's summary of tepid applause at a tennis match.
"The applause of a tiny crowd is so small and sad and tattered-sounding that it'd almost be better if people didn't clap at all," Wallace wrote in "The String Theory," published in Esquire.
That, sadly, is the sort of malaise the list of the Phillies' September call-ups is likely to inspire in the team's fans.
No one was clamoring to see more of Phillippe Aumont, but the omission of Maikel Franco and his 31 minor league home runs (per Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer) was a real disappointment.
Four of the September call-ups are, for better or worse, familiar faces.
Freddy Galvis is back up—in fact, he started at shortstop last night. As the press release recounted, Galvis "hit .245 with three home runs and 25 RBI in 62 games for Lehigh Valley this season." His 0-for-4 performance last night dropped his career average to .215.
Unfortunately, Galvis is probably the best player the Phillies called up.
Right-handed starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd is back after compiling a record of 5-9 with an earned run average just under five at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In 13 major league starts, Cloyd has served up 12 home runs.
Right-handed relief pitcher Luis Garcia was also called up. I cannot improve upon the way the press release explained the stark difference between Garcia at Triple-A and Garcia in the major leagues, so I won't: "Garcia has retired all 12 batters he has faced at Lehigh Valley since being sent down on August 25. The 26-year-old has a 5.59 ERA in 19.1 innings for the Phillies this year."
Left-handed relief pitcher Joe Savery is back in the majors again. It is true that Savery "has a 1.38 ERA in 13.0 innings for the Phillies this season," per the press release.
It is also true that, despite his gaudy statistics, Savery did not pitch in Philadelphia from July 13 until last night, when he promptly yielded an earned run in less than an inning of work.
The last two September call-ups, unlike the four already mentioned, are primed to make major league debuts.
Left-handed relief pitcher Mauricio Robles earned his ticket to the big leagues (for a month, anyway) with 64 minor league innings (at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley) and an ERA under two.
The most intriguing new Phillie is catcher Cameron Rupp, who faced long odds coming into this season as far as being the minor league catcher the Phillies would be calling up in September was concerned.
Rupp began 2013 firmly planted behind catching prospects Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle. But Joseph had a nightmare of a season and is presently shut down due to a concussion he sustained in May. Valle responded to that opportunity by hitting .203 at Double-A Reading.
In summary, then, the Phillies called up a journeyman right-handed starter, a utility infielder who cannot hit major league pitching, three relief pitchers and a catcher who started the season behind Valle in Reading.
This September cannot end soon enough.