The bullpen has been the story of the Philadelphia Phillies season so far. Brad Lidge’s early season collapse. Ryan Madson’s failed move to closer. J.C. Romero’s 50 game suspension. The continued injury woes throughout the bullpen. The list could go on and on. This is one of the subjects that I have been adding a little bit of into just about every blog post, because there is just no way that the Phillies pen can create the kind of success that they did last year.
The Phillies do not necessarily have the oldest pen out there. Heck, they do not even have the weakest in terms of depth. The fact of the matter is that they are a solid bullpen who can get the job done most of the time, but when they are overworked, they suddenly become terrible.
Look at reliever Chad Durbin’s problems that he has been facing the whole season. Durbin has been terrible most of the time out of the stretch ever since September of last year. And Durbin’s problems do not stop at pitching out of the stretch.
In fact, Durbin’s main issue is controlling his sinker against right handed hitters. Durbin has walked 17 righties so far this season in 48 2/3 innings. Last year he walked the same amount of batters in 87 and 2/3 innings!
The Phils brought in both Jack Taschner and Todd Walker to try and relieve some of the pressure off of the teams best relief men, but so far it has not worked out for the team. Taschner was let go sometime in the past couple of months, and Walker has almost been as inconsistent as Durbin.
The Phillies have also suffered injuries to Scott Eyre, and Clay Condrey. They found a reliable reliever in Chan Ho Park, but without a full pen, the Phillies are suffering more and more injuries due to tired arms.
The Phillies have even dipped into their farm system to try and fill the voids left by injuries, calling up Sergio Escalona. Escalona served to be reliable in his short stints with the major league team, but we do not know juts how reliable he can be in the long run, and down the stretch when it gets down to crunch time in September.
There are a couple of good, solid relievers out there that could help out our team. Names such as Danys Baez, Joe Beimel, Matt Capps, Scott Downs, and Jason Frasor. Frasor and Downs are relievers for the Blue Jays, so the Jays want to expand the Roy Halladay trade could involve one of those two along with a utility player such as Marco Scutaro.
The Phillies combined bullpen ERA is 3.90, and they have given up 144 total earned runs so far this season. Last year the Phils pen ranked 1st in just about everything, now they are ranked a mere 11th, and it is the Los Angeles Dodgers who hold the National League’s best set of relievers.
The rumors surrounding the Roy Halladay sweepstakes are capturing the imaginations of every Phillies fan alive, but the key to the Phillies getting back to the World Series would be for them acquiring another reliever or two, and picking up another right handed bat to come off of the bench.
Halladay may get the Phillies to the play-offs, like C.C. Sabathia did for the Brewers last year, but it will be the bullpen that will get them to the World Series and ultimately, the teams 2nd ring in two years.
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