The Phillies bullpen has been a joke in 2012. Injuries to Jose Contreras and Michael Stutes dealt the ‘pen a big blow early in the season, and the arms called up from AAA have struggled to fill the void and find consistency during their time in the Majors this year.
But for one night at least, the bullpen came through.
B.J. Rosenberg, Phillippe Aumont, Jonathan Papelbon, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdez all contributed no-hit, no-run innings in relief of Cole Hamels, giving John Mayberry Jr. the chance to knock in the winning run in Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the Reds.
Particularly good were Rosenberg, Aumont and Horst, with B.J. and Phillippe both touching 96-97 mph on the radar gun. Horst has been a revelation all year, the best left-hander out of the bullpen, with an ERA of 1.00 in 18 innings.
Offensively, the Phils scratched out their first three runs on sacrifice flies by Laynce Nix, Erik Kratz, and Jimmy Rolllins, proving that getting runners in from 3rd with less than 2 out is still a pretty big deal. Domonic Brown had another good game with two more hits, raising his slash line to .286/.362/.405. And Kratz continues his impressive 2012 stint with the Phils, banging out another three hits to raise his numbers to .319/.383/.725. Yes, that’s right, Erik Kratz has a slugging percentage of .725.
Hamels was also good once again, but was betrayed for much of the night by shoddy defense. He went six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, keeping his ERA below three at 2.99.
It’s fair to wonder just what the Phillies’ record might be had the bullpen pitched like this more often in 2012. But for one night at least, the Phils’ relievers came through.
Where It All Went Right
When Phillippe Aumont entered the game in the 8th inning. Aumont did walk a batter but also displayed some nasty stuff that showed why Phils management is so high on him. He still struggles with his control, but was good last night, throwing 12 pitches, 8 of them strikes. He also hit 96 mph on the radar gun. That’s kinda fast. His scoreless inning kept the score at 3-2, allowing the Phils to stay close enough for Rollins to tie it in the bottom of the inning. That hasn’t happened much so far this year.
Most Attractive Play
Kevin Frandsen’s Houdini act in the bottom of the 9th, avoiding the tag of first baseman Miguel Cairo. I’ve watched the video a half dozen times now, and I still can’t figure out exactly what happened here. But the magic that is Kevin Frandsen clearly affected the judgment and nerves of Cairo, turning the Reds’ first baseman into a bumbling heap of goo. All Frandsen wanted was bunt the runner over to second, but instead ended up at first base himself. Unfortunately, the rally did not result in any runs, but the play by Frandsen was entertaining to say the least.
John Mayberry Jr., who has had a real tough year at the plate but came through in the bottom of the 11th on Thursday night with a game winning, seeing-eye single to left with the bases loaded.
The Reds’ Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Frazier, who accounted for all three of the Reds’ RBIs with a two-run triple and RBI groundout. You think Cincy might consider trading the third baseman in the offseason? Amaro should see if they’ll take Frandsen for Frazier straight-up. Make the call, Ruben!