Jonathan Papelbon was the last hero in the bullpen the other night, and boy, did things not end well. A three-run home run to Jordany Valdespin, the Mets’ rookie shortstop, cost the Phillies the game, directly. Indirectly there were plenty of other things. Offense was one. Defense was another.
So Papelbon had to sit down with all the journeymen and career Ironpigs and watch Rich Dubee chart their collective ERA all the way up to 4.86. Then he turned off the flights and forced them to watch a slideshow of disturbing imagery from slaughterhouses.
But who needs a bullpen when your starters can go more than nine innings at a time? That’s right, Cliff Lee returns tonight, sending Kyle Kendrick back to the highly coveted long relief role until he has to cover for Cole Hamels in a few days. Or… will it…?
"“Dubee said it’s possible Kendrick could pitch in the later innings rather than serving as a long man out of the pen and that scenario would become even more likely if Jose Contreras continues to struggle.”–Bob Brookover"
Kyle’s been effective, certainly, but far from dominant. And I’m not sure a less intimidating guy could come out in the late innings. Maybe if they made him ride a pony and enter to circus music.
Anyways, Cliff’s probably so wound up at this point after missing two starts that he could throw 30 innings of three-hit baseball and still track a boar 20 miles in the dark.
And, as everyone will tell you, “The Phillies really need a win right now.” Right now, I’d say the Phillies could use several wins. In a row, preferably; not spread over several seasons. Cliff Lee should help up those odds, but there is no one player you could add to this roster that could make them score runs and solidify the bullpen and fix Charlie Manuel’s brain.
Cliff reported that he “felt perfect” after a bullpen session which, if he throws a perfect game, would just be a spectacular sound byte. He also reported that the whole incident with Cole Hamels taught him to definitely never admit when he’d hit a batter on purpose, which Major League Baseball interpreted as a threat against Bryce Harper and took one of Cliff’s kids away.
So, maybe tonight will be the beginning of the miraculous turnaround. Because boy.
The Phillies could sure use a win right now.