What Bullpen Problems?: Phillies Win 7-3


It sucks to get swept by the Mets at home.  At its core, it is never fun to watch a baseball team lose, but the really upsetting part about the last series was the way that the Phillies managed to lose those games.  Bullpen implosions are some of the most frustrating things to watch in baseball.  Also, Kyle Kendrick.  The Phillies got the chance to turn the page against a team that has an even harder time scoring runs than they do; the San Diego Padres.

Vance Worley got the start today.  Lately, the guys that can’t go nine innings are damned to get saddled with a no decision.  Vance got bashed around pretty good in his last start against the Nationals and entered this start needing to bounce back in a big way, both personally and for the team.

It would also be nice to see him keep his pitch count down and go deep in the ballgame just to erase any chance of Kyle Kendrick getting anywhere near this thing, but that didn’t happen tonight.  Worley threw pretty well, going six innings, allowing three runs and striking out nine.  The important part here is that he only went six innings, meaning that someone in the bullpen other than Jonathan Papelbon was going to have to get people out.

Enter Antonio Bastardo.  Remember when Bastardo was having one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher of all time?  Me neither.  He entered the game and walked Orlando Hudson which prompted a trip to the mound by Rich Dubee and probably ended in Chooch translating a litany of curse words and threats.  Bastardo settled in forcing a pop out to short and a double play.  He even staggered back out to the mound for another inning and struck out the side.  There was a very audible sense of relief as Bastardo started to resemble the guy that we saw at the beginning of last season.

At this point no lead really seems safe, but Chad Qualls was summoned to hold onto, what until recently, seemed like a pretty safe four run lead.  He struck some people out, allowed a double and got out of the inning.  Game over, no offensive fireworks, no fractured handed due to punching walls and most of all, an end to an awful bit of baseball.

The offense has fallen to second place on the list of shit that we are obsessively focused on.  Luckily, Chooch is having a career year at the plate and as always he is doing a great job behind the plate.  He is the one member of the team that we can all vote for as an all star without throwing up afterward.  He went 3-3 today with a walk, a homer and three RBI.  In years past it never really looked like Carlos Ruiz would be capable of carrying a team offensively.  That is exactly what is happening right now.

Last year has to seem like such a long time ago for John Mayberry Jr.  Everyone got all excited when he showed some promise in a relatively small sample size.  He really looks like he should be good at baseball.  His dad was good, he is tall, he is fast and he can hit the ball a long way when he figures out how to do it.  People were clamoring for his insertion into the starting line-up permanently and making comparisons to another late bloomer in the person of Jayson Werth.  This year has not gone quite as well.  This is his first time being on a major league roster for an entire year and he has not responded to the added pressure of being asked to help replace Ryan Howard.  In the last few games he has started to look a little more comfortable at the plate.  Tonight, he hit his first home run of the season and he added an RBI single.  Here’s to hoping this can get John started.

What happened tonight is the first step in exorcising the demons of a terrible series against the Mets.  The offense hit, the bullpen pitched and the team won.   This recapping game thing is a shit load lot easier when the team doesn’t make you want to punch a stranger in the groin.  Carlos Ruiz, Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry Jr. providing your offense is exactly how we all drew this one up.

Roy Halladay versus Edinson Volquez tomorrow.

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WP: V. Worley (3-2)
LP: C. Richard (1-5)