Phillies Really Interested in the Bullpen Improving if it Wants to or Whatever
By Justin Klugh
The Phillies have a great thing going right now.
That’s what the inside of my head wanted to believe for a while. And for three minutes on Wednesday night, I got to believe it. There was clapping. There was merriment. There was the realization of fantasies that until the moment Chase and Chooch Chase-and-Chooch’d us lived only in our fevered dreams of 2012.
It was the start of our return, supposedly. Everything this season hasn’t been hinges on the two fold return of half of our infielders. Chase Utley is the first step toward a brighter tomorrow.
Sure, they haven’t technically won a game since he came back. But it’s the spirit of the thing or whatever. You know what I mean. Just look at Chase and try to imagine that the Phillies won’t win every game in the world starting tomorrow.
Okay that’s not the best picture because Chase is out of focus and we’re mainly looking at Ryan but it also works as a metaphor. Actually it would be a better metaphor if Ryan was the one out of focus, like Chase has come back and we’re still waiting for Ryan or something, but you get it. Right? Yeah.
Anyways, this is the beginning of what will or will not save our season. And the front office must know it, because they are not just watching as better players join the roster, they are also looking to get rid of the bad ones. Which they did, yesterday, starting with Chad Qualls.
"“It is a little bit of a balancing act.”—Ruben Amaro on the Phillies bullpen"
Yeah, sure. I mean, I assume Ruben is talking about a balancing act in a demented traveling circus freak show composed of inbred hill folk that features a pair of identical twins without any eyes that sit on either side of a piece of wood balanced on the head of their senile grandfather while he plays haunting music on an out of tune accordion.
The bullpen has been “unreliable,” and that’s really the kindest word one can use. Apparently Ruben saw Chad Qualls walk in and basically ruin Chase’s homecoming, and that was enough. If you can be ineffective enough to curdle the magic of Chase Utley’s return, you are poison on this roster.
Now, it would be terribly ignorant to assign Qualls the only blame for that loss. It was a bullpen start, for god’s sake. The worst facet of this team was being to asked to spend more time on the field than ever. With our rawest nerves exposed, it was impossible we’d get through that game unscathed, or even scathed just a slightly traumatizing amount.
However, Chad’s been walking a fine line, and while we can say we were supportive of his initial signing, and that we kind of hoped “Quall to the Pen” became an 8th inning thing, and, well. It was time.
But the move spoke more loudly than just an ineffective pitcher being asked to leave. We weren’t forced to go through some reliever’s trial period as he tried to regain his confidence out there and Charlie Manuel tried to generate a bunch of colloquialisms to explain why a guy with an 18.00 ERA was still the go-to set up man. The man was hurting us, and Ruben cut him out.
There aren’t a lot of options, of course. The guys that took the place of Qualls and Joe Savery, Jeremy Horst and Brian Sanches, are at the moment, part of pretty much the same spring training nonroster invitee Triple-A peanut gallery that’s been wondering in and out of the bullpen since April.
But it’s a shake up. It’s different. For the next few days, when somebody comes into the game, we can’t roll our eyes and go “THIS guy. This is the guy who did that awful thing before. Remember that?” **aggressively nudges annoyed stranger”” “Eh? Don’t ignore me.” Because they literally haven’t been on the team that long. And you never know whose going to be the next success story!
Isn’t that right Chase.