Phillies Bullpen Rattled by D-Backs Throughout the Series
By Perry Lowe
The Philadelphia Phillies were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks at home in a four game series this past weekend, and the bullpen was again inconsistent.
After starter Adam Morgan got roughed up for seven runs on 10 hits in Friday night’s series opener between the Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks, Phils’ skipper Pete Mackanin called to the bullpen after only four and one-third innings.
Severino Gonzalez, who would be making his 2016 debut, pitched the remainder of the 5th inning and finished off the 6th. In the outing Gonzalez would strikeout two Arizona players while only giving up two hits over the extended relief appearance.
Gonzalez, who was roughed up as a starter in 2015, may now show his true value to the Phillies as a quality reliever.
Elvis Araujo would come in after Gonzalez and had a shockingly bad relief effort. Araujo was coming off some of his best pitching of the season against Toronto, but in Friday’s game he looked to be out of form. Araujo gave up three earned runs on three hits, all home runs.
Araujo did strikeout four in his two innings of work, which may be the only positive to take away from this disappointing effort.
Hector Neris would come in for the 9th inning and certainly did not disappoint. Neris came in with the game already out of reach, but did do a great job holding the Dbacks scoreless.
Neris gave up one hit while striking out one in his solid inning of work. He thus rebounded from an extremely difficult outing in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
After Jerad Eickhoff exited Saturday’s game after five and two-thirds, Andrew Bailey came into the game and promptly exited after recording one out to finish the 6th. Although this single out may not seem like a huge deal, it was certainly another confidence booster for Bailey, who is finally getting back into form.
Gonzalez would come in for the 7th inning for his second appearance in two games, and was touched up by a solo home run of the bat of Jake Lamb.
Gonzalez pitched two innings giving up only one hit (the home run to Lamb) and recording three strikeouts.
Brett Oberholtzer would finish up Saturday’s game with a lockdown 9th inning. Oberholtzer gave up no hits in the frame and struck out two in the process. Oberholtzer certainly looked to be getting into quite a hot streak. This would push his personal scoreless streak to 4.1 innings after the lefty held Toronto scoreless over 3.1 innings in the previous series.
Sunday afternoon’s contest again saw the Phillies bullpen called upon in the 6th inning. David Hernandez would come in would come in with two outs, and put the Phillies in an even deeper hole after giving up a run putting the score at 3-1. Hernandez gave up two hits and walked one in the effort but also struck out two.
Araujo was next out of the bullpen and recorded one out in a short appearance. He faced two batters, giving up one hit and striking out the next. This was a much-needed solid outing for Araujo, who was roughed up by Arizona earlier this series.
Bailey relieved Araujo and this time struggled, going one and one-third innings while giving up two runs in the effort.
Jeanmar Gomez would be the final Phillies pitcher to come into Sunday’s game and he was shockingly inefficient, allowing two runners to reach base in the 9th inning. He finally recorded the final out for the Phillies with a strikeout. Gomez pitched only a-third of an inning, making his only appearance of the series.
Monday afternoon’s game would be the finale of this rare wraparound series, and for the first time a Phillies starter went deep into a ball game. Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven quality innings before being relieved by Neris.
Neris pitched two innings, holding the Diamondbacks scoreless. The right-hander gave up one hit in the outing and struck out four. Neris had an extremely good series, holding the Diamondbacks scoreless in three total innings of work.
The bullpen as a unit had collective totals of: 13.1 IP, seven ER, 14 H, 22 K, four BB. That K:BB ratio is excellent, but the bullpen allowed too many hits and runs.
The Phillies relief corps will look to provide more consistency on the road in Minnesota as they will face off with the Twins for a three game set. The Twins currently sit at 21-48, which is the worst in the Majors. The hope for many Phillies fans is obviously to win the series, but it will be critical to see the starters work deeper into games than of late.
That would relieve some of the stress on the bullpen and will hopefully keep the innings count down on the group as a whole. This series against the Twins is a must-win series or the Phillies season (if not already) will be lost entirely.