A strong bullpen
Starting off the year, the Phillies bullpen was just atrocious. They were overworked and blew far too many late-game lead. On the other hand, they were actually pretty good in the second half of the season.
Post All-Star break, Philadelphia’s relievers ranked seventh in the league with 3.2 fWAR. They had a collective 3.74 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 2.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Much of this second-half improvement came thanks to the emergence of Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia as effective setup men. Hector Neris had some shaky moments, but for the most part established himself as the team’s closer.
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Even though the bullpen was pretty good, general manager Matt Klentak went out in free agency and brought in two veterans on two-year deals to improve it even more. He resigned Pat Neshek, the team’s All-Star and only consistent reliever from the first half of the season. Klentak also brought in Tommy Hunter, who posted a career-high 28.1 percent strikeout rate and career lows in ERA and fielding-independent pitching.
With Hunter and Nehsek on board, this bullpen should be able to handle itself just fine late in games. If the starter can keep the game close through five or six innings, the bullpen can give the team a chance to win every night.