Phillies: Who should the team use in a bullpen game?
By Bryce Turner
Who the Phillies should turn to in a bullpen game
With at least two doubleheaders remaining — and with Spencer Howard on the injured list and possibly Jake Arrieta soon as well, the Philadelphia Phillies will likely have at least a couple of bullpen games before the regular season concludes.
Other than Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the Phillies rotation has mostly struggled, with Arrieta, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez each posting an ERA of over five. And, given Velasquez’s continuous struggles and 6.46 ERA, it may even be worth turning his spot in the rotation into a bullpen game as well.
Yes, the bullpen has also been an area of concern, but there are a handful of pitchers who could pull it off. So, what is the team’s best bullpen game strategy?
Blake Parker can pitch the first two innings
Entering the three-game series against the New York Mets, right-hander Blake Parker’s 1.93 ERA was the best among the Phillies’ active bullpen, while his 1.071 WHIP was the second-best.
With solid numbers this season and three starts for the Phillies since joining the team in July 2019, Parker would be the perfect candidate to start a bullpen game as the “opener.”
Parker’s most recent start came last Friday, where he pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts against the Miami Marlins. He also pitched two innings in a game against the Boston Red Sox in August, giving up one hit and one walk, but no runs, while striking out three.
The right-handed pitcher has surrendered only three earned runs in 11 relief appearances this season, all of which came in the same game against the Mets. His most recent outing saw only one walk and all outs coming by way of the strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. So, he’s proven to be reliable more often than not.