Phillies need to add a shutdown left-handed reliever

A view of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
A view of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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Phillies relief pitchers — both lefties and righties — have struggled to get left-handed batters out this season. It’s an important area for the Phils to clean up as soon as possible, because the numbers are poor.

Phillies RPs vs. LHHs (MLB Rank)

  • 4.75 ERA (7th-worst)
  • 5.08 FIP (7th-worst)
  • .343 OBP (11th-worst)
  • .321 wOBA (11th-worst)
  • 5.2 BB/9 (6th-worst)

Phillies LHRPs vs. LHHs (MLB Rank)

  • 6.10 ERA (4th-worst)
  • 6.91 FIP (worst)
  • .418 OBP (2nd-worst)
  • .363 wOBA (5th-worst)
  • 7.8 BB/9 (3rd-worst)

The Phillies bullpen doesn’t get a handed advantage on left-handed hitters nearly enough, because it lacks the depth to do it. When it does get left-on-left matchups, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

The bullpen ranks in or right outside the bottom third of the Major Leagues against left-handed hitters in all five stat categories and both data sets listed above. We’re looking at less than two months of data, which is less than one-third of the season, so the Phils can still turn this thing around.

Adding one pitcher isn’t going to solve the ongoing struggles against lefties, but it would be a start, because this team could use an upgrade to trot out there in high-leverage situations.

Phillies RPs vs. LHHs in High-Leverage Situations (MLB Rank)

  • .347 BA (4th-worst)
  • .450 OBP (3rd-worst)
  • .612 SLG (5th-worst)
  • .439 wOBA (3rd-worst)
  • 10.50 ERA (4th-worst)
  • 8.64 FIP (4th-worst)

The Phillies bullpen has faced 61 batters in high-leverage situations this season — the third-most of any team. It has allowed 14 earned runs, 17 hits (including four home runs) and nine walks, with only eight strikeouts, in those situations.

Left-handed hitters are slashing .347/.450/.612 against the Phillies ‘pen in high-leverage spots. For context, Mike Trout’s career slash-line is .305/.419/.582. Phillies relievers are making opposing lefties as a group look better than Trout in the most critical situations of a game.

The Phillies need their bullpen to consistently get big outs against the game’s top left-handed hitters, especially the ones in their division.