I don’t think the Philadelphia Phillies social team was trying to remind us that the pitching is terrible, but they just did.
Trying to entertain fans during the ongoing lockout, the Phillies Twitter account asked people to choose one pitcher from franchise history to get the team out of a two-out bases-loaded jam.
The Phillies couldn’t offer any current pitching options, as federal labor laws prevent the use of employee image or likeness during a work stoppage. But with how bad the Phillies pitching was in 2021, we suspect it wasn’t hard to exclude them from the graphic. Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suárez would be the lone exceptions, but they still wouldn’t be my choice.
Of the pitchers featured in the graphic, Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw led the Phillies to the 1980 World Series, while Brad Lidge helped them to their second in 2008.
In 2021, the Phillies bullpen had a combined 4.60 ERA, fifth-worst in the National League. Aside from Wheeler and Suárez, who moved from the bullpen to the rotation midseason, every starting pitcher had an ERA above 4. Several pitchers, including Vince Velasquez, were gone before the season ended.
Pitching was a clear priority before the lockout began. The Phillies signed Corey Knebel to a risky one-year deal with a hefty $10M price tag and claimed Kent Emanuel off waivers from the Houston Astros. They have since added pitching by signing several players to minor-league deals, the only contracts allowed during the lockout.
But when the lockout ends (it has to end sometime, right?), they need to do more. It can’t be Wheeler and Suárez against the world.