Park Is Hurt, Bullpen Is Hurting
Park is 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 appearances, but those who have paid close attention know he has been much better than that since he moved to the bullpen in May. He is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances, and 2-2 with a 1.84 ERA in his last 34 relief appearances. He has been incredibly valuable, not only because he gets hitters out, but because he pitches multiple innings.
Park went on the DL with the Rangers on April 4, 2002 because of a right hamstring injury and did not return until May 12. The Phillies certainly hope Park’s current injury is less severe, especially because the bullpen is ailing with the postseason less than a month away.
They are without J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre, their top two lefthanders. Clay Condrey is coming back from an oblique injury that cost him a couple months, so it remains to be seen how effective he can be. Brad Lidge is still struggling. If Park is lost for an extended period of time, the Phillies will have some tough decisions to make next month when they put together their NLDS roster.
The Phillies carried 11 pitchers last year in the postseason: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Lidge, Romero, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, Condrey, Eyre and J.A. Happ. They carried two catchers, six infielders and six outfielders. But unlike last year there is not an obvious extra bench player to take like So Taguchi. Combine that with bullpen issues and the Phillies might take 12 pitchers.
Cliff Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Pedro Martinez, Happ, Lidge, Madson, Myers and Tyler Walker should be on the roster, if they are healthy. That would leave three spots for a group that includes Condrey, Durbin, Eyre, Moyer, Park, Romero and Jack Taschner.
The Phillies have 18 games to play before they need to put together a postseason roster, so there is time for these things to settle. But losing Park for more than 18 days would be a blow to a bullpen that needs him.