Phillies Need Relief

More of the same.

The Phillies offense has been the focus since the beginning of the season, and it played a role in last night’s 7-4 loss to the Mets. The offense scored its runs in the first two innings, but shut down the engines and barely made a noise the rest of the night.

That seems to happen often.

But it’s the bullpen that is this team’s Achilles heel right now. It has been absolutely dreadful.

Phillies relievers had a 2.01 ERA in 14 appearances through April 20. They have a 6.97 ERA in 16 appearances since.

Not only are they blowing leads, but they are unable to keep the game close. Michael Schwimer and Joe Savery combined to allow two runs to score in the ninth, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-4 deficit. I know players like to say nothing affects them, but it certainly takes the wind out of their sails when they go from thinking they need to score only one run to tie the game to thinking they need to score three runs to tie the game.

How are they supposed to get to Jonathan Papelbon right now? That’s the big question with no obvious answer. Chad Qualls seemed like that guy early in the season, but he blew his third save last night and has an 8.31 ERA in six appearances dating to April 24. The Phillies signed him to a $1.15 million contract to provide stability in the late innings, but he has only added to the instability and misery lately. Antonio Bastardo is throwing the ball a bit better. He might start getting more looks in the setup role. The other options right now are Jose Contreras (8.53 ERA in 8 appearances), Kyle Kendrick (1.93 ERA in four relief appearances), Brian Sanches (12.00 ERA in two appearances), Savery (4.50 ERA in eight appearances) and Schwimer (8.53 ERA in five appearances).

One of those guys will be gone before tonight’s game because the Phillies are activating Cliff Lee from the disabled list. But Charlie Manuel indicated they are looking elsewhere for help. Left-hander Jake Diekman is 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA in 12 appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In 14 1/3 innings, he has allowed 13 hits, 1 run, 3 walks and has struck out 22. That is a 7.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Now, it goes without saying Triple-A numbers do not always translate into success. Schwimer had a 1.04 ERA in seven appearances before he got called up. But the Phillies loved Diekman during spring training and think he could be a stud in the bullpen at some point.

Maybe it’s time to give him a look. The Phillies can’t stand pat forever. They need to start winning games. If they lose tonight they fall four games under .500 for the first time since May 9, 2007.

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I thought last night was the perfect moment to talk to the team, but Manuel didn’t want to. He said he doesn’t know what to say.

Interesting …

“I’ve wanted to talk to them,” Manuel said. “I wanted to talk to them in San Diego. But right now at this point I don’t really know what to say to them. That’s kind of how I feel. I mean, I’m going to talk to them. I might go over and talk to them right now. I don’t know. But sooner or later I will talk to them. But right now I don’t know what I want to say.”

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7 Comments

They will not go anywhere with this offense, no matter who they bring in to pitch. Last year showed that. Their offense was just good enough to help them win some close games and win the NL East. Then they were whacked for the second year in a row by a hot team with decent – not great – pitching that shut the offense down easily. I’m not interested in winning another NL East title only to fail epically in the postseason again. I’d rather see them, take a risk, blow the team up, and attempt to fix the problem. This year is already lost because they did not fix the problem over the offseason. Let the bullpen go out there and get lit up. Baptism by fire – maybe someone will come out of the carnage to be a real, confident relief pitcher in the future. But the starters were used to death last year, and it shows. Halladay just doesn’t look right, Cliff couldn’t even get out of April without going on the DL. I hope they do not keep pitching their starters into the 8th and 9th inning to try and win meaningless games when it is pretty obvious that the Nats, Mets, and even the Marlins are playing much better baseball and are in fact better teams. So are the Braves, but they are notorious Sept/Oct chokers, so if it was only them in front of us, I would have a different opinion.

The offense was “just good enough”? LOL!! They won 102 games! The idea is to, first, get into the postseason so for you to say that these are “meaningless” games is ridiculous.
The bottom line is that the bullpen blows. There’s nothing wrong with the starting pitching, and the losses by the bullpen are piling up. For the bullpen to lose a game, they have to have spit up a tie or a lead.

you know what you get when you win 102 games and go out in the first round of the playoffs? A T-shirt. In other words, nothing.

And you misunderstand: meaningless games not because it is early in the season. Meaningless because this team will not win anything this year. The Phils have gone down and the other NL East teams have gone up. If the bullpen does not improve (who thinks it will?), they are going nowhere. Don’t trash your starters that you need to be competitive for the future – throw the bullpen out there and let the chips fall where they may. Either they learn to pitch and the team recovers, or they don’t and they start to plan for next year.

“Meaningless games?” That’s a typical short-sighted way of looking at early season baseball. They still keep score, right? Games in April and May count just like games in September. Sorry if you can’t understand that.

How ’bout telling them to start playing like major leaguers making more in a day then many do in a year?

Never should have traded Wilson Valdez! (LOL- someone had to say it!) We’d be in first place laughing.

Nah…phuck this! I’m pissed! This year’s 2012 Phillies suck! Second year in a row Chase Utley isn’t in the roster…15 million for a hurt old player to play half of the year.
At RAJ says he never would’ve traded Valdez if he knew how hurt Utley was…here’s a hint, Chase Utley won’t be ready to play next year come opening day!
Trade Utley to the A.L. He’d make a great DH!
And What the phuck is up with Uncle Charlie? Does he have the beginnings of alzheimer’s? It seems everynight is a different lineup! And come on…he wants to talk to his team but doesn’t know what to say…for real? Facts are facts Uncle Charlie has lost at least 7 games for the Phillies this year…we only played around 30! Tell Charlie to name a team leader! Charlie said last time player was vocal leader was Rowand? For real…most of you bandwagon fans weren’t around back then!
Jimmy Rollins…why the phuck did we re-sign Jimmy Pop-up?
I could go on and on…I haven’t even talked about our blowpen…I mean Bullpen!
Shows ya, just because you have 1 of MLB’s highest payrolls doesn’t mean you have a great team!
I hate to say this…we lived thru our Golden Era…it is over…back to the under achieving Phillies I am used to these last 40 years

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