The Phillies Got Bullpen Problems

Mike AdamsThe Phillies tied last night’s game against the Twins in the top of the eighth inning at Target Field only to have Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo allow the game-winning run to score in the bottom half of the inning.

We’ve seen plenty of performances like this from the bullpen this year.

Back in February, when the Phillies opened spring training in Clearwater, they thought the bullpen could be a position of strength. The bullpen had a 2.84 ERA the final two months last season, so they figured with the additions of Adams and Chad Durbin to a group that included Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo and a host of talented young pitchers, they would continue to take a step forward. But the bullpen has taken a big step back. Its 4.48 ERA is the third-worst in baseball. It has allowed 42.9 percent of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst in baseball. Its 1.46 WHIP is second-worst.

Let’s take a look at the stable of relievers, and how they have fared:

  • Jonathan Papelbon. He is being paid a fortune to close, but he is doing the job. He is 11-for-11 in save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA, but you’ve got to think the Phillies will try to move him if they decide to sell before the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t make much sense to have a high-priced closer on a rebuilding team.
  • Mike Adams. The Phillies signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract in December, acknowledging it carried risk following TOC surgery in October. Adams’ stuff hasn’t been the same and he has had problems staying healthy. He is 1-4 with a 4.22 ERA with a 7.11 ERA since coming off the DL May 26.
  • Antonio Bastardo. He has a 2.42 ERA in 27 appearances, but a 1.478 WHIP and is averaging 5.6 walks per nine innings. He also is striking out fewer batters than he has in the past. Bastardo always seems to be in trouble. Maybe that explains why he has entered a game with runners on base just three times. He has allowed two of four inherited runners to score, including one last night.
  • Chad Durbin. Released. He had a 9.00 ERA in 16 appearances.
  • Phillippe Aumont. Manuel specifically mentioned Aumont last night when asked about the bullpen’s struggles. He said everybody expected him to take a step forward this year. But he had an alarming 2.077 WHIP, averaging 6.9 walks per nine innings before he got sent to Triple-A last month. In eight appearances with the IronPigs, he has an 8.59 ERA and has walked 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Jeremy Horst. He is second on the team with 26 appearances, but has a 5.55 ERA. That kind of sums up the bullpen’s struggles right there.
  • Raul Valdes. The Phillies sent him to Triple-A after posting a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances.
  • Mike Stutes. He has had good results since coming up from Triple-A, carrying a 1.80 ERA in eight appearances. He has walked just one batter in 10 innings.
  • Justin De Fratus. The Phillies wanted him to open the season with the team, but they didn’t think his arm was where it needed to be. De Fratus has a 1.80 ERA and a fantastic 0.800 WHIP in 13 appearances. You wonder if he could move into Adams’ role if Adams continues to struggle. He has the coaching staff’s trust.
  • B.J. Rosenberg. Ruben Amaro Jr. called up Rosenberg on May 17 to replace Valdes, saying he was throwing the best and he had a big arm that could strike out people. But Rosenberg posted a 12.00 ERA in three appearances, following a 6.12 ERA in 22 appearances last season. Rosenberg throws hard, but he hasn’t proven he can get hitters out on a consistent basis.
  • Joe Savery. He has been with the team three times this season after throwing the ball well in Triple-A. But he has only pitched twice with the Phillies.
  • Jake Diekman. He has not pitched with the Phillies this season, but I include him here because they raved about his arm and upside, and with the struggles of Horst and Valdes he could have been called up at some point, except he can’t throw strikes. He has a 5.70 ERA and has walked 24 batters in 30 innings in 30 appearances with Lehigh Valley.


Why not make Stutes the 7th inning guy (when needed), DeFratus the set-up guy, and then Paps as the closer. Go with whoever is getting the job done.

For the sake of accuracy – I think you should swap out “craploads” for “bullpen” in the title of your article.

“Its 4.48 ERA is the third-worst in baseball. It has allowed 42.9 percent of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst in baseball. Its 1.46 WHIP is second-worst.”

I think you have to look at Dubee. He’s not getting the job done. The walk rates of these guys is just unacceptable at this level. You’ve got to make hitters put the ball in play and trust your defense. Having 3 great starters that go deep into games has hid a flawed pen the last few years. I’d like to see someone new come in for that role from outside of the organization next year.

@Andy – because Charlie is stuck in his ways, which is he prefers to use veteran guys and is unwilling to give the youngsters the opportunity they deserve. Why run Horst out there all the time but never use Savery? Adams vs DeFratus

I apologize for my ignorance, but what is WHIP? Thank you!

WHIP = Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched

Thank you, Colin.

it the phillies want to improve immediately they need to do 2 THINGS. 1. get rid of that piece of garbage mike adams and 2. get rid of that complete waste of human flesh lance nix. after that i would dump horst, revere, both youngs michael and delmon. and the finale straw would be that pathetic general manager RAJ

Please let us all appreciate the basis for your knowledge and share how you developed your years of professional baseball experience.

typical response from a phillie die hard who has no problem with this pathtic team with the exception of a few (lee, paps, and d.brown) who think the team is on their way for a run at the pennant. you should come out here to vegas and bet the family jewels on your team. all i know that all the serious money with the exception of when cliff lee pitches goes on the opposing team, except when they play the marlins.

The two things the Phillies need to do: dump Ruin and dump Charlie.

Say, docvegas, why don’t you tell us what you really think?🙂
Seriously, the coaches don’t play the game. So many times the coaches work with the players, and think they have straightened things out, but for some reason the players revert right back to their old ways in the games. Maybe it is the eternal optimist in me, but I think that the thing could change things is for the fans (and the players) to have patience, and just wait out this tough spell. So many times the players that some of the fans are clamoring to get rid of end up having a great season (or career) somewhere else. Remember how everyone was down on Domonic Brown, or Raul Ibanez, or any one of many other players who struggled with the Phillies, then blossomed elsewhere? Why not here?

just telling it like it is, even if it means hurting the feeling of a few diehard phans. am i wrong about nix and adams, nix makes martinez look the george brett and adams makes chad qualls look like cy young

Dude, I could follow you until you tried to say that M & M is better than Laynce Nix, not to mention the fact that Launce Nix has such a small impact on the team as a whole that getting rid of him isn’t gonna help anything.

I’m not saying Nix is good, but he at least gets lucky sometimes and has some pop from the left side off the bench. If Michael Martinez is pinch hitting in the late innings with the game on the line, your best bet is to change the channel.

As far as Adams goes, it has definitely been disappointing to not get much out of him. The thing is, I think it is mostly health related. When he was healthy at the start of the year he was dealing pretty good. Now it seems he is just throwing meatballs up there. We will see what happens with him, but if he isn’t right physically he will continue to struggle.

that was just a joke about martinez, but come to think about it neither martinez or nix are worth a case of baseballs. they would have been better off keeping betencourt and releasing nix in the spring. i think betencourt has like 9 home runs

Same old thing since Charlie has been here. He ruins arms by over pitching them and lets other arms get rusty because he won’t play them. Remember how he was with Madson when 1st there. By Aug. his arm was done. Again Savery comes up and he won’t use him. Starters he has always tried to get another inning out of them. Which results in a lot of runs that should have never been scored. Then you have these so called big arms that can’t throw strikes. They get chance after chance.

They don’t have a bullpen problem because they don’t have a bullpen.They have a great closer and he must be disgusted seeing this BS.
What happened to the pride the organization had for the last few years.Who formulated this team and last years ? Who signed a bunch of little leaguers ?
Who signed a bunch of bullpen pitchers that can’t put out a match let alone the a fire ? Why do hitters still swing at bad pitches an the first pitch no matter what. There are times that they never batted against a pitcher but there they go hacking away.
I can hear Whitey now. Get the women and children off the field Harry.

Yeah the problem with the offense is a epidemic throughout the whole squad. I remember when we played the Red Sox I think T-Mac gave a stat that the Red Sox had seen 1500 more pitches than the Phillies had at that point! It is one thing to pick and choose times to be aggressive at the plate, but their approach as a team is horrible.

I know it surely isn’t easy to try and keep a plan when you have a guy throwing 90+mph at you, but it is one of the most important aspects to hitting.

I play in a wood bat league against some guys that can touch 90 occasionally, and I know that if hold back on a “pitcher’s pitch” and get something that is in my wheelhouse, I have a much better shot at doing damage. Too many times I have seen them jump on the first pitch just because it is a fastball, just to pop it up or roll it over to 2nd or SS. Pitchers know not to give them anything to good early in the count because they constantly look for it. The best hitters don’t care if they get a strike, or even 2, on them, simply because they know they can foul off some good pitches and wait for him to make a mistake. Most pitchers will make a mistake each AB if they are given a chance to.

I could be wrong, but I think Horst is being given way more rope than Chad Durbin was given. Last night’s performance was a Horst masterpiece: 1 inning 4 hits 2 BBs 3 ERs and 2 SOs (Those two guys who struckout should be taken out back and flogged). The Reds were smart enough to realize they made a mistake trading Horst for Wilson Valdez. Ruben must be too proud to admit his side of that mistake. The hitters on the Phils must be looking at those guys who have super-sucked out of the pen and said to themselves, “Why can’t we get to face pitchers like these guys?! It ain’t fair!”

first place if they dump horst, they really have nobody at allentown to replace him, robles is the only pitcher in the bullpen with descent numbers at lhv. but if you want them to get rid of horst why stop there, dump bastardo and adams also, why not clean house.

I think that DeFratus should pitch more. I mean a lot more.

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