Spring Question: Who Will Win The LOOGY Battle? – Phillies Nation

Spring Question: Who Will Win The LOOGY Battle?

Saturday’s injury to Brad Lidge underscored what has become the Phillies’ Achilles heel the past few years. There’s never been enough of an offseason upgrade to solidify a broken-down bullpen. Last year, the Phils signed Antonio Alfonseca to pitch late in games, and for most of the season was effective. He was carrying a 3.77 ERA on August 18 and converted 8 of 10 save opportunities during an emergency closer run. Imagine not having him. Who would’ve stepped in when Brett Myers and Tom Gordon went down?

This year the Phils signed nobody to help fill the bullpen; trading for Brad Lidge is a lateral move to get Myers back to the rotation. With a back four comprised of Lidge, Gordon, JC Romero and Ryan Madson, there seems to be stability (albeit very hesitantly) at the back end.

Last year’s front end of the bullpen featured a multitude of young and old: Joe Bisenius, Mike Zagurski, Fabio Castro, Matt Smith, Jose Mesa, Geoff Geary, Francisco Rosario, Brian Sanches, John Ennis, Kane Davis, Yoel Hernandez, etc.  None of these options were that reliable, sans a few good innings from Geary and Rosario. This year’s back end is quite possibly the same game of reliever roulette.

While this probably isn’t the best idea in the world (which I spoke about before), the goal in reliever roulette is to find the right number and stick with it for a good while. So which number will stick?

To open the season, look for anyone: Shane Youman, Castro, Zagurski, Scott Mathieson, Rosario, Chad Durbin. It seems Durbin should have a spot in the bullpen, and Mathieson — if healthy — could prove to be a reliable chip. I worry most, however, about the final lefty spot, which can go to either Youman or Castro, as Zagurski is injured and will be out for a portion of the Spring and beyond.

So who wins the battle: Youman or Castro? Youman will pitch Friday against his former team, the Pirates, while Castro’s first action comes Sunday against the Yankees. Whoever wins needs to be reliable as a one-out lefty, because he’s one JC Romero breakdown or injury away from having the spotlight shine down on him.

Click to comment


  1. typhoon

    February 26, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I think that Blackley is also in the mix for the LOOGY job. Personally I think it should be Blackley or Youman to let Castro have a full season in AAA as a starter. Vic Darensbourg is also in the mix for that spot…

    Another good question is: If Lidge starts the season on the DL (hopefully it would only be for 1-3 weeks) who would take his spot on the roster?

  2. Tim Malcolm

    February 26, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Blackley will be involved, but he’ll get time as a starter, as well. It’ll be hard for the Rule V guys to sneak onto the team the whole season, of course. Keep that in mind. I’d hope Vic Darensbourg isn’t in position to be a sixth-inning reliever, but stranger things have happened.

    If Lidge goes on the DL, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s whoever is odd-man-out of Youman/Castro or maybe JD Durbin. Heck, if Benson is somehow ready to go by Opening Day, he could be the man.

  3. Chris.I

    February 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    What the hell is the ”LOOGY” job? I mean I understand the terminology of the word, but who the hell came up with that? LOL

    Hopefully Lidge will be ready for opening day?? But if not its not the end of the world…Our first 3 games start with the Nats, and hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze right on by with ease the first 3 games at home, without really needing Lidge (Hamels, Myers, Moyer) and really rely on them so we can avoid the bullpen until Lidge comes back. But If I had to guess, I’d say Youman would be the one to be called up

  4. Tim Malcolm

    February 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Not sure where LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) came from, but it is a weird achronym. And sometimes LOOGYs are made to pitch to two hitters, even three at a time. So lefty specialist seems better, and it doesn’t take much more effort to write or say.

  5. Chris.I

    February 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Right on! haha..I kinda dig that, now I know what it means. You just couldn’t wait to explain that, huh tim? lol…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phillies Nation has been bringing Phillies fans together since 2004 with non-stop news, analysis, trade rumors, trips, t-shirts, and other fun stuff!

Browse the Archives

Browse by Category

Copyright Phillies Nation, LLC 2004-2016
Not Affiliated with Major League Baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies

To Top