2009 Year in Review

Year In Review: The Bullpen

Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson were the main arms in the bullpen, and Phillies Nation will have separate reviews on their seasons later.  The bullpen had other important arms, such as Scott Eyre, Chan Ho Park, Brett Myers, and Jamie Moyer, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin, who were reviewed earlier.  Tyler Walker, Sergio Escalona, Antoino Bastardo, Jack Taschner, and Kyle Kendrick also spent time in the big league bullpen.

Collectively, the Phillies bullpen had a 3.91 ERA, which ranked 14th in the majors, and ninth in the National League.

With J.C Romero suspended and injured, Scott Eyre was a key factor in the bullpen, serving as a left-handed specialist.  Eyre only pitched 30 innings, but he posted a 1.50 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.  It’s unknown if Eyre will return in 2010.  Eyre had injury problems, and had surgery in the off season.  Eyre, a free agent, also tossed around the idea of retiring.

Chan Ho Park won the fifth starter’s spot in spring training. In seven starts, he posted a 7.29 ERA and lost his starting spot to J.A Happ.  Park moved to the bullpen, and was extremely effective, posting a 2.52 ERA.  His role as a reliever was undefined.  Sometimes we would eat two or three innings; in other situations he acted as a set-up man in close games.  Like Eyre, Park is a free agent, and a return is uncertain.

For the second year in a row, Brett Myers was the Opening Day starter.  However, Myers missed most of the season due to a hip injury.  Myers beat the odds and returned from surgery before the season ended.  He struggled at the end of the regular season and in the postseason, but his determination was still there.  The Phillies already notified Myers that he will not be a Phillie in 2010.

After a few bullpen injuries, Tyler Walker’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Walker pitched well in 35.1 innings with the Phillies.  He had a 3.06 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.  He later earned trust from the skipper in close game situations.

Sergio Escalona had a busy travel schedule.  The young lefty shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors.  The 24-year old went 1-0 with a 4.61 ERA in 14 games.

Antonio Bastardo tore up the minor leagues before being called up to start. However, he struggled during his time in the majors.  He had a 6.46 ERA, then was placed on the disabled list.  In need of bullpen help, Bastardo made the NLDS and NLCS roster.  Despite only pitching 0.1 innings in the postseason, the decision to add Bastardo to the postseason roster was bold, and showed that the Phillies think highly of him.  The 23-year old has a hard fastball, a nasty slider and changeup, and the potential to be a good major league pitcher.

The Phillies needed a lefty, so they shopped Ronny Paulino to the San Francisco Giants for Jack Taschner.  Taschner’s stay in Philadelphia wasn’t a pleasant one.  He had a 4.91 ERA in 29 innings before getting the boot.

From the beginning of spring training, it was Kyle Kendrick’s goal to show that his sophomore slump was just a fluke.  He didn’t win the final spot in the rotation, although he did make a few spot starts.  Kendrick spent most of the season in Triple-A, only pitching 26.1 innings in the majors.  He had a 3.42 ERA, but he was very inconsistent.  Kendrick has another opportunity to redeem himself and win the fifth starter’s job in 2010.

Grade: 5/10:  The 2009 bullpen was recognized more for their reality show, “The Pen,” than anything else.  The bullpen wasn’t the Phillies strong point like in 2008, however it was about average.  They had guys like Park who could get the job done, but they also had guys like Taschner who couldn’t.

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