Year In Review: The Bullpen – Phillies Nation
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.



  1. Denny Dennehey

    December 31, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Perhaps it’s time to show some confidence in Escalona, Kendricks and Bastardo. Bastardo is an excellent name for a reliever. “That guy is a real bastardo to get a hit off of !!!”

  2. WFC010

    December 31, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Honestly, I really feel we need Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre back, considering those two were almost the only ones holding the bullpen together last year. As for Park wanting to be a ‘hero’ how about they give him a shot as the closer?

    He just has to release that hero’s come in many different forms, and not all of them are starters. For instance, look at just how damn important Lidge was in 2008, and how much he hurt us in 2009. We NEED a strong bullpen to succeed, and Park should realize that’s where he’s the best.

  3. Bob in Bucks

    December 31, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    WFC010 –

    Park is not interested in being a hero. It is very important to him, his family and his country(Korea) to be on TV there. They will show his games if they know he is starting but they can’t show every game on the chance he will pitch. Having been in Japan in 2008 I can testify that they show MLB games live IF there is a Japanese player on the team.

    Park and Eyre did well for us in 09. However, if they don’t want to pitch there is not much we can do. Note that none of the bullpen have been signed by any other team (including Meyers).

  4. Nick

    December 31, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I love how everyone is ready to throw Lidge off a bridge.

    Look at his career. This year was MOST LIKELY just a fluke. You don’t go from being a dominant closer in 2008 (and in years past) to being the worst player in the MLB just like that.

    He likely won’t be a Joe Nathan or a Mariano Rivera again but expect him to have a nice bounce back year and be respectable as he earns his 2ND RING of his career ;).

  5. shag beta sigma delta

    December 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I am just wondering with an average bull pen, and for the most of the season and average ace starter, a well below average bench, and a slightly above average offense, but an above average defense. How did this team make it to game 6 of the 2009 World Series

  6. George

    December 31, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    The Phils made the post season because their offense was not “slightly above average,” but WAY above average. I think there were only two teams in the majors that scored more runs, and those not by much. I also question an average rating for the bullpen. They weren’t a great group, but still got the job done more times than not. They should at least get a “6” in spite of Lidge’s blown saves and an ERA slightly on the high side. (A lot of that high ERA was because of Lidge.)

  7. WFC010

    December 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I NEVER said that I was throwing Lidge off a bridge, but 2009 was not the first season that he was struggling in his career. He has had good,bad, and in between years in the past, so it’s hard to say which Lidge we will see in 2010. And because of that, we NEED backup options! I am by no means saying we need to dump Lidge, just that we need some backup options to take some pressure off him. Park could potentially be a great backup option, if he will accept a bullpen spot with us…and right now it looks like he’ll be going elsewhere sadly.

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