I do enjoy that cliche. It really does sum up the Phillies bullpen in so few words, although it’s probably not want you want to hear.
You wan’t to hear that the Phils will trade for an exceptional late-inning arm, that Scott Mathieson will be recalled and turn into Brad Lidge of 2008, and that Brad Lidge of 2010 will also turn back in to Brad Lidge of 2008. Not happening.
So, it is what it is. You’re stuck with the two guaranteed years Danys Baez has. You’ll just have to pray he finds his command finds a way to miss bats more often. You’re going to have to live with Lidge being Lidge. He’ll give you some really good days (as is evident by his nine straight games without an earned run) and some really bad ones (see: Saturday vs. MIN). Jose Contreras has been quite efficient in his first season as a primary bullpen arm. Nothing to complain about there. J.C. Romero has struggled to find consistency, but is also coming off an elbow issue. Giving him some time to find himself is likely what he needs, although he certainly isn’t the same guy from 2008 either. David Herndon is your Garbage Time Guy. Chad Durbin is consistently pretty good. He’s not great, but he won’t hurt you.
All of those ingredients, including a healthy Ryan Madson, make up a decent group of relief pitchers. The last few outings have been a coaster ride, but will all bullpen’s it will happen occasionally. The Phillies rank right in the middle of all MLB teams for relief pitchers with a 4.11 ERA. Playoff worthy teams that are in the same boat include the Red Sox (4.18) and Yankees (4.11).
In no way am I apologizing for the job they’ve done recently, however, if you look at the bigger picture, I think you’ll see that this bullpen is just fine. They aren’t outstanding from top to bottom, but they also aren’t as bad as what Saturday showed us.