The Bullpen: It Is What It Is – Phillies Nation

The Bullpen: It Is What It Is

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.



  1. Trevor

    June 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    A lot of the complaints about the bullpen have been pretty reactionary from Saturday’s loss. One problem that’s been consistent, however, is Danys Baez. Signing him was a mistake from the beginning and he has shown that he does not belong on a major league roster. has a good article up about him, highlighting the fact that his K/9 has been in steady decline since 2010. Not going to cut it for a reliever. If anything he should be your garbage reliever, but for whatever insane reasons, Charlie prefers to use him in close games. He really should be DFA’d and replaced by Scott Mathieson.

    Also, I think Herndon is a much better pitcher than he gets credit for and should be used more often. While his 4.30 ERA may not be impressive, we can see that he’s suffered some bad luck with a .378 BABIP. His 60.5% ground ball rate is also encouraging. I really hope the Phillies do the right thing and try to keep him. He’s also just 24.

  2. Trevor

    June 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Woops, I meant Baez’s K/9 has been in steady decline since 2003.

  3. Peter Wrinkles, jr.

    June 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I agree with Trevor, I also think Herndon should get more work. He is a sinkerballer and they get better with steady work. Moreover, Danys Baez really is NOT clutch and was a poor signing.

  4. Pat Gallen

    June 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I will admit this: I was of the group who liked the Baez signing because he had closed before and was an option if Lidge didn’t get hurt. Hasn’t really worked out the way they’d planned, but I think at the time, with what was out there, Baez wasn’t a bad move. Slightly overpaid? Yes, but not the worst move that could have been made before the season.

  5. Bill Boland

    June 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I’m sorry, the phils bullpen is bad because it is bad. That isn’t a reaction to Saturday, that is a reaction to alll of 2009 and 2010 up to now. Brad Lidge may have cost us another world series when he blew game 3 last year. 2008 was the exception for Brad Lidge. He has been consistently mediocre, at best, for his entire career.

    Your right, I do want to go out and get a REAL closer. I think spending all of this money on the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Roy Halladay is a waste if Lidge is gonna come in and blow the entire game.

    As far as I know, MLB hasn’t shortened the game to 8 innings so, yeah, I think it is somewhat important to have someone with the ability to pitch in the 9th.

  6. Matt M

    June 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Except for Baez and a poor outing from Herndon the bullpen hasn’t been that bad. One thing they do need is a second lefty out of the pen, and Contreas also needs a break. His velocity was a problem on Saturday when he was hitting 90-92 where as he’s been at 94-96 consistently out of the pen. Baez looks like a pitcher who has no confidence and his control and location show that.

  7. Trevor

    June 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    The other thing with the Baez deal is, while I can sort of understand taking a chance and signing him, there was absolutely no reason to give him more than 1 year. No other team was going to sign this guy for 2 years. Ruben loves bidding against himself.

  8. Matt M

    June 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Yeah it was a little puzzling giving Baez two years.

  9. Marc H

    June 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Lidge’s total inability to hold runners on is still a big concern. It turns singles or walks into triples…It’s basically how the Twins got their 3rd 9th inning run on Saturday

  10. Pat Gallen

    June 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Marc H, I dont understand that either. Lidge doesn’t even look at runners, I dont know why they dont address that. All he has to do is turn and throw over there once or twice.

  11. NickFromGermantown

    June 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Lidge recently destoryed any goodwill he earned so far this season. It’s rather disappointing. The bullpen isn’t terrible, but Baez is a black hole in terms of productivity and they’d be in better shape if Madson didn’t act like an idiot.

  12. Greg

    June 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I just like asking questions that don’t apply to the topic, but here goes: Valdez or Castro upon Jimmy’s return? Who leaves? Who stays? Why?

  13. Andrew from Waldorf

    June 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    The crappiness of the over all team has really hidden this. I said all along the biggest problem is the bullpen. The difference now is there is a slew of other problems so it wont be so magnified.

    My biggest issue is what Madson did. He really should be booed for at least a week if/when he returns. I think alot of people are giving him a pass. Again because there are so many other problems. He is our self inflicted wound. Poster boy for the 2010 season.

  14. Ryan H.

    June 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    i actually think we have one of the deepest and most stable pens in the league. as long as lidge can be decent.

  15. Phylan

    June 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Ah yes. Booing. That will solve problems.

    Seriously though Madson is the best reliever on this team and like the least of the problems in the bullpen once he comes back.

  16. The Dipsy

    June 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I fully expect to see Scott Eyre back by August. Seriously.

    The Dipsy

  17. Phylan

    June 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Ah yes, as soon as he collects the shreds of his ligaments and tendons strewn about his house and somehow synthesizes them back into a working arm. Good call Dipster

  18. Peter Wrinkles, jr.

    June 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    The bullpen has shown signs of quality this year. Lidge and Madson have stunk at times, but I hope Lidge can come back. Madson should be solid (and very well rested). Happ should see bullpen duty when he is ready. I hope Scott Eyre is back, as well. I just hope we can piece this bullpen together for the run in August and September. I do think our starting pitching will hold up and I also believe that Kyle Kendrick will be a very pleasant surprise this year.

  19. Phylan

    June 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Pleasant surprise if you’re Bobby Cox and you find out that we still have to run him out there because we have no SP depth


    June 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Lidge’s failure to hold runners on base….the fact that he doesn’t even try…. totally pisses me off. It is arrogant and stupid. Someone walks, then goes into scoring position through indifference. That is bullshit. If Amaro had the balls he should fine Lidge when this happens. Lidge is not that good to let this happen so frequently is maddening. I cringe every time Lidge comes into a game.

  21. Brooks

    June 21, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Pat are you going to produce a ‘report card’ soon?
    Just consider the plus and minus of the season todate:

    On the plus side:
    Doc Halladay – his pitching, his leadership, his style itself I think have immensely helped our pitching staff, not to mention the fan base.

    Cole Hamels – by far and away, improved.

    Moyer – improved.

    Blanton – its the same as last year

    Happ vs Kendrick – degraded, as decent as Kyle has been, Happ was terrific last year.

    Overall, the BP is probably faring better than last year, Lidge is improved, Contreras, Durbin all upsides.

    Rollins – big, big downgrade to Valdez or Castro

    Utley – huge problem –

    Poly – definitely upgrade from Feliz

    Howard – up from last year. Average is up, power is so so – I think his numbers look just fine.

    Werth – comparing him to last year? He was on fire early, cold lately – I’d say slight improvement

    Ibanez – you do the math – huge, huge disappointment – power numbers, average, rbi all down.

    Ruiz – an improvement –

    Vic – down, I’d say a disappointment – he will have a few games where he looks on fire then dissapear for a week. No consistency.

    Castro/Valdez – sorry, both down.

    Bench – other than a flash from Gload once in a moon, very, very down.

    The impact player last year in the first half was Raul. He carried the Phils and thier terrible pitching early on, keeping them contention during the first half of the season. He is virtually non-existant, not to be relied upon.

    If we had a ‘Raul’ in our lineup this year (or a more consistant Jayson) – we would not be in 3rd place now.

  22. Pat Gallen

    June 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Brooks, was planning one for a midseason review which is coming up quickly. Look for it soon.

  23. psujoe

    June 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm


    I think Eyre will be back also. I like Matt Thornton of the White Sox. If they become sellers he’s a lefty in the Pen I’d look seriously at.

  24. karen

    June 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Trust me, I am definately harsh on the pen after a tough game but who isnt? I think that we just need to hope that we can keep baez out of too many difficult situations. madson seems okay as the 8th inning guy which will be fine


    June 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Danys Baez owes us money at this point.

  26. shag beta sigma delta

    June 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    If I am not mistaken wasn’t Saturday blown save by Lidge his first? I know some of you think he got lucky on night with three hard hit fly balls to the wall that the wind kept in the ball park, but it was still a save, so one blown save in how many attempts I think it is like 9 or 10, is not terrible. one other time he got himself into a jam and got out of it last week, but there were a lot of close calls on balls and strikes. So if he has 30 saves and 3 blown saves he is done? That is what I do not get, yea he needs to hold runners on better, but he has been pretty solid since returning from the DL. Outside of Beaz who needs a few good outings before he should be put in in any pressure situation, this bull pen has been pretty solid. When is Madson suppose to start rehabing

  27. NickFromGermantown

    June 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Brad Lidge is currently sporting a 80% successful save rate. This compares to 73.8% last year.

  28. Brooks

    June 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I would not worry about Lidge – it was his first blown save. I’m wondering, the 9 runs that the Phils BP gave up, is that the most runs they have given up in total all season?

    Look, the game on Saturday was an anomaly, the game on Sunday was the teller. It looked like they had just no fight at all after that loss.

  29. Chuck

    June 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Scott Eyre isn’t coming back, Dipsy. Why would he and why should he? The Phillies would have to make him an offer he flat-out couldn’t refuse.

  30. MikeB.

    June 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Saturday’s loss happened at an exceptionally bad time when it looked like the Phils were going to build some momentum.

  31. repeat!

    June 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    sat’s game was nuts.. as long as it doesn’t happen again and the phils can steal a game like that i’ll let it go. lidge has been good -sat so far. ok he was shaky against the yanks. but who isn’t? baez has had some good outings and he does have that 95-96 fb. he just has to be more consistent with the location and he could be an asstt. esp in games where moyer pitches. that fb will look like 115 if placed in good spots and mixed with other pitches. durbin has been good too mostly and jose cont is our new chan ho park. the part that hurts is that this team looked ready to take off and the blown sv on sat was a killa. not time to for them to feel sorry for themselves. the braves and mets sure won’t. maths. was really dispp. i hope he gets another shot though. but mad-dog could be ready soon.

  32. repeat!

    June 22, 2010 at 12:00 am

    and there is a realistic chance eyre will come back

  33. repeat!

    June 22, 2010 at 12:07 am

    his completed healed, veteran lefty arm would a nice addition come sept

  34. Matt

    June 22, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Ibanez to the bench, bring up Mayberry( when healthy), bring up Domonic Brown (why wait nobody else is) and Cody Ransome. Release Dobbs, Baez, and bite the bullet as far a salary goes..chalk it up as a Ruben Boo Boo:(

  35. Matt

    June 22, 2010 at 12:59 am

    If the Phils can go 15-5 till the allstar break they will be at 50-37. Probably not in first, but enough for the Braves and Mets to be very concerned. I think it is do-able if you look at the schedule…that should be their goal!!! If they go .500 to the AS break…looks like wait till next year

  36. Cito Gaston

    June 22, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I’m from Toronto and will be going to at least one of the games this weekend in your park and wearing Blue Jays’ gear – a hat, and/or jersey. Should I make sure my will is up to date or am I fine if I am not an obnoxious moron asking for trouble? I have heard a lot of Philly horror stories claiming you guys are the most crazy fans of them all. I understand no matter where you go, you have the drunks, hecklers and so on, but is it really that bad if you are wearing an opposing teams jersey?

  37. NickFromGermantown

    June 22, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Cito Gaston, you should be fine so long as you don’t wear anything related to Joe Carter, in which case I will personally hunt you down. Just kidding (about hunting you down, but serious though about being okay unless you wear Joe Carter gear).

  38. The Dipsy

    June 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Perhaps Eyre would not wanna go through the grind of a 162 game season but might wanna come back for the last 50 so he can pitch in the post season and WS again. A la Pedro, Clemens, etc.

    The Dipsy

  39. Chuck

    June 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Don’t get me wrong….I would LOVE to have Scott Eyre on the team again. I would think that the Phils would have to be “in it” by the end of July in order for him to consider that. Even then, the man retired to spend more time with his family. I don’t know….it’s a very interesting thought.

  40. Pat Gallen

    June 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Here’s one from the archive’s, sort of as an I told you so…

    “How about Capps”:

    I wanted Matt Capps to shore up the bullpen early in the Winter. Didn’t happen and SOB he’s kicking ass!

  41. George

    June 22, 2010 at 9:46 am

    The Phils were too optimistic when they signed Baez, and I think Manuel now realizes that he isn’t cutting it. Saturday’s game, he came into a pressure situation only because there was no one left except the inexperienced Herndon.

    Personally, I have HUGE doubts about Madson. He stunk at the beginning of the year, even in a set-up role, and now that he’s had his ridiculous temper-tantrum injury he could even be worse. I hope he’s dumped after this year, because other teams appear to be on to his pitching tendencies.

    Lidge so far has been decent enough. Closers rarely hold runners, concentrating on getting the hitter. Every team advances runners on “indifference” from time to time, and it means nothing when the batter makes an out.

    It would be good for the Phils to sign or trade for another reliever, because no team ever has enough pitching. They won’t get Thornton, however, because only a front office full of idiots would let him go. The White Sox are not idiots.

    In any case, I agree that the ‘pen “is what it is,” and that it’s not all that bad, Saturdays game being the exception.

  42. bfo_33

    June 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

    While Sat’s game sucked, up until then, the bullpen has been decent. The only guy who really stresses me out is Baez, wouldn’t change any other pieces. Seems like he has the stuff, then he’s either wild or starts groovign pitches.

    Assuming Rollins comes back, when you look at the lineup, the only guy you are going to hit for is the pitcher. 1 lefty bat is enough (every once in a while, you’ll miss that second lefty, but it doesn’t happen enough, especially when your 2nd lefty option isn’t that good). Keep Valdez and Castro, let Dobbs go.

    While I think 15-5 is aggressive, the hitters are coming together, 13-7 is very likely. That will keep us in the hunt. The Mets and Braves won’t keep up the current pace.

    Cito, you’d probably be ok no matter what you wear as long as you don’t get over rowdy. In general, hats are always safe, but wearing a jersey (esp Joe Carter) is taking a risk that just isn’t worth it. Like any other home park, 95% of all fans may bust your balls a bit, nothing more. The 5% a-holes at Philly are worse than most other parks’ a-holes. Is it worth getting a beer dumped on you?

  43. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am

    off the Phillies for just a minute..

    I saw last night on ESPN’s bottom line, that Mark Texiera was leading Miguel Cabrera in the All-Star Voting by like 80,000 votes!!!!

    Cabrera: .328 average, 19 Hr, 60 RBI, 50 Runs
    Tex: .225 average, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 48 Runs

    Cabrera also has less at-bats, has higher OBP, SLG%, and OPS

    he has 82 hits, compared to 61 for Tex .

    Cabrera is probably the AL MVP right now, but he’s not even going to start the All-Star game ???

    MLB needs to fix this system because nobody wants to see Yankees vs. the NL every year

  44. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I think Castro is going to be the one they let go … an article yesterday was saying he had to ice his knees, both knees, after every start .. and his bat kinda went away from what he did the first time Rollins was on the DL

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep Dobbs, and let Castro go

  45. Eamonn

    June 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Read on that Rollins should be coming back this week and maybe even tonight. Anybody have any more insight as to when he’s going to be in the lineup?

  46. The Dipsy

    June 22, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Bullpen on Sept 1, 2010


    The Dipsy

  47. Chuck

    June 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

    It’s a shame…because Castro did a nice job the first time around when Rollins was on ther DL.

    Seriously, though….Dobbs is a waste. I’d much rather see someone
    like Cody Ransom get a shot.


    The All-Star game election process is a joke. For someone like Cabrera to not be starting is ridiculous.

  48. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Buster Olney said yesterday on ESPN Radio.. that multiple GM’s tell him that the frontrunner to land Cliff Lee

    The Minnesota Twins … who are a #1 pitcher-away from being among the best in baseball

    They have a stud catching prospect, and with Mauer, he’s got nowhere to go…and Olney said their new owner spends more money than his father did when he was owner? …I guess they are going to pre-spend some of the money that their new stadium will generate

    Tim Kurkjan was on today, and said the Twins, and possibly the Mets are the most interested in Cliff Lee

    (but I think the Mets have been burned too much recently with giving up prospects and overpaying for Free Agents).. ?

  49. Chuck

    June 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Twins are a good team already. With Lee they would have to be among the favorites in the AL to go deep into the playoffs.

  50. teejvee

    June 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    The Braves are getting Jurjens back. If Lee goes to the Mets, that would put the Phils odds at making the post season in the 20-1 range. It’s very tough to jump over 2 teams

  51. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    20-1 ?

    With 95 games to play, it’s not that hard to make up 5 games on a team who’s best players are Chipper Jones (hurt every other game and about to retire), Jayson Heyward (super-rookie who has struggled at times), Troy Glaus (who, despite the past month, isn’t actually the best player in baseball), and Brian McCann (who remembered how to hit last week)

    Braves are a good team, and I believe a playoff team … but to say that a team with Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Werth, Victorino, Ibanez … Halladay and Hamels is at 20-1 odds to make the postseason ?? I’ll take that bet anyday of the week

  52. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Teejvee, if you really aren’t a fan of the Phillies … why do you post on here so much?

    And if you are a fan of the Phillies.. why are you 95% negative? They won the NL EAST, the National League, and even a World Series with a team that, at least on paper, isn’t as good as this one …

    Once they get healthy, the rest of the NL is in trouble .. the Padres and Mets aren’t going to play above their heads all season like this

  53. Chuck

    June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Twins are a good team and not to be “discounted” just because they are “small-market”. It’s no surprise that they won 2 of 3 against the Phillies.

    At first, I was hoping for a 2 of 3 Phillies series win. On Saturday, before the bullpen, there was even hope for a sweep.

    But….2 of 3 from the Yankees…in Yankee Stadium…..and 4-5 on the current interleague run. And that’s against 3 of the best teams in the AL.

    They should go AT LEAST 3-3 in the next 6 games against the Indians and Jays…..maybe even 4-2??

    With Rollins coming back soon, Happ, and the Madson to follow….things should start to really take shape.

    Of course, they have to play the games…….

    Go Phillies!!!!!!!!!

  54. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I dont think anyone is saying anything otherwise about the Twins .. I fully expect them to be the AL CENTRAL champ.. and if they add a front-line starter, they could easily challenge for the American League crown

  55. teejvee

    June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Right .

    Nobody else has a chance to play as good as they have been but the Phillies are guaranteed to do so, because we all know other players or teams never improve and the Phillies players never get worse.

    Got it.

  56. Don M

    June 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Didn’t say that .. BUT …. at the begining of the season, when everyone’s healthy … I think we all realized that the Phillies were the best team in NL EAST

    the Braves started slow … we started hot . . then we had a bunch of people get hurt and the Braves got hot … … Braves aren’t going to win 100 games this year, and we aren’t going to struggle to stay just above .500

    But again, it would be better if you just told us all what team is your favorite in MLB instead of just posting on here knocking the Phillies all day long.

  57. Phan in the outfield

    June 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm


  58. Phan in the outfield

    June 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I’ve been watching and reading this for a while and – for what it’s worth – I think teejvee just kind of thrives off antagonism of any kind. No matter what you think he’ll go against it just to create a volatile discussion. I don’t think he necessarily dislikes the Phillies but he’s found easy targets with longtime, vehement fans. It’s difficult to get any real lasting reaction at a Yankee or Mets site. They don’t really care that much. They’re generally only around when their team is winning anyway. And the Braves? Wow, their alleged “fans” don’t even buy tickets when they are winning. Not sure what to make of them.

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