Cover Your Eyes: Bullpen Strikes Again As Mets Sweep – Phillies Nation
2012 Game Recaps

Cover Your Eyes: Bullpen Strikes Again As Mets Sweep

Aside from pitching well, Cliff Lee also drove in a run in tonight's loss. (AP)

It must be Groundhog Day in Phillies land. We’ve seen this story before (the previous two days, as a matter of fact), but the Phillies were once again beaten by the Mets after watching the bullpen squander an early lead. Tonight, the Mets piled on, embarrassing the Phillies by a score of  10-6, but, somehow, it felt even worse than that.

Same stuff, different day:

– As our own Ian Riccaboni wrote earlier, this Phillies bullpen is bad. At this point, bad doesn’t even begin to cover it. This bullpen is putrid, porous, horrendous, pathetic, woeful, and, most of all, depressing. For the third consecutive game, a Phillies starter left the game with a lead, and for the third consecutive game, the bullpen found a way to give it back. Each night, a different pitcher is the culprit. Tonight, it was Kyle Kendrick’s turn. After allowing a run with no outs to start the seventh, Kendrick loaded the bases, and promptly plunked Lucas Duda to bring in the tying run. The Mets would have the lead for good one batter later, but that wouldn’t be the end of the damage.

– After allowing back-to-back doubles to start the eighth, Kendrick was replaced by Jose Contreras, who couldn’t stop the bleeding. After a bad fielding error by Hunter Pence, Contreras would allow a three-run home run to Ike Davis that hasn’t landed yet. So far this year, Contreras has been an enigma. In six of his nine appearances, he allowed no runs. In the other three, he’s allowed at least two runs. The Phillies were hoping Contreras would come in and stabilize the middle of the bullpen along with Qualls, but, so far, neither man has answered the bell.

– You thought April was painful with the offense not producing? This is far worse. Those games where the team wasn’t hitting were over from the start. These recent games could’ve been won by the Phillies, if only the ‘pen could hold a lead. The Phillies need to get some relievers healthy or bring in some new blood (in the form of Jake Diekman), and they need to do it fast. Pitching like this, the ‘pen could have them out of it by the summer. $50 million dollar closers who produce are nice and all, but they become irrelevant when you can’t even get the ball to them with a lead.

Clifton Phifer Lee returns:

Cliff Lee made his return from the DL, and looked very good on the mound and at the plate. Aside from driving in a run, Lee was able to throw all of his pitches, and work the strike zone. He allowed just two runs over his six innings, and, perhaps most encouraging of all, recorded six strikeouts and one walk. He also made a great play defensively in the third, dashing off the mound to field a Dillon Gee bunt, turning and firing to second to get the lead runner. To see such athleticism was a sign Lee is feeling himself.

Top of the lineup a no show:

– While I firmly believe this loss is on the shoulders of the bullpen, the ineptitude by the top of the lineup didn’t help things much. The Phillies one through four hitters went just 5-for-20, with one run and one RBI. On paper, that doesn’t look too bad, but consider that two of those hits, and both the run and RBI came in a meaningless ninth inning, and you see the true picture. Compare their effort to the bottom of the order,  which went 10-for-21. When you get that type of effort from light-hitting guys like Polanco, Mayberry, Schneider, and Galvis, you should be scoring more than five runs. But, as has been the theme with this team, they were once again unable to get everyone firing on all cylinders.


– Is this rock bottom? The further this team falls, the longer in the season they get without showing signs of putting it together, you have to begin to wonder when the turnaround is going to happen. Right now, I don’t even think they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After going 11-12 through April, they’ve digressed to start the month of May, going 3-6 through their first nine games. It is still May, however–far too soon to throw in the towel. They’re just five games out of first place. This team has been in deeper holes, and faced more adversity than this. But as things go along like this, I find myself asking this question: At one point do you stop telling yourself ‘It’s still early?’

Game notes:

– The Phillies fall four games below .500 for the first time since May 9th, 2007.

– The sweep by the Mets was the first one at CBP since 2006.

– The second-inning run for New York ended a fourteen-inning scoreless streak for Cliff Lee, dating back to April 13th, a game in which he also pitched against the Mets.

– After a sorely needed off day tomorrow, the Phils will play host to the Padres over the weekend. Vance Worley will take on Clayton Richard in the first game of the series on Friday night.

Click to comment


  1. Bob in Bucks

    May 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I was at the game and it was horrible. You could see that Kendrick was off right away but you also knew that there were no real options. Without Herndon and Stutes the bullpen is truly horrible. Contreras is way past his prime. I expect one or two changes soon but still there are few options for Manuel other than 8 from the starter and Pabelbon. Maybe an inning now and again from Bastardo. Still hoping for 85 but beginning to wonder.

  2. donnavox20

    May 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Any guess on what the move Friday will be?

  3. Ryne Duren

    May 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    qualls is gonna be qualls! contreras is done! sanches needs to find some place else to stink! we can’t pick on schwimmer he’s were he belongs right now. the others actually aren’t as bad they’re just not doing it. oh and kendrick needs to go too! i’ve had it with him. never thought he was any good anyway. last year he was good i don’t know how that happened.

  4. Ryne Duren

    May 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    somehow we need to change the face of the team to kick start it! they should find a way to dump rollins for whatever we can get. even if we eat half of his salary. put galvis at short he’s producing more runs out of the 8 hole than j-bag did in the third hole, and rollins steals like galvis. ZERO ! he had a few chances tonight and he sat on his j-bag. had a chance to drive in a run also but his j-bag got in the way and he popped up AGAIN. dump poly too! i don’t care about his defense we need someone that can drive the ball! bring overbeck up and stick him over there. can he be less effective than poly? i’ll take overbeck even if he hits .250 he’d at least have a few HR’s and some RBI.

  5. bacardipr05

    May 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Wow,,,That is all..

    • Ryne Duren

      May 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      yea for now thats it! you want more? my budget is tight lol. just venting my freind if i don’t vent my tv will not work anymore. i paid too much for it to throw something at it so i’m sorry.
      i’m almost to the point of a joe conklin fire sale where everything must go

  6. Chuck A.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Just got back from the game. Horrible. Just pathetic. The bullpen is the bullpen and I wasn’t surprised. But the tipping point for me was that “loose play” again. What was Vic thinking trying to dive for that ball??!! And forget the fact that Pence dropped a ball that a third grader could make………it was his atrocious plate discipline that did it for me. I love the guy but come on.

    By the way, I heard on the radio on the way home that the pen move on Friday is probably Diekman. I think they need at least 2 moves. We’ll see, I guess….

    Go Sixers!!

    • Jose_Who?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      It was rather fun to watch. Nice to see the philthy’s are finally coming back down to earth.

  7. EricL

    May 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I got to the point where I was just literally laughing at the television as bad thing after bad thing happened. I hope they really get all this run bad out of their system soon.

  8. HotelBar

    May 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I feel sick but I want to have the viewpoint as a fan that I hope our players have. That viewpoint is that it is a long season and you can not let yourself get too high or too low at any time with this game.

    The last time I felt this down about us during the season was back in the middle of the 2010 season. We were coming off back to back World Series appearances but the offense was struggling and, while we were not nearly this bad, it looked as if the Braves were going to run away with the division. Then the Fightins’ went on a streak and traded for Roy Oswalt and finished with the best record in baseball that year some how.

    Despite Pa

    • HotelBar

      May 10, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Trying to look at the bright side:

      1) I have faith in Chase Utley. He will come back and just his presence will make this entire offense better. Even if it is Utley playing on the level we saw last year, he is still light years ahead of whomever we can put at 2B now.

      2) The bullpen is poor now, but our starters are basically all innings eaters and Papelbon is still a great closer despite one bad inning Monday night. It can not be that hard to fix middle relief. We will, of course, need Charlie Manuel to do better than letting walks/doubles machine Kyle Kendrick stand on the mound getting throttled for an inning and a half, though.

  9. Andrew from Waldorf

    May 10, 2012 at 12:05 am

    So much for the novel. Seems like hitting a vase with a sledgehammer at this point.

    Those of you thinking this is a bad run and waiting for Howard and Utley to save the day. I hope you are right. As a betting man I am more likely to bet 7 2 off suit against aces though.

    The2012 Padres are a historicly bad team. Was really bad losing 2 of 4 there earlier.
    If the phillies do not win this series coming up.
    The problems are deeper than I even thought.

    I actually think the old man could resign at some point.
    He doesnt deserve this and he didnt do it. Its on RAJ.
    Even though he is 100% the wrong manager for this bunch at this point.

    @ Chuck A glad to see you are stil gong to games.
    Try to enjoy the season. I will regardless of the record. But I will continue to give you honest analysis of the team.

    Speaking of which. Anyone hear Chris Wheeler call Ike Davis upper deck home run wind aided during the post game show? lol You cant make that up.
    Phillies broadcasts getting so bad I may start watching the other teams feed.

  10. grismundo

    May 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Someone needs to take these bullpen bums out behind the shed and pull an Old Yeller on them. I’d rather have Stephen Hawking in relief.

  11. Jeff Dowder

    May 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Exactly one year ago Chase Utley began his minor league rehab assignment (as in actually playing games). Since he still hasn’t done any real fielding, I guess he’s officially behind last year’s pace for returning to the big leagues. It’s interesting because I thought someone (maybe Chase himself?) said this year’s pain wasn’t nearly as bad as last year.

  12. branderson925

    May 10, 2012 at 3:28 am

    If anything at least this should drive away some of the bandwagoners that have flocked since 2008. I may only be 21 but I used to watch this team only when they sucked. Some people are just too privileged and don’t understand what it’s like to watch a losing team play. It’s pretty easy to root on a team that is at the top of the league.

    I’m not trying to sound like a wise know-it-all. I know I’m young, real young compared to most fans but some of the comments on this site have been getting downright unbearable. Like they deserve “their Phillies” to be great every year. We won 5 Division titles consecutively. Jesus. That is unfathomable when I was watching them stink up the Vet in 2000.

    Just be happy with what we got now. We can still win the division, I’m not saying it’s over but it is highly unlikely without some sort of move being made. Get a reliever RAJ!

  13. bacardipr05

    May 10, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Jeff D i was thinking the same exact thing the other day….

  14. Whatthephuck

    May 10, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Utley might never come back again, and even if he does how long will that “presence” he has on the team last for? Charlie Manuel has lost his touch with managing, he was outmanaged in last years playoffs, he’s flopping the lineup around way too much, and because of it no one is getting settled in to their role, the bullpen is half rookies, he cannot keep putting these rookies in one run games, schwimmer? Sanchez? Savery? Herndon? Can’t play at the major league level, garbage, Kendrick can b really good but he doesn’t have enough intensity to b consistent, that’s what we need to turn this thing around INTENSITY!!! This team is playing with their d*cks tucked between their legs
    Some firings need to be done, start with gross, next is charlie

    • Lefty

      May 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

      Yeah, It’s definitely Greg Gross fault the BP can’t hold a lead. Fire him, that’s a good place to start. Because their plate approach is so much better since they fired Milt Thompson. Get a hold of yourself, dude.

      • Chuck A.

        May 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

        Hard as it is sometimes, we all just gotta try to ignore clowns like this.

    • George

      May 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

      If “the bullpen is half rookies,” how can Manuel NOT put them in close games, especially when the non-rookies like Kendrick, Contreras, and Qualls have been just as bad? And how would firing Gross make the arms better?

      Maybe you should call yourself “I’manss.”

  15. TheDipsy

    May 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Greg Gross? Charlie Manuel?

    Greg Gross’s job was to tinker with projects, rookies, and struggling utility infielders and to tell those guys to spend more time watching Chase Utley hit. Hitting coaches can’t speed guys bats up, make them look at pitches, or teach them to hit curve balls. It doesn’t matter who the hitting coach is. Charlie Manuel is there to crack jokes and to give the swing away sign, not orchestrate hit and runs and sac bunts. RAJ made the moves he made but he didn’t suck the cartilage out of Utley’s knees or take a knife to Howard’s achilles.

    Bastardo forgot how to pitch, Stutes is hurt, Contreras is hurt. Rollins is back performing like Jimmy (but now with a nice three year contract).

    Its just a bad offense with bad offensive players Utley Howard Werth to Pence ? ?.

    RAJ – Please just put this team back together again. Somehow.

    The Dipsy

    • Johnnyboy

      May 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

      The series against the Mets had nothing to do with the offense, so getting rid of the hitting coach won’t fix anything. Having a collective ERA of over 14 in three games is soley the fault of the Pen. The Phillies offense could be on fire and they’d still lose if the pen gives up 8 runs in three innings.

      • Manny

        May 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        Very true. Our offense has actually been pretty good lately. I’m hopeful that the pen will get better… simply because it isn’t THIS bad. In reality, it’s a pretty solid pen… we’re just going through a rough patch and a few fixes (Diekman) could do the trick.

  16. Dave

    May 10, 2012 at 7:57 am

    3 very good starting pitchers and a good closer surrounded by mostly has beens, never were’s and minor leaguers.

  17. betasigmadeltashag

    May 10, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I have been one of the most optimistic posters on here and a true backer of Charlie, but right now it is getting to a breaking point. You can not complain about the offense for what it is it has scored enough runs to win all three of these last games. How this team is built 4 runs should be enough. The pen just stinks now, not sure it will get better. But Charlie needed to win that game at all cost. As soon as KK walk the first guy, you get someone up in the pen. Use everyone even if you have to go Tony La Russo style for one game, especially with today off. Really bringing back KK in the eight, even letting him finnish the seventh was a joke. I do not follow the minors that much buy Schwimmer has to go back down with Savory Bastardo has to pitch every day cause he is better control when he pitches more. not less. Charlie really has to get on these guys ass and not worry about putting to much pressure on them to do more. It is only May and six games is not as bad as it could be. But we really need to stop talkin about how the offense is not performing Because they have hit well enough to have won the last three series. And how did one of the best defenses in the league all of the sudden be so bad, especially in key situations

    • GM

      May 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Schwimer was gone before last nights game, he was sent back to AAA to make room for Cliff Lee to be activated from the DL.

      • George

        May 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

        Schwimer was gone, but the rest of Beta’s comments have merit. Leaving Kendrick in was pathetic. Even if there’s no one who might do better, you have to try something else when the guy on the mound is giving up doubles. Even if those other guys have pitched a lot lately, you can’t just go with one guy who clearly isn’t doing the job. I usually don’t complain about Manuel or Dubee, but one or both of them botched things last night.

        Of course, with the Pence fly ball butcher job, it might not have mattered much. The team has been oddly incompetent in areas other than relief pitching.

        On the positive side, Galvis had three hits, two for extra bases, and drove in half the Phils’ runs.

  18. GM

    May 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Did anyone else fell like Pence & Victorino lost interest in the game? Their play in the outfield during the last few innings was terrible. After Pence dropped the fly ball, I wanted Charlie to pull him in the middle of the inning.

    I no longer live in the Philadelphia area and watched the game on SNY, the Mets feed. Gary Cohen, the Mets announcer, compared Pence to Bobby Abreu after the second ball it the base of the wall. He talked about Abreu never being willing to crash into the wall to make a catch.

    • schmenkman

      May 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Quite the opposite — Victorino was trying to do too much, and Pence was thinking about where he was going to throw and took his eye off the ball.

      Pence has crashed into the wall plenty of times. He has lots of issues (plate discipline, overall talent), but that’s not one of them.

      • Johnnyboy

        May 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

        Is Pence any better than Dom Brown in the field? I mean seriously, Pence is not fielding balls well and is misplaying them. Dom Brown wasn’t that bad at the plate last year and does take pitches. Pence swings at just about everything, which is what you do not need at this point.

      • GM

        May 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        Pence is at least hitting the ball & driving in runs, Brown isn’t doing that at AAA. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .219 with 8 K’s and 2 BB’s.

  19. poopmastr7

    May 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Option the whole bullpen to the minors and bring up a wawa classic hoagie and a bag of herrs kettle cooked jalapeno chips.

    We have a better chance at winning with a delicious bag of spicy jalapeno goodness on the mound than any of these bums

  20. Manny

    May 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Oh how I wish Dom Brown would be tearing the cover off the ball in AAA right now… No HRs yet and an underwhelming .247 batting average… 🙁

  21. Bill

    May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    As a life long Mets fan I cannot tell you how sweet it was to whup you guys in your house. At the end of the season it won’t mean anything but it sure feels good. You guys are the most hated fans in sports.

  22. Dino

    May 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Hard to believe that a ML team can go into a game with only 3 middle relievers available to pitch including Sanches who has no value whatsoever.

    Where are the RA fans who’ve called him a genius ?

  23. brooks

    May 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I think most of you are looking at this mess all wrong. The sweep by the Mets was totally the fault of the Bullpen – sure there was some “loose play” but not enough to squash the entire game.
    This is psychological, every single run scored is a result of snake bite. At this point its nearly automatic. Everyone, regardless of who it is gets hit and gives up runs… regardless. Last night it was KK then Savery.
    Snake Bit – then the gloves screw up then the bats are silent – LOSS

  24. Whatthephuck

    May 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    So the offense does ok for three games and you think everything is ok, the bullpen can b fixed the offense is what the problem has been for the past two years and still is

    • schmenkman

      May 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Once Utley returned last year they had the highest scoring offense in the NL for the final 2/3+ of the season.

      This year the offense has climbed to 10th and should hang around league average until Howard/Utley return. The offense isn’t great, but it’s good enough to win.

      • Chase Utley

        May 14, 2012 at 9:35 am


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