Bullpen Blows Another Lead as Nats Take Opener – Phillies Nation
2014 Game Recaps

Bullpen Blows Another Lead as Nats Take Opener

The Phillies’ bullpen blew a 3-2 lead in the eighth, and the offense was unable to mount a comeback as they dropped the opener of a three-game set with the Nationals by a final of 5-3. It was yet another example of the biggest weakness that has plagued the team in the early part of the season.

‘Pen Can’t Hold Lead

It took just two batters after Lee departed for the Nationals to tie the game at three. Mike Adams allowed a leadoff double to Denard Span in the eighth, and Span promptly stole third before bring driven in by Anthony Rendon. Adams then yielded a single to Jayson Werth and was lifted in favor of Jake Diekman. Diekman was no better, giving up two straight hits as the Nationals took a 5-3 lead before Diekman struck out the side .

Byrd Bringing the Power

Marlon Byrd took Stephen Strasburg deep to right field for a three-run bomb in the first inning, giving the Phillies an early 3-0 lead. With those three RBI, Byrd now has 20 0n the season. That not only leads the team, but also puts Byrd in a two-way tie for sixth place in the National League in runs batted in. His average now sits at .286, which is good for fourth best on the team.

Lee Goes Seven Strong

Cliff Lee rebounded nicely from his less-than-stellar start last week against Arizona, allowing just two runs through seven solid innings while striking out five. He threw 106 pitches, 70 of which were strikes. Only one of the Nationals’ runs against Lee was earned- a solo home run off the bat of Tyler Moore in the third inning. It is the fourth time in seven starts this season that Lee has gone seven or more innings and allowed one earned run or fewer.

The unearned run was scored on an RBI groundout from Span in the fifth, after a Chase Utley error allowed Jose Lobaton to reach base. But the run was overshadowed by an emptying (albeit a casual emptying) of the benches and bullpens. During Span’s at bat, he motioned for time to the umpire, but it was not granted. Span still stepped out of the box as Lee’s pitch came buzzing in high and tight. Span took exception and had some words for Lee, which Lee gave right back and continued to dish out as Span walked back to the dugout. Span then turned around and walked towards Lee, at which point the benches and bullpens slowly emptied onto the field, with Lee laughing the whole time.

Up Next 

A.J. Burnett, who was stellar in his last outing, will take the ball on Saturday against Washington’s Tanner Roark. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.



  1. Bruce

    May 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Before the season started, the bullpen was my greatest concern and continues to this day to be a disaster. The Phillies’ relievers have a 5.07 ERA and have blown six saves, though you can’t blame closer Jonathan Papelbon as he is 8 for 9. One can provide all kinds of excuses.. youth, inexperienced, etc.. but they can’t escape the ignominy of being the WORST bullpen in the N.L.

    It’s a marathon season and can only hope to see some sign of progress with the youthful relievers before long.

  2. bacardipr

    May 3, 2014 at 12:31 am

    This club has a paper thing margin for error here. Utley’s error and the bullpen collapsed sealed the fate. Ruben did nothing this off season to address the issues other than trading for Brad Lincoln another possible marginal talent. I fear the BPen issues will keep them out of the race followed by a long losing streak that will seal this seasons fate.

  3. Guest

    May 3, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Bullpen sucks. The offense got the lead and anther blown opportunity.

  4. Glutenous

    May 3, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Hey guys,

    In an attempt to save his job and salvage what is left of his reputation as a Major League GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. has announced that the Phillies will be holding open tryouts for bullpen spots tomorrow. They will be held at the stadium, prior to batting practice, before the game versus the Nationals. Good luck everyone. With the exception of Paps, Tony Bastardo, and Wednesday Adams (a vet even though it remains to be seen if he can contribute in any positive way), these other guys resemble a Class-A short season squad’s bullpen. I figure we’ll all have a legitimate chance to make the team, even if you have no prior experience throwing a baseball or a shred of athletic ability. See you at the ballpark.

    • wbramh

      May 3, 2014 at 9:30 am

      No tryouts for GM?

  5. Chuck A.

    May 3, 2014 at 7:58 am

    This bullpen is a joke. You get a lead against a pitcher like Strasburg you gotta hold it! A complete wasted opportunity that would have made at least a small statement.

    • c. schreiber

      May 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Aren’t these the same comments we’ve had about the bullpen for the last three years. How is Ruby still GM. I guess the owner doesn’t give a shit as long as we keep those turnstils spinning. Time for us fans to address the situation by boycotting the games. Love the Phils since 1950 but he did nothing to change the bullpen results for 3 years and owner hasn’t either.

  6. George

    May 3, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Some blame should be placed on the offense. They scored three runs early, then zilch.

  7. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    May 3, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I think this poster, woodyj, said it best on another blog:
    “Clown car comes careening out of the bullpen,
    zigzags across the outfield, comes to a stop behind the mound.
    Clowns jump out, and run around, throwing baseballs in random directions
    Clown car blows up in a great big puff of circus smoke.”
    I could not stop laughing, despite the very forlorn state of our bullpen.

  8. Skip W

    May 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Lots of blame for the offense. They were 1 for 6 with players in scoring position before Howard popped out, Byrd struck out on high cheese, and Dom struck out.

    • schmenkman

      May 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      They’re still the third best team in the NL in hitting with RISP, but that’s little consolation after a game like last night’s.

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