One of the glaring problems with the Phillies — especially since the injury to Tom Gordon — has been inconsistency and overworking at the back end of the bullpen.
The problem surfaced in ugly fashion last night, with Rudy Seanez having to pick up the slack while JC Romero, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson all sat in the bullpen unavailable. While Seanez is experienced, he works best in far-ahead or far-behind situations. His stuff doesn’t translate to late-inning high-pressure relief status.
We’ve seen that the Phils bullpen parts are clearly defined in their abilities. Romero should strictly work lefties, but can get out of big jams late in games. Durbin is best as a swing man capable of jetting through the middle innings. Condrey is a great long-innings reliever. Madson — while possessing the most setup experience of the four — seems to be better suited in the seventh inning (.208 BAA/.577 OPSA) than the eighth (.281 BAA/.708 OPSA).
With that knowledge, it seems achingly evident the Phillies should have a capable veteran right-hander who can get outs late in the game. And it would be almost too late to fix it. The only names that come to mind are David Weathers (3.45 ERA, 57.1 IP) and — gulp — Eric Gagne (6.35 ERA, 34 IP). I’m not saying a guy like this would be the primary setup man, but be used as a possibility for an out or two late in a game.
On the other hand, it’s valid to say these options are just like the one Charlie Manuel turned to last night — Seanez. In that case, could the Phillies live with Madson/Romero/Durbin taking turns in the eighth?