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They’re Bad – A Bullpen Story

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, May 09, 2012 10:51 AM | Comments: 33
Analysis, Posts

Chad Qualls has allowed 80% of his inherited runners to score in 2012. Photo (AP)

The Phillies bullpen has been incredibly frustrating and their stats back up how bad they have been. I’ll keep this short and sweet as sometimes the most simple numbers say the most:

ERA – 4.95, 30 out of 30 in MLB

FIP – 4.39, 29 out of 30 in MLB

xFIP – 4.54, 29 out of 30 in MLB

K/9 IP – 6.81, 28 out of 30 in MLB

BB/9 IP – 4.33, 24 out of 30 in MLB

LOB% – 66.%, 29 out of 30 in MLB

IP – 72.2, 29 out of 30 in MLB

What does this mean? The Phillies bullpen is at or near the bottom of every major and minor standard and advanced stat.The Phils’ pen is allowing inherited runners to score, they’re walking people, and they’re doing this all in the second to last amount of innings pitched in the Majors, making the Phillies bullpen an effective powder keg of explosive awfulness, ready to blow games at will.

Where do the Phillies go from here? The only immediate solution could be replace one of the faltering bullpen members with Jake Diekman. Diekman, 25, has pitched 14.1 innings and is striking out batters at an outstanding 13.8 per 9 IP against only 3 walks. But after that, the solutions aren’t that simple.

Do you feel that it has reached the point where there is no where to go but up, that the Phils have had an unfortunate stretch of bad luck, or that this bullpen trend continue?

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 748 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 1189 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    I definitely think it’s a stretch of bad luck and too small of a sample size to conclude that our pen is “bad.” Papellbon, Qualls, Bastardo… those guys are legit relievers.

    Replace Savery/Schwimmer with Diekman… and eventually DeFratus replaces Contreras and BAM. We’ll be fine.

     
    • Posts: 0 c schreiber

      You sir are a dreamer. Next you’ll say we need Valdez back and Fontenot in the lineup. ha, ha,ha,ha

       
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Which explains, along with the dominant starting pitching, why they are the 2nd least used pen in MLB.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    …….and it appears that Amaro is doing N O T H I N G to improve this situation. Sad

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Relief pitching reminds me of the old saying about some places “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.”

      All you can do is put in place guys who you think can do the job, based on their stuff, or their record, or whatever, and give them a shot. As Manny says, a month-plus is not enough time to decide you need to make wholesale changes, or God forbid, trade something of value for a “proven” reliever. The one thing this team does have in the high minors is relievers.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Very true Schmenk. @Bart – What do you think Ruben should do? Trade for a reliever? Or sign that really good guy that no one has thought of off the street? Or bring up a guy from AAA? (no one there). Pap and Qualls are proven dudes. Schwimer should be sent down. I don’t think the pen is this bad. As opposed to the offense which actually is this bad.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 4375 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I rarely give RA Jr. credit, but I have to say that at least he did try to improve this unit over the winter. It seemed that bullpen was one of his highest priorities, he brought in a lot of guys. So, give them another month to find the right combination of youth and vets, and I think they’ll be okay. The Cardinals had one of the weakest BP’s last year for most of the season. They kept tinkering, changing closers, etc., and obviously made it work.

    I agree with The Dipsy that offense is where the most help is needed, you can negate a mediocre BP with better offense. And for those of you that were against the Pence trade last season, think about where they’d be right now if that hadn’t happened. Beside Ruiz, who all previous stats point to be playing way over his head, Pence is providing all the slugging they have.

     
    • Posts: 0 ncmike

      I agree that there is not much Ruben can do. Every body seems to be having down years, except for Ruiz. I would give it until June and if we are not playing better Start to make some trades to get better and younger for the future. Victorino, Pierre, Blanton, maybe Pence should all go for close to major league ready players. I can deal with one down year if it means more prolonged success and bringing Cole back.

       
      • Posts: 804 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        I think the chances that the team is so far out that the ownership throws in the towel on the very expensive rotation of Halladay/Lee/Hamels are essentially zero.

        Not to mention that 2-month rentals of Victorino, Blanton and Pence will probably not get players who are close to major league ready (and any good).

         
      • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

        Pence still has one more arbitration year, so he’d bring the most in return. The other guys are two month rentals and won’t bring back much. Hamels for two months won’t even bring back as much as some people are dreaming about (just look at the recent Sabathia (2008) and Lee (2009 & 2010) deadline deals for reference). It really doesn’t matter, there’s little chance that RAJ moves anyone of significance.

         
      • Posts: 0 c schreiber

        The only players who can bring any quality players in return are Doc and Lee.

         
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    There is a legit chance that Victorino would be one of the best players on the market ………. and because his skill set is all over the place, more teams might bid on him

    He can play all 3 OF positions …….bat anywhere 1, 2, 3?, 5, 6…. has lots of speed, some power… playoff experience and too much energy . .

    The Phillies would have to be a good 10-games out of the Playoffs to sell everyone ……..AND.. remember that there is an extra Wild Card team this year . . . and once you make the playoffs, its anyone’s game

     
    • Posts: 0 c schreiber

      At this rate of play, they will be 15 games out by end of June. Clean house including salaries (Doc & Lee) and resign Hamels long term from $$ gotten from Doc & lee’s trade and rebuild. I got 5 more years of life left so restart the cycle.

       
      • Posts: 804 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        Sorry c – never gonna happen. There will be no housecleaning.

        Ownership have placed their bets with a great starting rotation. They will sign Hamels if at all possible, and spend up to the luxury tax to fill in around the staff. I think that describes at least the next 5 years, which will make for a very competitive team — including this year.

         
  • Posts: 0 delearyous

    how can you write this without mentioning that they’re also probably the youngest pen in the majors?

     
    • Posts: 0 c schreiber

      Contreous and Qualls are young??

       
  • Posts: 0 upandaway

    Where would they be without Pence?
    Well…he didn’t bring the ring they sought. If they would have done what I supported and traded for the cheaper Carlos Beltran (who is absolutely raking), they’d have a similar player AND wouldn’t have given up quite as much of the farm.
    And WHY haven’t they called up Diekman yet? I though they would earlier, and was disappointed. Give that guy a shot! Schwimer needs to fix that command. He’s lost it completely.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Beltran cost the giants probably their best prospect, and they didn’t get the ring either, nor did they get to keep Beltran. He plays for the Cards this year, and cost them a bit as a free agent. Get your facts straight.

       
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Wow, the bullpen has been bad… didn’t realize it was this bad.

    The Good… at least we have Papelbon (because if we didn’t we’d have Madson)

    The Bad… the rest of this bunch. Interestingly, Bastardo has been the best in terms of ERA but he has walked 7 batters (1 intentional) in 8 innings! Blanton and Hamels have fewer walks that that and they’re starters who have logged 4x as many innings. When Bastardo is on the mound, you have to have all hands on deck. Qualls hasn’t exactly been lock-down, either… opponents are hitting .293 against him.

    I have no confidence in Schwimer and only slightly more confidence in Contreras. Contreras’ velocity has been good but his command has been dreadful and his splitter hasn’t been splitting. Over 5 games in A+ this year (rehab starts) he was lit up to the tune of 4R in 4.1 innings. So far with the big league club, same results (7 R in 6.1 innings). This is a 40 year old who hasn’t pitched regularly and with any success since 2010… the 92 mph fastball is nice but if your splitter isn’t getting people out, he’s not reliable.

    Sanches… whatever.

    Savery – at least he’s not walking people. Guys are hitting the ball hard against him (of the 6 hits he has allowed, 4 have gone for extra bases) – he might not have great stuff but he can throw a strike. He has left some sliders up in the zone but he hasn’t walked guys.

    Our bullpen was one of our strengths last year… there wasn’t a key guy in our pen with an ERA over 4 and guys exceeded expectations. This year, we have a lot of guys that aren’t pitching the way they are capable of. Blowing leads is unacceptable and we’ve blown a lot of leads lately.

     
  • Posts: 0 Fred

    Who would of guessed Phillies Nation writers would be the first to flake…

     
    • Posts: 0 Don M

      How does providing stats = Flake ??

      “The Phillies bullpen is at or near the bottom of every major and minor standard and advanced stat.” ………………….that’s not an opinion, those are facts.

       
  • Posts: 0 joe

    qualls should be dropped 4 games and 4 blown leads…there isnt anyone else to pitch instead of him??? bring up a minor leaguer they couldnt do worse

     
  • Posts: 0 Jaron B

    Likely to continue for another week or two. I’m thinking call up Deikman for Sanches and ask Pap to throw four or five outs once a week and/ or give him more regular work. Give the rest of the guys designated roles. If this doesn’t work, I’d say search for a reliever on the early trade market instead of a slugger. I’d blame our current record not on lack of offense, but on blowing late leads.

    The bullpen was so good two weeks ago!!!

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Your last sentence is precisely why you don’t go trade for yet another reliever.

       
  • Posts: 1189 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    CHAD QUALLS. One of the most realiable set-up guys in baseball… with a respectable ERA of 3.48, who had been nearly lights out all April… the guy hits a rough patch (that unfortunately coincides with other relievers sucking) and he should get cut off. GIVE ME A BREAK!!

    Our pen isn’t the problem. Chill out and enjoy the show.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    We should have spent more time this offseason looking for talent for the bullpen. Everything is uttimately Amaro’s fault anyway. He is the general manager. Hell, somebody needs to take the blame. Let it be him.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Disagree, Bart. The bullpen is the last place you spend your money, especially when you lots of relievers in the minors.

      This is one area where I think RA did a good job.

       
  • Posts: 882 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    You do not trade away peices of your starting 8 to get releif help, you look from within, Bastardo dispite giving up a hit last night has pitched well when used more than once a week. Savary is still a questioned mark, Swimmer is just not cutting it right now. And it seems like the Big Truck may still come around. Bad luck and bad defense has effected this team, and lack of runs, sure your pen has to shut teams down but you also have to score with second and third no outs or baseloaded with one out. Knowing you are going to give up runs you have to hit for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth and you can not swing at pitches in the dirt or over your head when you need to simply make contact. And be a little more aggresive on the basepaths

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Knowing you’re going to give up runs? Is Charlie Manuel now supposed to be clairvoyant? His pen was fine up until a few games ago, and some of last night’s runs could be put squarely shoulders of Pete Orr’s defense.

      Schwimer was sent down today when Lee was activated. That alone will help, because now Kendrick can pitch some out of the bullpen. In fact, I expect he’ll take over for Lee tonight, because Lee will be on a pitch count. And remember, Stutes and DeFratus aren’t going to be gone forever.

      As the Dipsy said,”I don’t think the pen is this bad. As opposed to the offense which actually is this bad.” Of course, “Don’t think…this bad,” doesn’t mean they’re particularly good, either. Diekman might help, or might not, but he’s certainly worth a try, because Sanches is as worthless as Schwimer was.

       
      • Posts: 0 c schreiber

        Kendrick took over tonight as you perdicted. Great job, Kyle. P..fu…ing U.

         
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Proof is in the pudding….and it is a sour pudding thus far. Hopefully that will change. Fingers crossed.

    Win or lose, the Phils are my team. Have been a die-hard fan for over 53 years. Too much a part of my constitution to quit on them now. Just hope they get things straightened out.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      53 years? That means you saw those God awful sixties teams.

      You must have an IRON constitution to have digested that!

       
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      A lot of bad stretches in there, but overall they’re now over .500 dating back to 1961.

       
 
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