Bullpen Killing the Phillies Right Now

Facts are facts: this Phillies bullpen really sucks.

Eight losses this season have been credited to the Phillies bullpen.

That’s a 16-game swing. Winning half of those games would give the Phillies an 18-14 record and keep that firmly planted out of the cellar. Instead, it’s been a nightmare watching the last few innings of every game.

The problems have been very recent. The bullpen has a 7.92 ERA (39 earned runs in 44 1/3 innings) in 17 appearances from April 21  to May 9 (stats from a tweet by Todd Zolecki).

In the past eight games, the Phillies bullpen cost the team a win five times dating back to the 15-13 debacle against the Braves. FIVE… and they were all against NL East foes!

Let’s look at those five games since you’re all incredibly miserable and there is nothing to put you in a worse mood.

May 2: Braves 15, Phillies 13 (11 innings)

Roy Halladay wasn’t himself this game, blowing a 6-0 lead in which the Phillies wound up  trailing 8-6. But two huge innings put the Phillies back up 12-8.

In the bottom of the 8th, Jose Contreras allowed a run and loaded the bases before giving way to Michael Schwimer. Schwimer couldn’t stop the bleeding as he allowed three more of Contreras’ runs to score and one of his own to cough up the lead to Atlanta, now trailing 13-12..

The Phillies tied it up in the bottom of the 9th as Braves closer Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season. Juan Pierre scored on an infield single by Shane Victorino to tie the game up at 13-apiece.

But Chipper Jones’ heroics off Brian Sanches, a two-run homer, lost the game for the Phillies.

May 4: Nationals 4, Phillies 3 (11 innings)

Kyle Kendrick went five innings in what would be his final start before Cliff Lee returned, giving way to the bull pen with a 3-1 lead.

In the 6th inning, Joe Savery allowed a run to make it a 3-2 game. But poor umpiring cost the Phillies any insurance runs in the 7th and the bullpen couldn’t hold on.

The Nationals tied the game up on an RBI double by Jesus Flores off Chad Qualls in the 8th inning. In the 11th, Schwimer allowed an RBI double to Wilson Ramos to end the game.

May 7: Mets 5, Phillies 2

The Phillies were punished in this game for their lack of use of their star closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Though Halladay blew his own lead in the 6th inning, it was the three-run homer Papelbon gave up to Jordany Valdespin (his first Major League hit) that cost the Phillies this one.

May 8: Mets 7, Phillies 4

Joe Blanton was brilliant through the first six innings pitched. But he got himself into a bit of trouble in the 7th, leaving with the score at 4-2.

The bullpen couldn’t mop up his mess as Blanton would allow two more inherited runs by way of Qualls and the score was tied. Antonio Bastardo came in and allowed a run charged to Qualls and the Mets took a 5-4 lead.

Schwimer then allowed two more runs in the 9th inning, ending his tenure with the Phillies this season as he was sent down on Wednesday.

May 9: Mets 10, Phillies 6

That brings us to yesterday’s debacle of a game. Cliff Lee could only go six innings because he was on an 80-pitch limit.

Kendrick decided to be the goat in this one, blowing a 4-2 lead created by the Phillies in the bottom half of the 6th.

Kendrick allowed three runs to score in the 7th, walking the lead off guy, surrendering back-to-back doubles before loading the bases with a walk and forcing in the game-tying run on a hit batter. He then allowed the go-ahead run on a ground ball, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Kendrick would start the 8th inning beautifully, allowing back-to-back doubles to make it a 6-4 game before being yanked. He was charged for a fifth run when Contreras allowed a three-run homer to Ike Davis (the other runner reached on a fielding error) to make it a 9-4 game.

Sanches allowed a run in the 9th in an already out-of-reach game.

After the game, Savery was optioned to Lehigh and a move will be made tomorrow.


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