Some have given a glowing assessment of the revamped bullpen for the Philadelphia Phillies with newly acquired Mike Adams. Do you feel otherwise?
This is my fifth poll, which will be honed over time, like my other postings. If you’re interested in checking out something different, my weekly storyline articles are designed to represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
Check out this companion article: Philadelphia Phillies storyline: New ‘pen on paper
The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, and there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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Hammer and Nails:
Jonathan Papelbon is in the dugout until the 6th inning, and then he becomes Cinco Ocho after entering the ‘pen.
Last year the problem was a lack of a veteran presence, because Papelbon goes into his closer mind-set to prepare for a save situation. You may remember his disjointed interview after he locked down a September contest, where he didn’t appear to be all there. However, he is 3rd among firemen behind only Mariano Rivera and Craig Kimbrel. In other words, Adams and Chad Durbin will mentor the young guns from the 1st frame on.
Adams is the best 8th-inning setup man in the majors with an 0.73 ERA (2009) to a combined 1.47 ERA for 2011 (an NL 1.13 and an AL 2.10). He toiled last season with a mild case of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, where the rib bone pushes against a nerve to cause numbness in his arm, hand and/or fingers. He faltered only in his last appearance, producing a 2.79 ERA before that. He dealt with it from April to within a week of completing the full 162.
Durbin had a 3.10 ERA over 76 appearances with Atlanta, but he produced a 2.32 ERA for his last 73 performances. He is versatile, because he can provide 6 outs, fill in during the 8th, bridge the 5th-6th to the 7th or the 6th-7th before the 8th. And he can give the offense a chance in extra innings. He is also a 7th-frame option and he’s excellent in the clubhouse.
Updated Financial Table
Antonio Bastardo may be able to rebuild his confidence in a lesser role, while Jeremy Horst is a fallback plan. Phillippe Aumont and Bastardo have the first right or left shot at the 7th, but Aumont could also see action in the 8th. However, he has command issues on his secondary pitches, which leads to hitters who wait for fastballs. If he can get his control up to 70%, he will be a solid fill-in for Adams and Papelbon.
Horst fashioned a 1.13 ERA during 32 opportunities, and is almost guaranteed a seat with the relievers. If you’re counting, that’s 6 hurlers for 7 slots and plenty of competition to secure the final one. Mike Stutes and Justin De Fratus come to mind first for that last job.
Stutes had a solid first two months during 2011, but was a 50-50 proposition thereafter until he went down early in ‘12. De Fratus is highly touted but has only been a September call-up. B.J. Rosenberg could be the long man, and Raul Valdes was very effective with a 2.17 ERA for 26 relief performances. There are also a few other interesting camp invitees as well: Jake Diekman, Kyle Simon and Rodrigo Lopez or Tyler Cloyd to compete with Rosenberg for multiple innings.
The bullpen rotation will be an area of extreme interest from pitchers and catchers to Opening Day.
If the relief corps gives you confidence, they are studs. If you prefer to wait and see, give them a pass. However, if you feel this group is not much better than last summer’s crew, flood them with the suds.
Phillies email notification:
Studs = a solid 2013 for the ‘pen
Suds = a beer-league unit
Pass = not predictable
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Check out my 4th poll for 2013 (The End Result) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)