The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 13-11 yesterday, but all is not hunky-dory in the bullpen, where burnouts like Jose Mesa and Clay Condrey once again turned a commanding lead into a sticky situation.
The fact that certain pitchers are allowed to exist to waste our time and the rest of the team's time should tell you all you need to know about Phillies management. How is it that junk like Jose Mesa, or any number of others, continue to have jobs? The team’s last bullpen acquisition was Julio Mateo, yet to appear, even though his career to this point indicates he’d be no worse than their third-best reliever. Before that, they signed J.C. Romero. That was months ago. In the meantime, it keeps getting worse. And nothing is done about it. Why? Winning is obviously secondary.
What else could it be? If I'm Aaron Rowand, who homered twice yesterday and made a game-saving catch in the 8th inning, or any of the other leaders on the team, players who’ve busted their humps all season and are still short, now would be the time to call general manager Pat Gillick to task. At the very least, they should start billing the front office for frequent on-the-mound couseling sessions, pictured above. Why would a guy like Rowand ever want sign back here, knowing the team doesn’t do all that it takes to win? How in the name of all that is holy can Gillick get off scott free for the bullpen? It’s the single biggest reason why they’re not on top, as everyone predicted, last October. If the middle relief manages to bridge the gap to Brett Myers, it’s by accident. The clouds open and temporarily blind the hitter, or some other deus ex machina.
Scores like 12-3 are the reason why rosters expand in September. Great chance to give young players some action. For some reason, the Phillies filled the expanded roster with quad-A rubbish. They pay the price in two ways. Not only are 12-3 leads insecure in the hands of burnout veteran middle relief, their young pitchers with talent, guys like J.A. Happ, Josh Outman and Joe Bisenius, who would do a better job than Mesa, miss out on gaining some late-season experience. Revisiting the original question: How is it that junk like Jose Mesa, or any number of others, continue to have jobs? Could it be they'd rather limit service time of young players than make the post-season? Nah.
Twelve to go. A game and a half out of the Wild Card, and 2 1-2 behind the stumbling Mets. A miracle, considering the calamities of upper management.