The choice to turn Wednesday's start over to a bullpen committee backfired, but regardless of who started the game, the bullpen was still going to pitch, and the bullpen still stinks.
Beerleaguer: There's nothing like an old-fashioned bullpen implosion to bring out the worst in our comments section. Two reasons. First, the obvious frustration. Second, it's the one subject where everyone, truly, talks directly out of their ass. How do you build a bullpen? Why not ask the Phillies, who built one of the steadiest committees from 2008-11? Realize it's the same brain trust that gave us such hits as Jose Mesa Part II, Arthur Rhodes, who stunk here and has been solid elsewhere, Julio Santana, who nobody remembers, Danys Baez, who everyone remembers, and many others.
I've seen lots of "the Phillies need to bring in a veteran right-handed reliever ASAP!" Like ... uh ... Chad Qualls? Or Brian Sanches, who's reportedly on his way to Philadelphia to replace Joe Savery. How does Sanches grab you?
Then you have a fiefdom of eggheads who argue indignantly that spending big bucks on a bullpen arm is a waste of money. OK, please understand Jonathan Papelbon is the only reliever remotely close to a sure thing, year-over-year, which puts him in very elite company.
You also have this shortsighted group who claims Ruben Amaro Jr. trusted his young relievers too much. But did Amaro expect Michael Stutes, Jose Contreras and David Herndon would be lost to injury, and Kyle Kendrick shifted back to the rotation? When the season started, the Phils were expecting to use one young reliever, at most, to work low-leverage innings.
Wednesday's loss boiled down to three things: Raul Valdes badly missing on an 88 mph fastball before the pitcher, Joe Savery being Joe Savery and Qualls, who hadn't allowed a run in nine appearances before Wednesday, leaving his sinkers up on a tee. The realistic alternatives would be no different. Fringe journeyman, unproven arm with limited upside, fading veteran. Guess what? That's 75 percent of every bullpen.
Round and round.