Part of

« Game 2: Show us what you've got, A.J. | Main | Phillies should let young relievers take their lumps »

Wednesday, April 02, 2014



I wasn't at my computer for the predictable end game but, by my count, we have 4 major league caliber relievers in our pen -- Papelbon, Bastardo, DeFratus & Lincoln. Mind you, the latter 2 aren't particularly good major league relievers, but at least they're good enough to belong on a major league roster. Yet, somehow or other, only 1 of them managed to get into the game tonight, while all 3 AAA caliber relievers did get into the game.

Our bullpen certainly isn't very good, but that was some serious bungling.

Continually working on his discipline?! WTF are you talking about. He has been flailing at breaking pitches since he came up. Stop apologizing for him. He has two modes: swinging at slop, or connecting with mistakes.

Tough break for Burnett. Hollands should not have been thrown into the deep end like that. Let the kid get his feet wet in a low pressure situation or two first. Bad move by Sandberg on that one.

bap- I would argue that Diekman is ML-caliber as well (tho obviously not on Bastardo's or Pap's level), but has definitely not been used properly in these two games so far since he should be a LOOGY.

Jordan- you really think Howard is going to improve his plate discipline, specifically against lefties with breaking stuff, at THIS point in his career? Come on now...

Never said it would improve. I certainly don't know if it will, but it's been noted that Howard and the Phillies' staff have been working on it.

Only way Howard ever hits a lefty is by getting ahead in the count.

He can hit a cripple pitch, when he knows a fastball is coming.

If he gets behind or he's facing a lefty with any sort of off-speed pitch? An automatic out.

Not sure why DeFratus or Lincoln wasn't in tonight's game and Rosenburg has been in both. Heck, I would have used Manship before BJ. BJ is the 7th man in a 7 man pen. Hollands is 6th. Both will be first on the chopping block to go back to AAA.

Thought Ryno pulled some good punches the first 2 games but he botched the 9th inning tonight. Almost thought Cholly was back in the dugout.

Shane Victorino is actively hurting this team!

Not too surprised that Bastardo and Papelbon are still probably the only two reliable pitchers in the bullpen.

jordan: when we bash/criticize your terrible headers, please continue to shut the fck up and look the other way - like you normally do while a troll spams the site with garbage, broken html, and gay slurs.

Little harsh LorecorE - if that is not a troll, which I don't read enough to know anymore. Lighten up.

Ugh we knew a few of these would happen.

Is Brad Lincoln hurt or something?

I mean, I don't understand why he's been passed over for BJ Rosenberg in two consecutive games.

Did I miss something?

"A.J. Burnett handed the youngsters in relief a 2-1 lead after the sixth inning, but that advantage would not hold."

Welcome to the Phillies, A.J. Burnett!

Hollands recovered nicely after the initial nervous walk. He was given the home park squeeze by the ump against Fielder.

I have a feeling the Nationals are going to run away with the division this year.

Let's hope good Kendrick shows up today and the Phils take the series.

Shame they won't go 162-0.

From Chris Branch:

Sandberg identified B.J. Rosenberg as his most trusted right-handed set-up man out of the bullpen. So in came Rosenberg, he of the 4.58 ERA in 22 games last year and career 5.68 ERA.

"Coming out of spring training he was throwing the best as far as throwing strikes and doing the job, as a seventh, eighth inning right-handed pitcher," Sandberg said.

Todd Zolecki was on WIP this morning. He asked Sandberg why he didn't use a RHP in the 8th against the bottom of the order (2 righties), saving Bastardo for the 9th to face the top of the order (2 lefties). Sandberg replied "Bastardo is my 8th inning guy." Oh, boy.

We won't get fooled again....

I really thought that we were getting a new coach

That is a frightening statement.

I am revising my win prediction that I never really made.

Hopefully Sandberg either revises his ideas on substitutions, or changes how he treats the players.

A sub-Manuel-esque decision-making process without the Manuel-esque affability and rapport with players is a recipe for unmitigated disaster.

Not me @ 1:56. Not sure what I did to invoke the ire of the troll.

"Sandberg identified B.J. Rosenberg as his most trusted right-handed set-up man out of the bullpen."

Maybe he's just protecting his player but, if that's what really what he thinks, that is downright bizarre. It would be like saying that, if it's a big game, Fausto Carmona is your most trusted starter on the Phillies' rotation.

Usually saying someone is your 8th inning guy, or your closer, is a statement of faith in that person. There's nothing wrong with having faith in Bastardo; he's proven himself capable of being an effective 8th inning guy.

However, it was a good question: Since Bastardo is good, why not let him face the tough lefties in the next inning? He certainly would have been a far superior option than the rookie Holland. (I still can't believe he thought it was a good idea to debut Holland in the 9th inning of a tied game.)

Not me at 10:19. 10:25 was me, but I had forgotten to log into Typepad.

Someone must have a truly empty life to spend his entire day on a blog, insulting people and posting under other people's names.

"Since Bastardo is good, why not let him face the tough lefties in the next inning?"

Alas, the modern bullpen. If you have a couple of good relievers, and 5 stiffs, you're not allowed to use either of those good relievers in an important situation in the 7th inning. You must allow the stiffs to blow the game for you, while saving the good relievers for those hypothetical 8th and 9th inning hold/save situations which will probably never happen thanks to the stiffs you are required to use in the 7th.

On a lighter note, there's been a fun exchange between Todd Zolecki and Roy Halladay on Twitter. Doc tweeted a picture of his plane a few days ago and said he planned to be in TOR for their opening and in Philly in August.

Todd Zolecki ‏@ToddZolecki 1h
.@RoyHalladay, there is still time for the home opener. I'm thinking a shot like this would be great.
(picture of opening day in Arlington with the planes trailing smoke in a flyover)

Roy Halladay ‏@RoyHalladay 1h
@ToddZolecki Luv 2 do a fly over at CBP if there is smoke com'n out of my airplane the show is almost over!! Park'n sucks on Broad, Landing?

Sandberg replied "Bastardo is my 8th inning guy." Oh, boy.

Banging head against desk. I guess the relief corps just lacks the "versatility" of the fielders.

From Dave Murphy.

Then came an ending that sometimes feels like it is playing on a loop. And with it came questions about the constitution of a bullpen that was supposed to be improved, about how many times the Phillies are destined to watch wins wither away in the final three innings.

It ended like it has too many times over the past couple of years: with Rosenberg on the mound, attempting to protect a tie, attempting to get his offense another crack at the plate. If not Rosenberg, it has been Michael Schwimer, or Joe Savery, or Jeremy Horst, a long line of relievers who wouldn't crack most of the bullpens you find on contenders.


From the 7th inning on this game was managed as poorly as Sandberg you could possibly managed. It was horrendous on his bullpen utilization, putting placing in the right spots to succeed, and his selection of PHs.

I'm not clear on why the bullpen was "supposed to be improved." It's the exact same cast of characters. The only addition was Lincoln, who is just like all the others: good stuff, no idea where it's going.

It may only have been RAJ who supposed it to be improved, BAP. And Pap - didn't he give a vote of confidence? I think he did.

"Todd Zolecki was on WIP this morning. He asked Sandberg why he didn't use a RHP in the 8th against the bottom of the order (2 righties), saving Bastardo for the 9th to face the top of the order (2 lefties). Sandberg replied "Bastardo is my 8th inning guy."

This is the hands down the dumbest thing yet I have heard Sandberg say. It is something I would have expected Cholly to say on explaining why his poor bullpen selection resulted in a 'L'.

Really hope the Phils haven't chosen another manager who is a strict 'paint by numbers' bullpen manager with no apparent feel on when to pull a reliever/put a reliever in.

It was hands down Cholly's weakest attribute as a manager and got magnified the last 2 years by
the lack of talent in the bullpen. Going to be a huge issue again if Sandberg manages in the change fashion Cholly did.

Sandberg is completely to blame in this loss. So much for replacing Charlie for someone better. Not having a righthander up on the bullpen behind Diekman was one obvious fail, which was just as bad as how he handled the ninth inning. I was hoping Sandberg would use his head instead of some other part of his body, but once again, we were watching the Phillies' best reliever counting his 13 million out in the pen while a couple of second rate substitutes blew a game.

But as bad as his handling of the pen was, Sandberg's biggest blunder was on offense. Not having this version of Chase Utley bunt Revere and Rollins to second and third with no outs was what actually lost this game. Cost one run at least. I don't know if I can take another season of yelling at the TV from my elliptical while a Phillies manager seems to be in mental vapor lock.

Too bad Fatalotti hardly posts anymore. Last night's game was right in his wheelhouse: a tough, 9th-inning loss where our $13M closer never enters the game.

The "improved bullpen," like the "improved" anything else (other than RF defense, which was impossible to worsen) is a springtime fantasy.

Yeah I saw it BAP. Some things defy words

I'm going to give Sandberg a little time before I draw the sort of harsh judgments last night's management would otherwise deserve.

Crazy, I know.

AKsmith: Utley actually showed bunt on the first pitch, but pulled it back when it turned into a ball. I don't know if Ryne took off the signal or what, but it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen at first.

"Yeah I saw it BAP. Some things defy words."

I guess I was just waxing nostalgic about Beerleaguer's glory days, when shenanigans like last night's would have prompted a 500-post debate the following morning about the proper use of closers.

I thought of Fatalotti, too.

He raises the questions we all have.

David Murphy ‏@ByDavidMurphy 15m
I am a bullpen fatalist. A manager is powerless to stop The Suck. Still, the case of Diekman v Beltre warrants a look

I do think some of the stuff is overblown though. I- unlike many of you- did not see Sandberg coming in as being indicative of some sea change by the organization.

This is still the same type of dopes who put Amaro in the position he was in and continue to embrace mediocrity.

Basically though- I think at some point BAP we need to just stop being negative because it reflects poorly on us as we are the foolish ones thinking there was change coming.

Where's Lincoln been? He was the "major" addition to a bad bullpen and we haven't seen him yet. We have seen Bastardo, Diekman and Rosenberg three times though.

Murphy's comments are staggeringly foolish, frankly. You're a "bullpen fatalist" about a bullpen in which three of the relievers have yet to appear in a game? And two of which have never pitched a complete MLB season? And one of which is changing leagues? And which contains one, if not two, pitchers who won't be on the team in May (even if they don't get injured)?

I usually agree with Murphy but, in this case, I think he's somewhat missing the point. Yes, it's undoubtedly a sorry state of affairs when the manager considers B.J. Rosenberg to be his top RH non-closer option. But Murphy too casually accepts the premise that B.J. Rosenberg is the top RH non-closer option. That premise is absurd. Granted, Lincoln & DeFratus ain't great. But they are clearly better than Rosenberg, and it's fairly shocking that the manager believes otherwise.

To me, Murphy's cogent point was that it was puzzling that Diekman was kept in for the 7th inning of opening day to face RHB Beltre and Rios, and to leave him in again last night to face those same batters.

It was puzzling, GB, but that managerial decision would seem to militate against Murphy's professed fatalism. It matters who pitches in what situations.

Geez. I'm glad I missed the end of that debacle.

Rooting hard for Kendrick today. Wonder if Brown and Asche will be back in the lineup.

If not, that sort of speaks volumes about Sandberg's confidence level in those guys.

Which would be a shame, since both of them still have a lot to prove at the ML level.

Number of the other 29 MLB teams that would add these players to their 25-man roster:

Hollands: 0.
Rosenberg: 0.
Manship: 0.
Lincoln: 4.
Diekman: 6.
DeFratus: 7.

I'd bet that a team or two might pick up Hollands, if only for his upside.

I would have agreed on Manship, except then he did a pretty solid job in ST, and I'm betting at least 3 teams would take him as their long reliever (or 6th starter - which technically would put him in the minors, but he'd be the first call-up at the most-injured position in baseball).

Rosenberg... Dunno. I have to think at least one team would try to harness that velocity with a degree of control, but it's possible he'd slip through on waivers if he were put on 'em.

I already have too much of an anti-Revere reputation to make too big a deal out of it, but just a reminder that his boneheaded base running is just as much in play in this loss as anything. Up the run he cost us, we likely see a different approach to BP management...

But, at any rate, we learned a bit about Ryno, and I'm not sure it's a good thing. While I did support his lineup last night, despite it's inclusion of Nix/Mayberry, when you think of that and his BP management so far this season, it feels as if he's actually used the first two games of the year as an extension of Spring Training. He's putting guys in situations that they're not accustomed to, nor are they really viable candidates for. Hopefully it's just a "blip," but the Bastardo comment doesn't inspire too much hope.

Philli: Just what exactly do you think Hollands' upside is?

Not sure if someone mentioned it in last night's Game Thread (to be honest the troll, who has some exceptional .jpg skills I must say, makes reviewing old threads too painful a task to do), but the BL Twitter feed called it early in the game:

Beerleaguer ‏@beerleaguer 15h

Not to be negative, but this feels like the first loss attributable to the bullpen of 2014.

Not even sure if that's JW anymore or not, but I suspect the negativity isn't born from reading too many of the BL comments, as clearly no one associated with the actual BL brand is doing so, unless it's an explicit attack on the content in their thread header.

Revere's getting nailed at 2nd was bad, but they got him on literally the perfect throw to 2nd. If the ball had been thrown to the bag, or offline even a little, he'd have made it back safely (which is why the ump initially thought he was safe).

With Byrd up against a LHP, 1 out, and 2 runners on, he was cheating enough that he'd be able to come home on a bloop single. He should have been about a foot closer to the bag, as it turns out, but I find it hard to fault him for that little when the pickoff was that beautiful and his game is built on leg speed.

bittel: you sent me to the dictionary on your use of "militate." i initially thought you meant "mitigate." but, you are correct, sir. well played.

Clout: 6th/7th inning guy. He's young (not "legitimate prospect" young, but he's 25), left-handed, has more than 3 pitches, and has always had a fair K/BB ratio (excepting 2012).

His career MiLB WHIP is 1.350, which is acceptable for a young middle reliever, and since most of his MiLB appearances have come as a starter, we can probably guess he's actually able to throw a little harder than he generally does if he comes out of the 'pen.

it feels as if he's actually used the first two games of the year as an extension of Spring Training. He's putting guys in situations that they're not accustomed to
As an optimist, I like this approach. Give the young relievers an opportunity to sink or swim in different roles, and get it out of the way early in the season. I would expect the BL pessimists to also welcome this (since its a foregone conclusion that the Phillies won't contend and the young guys need experience, etc etc).

I get that he's not great, and most of our BP isn't, but acting like every other team has their BP figured out to the extent that they wouldn't take a flyer on one guy with the above-listed perks is giving most other teams too much credit.

Or maybe their pitching coaches too little?

Jake: I think I qualify as a BL optimist. I think keeping Brown and Asche out of the lineup against the first LHSP of the season is pretty much not "giving the young guys experience."

If it happens again tonight, I think you sort of have to drop that line of thought, since it becomes obvious that he's 100% playing the matchups... Something he didn't do in ST.

I have no idea why anyone would expect Sandberg to be a change at the manager position.

Who do you think hired him?

I can sort of understand starting Nix last night, both because of the LH starter & because Burnett is a ground ball pitcher.

As for Mayberry over Dom . . . I'm ok with it for this one time. The Phillies have a ton of LH hitters in their lineup, & Utley's the only one who doesn't completely stink out loud against LHP. So it certainly makes sense to get one of them out of there, in favor of the only decent RH bench bat that you have. Howard, of course, is the worst of all of them & he generally ought to be the guy that goes. But since it's early in the year, when hope springs eternal & we're all willing to delude ourselves into believing that things will be different now that Howard is healthy, I'm ok with subbing Mayberry for Dom in this one instance.

Any explanation for letting Diekman face Beltre and Rios 2 nights in a row, when there are plenty of RH options in the 'pen?

Fatalotti: Well, that wasn't my point, but ok.

My point was that the issue with this team starts at the top--they don't know what they're doing.

It's also why, while I welcome the inevitable Amaro firing, I don't expect the franchise to change much. They'll just hire another "baseball guy" who tells them what they want to hear.

Jack: You're debating our resident troll. He has already admitted that he isn't really Fatalotti.

Howard had better smash that belt-high, middle-in fastball.

Monday's game felt like the golden years and yesterday felt like another kick in the groin a.l.a. last August, we're only two games in and I'm already on board a red roller coaster.

Also, how long before a player fights Sandberg in the dugout?

I imagine Bowa will be the one throwing the punches, not Ryne.

Fire Sandberg!

I don't know why we are so convinced that Rosenberg isn't the best righty out there. Sandberg wants to win, knows a little about the game, and is surrounded by a lot of other baseball people. I'm perfectly willing to accept his judgment in this regard. What it really means is that we have 3 righties in the BP who do not belong in this league.

I remember a time when managers (pre-1990's) would bring their best reliever into the game with runners on base, even if it was the 7th or 8th inning. I hate that closers can only be brought in at the start of the 9th inning with the bases empty.

Then there's Hollands and Manship. So 20% of the roster is AAA caliber even before considering the position players..

Two no-hitters going in the Braves vs. Brewers game through five innings, it's Harang vs. Garza.

Go, Brewers!

Curt: Not that I disagree with you, but Manuel wanted to win, knew a little about the game, and was surrounded by a lot of other baseball people as well.

" Manuel wanted to win, knew a little about the game, and was surrounded by a lot of other baseball people as well."

Yeah, by that logic, a manager can never be wrong. Pitchers have track records. Those track records make clear that DeFratus & Lincoln are better than Rosenberg.

That observation is, in no way, a defense of the GM who put together a bullpen in which DeFratus & Lincoln are the 3rd & 4th best arms. But it's an indictment of the manager who isn't making the best use of what little he has.

Didn't Sandberg make his Rosenberg conclusion based on spring results?

Dangerous road, eh?


As I understood him, Sandberg didn't use Spring results but, his Spring observations, i.e., the eye test.

Bullpen usage last night was obscene. I'm surprised there are no complaints, also, about Mayberry leading off the 7th inning of a 1 run game against a RHP while Brown sat on the bench. That was a Charlie Manuel 'he's my 9th inning pinch hitter; I wanted Mayberry to stay in there to help protect the lead on defense.'

Agreed, Hugh, on Mayberry. I thought that was ridiculous as well as Diekman's misuse. How did he not learn from the exact thing that had happened the night before???

The dancing gif has already worn out its welcome.

Not to mention leaving Nix in to bat against a RHP.

TYAB: Your username says it all.



Great find. Hahahah

Evster at 700 level deserves the credit, but yes, that is made of Nostalgiawesome.

I'm actually kind of sad they didn't do some ridiculous photo shoots like that for the 2011 rotation. That would have been awesome, and kept us laughing for decades, instead of their serious ones just making us sad and sorry for ourselves (and Roy Halladay).

"Sorry Mr. Rivera, we've run out of cowboy vests so you're going to have to wear this one, which we borrowed from the valet at the Holiday Inn, Packer Avenue."

That is an awesome poster.

Revere Ruiz Utley Howard DH Byrd Brown Mayberry 1B Asche Nix SS

Tonight's lineup:

Revere (CF)
Ruiz (C)
Utley (2B)
Howard (DH)
Byrd (RF)
Brown (LF)
Mayberry (1B)
Asche (3B)
Nix (SS)

Ruiz in the two spot and Young Jimmy with a night off (despite a day off tomorrow).


Unless Jimmy had his baby and they let him have the night off to head home early. I honestly had forgotten about that dynamic.

Beerleaguer is finally deleting troll posts?


Any time you can get Jayson Nix's bat into the lineup, you've just gotta do it.

Robbie Ross, by the way, has pitched 127.1 major league innings (all in relief) & has some of the most extreme reverse splits you'll ever see:

v. LHB: .281/.346/.427/.773
v. RHB: .222/.293/.281/.575

Given those splits, I'm glad all the LH regulars are in the lineup. I'm not so glad that Mayberry is. I'd rather have Cesar Hernandez. Now that I've said that, Mayberry will probably hit a homerun.

YO NEW THREAD. Some new guy named Jason Weitzel.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

EST. 2005

Top Stories


Rotoworld News

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Contact Weitzel