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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Going back through the archives, remember the terrible season of Terry Adams in 2005? Wow. Has to rank in the top 3 worst pitching performances in BL history.

I'm willing to give Madson a mulligan, especially with the beach balls Lidge is throwing to minor leaguers right now. He's the best option hands down and as much as he struggled as closer, he's at least done it now. So I'm thinking now is his chance to shine.

MG: I am very interested in a LWF scale with daily updates.

Must be getting close to regular season. The tone has shifted from outright confidence to some level concern.

And I'm in agreement.

The bull pen has a lot of questions and if too many of the answers are unfavorable , Ruben will be working OT to find some stop-gaps.

Games are for real in a few days, can't wait.

How about Turk Wendell in 2001, doing his best to sink the Phils in their sniff of contention in eight years?

The 2007 bullpen was also a disaster, you may recall.

In a way, that was worse. Gillick said he didn't think the team could contend in 2006 so there was no need to invest heavily in a 'pen.

Yeah the '07 pen with not only Antonio Alfonseca but the return of Jose Mesa! It only highlights the serious meltdown of the Mets that year.

Clout: Definitely recall that revolving door; 28 different pitchers that season. Something like that. Went with the 2006 theme because of Gordon rather than the Myers-to-Bullpen comparison. But you're right.

So Dubee is concerned about Contreras' command? That makes all of us.

Have to agree that the BP is a question. Seems like it is every year? I do think KK will do fine there, and Durbin will be better, Madson will be fine. Baez has not pitched badly this spring, so I have some hopes for him, too. And I have hopes for J.C. and Lidge - hopes and fears co-mingled. I don't expect much from Bastardo, and even less from Contreras. - In fact, I am hoping Scott Eyre returns mid-season to help us out, unless the BP shows he's not needed. Which would be the best-case scenario, wouldn't it?

Must be close to the start of a news season - I'm shifting from just reading the posts to writing a few again.

Consider this bullpen strategy; why not use KK in a more prominent role than long relief. While Madson is the closer to start the season, use KK as the RH setup man that Madson is usually in. If his sinke is effective, he would be perfect in the 7th and 8th innings.

* need spell check

Sorry if this was mentioned, but I just cast my vote for Beerleaguer, and thankfully did so before watching Zo's motivational movie. I'm a long-time reader but seldom poster, and I wouldn't give away my allegiance for just anything; having said that, that video would have been difficult to vote against. Who wouldn't get pumped up from Fozzy Bear? I swear I almost high-fived the the mail clerk delivering my office mail at work today, I was so amped up. Good luck Jason.

Lidge had a cortisone shot in his elbow. Apparently, this has nothing to do with the structural integrity of the elbow, and more about the normal springtime "stiffness" Lidge experiences.

Slugga, lets hope the "stiffness" is just in his elbow. I get the feeling that we're going to be "stiffed" with the '09 version of Lidge in 2010. Maybe his arm is dead. That's why they call dead men "stiffs".

Where's Pedro this spring? Will he be the Contreras replacement? It's bad when the pitching coach publicly admits that you suck.

I believe a certain amount of uncertainty in the BP is healthy. Really, how would you feel being a Yankee fan in spring knowing you have "His Mo-ness" getting ready for a full healthy season?

The season is nearly upon us, so I will add my concerns to the mix. I have no idea whether we will ever see much from Romero or if Lidge '08 will return. I also have my doubts about Contreras and wonder if he will be nothing but a memory (or a bad joke) by mid-July. KK, Baez, Durbin, and Madson all seem like they could work out to be a good pen though, but I have my toes and feet crossed as I write this.

I do want to throw out my occasional dinosaurish rant that I cannot stand the rigidity of roles in most bullpens of this era (no doubt related to the bizarre concept that pitching 7 innings is a noteworthy achievement). I hate the idea of the closer as someone—and always the same someone—who virtually never does more than get the last three outs of the game. This philosophy both undermines the value of exploiting situational matchups late in the game and has virtually eliminated an emphasis on relievers who are true firemen—pitchers who can come into the game in the eight inning with one out and runners on second and third and get out of the inning with no runs scored.

The '77 Phils, for example, utilized primarily 4 relievers averaging nearly 95 innings each. Gene Garber had 19 saves, Ron Reed 15, Tug 9, and even Warren Brusstar had 3. (Hmm, not a bad bullpen.) I know this situation wasn't entirely typical, but certainly not unheard of. I haven't researched how many multiple innings games each of these guys pitched, but my memory (ok, maybe not the best resource) suggests it wasn't all that uncommon except maybe for Brusstar. Okay. Rant over.

A season of doubt
The pines are short some needles
Get Vic Darensbourg!

BLer should win the tournament strictly for the amount of poetry in the comments section.

The thing about the bullpen, though, is that it's almost ALWAYS a crapshoot. Last year at this time, everyone was confident that we had one of the best closers in baseball; it turned out we had the worst. The year before, there were serious questions about whether Brad Lidge was capable of closing; he turned out to be great. Then, once that problem was solved, the concerns changed to: we don't have a true setup guy. Then Madson turned into that guy. And the year before that, our opening day bullpen was a total mess with guys like Gordon & Alfonseca expected to share closing duty. Then, we moved Myers to closer & hit the jackpot with JC Romero on the waiver wire.

None of this is to suggest that the Phillies' bullpen isn't a major issue. But it almost ALWAYS looks like an issue at this time of year -- not just for the Phillies, but for practically everyone else too. And on the rare occasion like last season that it doesn't look like an issue, it often turns out that it IS. It's really the one area on the team that is a true wild card.

Hope Mad Dog is working on his headlight drills this spring.

With that cortisone shot Lidge's return becomes later and more questionable, the good doctor's reassurances notwithstanding.

No DITH this year Madson, we're going to need you.


I agree that it's totally a crapshoot in the bullpen, and as was discussed during free agent time, it always never pays to go after the big names, but I think what JW and the rest are trying to say is that if we miss on all of these guys, the "projects" like contreas, Bastardo Herndon, and Baez (with his pressure problems and all) then the offseason bullpenn crapshoot turns into, well, crap. We could be in some serious trouble.

At the same time our closing situation was pretty god awful last year and we still were within 2 wins of being repeat champions. So while I'm worried, I'm also not counting out the fact that a lineup that has gotten better from last year could help shadow over a weakness. Although you could make the argument that our shady bullpen last year cost us game 4 of the WS, so it does go both ways.

So Lidge got a cortisone shot in the right elbow today he had repaired although Ciccotti said it was unrelated to the offseason surgery.

The scout who watching Lidge yesterday was right about Lidge likely not being back for at least 3-4 weeks after the season opens at least.

"Lidge will long-toss Friday, then depending on how that goes, throw a bullpen session either Saturday or Sunday. After that, it will depend on how he feels. Ciccotti said this might push Lidge’s return back to the third week of April and pretty much rules him out for the home opener April 12, which Lidge said he was shooting for."

It certainly sounds like Lidge won't be back now until at least until the later part of April.

"Lidge was throwing in the upper 80s yesterday in a minor-league game. He’s typically in the mid 90s during the season."

That is a bullcrap statement. It was generally at 85-86 MPH on the gun supposedly and topped out at either 88-89 MPH.

You have a guy who has made 5 rehab appearances now and posted generally poor results against some generally inferior competition. What is more worrisome though is that you have a pitcher who relies upon throwing his fastball hard not gaining any real additional velocity & building arm strength the last 2 weeks. That's a red flag.

Now he has a cortisone shot to try to jump start the arm strength building process & Ciccotti is literally seeing how Lidge will respond to the cortisone shot over the next 48 hrs.

LWF: 6.5 and rising rapidly. It will be interesting to see how Lidge does this weekend but more and more I would be surprised to see him in a Phils' game this April.

MG is right. This is bullsh*t. Phillies doctors have been blowing smoke since the 70's. Unrelated my ass. I predict an amputation.

My recollection is that people were more solid on the bullpen going into '06 than the '07 bullpen because this was their Opening Day bullpen:

CL - Gordon

That folks is an awful bullpen and generally remember people on here decrying that Gordon was going to break down almost right away (he did and was on the DL by May 2) and the rest besides Madson/Geary were relatively unknowns.

Bullpen was so terrible right out of the gate that it almost cost Cholly his job and forced the Phils to make a dramatic move with moving Myers to the pen because Gordon was cooked before the season even started.

Funny that was only 3 years ago. Seems alot longer than that.

donc - The only 'bullshit' comment that Ciccotti made was that maybe the lower velocity was the cause of the inflammation because Lidge is used to throwing harder. That makes no/little sense.

Ciccotti isn't BS here. He just gave Lidge a cortisone shot and now has to see how Lidge responds over the next 48-72 hrs to it.

Mike: Well, I'm worried about the pen too. My point was simply that, if you're inclined to worry -- as most of us are -- you can almost always worry about the bullpen because it's so inherently unpredictable. I do share your belief that, however it sorts itself out, our closer situation can't possibly be worse than last year. One thing we did have last year, though, were pretty good performances from some of our other key relievers: Madson, Park, Eyre, Condrey. Madson is the only one back, and it's an open question how the replacements will do.

The Phillies have cast their lot on guys like Baez, Contreras, Herndon, Kendrick, and a healthy Romero. Now it's time to see how they do. I'm reasonably confident that the Phillies won't miss the playoffs in 2010 because they went into the season with an inadequate bullpen. If they miss the playoffs, it will likely be because they failed to adequately fix the problem in mid-season.

The bullpen scares me. Lidge has been horrible against minor leaguers this spring. Contreras looks like he can't even pitch. Herndon, Durbin, and Baez are the only ones looking good. Madson has been pretty bad too, Bastardo is erratic, and who the hell knows when Romero will actually be back.

Shame we have so many millions wrapped up in Moyer and Ibanez.

MG: My real point is that medical staffs always say in spring training that everything is mild. They shut every pitcher down for two weeks and a lot of them are never heard from again. As a guy who goes back aways, I get really tired of it. I believe most teams do this but the Phillies have really raised it to an art form. I am trying to remember a few good examples but unfortunately can't. It seems to me that the Twins recently did this with Joe Nathan. The first report was it's no big deal. Then we'll shut him down for two weeks. If that doesnt work he goes under the knife. I just find it hard to swallow that his surgically repaired elbow is hurting again but it has nothing to do with what was just fixed.

BAP: nice post, thats a pretty good take... that your bullpen in April shouldn't be why your season come sup short, but its how your bullpen is/isn't fixed by midseason.

MG is correct on Gordon; the Phils thought he could pitch through a partially torn labrum. That was incorrect.

To be honest, I'm less concerned with our present bullpen than with the possibility that the Phillies will make things worse by insisting on giving the closer's job to Lidge the first time he manages a shutout inning in the minors.

To me, the Phillies should treat Brad Lidge the way they treated Kris Benson a few years ago. That is, they should carefully monitor all his minor league apperances and hope that he can improve to the point that he can help them. But they should certainly not count on that to happen, because it probably won't. And if it doesn't happen, they should certainly not force-feed him back onto the roster based on nothing more than a blind hope that he's suddenly going to turn it around. My No. 1 concern heading into the season is that they're going to do precisely this.

"To me, the Phillies should treat Brad Lidge the way they treated Kris Benson a few years ago."

Thats def. not going to happen. Lidge has the complete support and loyalty of Charlie Manuel, and will be back in the closer spot as soon as he's anywhere close to ready.

The real question will be how long is Lidge's leash this year? The NL East is going to be more competitive this season, and the Phils may not be able to survive another historically bad campaign from Brad.

So I assume he will be 'force-fed' back onto the roster, I just hope that he isn't allowed to blow 17 saves before they remove him from the closer spot this year.

I wonder if Contreras will also get a DL stint if a roster cut BP arm is available. (Preferrably a lefty.)
What role does Herndon have to start the season?
Madson: 9th, Baez: 8th, Bastardo/Durbin: 7th, Kendrick: Long man, Herndon: starter in trouble guy? Contrares: never.

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