Two games into the 2010 season, and the bullpen carousel is already spinning. Nelson Figueroa arrived from his own in Arizona via a red eye flight early this morning. A half hour ago, Andrew Carpenter changed into a black suit and wheeled his luggage out of the Phillies clubhouse, set to join the rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Thanks to the 19 runs the offense has produced in leading the Phillies to a 2-0 start, the bullpen hasn't seen many stressful opportunities yet, rendering it as the primary unknown in what has been the team's most promising start since 2003. Lefthander Antonio Bastardo faced his first high-leverage situation Wednesday night, getting Nyjer Morgan to pop up on a 94 mile per hour inside fastball with a runner on second base. Righthander Danys Baez had preceeded him, allowing a couple of extra base hits that produced a run while recording one out. Closer Ryan Madson looked excellent in recording a four-out save, mixing a 96 mile per hour fastball with a 92 mile per hour cutter and a curve ball that he has rarely thrown over the past few years. And righthander Chad Durbin brought his excellent spring into his first two innings of 2010.
But it will take awhile for us to get a real read on the strength of this team's relief corps. Lefthander J.C. Romero is scheduled to pitch in a rehab outing today in Clearwater. Closer Brad Lidge will likely get into a game in the near future. And once righthander Joe Blanton returns to the rotation, the Phillies will have to decide what to do with either veteran lefty Jamie Moyer or righthander Kyle Kendrick, who will start tonight against the Nationals.
Figeruoa, for one, says he will not pay any attention to the numbers game. Claimed off of waivers from the Mets yesterday, the 35-year-old righthander will be in uniform tonight. He'll start as the team's long man, while providing depth for the team's rotation.
"I think everything works out one way or another," Figueroa said. "I start worrying about that, and it starts affecting my performance. I took a red eye to get out here as soon as I could so I could get involved right away."