Monday, February 8, 2016

Game 10: A streaking bullpen

WASHINGTON -- The tarp is on the field here at Nationals Park and the forecast isn't rosy. But should they play baseball, the Phillies bullpen will probably be tested with Joe Blanton on the mound.

Game 10: A streaking bullpen

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Jose Contreras is part of an impressive Phillies bullpen early in the season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Jose Contreras is part of an impressive Phillies bullpen early in the season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON -- The tarp is on the field here at Nationals Park and the forecast isn't rosy. But should they play baseball, the Phillies bullpen will probably be tested with Joe Blanton on the mound.

The bullpen, a source of concern going into the season, has a 19 1/3 inning scoreless streak going. That's the longest such streak since 2004 when they had a 28-inning streak. The last run allowed by a Phillies reliever was April 5 by David Herndon.

The 1.47 ERA (30 2/3 IP, 5 ER) is the best in the majors.

Obviously, there haven't been too many high-leveraged innings for the bullpen to handle. Charlie Manuel finally had a chance to use Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras in the eighth and ninth innings of a tight game Sunday in Atlanta.

The lineup is posted below. The matchups to watch: Placido Polanco is a career .367 (18 for 49) hitter against Livan Hernandez. Ryan Howard is just .167 (4 for 24).

1. Shane Victorino 8
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Jimmy Rollins 6
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Ben Francisco 9
6. Raul Ibanez 7
7. Carlos Ruiz 2
8. Wilson Valdez 4
9. Joe Blanton 1

The Nationals will counter with this lineup, which includes Matt Stairs batting cleanup. Seriously.

1. Ian Desmond 6
2. Rick Ankiel 8
3. Jayson Werth 9
4. Matt Stairs 3
5. Wilson Ramos 2
6. Laynce Nix 7
7. Danny Espinosa 4
8. Jerry Hairston 5
9. Livan Hernandez 1

And now we wait with bated breath to hear the fans' reaction to Jayson Werth.


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