Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thin Pen = Tough Loss

The Phillies had a thin bullpen last night, and they suffered in a 6-3 loss to the Mets.

Thin Pen = Tough Loss

Carlos Delgado (left) sticks out his tongue as he crosses home plate after homering to tie the game. Rudy Seanez (right) hangs his head after giving up the home run to Delgado.
Carlos Delgado (left) sticks out his tongue as he crosses home plate after homering to tie the game. Rudy Seanez (right) hangs his head after giving up the home run to Delgado. JERRY LODRIGUSS / Inquirer

Charlie Manuel is concerned about his bullpen.

That's why J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and Clay Condrey were unavailable to pitch last night in a 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, which returned the Phillies to second place in the NL East. Romero had thrown 20 or more pitches in each of the previous three games. Durbin, who already has made a career-high 56 appearances, had pitched five times in the previous seven days. Madson, whose shoulder is an issue, had thrown two innings Tuesday. And Condrey had thrown three innings Tuesday.

That is why Rudy Seanez started the eighth inning.

Seanez surrendered a game-tying home run to Carlos Delgado after he easily retired the first two hitters he faced and after the Phillies visited Seanez on the mound to talk strategy.

The talk didn't work.

Seanez allowed an infield single and hell broke loose from there with Brad Lidge entering in the middle of an inning for just the second time this season.

Should Lidge have been used in that situation?

Couldn't Manuel have asked Romero to retire one batter in the eighth? Delgado is 4 for 7 (.571) with three homers in his career against Seanez. Delgado is 3 for 19 (.158) with just a double against Romero. 

Good questions, but Manuel clearly felt he needed to rest his pen or risk their effectiveness later. I recall a similar situation in St. Louis late last year when Brett Myers, Tom Gordon and Romero were unvailable. The Phillies nearly blew an 11-0 lead after the sixth inning, but held on to beat the Cardinals, 13-11. Manuel felt at the time, even with just a few games to play in the season, that he absolutely had to rest his key relievers.

Loss or no loss.

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While it's fair to examine the bullpen's role in last night's loss, the offense had just three hits after the second inning. Give Seanez a cushion, maybe he stays in, gets out of the inning and Lidge is back starting the ninth, where he is more comfortable.

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Kyle Kendrick wasn't bothered by his late-night warm up session Tuesday, but he didn't pitch as deep into the game as he had hoped, either.

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Tough, tough series this weekend in Chicago. The Cubs are no joke and are nearly unbeatable at home.

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In the Phillies Notebook: Drew Carpenter made his big-league debut in the ninth inning last night. The Phillies were hoping not to see him.

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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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