Even with bats working, Phillies can’t close out games

Nobody was surprised when the Phillies were losing games early in the year.  If you can’t score you can’t win and the Phillies were 27th in the MLB in scoring.  But things have changed, and the Phillies picked up their play, averaging over five runs in their first seven games of May.  Now, the Phillies are just 18th in the MLB in runs scored for the entire year.  Yet, in their first seven games of May, the Phillies went just three and four.  The problem?  Two losses in extra innings and a game in which the Mets broke a tie game in the ninth inning with three runs.  The problem is no longer offense, the problem is closing out games.  Tonight was no exception. Continue reading

Season Preview: The Bullpen

When you think of the great baseball players, rarely does anyone ever mention a relief pitcher.  Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, the list of all-time greats goes on and on.  But if you asked almost anyone, it would take a long, long time before a reliever is mentioned as one of the best players ever.  However, there may not be a more important, or underrated part of a team than the guys that come out of the bullpen.  Without them, everything that the starting pitchers and position players do is meaningless and as Phillies fans know, a good reliever can make all the difference in the world for a team, but a bad do some serious damage (see Lidge, Brad 2008 and 2009).  The Phillies seem to have realized this and, despite a strong performance from their relievers last year, went out and got some new players to assure that if a game is lost late this year, chances are it won’t be because of the bullpen. Continue reading