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

Halladay, bullpen lose game despite 13 runs from offense

Three runs per game is usually not enough to win consistently.  Yet the Phillies have won just less than half of their games this year averaging about three runs per game.  Roy Halladay’s starts should not end up being losses, but now the Phillies have just a .500 record when he starts games.  But even more importantly, when a team scores 13 runs in a game, there is absolutely no reason that they should lose.  Unfortunately for the Phillies, after 11 innings, the Braves had 15 runs and as much as 13 shouldn’t lose you a game, 15 should make a win even easier.  So despite their 13-run, 17-hit performance, the Phillies came away from the game empty-handed, unable to get a third straight win. 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

Marlins make splash in free agent market, sign closer Bell

The Miami Marlins have signed free agent closer Heath Bell to a three-year contract worth $27 million, ESPN.com reported.

The team has been aggressive in the free agent market ever since the beginning of the offseason, when owner Jeffrey Loria stated, “We [the Marlins] have never been penny-pinchers.”

The team was looking to fill the void left by last year’s closer Juan Carlos Oviedo, AKA Leo Nuñez, since he has returned to his native Dominican Republic amid a scandal in which he lied about his name and age in order to earn more money by appearing younger.

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Jonathan Papelbon signs 4-year deal with Phils

Yesterday, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported that free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon had agreed to terms on a 4-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies.

After a reported 4-year, $44 million deal with last year’s closer, Ryan Madson, fell through earlier this week, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. acted quickly, acquiring the player who many analysts considered to be the best closer on the free agent market this offseason. Continue reading