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Friday April 1, 2011 9:33 pm

Philadelphia Phillies relievers are on the hot seat




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Phillies Sports Illustrated CoverIt wasn’t a typical Roy Halladay start on Friday against the Houston Astros, going only six innings, but more true to form, he did limit the opposition to just one run on five hits. However, it took a walk-off victory to give the Philadelphia Phillies their first win in what many think will be another march to the World Series. And with a widely-publicized rotation that features Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels (not to mention the best fifth-starter in baseball, Joe Blanton), who would argue?

But what about the rest of the pitching staff? The Phillies have seven guys in a bullpen who expect to compete for playing time more than any other relievers in the game. The starting five are expected to pitch seven, maybe eight innings on a daily basis, which leaves precious little opportunity for guys not named Brad Lidge to establish themselves as regularly-contributing members. Of course, with Lidge on the DL for the next couple of weeks, this may be a huge opportunity for some of the middle men to get noticed in higher-leverage positions.

Jose Contreras will take over for Lidge, and Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Danys Baez (who got the win against Houston) will all remain fixtures in case anything goes wrong for the starting five, but the other three, which includes Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo and David Herndon will be hard-pressed to get innings in. If Halladay and co. can do what they’re expected to do on a regular basis, it’s not out of the question that the Phillies will drop to a six-man ‘pen and pick up an extra guy on the bench.

Four Phillies relievers got in some game time against Houston in their Opening Day game, but that’s not likely to become a trend on that team. Among them, Romero gave up a hit and an earned run, so technically his ERA is uncalculably high, and Herndon allowed two runs in his two innings of work. Sure, this is only game one, but the relievers in Philadelphia may be the only group of players in baseball who don’t have 162 games to prove their worth to the team.

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