We’ll continue with the NL East and go with the division leading, defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Brad Lidge – RH (Closer)
Ryan Madson – RH (Set-up)
Chad Durbin – RH (Set-up)
Scott Eyre – LH (Lefty specialist)
Jamie Moyer – LH (Long-relief)
Chan Ho Park – RH (Mid-relief)
Tyler Walker – RH (Mid-relief)
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Pitching Coach: Rich Dubee
Bullpen Coach: Mick Billmeyer
Despite his pedestrian 73% save conversion rate, his ugly 7.27 ERA, and his other-worldly 5.8 BB/9, Charlie Manuel insists that Brad Lidge is still the closer. Lidge has spent time on the DL this year. He’s clearly not his old self. Whether it’s mental or he’s still hurt or he’s just lost it, I don’t know. But he isn’t the same pitcher that posted a 1.95 ERA and successfully converted all 41 of his save opportunities in 69 and 1/3 innings last year. Lidge’s struggles have largely been responsible for turning a league-best bullpen in 2008 into a merely average one.
During Lidge’s DL stint, Ryan Madson pitched the 9th inning. Despite putting up good all-around numbers (2.97 ERA, 58-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 57 and 2/3 innings over 59 appearances (team high)), Madson struggled in the closer role, blowing 3 saves in 6 appearances at one point (June 16-30). Since returning to his set-up role, he’s been a much more effective reliever. Doesn’t really matter when your closer has a 7.27 ERA, though.
Chad Durbin inherited the other set-up role when J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey went on the DL. He was a scrap-heap acquisition for the Phillies pre-2008 (having pitched 8 seasons with 4 teams and already at the age of 30 and sporting a career ERA of 5.75) and pitched very well for them last year (2.87 ERA, which is somewhat of a delusion considering his peripherals), but has shown more of why he was a scrap-heap acquisition this year, posting a 4.41 ERA and a 49-to-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 innings (45 games).
Scott Eyre is another journeyman who has become the primary left-hander in the bullpen now that Jack Taschner pitched poorly enough to warrant a trip to AAA and J.C. Romero was placed on the disabled list. Eyre is 37 years old and has played 13 seasons with 5 teams. He’s sporting a stellar 1.75 ERA but a not-so stellar 19-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season in 25 and 2/3 innings.
Jamie Moyer was controversially and against his wishes removed from the rotation and placed in the bullpen in order to accommodate Pedro Martinez in the rotation. I’m not entirely sure Pedro Martinez is an upgrade over Jamie Moyer, but Moyer certainly didn’t do anything to deserve that rotation spot, posting a 5.47 ERA in his 22 starts. He’s yet to make a relief appearance this season. Fun fact: he’s only made 1 relief appearance in his career, pitching 3 innings in an extra-innings game walking 4 and allowing 2 runs and 3 hits. He was charged with the loss. I imagine he’ll be used in a long-relief/mop-up role.
Chan Ho Park won the 5th starter job out of spring training but failed to keep it beyond his first 7 starts. He’s been quite good in the bullpen, posting a 2.63 ERA since the demotion to go along with his 47-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 innings. Using him as a starter, I believe, was a mistake, and he’s currently providing some stability in the state of flux that is the Phillies bullpen.
Tyler Walker is another of the scrap-heap type relievers. He’s 33 years old and owned a career 4.52 ERA in 229 innings having pitched in 6 seasons with 3 teams pre-2009. He’s been mostly organizational filler, but with injuries and demotions, Walker has notched 18 and 2/3 innings with the big club this season. He’s pitched moderately well this season, with a 2.41 ERA and an 11-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but the 2 HR in 18 and 2/3 innings are worrisome.
The typical game to Manuel’s liking ends with Madson in the 8th and Lidge in the 9th, provided it’s a close game. Eyre and Durbin usually combine to pitch the 7th. It isn’t entirely clear how Moyer will be used, but I’ll make a fairly educated guess and say he’ll be a long reliever. Park has been used primarily in low-leverage situations, but he’s pitched well as of late, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shifted to a higher-leverage role. Tyler Walker is simply the 12th pitcher on the staff and they don’t use him unless the innings are meaningless of they absolutely have to.
Brett Myers – 60 day DL. Hip surgery. ETA ~ September 2009.
Jack Taschner – AAA.
J.C. Romero – 15 day DL. Strained forearm. ETA ~ Early September 2009.
Kyle Kendrick – AAA.
Clay Condrey – 15 day DL. Strained oblique. ETA unknown.