The Phillies bullpen exited spring training with no clearly established closer, had one emerge and received strong early work from the relievers, but have seen that bullpen group collapse as the season draws to a close.
After the latest collapse on Tuesday night, when the pen surrendered all of a 6-1 lead following a rain delay and handed the host Atlanta Braves a 7-6 victory, manager Pete Mackanin spoke in frustrating tone per Jim Salisbury at CSN.com.
“…at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.”
The Phillies are 10-14 in September, but could probably be at least a half-dozen games better than that if the bullpen simply did their jobs, holding leads and getting the opposition out late in games.
During the 2016 season the club has used 19 different pitchers in a relief role at one time or another.
That includes Adam Morgan, who has made 20 starts but also has two relief appearances, and Phil Klein, who has made two relief appearances and one start.
Gomez, Neris, and Hernandez will all receive grades here, as will regular contributors Edubray Ramos and Elvis Araujo, and Andrew Bailey, who was a regular contributor until his late summer release.
David Hernandez was supposed to be the closer, but was unable to hold the role. Jeanmar Gomez was given a shot early on, took the ball, and ran with it.
But as he appears to have hit a late-season wall, Hector Neris has emerged as the team’s best reliever, and possibly its closer of the future.
There are four other arms who each have appeared in more than 20 but fewer than 30 games this season. Those are Severino Gonzalez (27), Brett Oberholtzer (26), and Colton Murray and Michael Mariot (22 each), while another handful appeared in between 10-19 games.
Suffice it to say that every single one of those arms has produced disappointing results. In a couple of the cases, that description is being generous.
So let’s take a look at the grades for the six primary relievers to see action with the Fightin’ Phils out of the bullpen in the 2016 season.