Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 4/12/12

With the Phillies offense providing plenty of reasons to worry, you may not have noticed another glaring issue lurking in the Phillies bullpen. The Phillies have a bullpen ERA of 4.35 in the first four games, and if we were to add the 2 unearned runs Stutes allowed, that number balloons to 6.09. The relief crew coughed up a one run lead on Saturday, blew a 4-1 lead on Sunday, and lost both games in extra innings.

The bullpen offers plenty of reasons to feel queasy. First, just look at the names:


Outside of the $50 million man at the back end, none of the remaining 6 bullpen arms evokes feelings of any real confidence, or at least enough to safely vacate the couch to grab another beer from the fridge. Let's take a closer at why each Phillies reliever not named Papelbon should drive up your blood pressure slightly.

Michael Stutes

Stutes had a good rookie season, but I can’t help but notice the 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning in the playoffs, the 5.79 ERA in Spring Training, and the two runs (not earned) he yielded in his first outing. Stutes could easily be at least as effective as Chad Durbin was a few years ago, but he doesn’t keep me nausea free just yet.

Antonio Bastardo

After Papelbon, Bastardo has the best natural talent of all the relievers. However, Bastardo had an 11.05 ERA last September, but his conflicting comments with Rich Dubee are what caught my attention. At the time, Bastardo admitted, "I need a rest right now" and "my arm's not hurt, it's just tired," while Dubee's response was plainly, “He’s not tired.” Bastardo's curious lack of velocity in spring training is also a bit concerning. Bastardo has a live arm and probably all of this means zilch, but let's see him prove it.

Kyle Kendrick

Kendrick was impressive last season and worth the $3 million he’ll make for each of the next two years. I have no real beefs with Kyle, but it takes more than one decent season to erase the memories of his Jekyll and Hyde performances over the years.

Chad Qualls

Qualls came in as the calming, veteran presence in the bullpen. Sounds nice in theory, but it’s not like we’re talking about Mariano Rivera here. I like his durability, as Qualls has appeared in at least 51 games in 7 full seasons, averages 73 games per year, and appeared in 77 games in 2011. But Qualls owns a mediocre 3.77 career ERA, his 3.51 ERA last year is not earth shattering, and he is one year removed from a 7.32 ERA. If you ask me, Qualls will be the biggest free agent bust (behind Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton).

Joe Savery

We have to just wait and see with Joe Savery, but he probably won’t be around anyway once (wait…if) Contreras returns.

David Herndon

David Herndon is a nice kid with great sinking movement, but he has absolutely no idea where any single pitch will land. No offense to Herndon, but I would take nearly any of the minor league arms over him because he is simply not reliable. In fact, I would venture to say that Herndon is not on the roster at the end of the season.

Final Thoughts

It’s rare that you’ll find a team loaded with talent in their bullpen. I mean, let’s face it, these guys are probably relievers for a reason. That said, I just don't get a good feeling from this group. Lidge, Madson, Romero, and Durbin from 2008 sound a little better than Papelbon, Bastardo, Stutes, and Qualls, don't you think?

The silver lining to this doomsday scenario is that Jose Contreras might return soon and the Phillies have a stock of several nice arms in the minors. Hopefully they aren't all pitching by May...

This post has been generated by Page2RSS

Be sure to check out more great articles at Phils Baseball.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Three NBA teams achieve separation in LaMarcus Aldridge chase

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo


Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.