Phils Insider

Awful bullpen continues to drive Phillies down road to ruin

Phils Insider

Guy goes to the used car lot and makes a purchase. It's not a great car but it's an upgrade from the junker he's been riding around in. 

Guy feels pretty good. Thinks he can squeeze some decent miles out of the car.

He drives it off the lot. 

And all four wheels fall off.

Then the engine explodes in his face.

Those trades that were supposed to fix all of the Phillies' bullpen woes?

Nope. Things have only gotten worse.

The latest disaster unfolded Thursday night when the Phillies blew another lead and lost for the second night in a row to the New York Mets, 10-6, at Citizens Bank Park.

Reliever Blake Parker gave up a game-tying two-run triple to Brandon Nimmo in the sixth inning.

In the ninth, reliever Brandon Workman allowed a tie-breaking leadoff homer to Nimmo. That ignited a four-run inning for the Mets, who took two of three from the Phillies. The Phillies had a four-run lead with Zack Wheeler on the mound Wednesday night. They had a three-run lead with Aaron Nola on the mound Thursday night.

Two losses with their two best pitchers on the mound.

"It stinks," manager Joe Girardi said.

It sure does.

The Phillies have lost eight of their last 11 games to fall a game under .500 for the first time since August 30. They currently hold the eighth and final NL playoff spot, but their lead over ninth-place St. Louis is just a half-game.

On top of it all, they've been crushed by injuries. Jake Arrieta is out for the season. Spencer Howard and Rhys Hoskins might be. J.T. Realmuto hasn't played since Saturday and won't be ready this weekend, according to Girardi. Jean Segura is going to miss some time after taking a 97 mph fastball off the triceps Thursday night.

 

Like Girardi said, it stinks.

And the thing that stinks most of all is the bullpen. It has given up leads all season long and did so again the last two nights.

Before the trade deadline, the Phillies' bullpen had an ERA of 7.01.

Since the trade deadline, it's 7.19.

The Phillies will open a series with Toronto on Friday with the majors' worst bullpen ERA — 7.17.

David Phelps, one of the deadline additions to the bullpen, has really struggled. However, he righted himself with a perfect eighth inning and three strikeouts Thursday night.

Workman did not right himself. He allowed three hits — a homer, an RBI triple and a single — and three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Since coming over from Boston just before the deadline, Workman has allowed 22 hits, including three homers, and nine runs in 11⅔ innings.

Workman was not available for comment after Thursday night's loss.

Neither was Bryce Harper, who had a big game with two long home runs of 433 and 445 feet. The Phillies need that production to continue.

Girardi seems a little stumped by Workman's struggles.

"I think that we kind of find it hard to believe because Workman — look at the year he had last year, what he did," Girardi said. "It's shocking to us to see someone who has had that much success struggle like this. I see him trying new things and it's like everything they get the barrel to goes out or in the gap.

"We just have to continue to try to right the ship. Our job is to get him on track."

Rookie lefty JoJo Romero has been the Phillies' best reliever lately. Girardi said he was unavailable Thursday night. He was also unavailable Wednesday.

"He's not a kid who is used to throwing out of the bullpen," Girardi said. "I'm not going to jeopardize the kid's career. He'll be available tomorrow."

The Phils have two games Friday. At their current pace, they will have lost their hold on a playoff spot by the end of the day.

Girardi is saying all the right things.

"There's a lot of resiliency here," he said. "I believe we'll find a way to get it done."