Phillies bullpen would not have been worse 'if they told hitters what was coming'


If 2019 was the Nationals’ time to wander through a season with a lost bullpen, it was the Phillies’ turn in 2020.

Philadelphia finished with a staggering 7.06 bullpen ERA -- worst in the major leagues -- in 2020. It tried to fix the bullpen with a late-August trade, acquiring Boston closer Brandon Workman and reliever Heath Hembree from the Red Sox. Both flopped.

Which left manager Joe Girardi in a semi-joking mood Monday, all these months after the Phillies were eliminated from making the postseason in large part because of their bullpen.

“I really believe that we could have told the hitters what was coming and it wouldn’t have turned out as bad as it did,” Girardi said via Zoom. “I really do. It was just one of those years where nothing seemed to go right. And it wasn’t like we just had a bunch of kids that had never experienced anything. These were guys who were experienced and had success and it just didn’t go right.”

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Workman finished with a 6.92 ERA and a 2.462 WHIP. Hembree had a 12.54 ERA with Philadelphia. So, Girardi may have a point.

Girardi did say he thinks those two pitchers, as well as David Phelps (12.91 ERA), can bounce back. After all, it would be difficult to be worse.

Philadelphia finished 28-32 and missed the postseason for the ninth consecutive season. It hired Dave Dombrowski as its general manager this week in order to “retool” the organization. Fixing the bullpen will be job one.