Part IV: NLDS Preview: Bullpen

This is Part IV of the NLDS Preview. Click here for Part III, or see the full article on Phillies Nation.

The bullpen is a weakness for both teams. Charlie Manuel is unsure who will close for the Phillies, but it will likely be between Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. Lidge’s struggles are well documented, blowing the most saves in the majors. Madson struggled when he closed, but his high velocity and nasty changeup are closing material. Huston Street, the Rockies closer, isn’t automatically light’s out either. His numbers are impressive: 3.06 ERA, 35 saves, 0.91 WHIP and a .194 opponents average. However, he can be very inconsistent. When he gets hit, he gets rocked.

The Phillies bullpen has been plagued with injuries. J.C Romero and Jamie Moyer both had season ending surgery. Brett Myers has a 6.43 since returning from hip surgery. The Phillies made an interesting move by leaving Clay Condrey off the roster and adding Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick. Condrey may still be suffering from his back injury, but adding Bastardo is questionable. The Phillies added a rookie with limited and unsuccessful major league experience, but they are in desperate need of a left-handed reliever. With Scott Eyre the lefty specialist, Bastardo will get limited action, much like Happ last season. Pedro Martinez’s role has yet to be defined, but chances are he will pitch out of the bullpen.

The Colorado bullpen includes Joe Beimel, Rafeal Betancourt, Franklin Morales, Matt Daley, and Matt Belisle. Biemel, their primary left-handed specialist, went 1-6 with a 3.58 ERA this season. Since joining the Rockies, Betancourt has a 1.78 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. Franklin Morales has yet to live up to his expectation, but he can be a solid pitcher. Belisle has struggled this season, and Daley is a rookie who has had some success.

In two hitter-friendly parks, pitching can prove to be a key factor. As the saying goes, pitching wins championships.


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