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Should Phillies seek more bullpen help before August 31st?


Watching the Phillies Dodgers game Monday night in the eighth inning did nothing to change my belief that Michael Stutes has been looking increasingly ineffective over the last five weeks or so. It’s understandable, considering that Stutes has never pitched a full season in the major leagues. Where would the Phillies be this year without Michael Stutes? Photo:www.lehighvalleylive.com

However, what is understandable and and acceptable are two different things here. With the loss of Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge for most of the season, Stutes has been a major part of the Phillies bullpen success in 2011.

But who do the Phillies go to if Stutes wears down even more come September or October?  Stutes’  ERA in his last three games is 7.71. Opponents are hitting .364 against him in that span.


Lidge has looked ok, but if he’s not getting his slider over for strikes, he has to use his fastball, which is now clocked around 90 MPH. On a circus team like the Dodgers, Lidge can manage. But against an American League powerhouse in a World Series matchup.....I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that. Lidge is best used as a closer, so I’m not sure how much he can actually help the Phillies come playoff time.

I’m not trying to suck the fun out of the room. The Phillies have very few holes, but with no time table set for Contreras’ return, an effective right handed reliever might be something Ruben Amaro  should consider by August 31st. And forget Chad Durbin, who has an ERA over 6 in Cleveland. I’m still not comfortable with Kyle Kendrick as my long man, and Vance Worley is 8-1 as a starter. Moreover, Worley might be needed in the rotation if Roy Oswalt is ineffective during the next few weeks.

Also, don’t be surprised if the Phillies pursue Arthur Rhodes, who was released by Texas last week. Rhodes was disastrous in his first stint as a Phillie. However, he was battling an arm injury which led to Tommy John Surgery in 2007. He is five years older now, but Antonio Bastardo is the lone effective lefty in the Phillies pen. Like Stutes, Bastardo hasn’t pitched a full major league season, either. Relying on not one but two inexperienced relievers in such vital roles come October might be somewhat of an issue if there isn't a little more bullpen depth. 

Stay tuned.

Contact Joe Vallee at Jvallee@philly2philly.com

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