Weary Phils bullpen pitches 25 innings vs. Mets

Phillies relief pitcher Phillippe Aumont reacts after allowing a grand slam in the ninth inning. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Phillies relief pitcher Phillippe Aumont reacts after allowing a grand slam in the ninth inning. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 04, 2014

Before Monday's game against the New York Mets, Phillies relievers Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman sat beside each other at their lockers. Diekman stared intently at his laptop while De Fratus listened to music. The pair had to cherish the time to relax; the bullpen hadn't had much time do that over the last four days.

The team's bullpen racked up 25 innings in the series, the result of three extra-inning games. The relievers surrendered nine runs in those innings but just three before they allowed six in Monday's 11-2 loss.

Neither Diekman nor De Fratus thought the extra workload had altered anyone's preparation.

"If anything, you know you're going in at some point, so it's not that guesswork anymore," De Fratus said before the game. "In that regard," he added later, "I guess you're ready for it."

The Phillies called nine relievers, including minor-league call-ups, to the mound the first four games against the Mets. They usually employ seven.

"I've never been a part of anything like that," Diekman said. "It's just crazy how, I mean, you've got to be mentally prepared to pitch every day, I feel like."

The team's relievers were so overworked in the first three games of the series that the team called up Phillippe Aumont and Cesar Jimenez from Lehigh Valley before Sunday's game. Both appeared that day as the bullpen added another four innings to its total.

Aumont took the loss, surrendering two earned runs in the 11th inning. His struggles continued Monday when he allowed a ninth-inning grand slam to Wilmer Flores.

The Phillies have felt the toll this series has taken on their bullpen. Mike Adams was unavailable to pitch Saturday and Sunday despite the dearth of relief pitchers.

Neither Adams nor closer Jonathan Papelbon was needed Monday because of the performance of the team's other relievers. Roberto Hernandez exited the game after 51/3 innings, trailing by 3-0. Then the blowout commenced.

Jeff Manship was the first long-term casualty of the series, placed on the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps after pitching four perfect innings Saturday.

Mario Hollands threw 99 pitches in four games during the series. He isn't concerned about his arm. "I could go four more days in a row if they need me to," Hollands said.

The team is in the midst of playing 41 games in 41 days ending June 29, with a lone day off on June 9. Things won't get easier for an already weary bullpen.

The Phillies lost four of five to the Mets. "There's a lot of familiar faces over there," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said before the game, talking about the New York dugout.

The Mets probably feel the same way about the Phillies' bullpen.

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