April 3, 2014 |
ARLINGTON, Texas - It felt like April again. Tie game, bottom of the ninth, B.J. Rosenberg on the mound, Jonathan Papelbon waiting in the bullpen for a save situation that will never arrive. For more than half of last night's 3-2 loss to the Rangers, the Phillies looked like a team poised to put together a two-game winning streak to start a season for which expectations have rarely been lower. They followed a 14-10 victory on Opening Day with a couple of grind-'em-out runs off of a tough lefty starter who had no business taking an L next to his name.
April 1, 2014 |
FOR HIS final appearance of the 2014 Grapefruit League, Jonathan Papelbon climbed atop the mound at Bright House Field wearing catcher Carlos Ruiz's jersey. The veteran closer proceeded to allow a line-drive single, then retire the final three batters he faced, sending the Phillies on to the regular season while dressed like Dan Uggla. The moment was a fitting one for the Phillies bullpen to end the spring. After spending the last two seasons as a glaring liability, the unit is one that the team believes can develop into a strength in 2014.
March 21, 2014 |
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Cole Hamels said he felt optimistic after a bullpen session Wednesday morning at Bright House Field that included every pitch but his curveball. The lefthander is not expected to return to action until May because of biceps tendinitis and a fatigued arm. "It went really well," Hamels said. "I am pleased with now being able to build up my pitch count. " Hamels estimated that he threw 40 to 45 pitches. This was Hamels' third bullpen session after an 11-day layoff earlier while he was battling fatigue.
March 7, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Brad Lidge spends his retirement broadcasting a baseball radio show from his Colorado home and studying for his master's degree in Roman archaeology at the University of Leicester in England. For eight days, he will serve as a tutor to the many young relief arms in Phillies camp. "One of the biggest things I can help guys out with is talking about game plans," Lidge said. "When you're coming up, it can be a lot different than a guy who's already there and knows what he's doing.
February 26, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Brad Lincoln spent the first week of December hunting with friends some 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh, the city where he once imagined a fruitful major-league career as a starting pitcher. Those dreams were dashed in 2012 with a trade to Toronto, and now Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was on the phone. "When you get a call from your GM at midnight on a Tuesday in the offseason," Lincoln said, "you've either been released or something has happened. " Lincoln was traded to the Phillies, where a muddled bullpen is his benefit.
October 16, 2013 |
STEVE HORGAN went from Boston police officer to national celebrity with one swing of a bat. Horgan is the now-famous cop who was caught on camera jubilantly raising his arms after David Ortiz' game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning landed in the Red Sox' bullpen on Sunday night. Not surprisingly, there's already a new fad called "Horganing," where people pose with their arms raised. Call them "Horgan's Heroes. " While Horgan was celebrating, Tigers rightfielder Torii Hunter was busy flipping over the outfield wall in a bold, but futile, effort to catch the ball.
October 14, 2013 |
THAT THE PHILLIES finished second-to-last in the National League in bullpen ERA wasn't for a lack of trying. No team in the majors fiddled with more combinations of relievers in the later innings of games. Fifteen different relievers made at least 15 appearances for the Phillies in 2013, by far the most in the major leagues (the Mets had the second most, with 12). In fact, the Phillies are the only team in baseball history - or, at least, baseball history as recorded by Baseball-Reference.com - to ever use that many relievers.