Jonathan Papelbon sits on the homerun side of the gate for the Philadelphia Phillies at the Bank. How will the 3-out hole in front of him be plugged?
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Check out: Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The comeback trail (Prediction #2) over 3.5 years
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Empty Pig ‘Pen:
The brain trust has reached a critical juncture with the relief corps. Other than Phillippe Aumont, they have all had a shot with the parent club or are injured. That said, he probably won’t solve the late-frame situation. Rube Amaro designated Chad Qualls for assignment, and demoted Joe Savery back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They were replaced by Brian Sanches and–with his first opportunity–Jeremy Horst, who Amaro received for Wilson Valdez.
Some spots are filled, like Cinco Ocho (closer) and Kyle Kendrick (long man) after Doc Halladay is reactivated. Antonio Bastardo has the 7th or 8th and Jake Diekman is the lefty specialist. If a backend wing arrives through a trade, Michael Schwimer, Raul Valdes, Sanches and Horst will compete for 2 front-end slots. Schwimer has a 1.64 ERA after returning and altering his delivery, while Valdes has been solid since arriving. He has a 1.59 ERA without the recent whole-staff debacle, where he parted with half of his 6 all-earned runs. Sanches or Horst are expendable when Kendrick goes back to the bullpen, and the other could be replaced by a bartered-for 8th-inning set-up arm.
One consideration is a swap of Jim Thome to a contender, which could net a decent reliever before Pap toes the rubber in the 9th. Bastardo is shaky with the entire 8th-frame role. He is hitting 94 on the gun, is working out of his own jams with better results recently, and one possibility is that he’ll be able to shoulder the job. His confidence has increased of late and a rise near the 2011 level appears within reach. If he had a right-handed compliment for a third of that load, I believe he would be adequate. The red pinstripes need a certain type of animal for that fenced-in area beyond centerfield.
Outings = Good, Okay or Bad
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His line against the Fish isn’t a good one, but he has had disappointing 1st starts to open the 2nd half of ‘11 and the last 2 years–2012’s 1st was versus them. His other poor outcome against Miami was during the 2nd of 4 rough appearances after Doc went down. His mark against the Marlins at the Bank is: 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA for 12 total, allowing 15 hits, 9 runs (8 earned) and 2 walks to 17 punch outs.
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He has lasted 6.1 innings plus in 9 of 15 attempts with 3 clunkers. His ledger against the Phils at the Bank is: 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA for 11.1 frames, giving up 19 hits, 7 all-earned runs and 0 free passes to 4 strikeouts.
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Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.
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DISPLAY NOTE: Non-listed results can go up or down by
* 1 notch & ** 2 clicks (This note will only appear when it’s relevant.)
* 1 Tick UP
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The Comeback: Check it out.
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Tal Venada (Temporarily experiencing a glitch)