Wow! Talk about hearing "good news" and "bad news"... the Philadelphia bullpen has plenty of both kinds lately. The bad news on the road trip was that the bullpen was as steady as a yo-yo. Then the good news was that J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge were coming back. Then I heard that the Phillies were sending left-hander Antonio Bastardo back to the minors - HUH? - Bastardo posted a 1.69 ERA in his first seven appearances for Philadelphia this season. A lot of guys in the bullpen have a much higher ERA, and they all look like right-handers to me (except for Romero of course). What's the logic there? but WAIT... Fate intervenes and Ryan Madson breaks his toe... more bad news! But maybe it's not too, too bad - because now Bastardo is called back to fill Madson's roster spot. Well, I really don't know if the bad news is "good" or if the good news is "bad". For the record, the ERA of the Phillies' bullpen was as follows at the end of April:
Contreras 1.35; Bastardo 1.69; Durbin 2.61; Figueroa 3.38; Herndon 5.06; Romero 5.40; Madson 7.00; Baez 9.00; Lidge 27.00 (okay, he only pitched one-third of an inning so far).
My guess is that Bastardo still can be "optioned" to the minors, and that's why the Phillies were ready to dump him for the time being. But they need at least 2 lefthanders in the bullpen, and the young man was doing well. Too bad they couldn't option Baez or Herndon or even a position player like Wilson Valdez (hmm, I'm not sure if Valdez could have been sent down or not... Castro can fill in for Rollins and Polanco can play second base, third base, or even shortstop in a pinch...) But getting back to the relief pitching, the bullpen may be a crapshoot this year. All we fans can do is hope for some good starting pitching and reduce the need to summon the relievers.