The Bullpen is Everything

The Philadelphia Phillies are World Champs because of Brad Lidge. Their chances of repeating are up to ……. Brad Lidge.

His phenomenal season, playoffs and World Series carried them to last year’s title, but for all the Cliff Lees, Pedro Martinezes, and Ben Franciscos they acquire, they will go only so far as Lidge takes them, and with his major league leading eight blown saves, 7.27 ERA, and total unreliability, that does not look like it will be too far.

Similarly, the biggest single reason for the Dodgers’ recent slump, has been the bullpen, and specifically, Jonathan Broxton, as last night deomonstrated. They had another good outing from the starter (which ended prepaturely with Hiroki Kuroda’s injury), and some timely hitting, but another disasterous outing from Broxton lost the lead and the game.

As I have said before, whether it’s his sore toe (most likely), fatigue, or the league just catching up with him, Broxton needs some time away from the closer’s role. The Dodgers now do have another option, with an experienced, suffessful closer on the roster, thanks to the asquisition of George Sherrill, and if Broxton is hurting, put him on the DL and let Sherrill close until Broxton is well. If Broxton is not hurt, then just the mental aspect of less pressure for a couple of weeks, setting up instead of closing, may do the trick.

It’s no coincidence that the scumstripes recent streak has coincided with the vast improvement in their bullpenn, in particular remaking Phil Hughes from an awful starter into a valuable set-up man.

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