Below is a preview of the Philadelphia Phillies' 2009 bullpen. The pitchers are listed in the order in which they appear on the Phillies' official depth chart.
He firmly established himself as one of the best closers in Major League Baseball last season. He converted all 41 of his save opportunities and maintained a minimal 1.95 ERA while doing so. In '08, Lidge gave up only two homers and 35 BB in 69.1 innings pitched while striking out 92 hitters.
The Phillies definitely won't be nervous about trying to protect slim leads late in games this year.
This left-hander is a solid reliever who doesn't give up a lot of runs but still keeps the ball around the plate. In '07 and '08, Madson maintained a 3.05 ERA with a 12:1 innings-to-home runs ratio and walked 46 hitters while striking out 110.
Up to this point in spring training, Madson has been decent, earning a 3.60 ERA and striking out eight despite giving up 11 hits in only five innings.
Madson looks like a good bet to have a nice season.
It's too bad that this lefty will start the 2009 season suspended from play because of a drug test that revealed he had taken a substance banned by the MLB. He would have been a second quality reliever at the Phillies' disposal.
Romero, a contact pitcher, finished the '08 season with a 2.75 ERA in 59 innings of work. He gave up only 41 hits, including five homers. In addition, Romero notched 52 K and walked 38 batters.
It's a shame that a pitcher as good as Romero won't be able to play until June 1.
Durbin had his best full season as a reliever in 2008—he kept his ERA down at 2.87 in 87 innings (quite a bit for a reliever), gave up only five dingers, and fanned 63 while walking 35. Pretty impressive...
It's a shame that Durbin is already 31. If he were younger, he'd be a promising player. But the right-hander isn't old enough to fall off of last year's form just yet. He should have another strong season.
Eyre often doesn't do well in anything more than a very small role—he has only been successful in a handful of seasons in which he has pitched 16 or more innings.
Fortunately, he's gotten better at pitching more innings in recent years (he has averaged a 3.83 ERA in 41.3 innings per year since 2005), and the Phillies could potentially use him as often as every two or three games for an inning or two.
Eyre hasn't done very well as anything more than an occasionally used reliever. While the Phillies might use him every two or three games, don't expect the lefty to play much.
This strong right-handed journeyman is extremely versatile. He can close games when needed—he's converted three of four save opportunities in his five MLB seasons—and he can also work a few frames as a poised, in-control reliever. Condrey surrenders a lot of hits, but he works his way out of jams fairly well.
Condrey has not allowed a run in 3.1 innings of work in spring training, and has only given up one hit and a walk.
Condrey will add quality depth to the Phillies' bullpen both as a reliever and as a closer if Lidge can't pitch.
Mosebach has only played as high as AA ball—where he went 9-12 with a 1.95 ERA, 69 BB, 88 K, and a WHIP of 1.57—and it has shown at spring training. Major league hitters have roughed Mosebach up for a 12.27 ERA.
The right-hander obviously needs plenty more minor league seasoning.
This righty briefly played in the MLB for the Phillies in 2007. The stint included a 0.00 ERA. He allowed two hits and two walks in two innings. Bisenius also fanned three.
But spring training has proved challenging for Bisenius as well—he's been knocked around for a 9.00 ERA. He's also given up three walks and set down only one batter.
Bisenius needs to go to the same place as Mosebach—the minors. For a long time...
The Phillies have a solid bullpen, anchored by superb veteran closer Brad Lidge. Madson, Condrey, Durbin, and Romero (once he serves his suspension) should also be keys to a successful year for this bullpen.