Phillies Bounce Back With a Sweep... Bullpen and Hitting Still MIA!

William ZeltmanContributor ISeptember 13, 2009

I went to bed with a pit in my stomach last night after the disaster that was yesterday's game. Tonight I celebrate with the Phillies 6.5 games up and a magic number of 4, but the pit is still there and the long term prognosis may not be good.

While Pedro Martinez went above and beyond throwing 8 shut out innings and throwing 130 pitches, something he has not done in 10 years, only a fool could not see the real problem. Charlie Manuel is afraid to go to his bullpen. We saw it in the early game when he left Kyle Kendrick in too long.

As I watched the Brewers/ Diamondbacks game between Phillies games and saw Trevor Hoffman save the game, I have to wonder why Ruben Amaro did not put in a claim for him when he was placed on waivers. The Phillies pen is in big trouble and while I am not telling you something you don't already know, consider this:

If the Phillies lose in the first round of the playoffs because Manuel leaves a starter in too long or the pen can not close a game, it is going to be a long ugly winter in Philadelphia and Amaro will have to answer for not fixing a problem that was glaring before the trade deadline.

I still believe that Brett Myers is the best option for the closer role right now. Despite last night's outing, he has the experience and the stuff to get the job done. The time to try him there is NOW! Ryan Madson is not the answer. Before tonight's game in which he was effective, he was 1-3 with a 7.82 ERA and 7-13 in save situations. He is now 8-14 and his stats as a closer are worse than Lidge's.

To make things worse, the Phillies lineup has forgotten how to get a hit with a runner on base thus creating more close games and a bigger need for a closer. Has Charlie thought of shaking up the lineup like he has done in the past moving Werth to 2 and Victorino to 6th in the lineup? Something has to get them going again.

The Phillies just do not have the momentum going down the stretch like they have had in the past few years. Sure they are not coming from behind but it would be nice to see some life from the pen and the lineup before the first round of the playoffs!