Philadelphia Phillies Have Better Bullpen Than San Francisco Giants

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIApril 19, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies Have Better Bullpen Than San Francisco Giants

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have split their series against the San Francisco Giants thus far, and the bullpen has been a minimal factor to this point.

    Closer Brian Wilson (and his dumb beard) is likely out for the season, while the Phillies spent a monumental amount of money on Jonathan Papelbon. Both teams have anemic offenses with starting pitching that leaves the rest of MLB drooling.

    Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum have four Cy Young awards between them, and Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are all above-average starting pitchers.

    It's hard to argue that anyone in MLB has a better starting rotation than the Philadelphia Phillies, but how does the Giants bullpen stack up against that of the Phightin's?

    Here's why the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen is better than that of the San Francisco Giants.

Dominant Closer vs. No Closer

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    Jonathan Papelbon has been anything but lights-out since his arrival to Philadelphia (while still getting the job done), but it's hard to argue against a guy who has been a top-five closer in the game in one of the hardest markets in the country.

    Red Sox Nation (annoying, but passionate) puts a ton of pressure on its baseball team, and no one feels that pressure more than the closer. Papelbon proved time and time again in Boston that he thrives when the spotlight is shining bright on him. 

    The Giants have a lights-out closer as well in Brian Wilson, but he's likely out for the season with structural damage to his elbow.

    Papelbon vs. any other reliever in the Giants arsenal?

    Advantage: Paps.

Where's the Depth?

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    Brian Wilson will likely require his second Tommy John surgery on his elbow, and it's becoming more clear that he won't receive a lucrative contract via free agency.

    Jeremy Affeldt had been a mediocre reliever (for seven seasons) prior to arriving in San Francisco. Sergio Romo is likely the closer for the 2012 season for the Giants, but veteran Santiago Casilla could also do the job.

    The loss of Brian Wilson now gives Philadelphia the edge with Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Qualls, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes and Kyle Kendrick.

    If Jose Contreras can give the Phillies anything in 2012 (he's now back on the roster), then the Phillies have a plethora of proven, veteran arms that can be trusted.

Veterans and Youngsters

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    GM Ruben Amaro has built an extremely solid bullpen in 2012 behind closer Jonathan Papelbon.

    There is less pressure on guys like Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes to perform in late innings with Jose Contreras and Chad Qualls in Charlie Manuel's arsenal.

    Both Stutes and Bastardo pitched a ton of innings in 2011 at crucial moments, but that shouldn't be the case in 2012. Manuel has more flexibility if any of his relievers are struggling.

    The mix of veterans and youth looks promising, as each reliever brings something different to the table.

Now You See Me...

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    When you think of the Philadelphia Phillies, you begin and end with their starting pitching.

    The fact is that Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels have the ability to go the distance every time they step onto the mound.

    Sixty percent of Phillies games have the opportunity to begin and end with the same pitcher. A huge reason why the Phillies bullpen is better than the Giants' is because their bullpen is seldom relied upon.

    The bullpen can be managed in a way that brings out the strength of each reliever. Don't expect Joe Savery to come in against a tough right-handed batter in the eighth inning.

    Charlie Manuel has the ability to look at the numbers and decide which matchup is best for his team because of his starters. More relievers are fresh and are available to pitch on a nightly basis because of the big three.


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