After another night in which the Phillies bullpen spoiled a would be win, manager Gabe Kapler appeared on 94 WIP this morning with Angelo Cataldi to discuss the much maligned unit. What he had to say was, uh, curious to say the least.
Over the last 30 days, Phillies relievers have posted an abysmal 4.93 ERA in 84 innings of work. Their .339 BABIP and 1.5 HR/9 are both the third-worst marks in all of baseball. While the unit has posted an impressive 10.93 K/9 during that time, when opponents have put the ball in play, they have done damage. See: Sunday’s game in Milwaukee, Monday night’s game, last night’s game…you get the point.
Despite these facts, Kapler told Cataldi his bullpen is a “major strength.” Here is the money quote, courtesy of WIP’s website:
Look, Luis Garcia is getting healthier every day. Pat Neshak has a live BP today and then he starts his rehab assignment. He was a dependable strike thrower last year and among the most dominant relievers in baseball. Hector Neris is clearing his head in Triple-A and I have no doubt that he’ll be back to help us after his refresher. (Edubray) Ramos, (Víctor) Arano, Tommy Hunter. Tommy Hunter, despite a less than perfect outing last night, they’ve all been good. We’ll be better than fine, we’re gonna be strong. Yes, it’s a strength.
That’s quite a rosy outlook from the manager. Luis Garcia and Pat Neshek may be getting healthier, and that’s great. Hector Neris might clear his head at Lehigh Valley. Sure. But there’s a fine line between protecting your players and sounding completely disingenuous. To characterize this bullpen as a strength and to cite Tommy Hunter as “good” is outrageous, and it’s insulting to the intelligence of this fanbase. I don’t care about the variance between his 2.28 FIP and 4.79 ERA. He’s failed to do his job on several occasions this season and he simply hasn’t been good enough.
Also from Kapler:
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) June 20, 2018
The guy better assess quickly, because they can ill afford to lose games the way did last night, and will continue to do without meaningful action by Klentak.
You can listen to the full interview after the jump: