Phillies up to old tricks with bullpen struggles, Joe Girardi's head-scratching decisions

Thursday, May 26, 2022
Phillies up to old tricks with bullpen, Girardi's decisions
The Phillies continue to take us on a rollercoaster ride with Joe Girardi and the bullpen authoring too much unnecessary drama.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Phillies continue to take us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

One minute their offense is exploding.

The next minute their offense is ... offensive.

One minute they're close to sweeping the Dodgers.

The next, they're close to getting swept.

Along with all the ups and downs and twists and turns, there have been a number of questionable decisions by manager Joe Girardi.

The biggest misstep has been his use of the bullpen.

The same bullpen that has been an issue for years.

In 2020, the bullpen had the highest ERA in almost a century. Last year they almost set the record for blown saves in a season.

And this year?

The madness continues.

Take Tuesday night's game against the Braves.

After Bryce Harper's 2-run home run gave the Phillies a 9th-inning lead, Girardi left reliever Nick Nelson in for a second inning of work.

Where was closer Corey Knebel, who the team gave $10 million to for this season?

He wasn't available because Girardi won't use relievers three days in a row.

And where were Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado?

Oh they weren't available, either.

Girardi's philosophy of trying to keep pitchers fresh for October baseball is all well and good. But they need to actually get to the postseason for it to ever pay dividends.

And after two years of embattled bullpens, the 2022 version has blown almost 30 percent of their save opportunities.

With the Phillies again hovering around .500, and more maddening bullpen decisions, the Phillies appear up to their old, disappointing tricks again.