blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter
blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter

Phillies closer role is a glaring problem

Hector Neris has just been scraping by as a Phillies reliever, he’s looked very shaky in his last appearances prior to last night, and then the implosion happened… no relievers were even up in the bullpen as management watched this happen 

The Phillies blew yet another game that should have been in the win column last night in Los Angeles. We were up late in the game by a 5-2 score, with the game being out in LA, I’m usually fast asleep by the time the late start game is over. Last night, I figured I would hang in there even though the Phillies were up by a comfortable 5-2 lead.

Well, ‘comfortable lead’ is apparently not in the Phillies vocabulary. The phrase should never be uttered at anytime. The bullpen has done what it’s done before to this team and that is lose ballgames. Last night it was Neris who imploded, and he hasn’t looked good in the last few appearances let alone last night when he gave up 3 home runs in a row to the Dodgers, who tied the game on those solo HR’s.

Not once did the pitching coach. Bob McClure,  even bother to approach the mound after a home run was given up by Neris. It was obvious to anyone watching the game, that Neris didn’t have the good stuff needed to put this game in the ‘W’ column for the Phils. Manager Pete Mackanin just watched the whole slide unfold and did nothing about it. Neris looked nervous and like he was rushing his pitches and batters were just teeing off on him.

After the game, Mackanin reiterated that he hasn’t named a closer because ‘he doesn’t want to put any added pressure on a relief pitcher.’ So apparently each night, he’ll decide who gets thrown out there when the Phillies need to close a game. Neris has been that guy in the past week of Phils games. He’s looked awfully bad in that role too, getting in serious trouble and just escaping in two other recent games prior to last night’s debacle in LA.

If there is no closer, then don’t leave someone out there that is in serious trouble, and do nothing about it. Mackanin acts like he’s paralyzed to do nothing with this team. He’s not a good manager, and he’s showing it with what he doesn’t do in certain situations. The Phillies need a better quality closer, that is more than apparent, none of the pitchers they currently have is a ‘closer’.

You can’t just hang a sign on someone that isn’t qualified to do the closing duties and expect them to do like Jeanmar Gomez did last year for the Phillies, he did a really wonderful job and saved a ton of games for this team last year. Fast forward to this year and already Neris has looked worse than Gomez ever did, but yet Gomez has virtually disappeared from sight in the Phillies bullpen.

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