Phillies bullpen success over the next two months will be the key in breaking a decade-long playoff drought
One of the biggest concerns over the last several years with the Philadelphia Phillies has been their bullpen.
The Klentak-era bullpen was a total nightmare with guys like Brandon Workman, Jeurys Familia, and Heath Hembree throwing meaningful innings for a professional baseball team. Looking back over the years and seeing Pat Neshak throwing beach balls at 82MPH over the plate is completely insane.
However, this season has been completely different for the Fightins. After a great month of July, followed by a successful trade deadline, it’s pretty safe to say that the Phillies have something they haven’t had in over a decade with a competent, deep bullpen, that has been, dare I say….elite over the past few months.
Now that I said that, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll blow a really easy lead in the coming days but when you look at what the bullpen has been able to accomplish on paper, it’s pretty safe to say that they can match up with almost any team around the league.
Current Phillies Bullpen
- Seranthony Dominguez
- David Robertson
- Brad Hand
- Jose Alvarado
- Connor Brogdon
- Andrew Bellatti
- Corey Knebel
- Nick Nelson
- Sam Coonrod (returning in the coming days)
Seranthony Dominguez has been absolutely fantastic this season for the Phillies after a long recovery from an unexpected Tommy John surgery. In 39 games this season, Seranthony has logged just a 1.67 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. He’s struck out 45 batters while walking just 11 and has allowed just 7 earned runs and 2 HRs.
Dominguez has been the main 9th inning guy since Corey Knebel’s struggles started, and the 27-year-old has taken advantage of the opportunity. Opposing hitters are slugging just .162/.231/.246 against Seranthony, good for an OPS of .477.
David Robertson is back with the Phillies after a failed stint a few years back due to injury. Robertson has been on a tear with the Cubs this year and now gets to continue his dominance as an 8th/9th inning guy for the Phils. He holds 15 saves on the year in 41.1 innings, tallying just a 2.18 ERA and a 3-0 record in 37 appearances. Hitters are hitting just .159 against the veteran this year, while he’s allowed just 4 homers.
Seranthony Dominguez and David Robertson are going to be a fantastic duo to have for the 8th and 9th inning. The Phillies now have two legitimate closers on their roster after searching for one for years.
Key Late-Inning Arms
Brad Hand has continued to do his job every single time he steps on the field and has been a reliable left-handed arm for the Phillies. Hand holds just a 1.99 ERA on the season in 31.2 innings, tallying 21 Ks, 4 saves, 21 hits allowed, and a BAA of .191. His month of July was elite, holding just a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings with just 1 earned run and 3 hits allowed.
Jose Alvarado’s start of 2022 wasn’t a pretty one, but he’s finally put everything together and has been huge for the Phillies over the last month. Alvarado was sent down to AAA a few months back and was absolutely dominant once he returned. His 5.04 ERA on the year is because of one bad month (11.37 in May), but Alvarado has posted just a 2.57 in June and a 3.60 in July. Opponents hit just .200 off him in July, where he struck out 19 batters in 10 innings.
Connor Brogdon, a.k.a the next Ryan Madson, has been such a huge arm for the Phillies since he’s gotten to the majors. Brogdon holds a 1.96 ERA on the year, with 27 strikeouts and just 5 earned runs allowed in 23 innings. He holds an ERA+ of 211 and just a 1.043 WHIP. Brogdon has appeared in 90 games throughout his first three years in the league and holds a career ERA of 3.13.
Knebel, Bellatti, Nelson
Corey Knebel, Andrew Bellatti, and Nick Nelson aren’t the flashiest pitchers on the Phillies, but each arm has been able to give you some consistent innings throughout the 2022 season.
Andrew Bellatti has tallied just a 3.31 ERA in 35.1 innings this year, holding a .235 BAA in his 39 appearances. Bellatti was fantastic in July, holding just a 1.86 ERA in 10 appearances (9.2 IP) while allowing just 9 hits and two earned runs.
Corey Knebel had a great start to his season, but it really went downhill through May and June. Knebel has been great since taken out of the closer role, throwing a perfect month of July. In 10 games, Knebel threw 10.2 innings, allowing zero earned runs, two hits, and a BAA of .059. Corey Knebel has settled into a great 7th inning guy, but on nights that you need a reliever later in the game, he’s been able to provide that as well.
Nick Nelson is not the flashiest of names by any means, but the 26-year-old put together a fantastic month of July after struggling in June. Nelson held a 1.59 ERA in 11.1 July innings, allowing just 9 hits and 2 earned runs. Nick holds a 4.14 ERA on the year in 28 games, including two starts, totaling 50 innings so far in 2022.
Sam Coonrod Return
The Phillies will be getting Sam Coonrod back very soon after throwing a scoreless inning on Wednesday night for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Coonrod will need to be activated onto the 40-man roster once he returns after being on the IL since the beginning of the season.
If the Phillies can go on a run over the next two months and secure a spot in the playoffs for the first time in a decade, they will be a tough out in the first round against either team from the NL Central. Aaron Nola remains the key piece in September. With Nola, shedding concerns about his late-season performances, you now have a Wheeler-Nola one-two punch in a three game series backed by a bullpen featuring Knebel, Hand, Dominguez, and Robertson.
That’s something you can trust in the playoffs.
Up Next for the Phillies
The Phillies got a huge win on Wednesday afternoon powered by a Nick Castellanos 8th inning home run. The team now returns home for 7 games, with 4 against the Nationals, followed by 3 against the Marlins.
It’s time to go on a run. Red October is coming.