Two games in and Phillies' bullpen use already at a record level

Philadelphia reliever Hoby Milner
Through the first two games of the season, the Phillies have made a major league record 15 pitching changes. It's a dubious statistic that may signify how first-year manager Gabe Kapler plans to use the Phillies bullpen.

"I have plenty of faith in the guys out there," Kapler said following Friday's extra-inning win over the Braves. "These guys can do almost anything."

Maybe Kapler's right.

He went right back to Hoby Milner who struggled the day before in the fifth inning. He used Yacksel Rios in the seventh, despite the fact he arrived at the ballpark straight from Clearwater, Fla. just hours before first pitch, and for the second consecutive day he used his closer in a tie game on the road in the ninth inning - a decision baseball purists vigorously despise.

It's Kapler's world now though, and his copy of the 'book' of traditional baseball is sitting in a dumpster somewhere outside Citizens Bank Park.

If Kapler's bullpen usage continues on this track though, it'll likely be tough for guys to get comfortable at understanding their roles. That issue came up several times last year, including at mid-season when controversy bubbled to the surface between Pat Neshek and Pete Mackanin about Neshek's availability to close out games.

Neshek wasn't interested, saying he never felt comfortable closing.

Two games aren't enough to predict the future, but Kapler's already working a historic pace. As the backend of the rotation takes their first turn it'll be interesting to see how much more pressure he exerts on an already taxed bullpen.
_____________________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: