Phillies Mailbag: Deadline, Phelps, Playoff Hopes
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your question and answer them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. Ask a question any time to @FrankKlose on Twitter.
Do you think the Phillies should have gotten more at the trade deadline?
The Phillies added just one more piece at the trade deadline: David Phelps. Phelps is a back-end reliever, which is certainly helpful, but I cannot help to think that the Phillies really could have used another starter.
We all have seen what Vince Velasquez can do (and cannot do). Velasquez is literally the only option the Phillies have to start in the many doubleheaders and of greater concern - if someone gets hurt. So let's say Jake Arrieta was so off on Sunday night because he is actually injured. Then what?
Then each doubleheader becomes a bullpen game. That's a little dangerous when you have five doubleheaders to get through, even though they are only seven inning each.
Two names the Phillies liked in the past were left-handed pitchers Robbie Ray and Mike Minor. Each of them did get moved at the deadline as the Diamondbacks and Rangers, respectively, though it is unclear if the Phillies were in on either player. Both were still due some money... did that keep the Phillies from those guys?
Rangers starter Lance Lynn was said to be available but at a high price.
I think it's a little risky to go without adding a starter, but maybe the Phillies are okay with that. Maybe they feel even if something would happen along those lines, they will still be in good position for one of the wild cards. If the Phillies get in, they still have Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler pitching in the postseason in short series.
There's a month for this to play out... hopefully the Phillies can look back and say they did not need a starter.
What will the role be of David Phelps in this bullpen?
This is a good question. The Phillies clearly got David Phelps to be one of the "back-end" options. That means he will probably be used in the later innings along with Tommy Hunter, Hector Neris, and Brandon Workman. It is hard to totally plan which innings exactly, as the upcoming Phillies schedule is brutal.
There are 30 games remaining for the Phillies. Of those 30, one-third of them are currently doubleheaders. So if I call Phelps the "8th inning guy" he probably won't be every day. Relievers usually try to space out their work, which is near impossible with doubleheaders. So he could fill the role Tommy Hunter fills one day, while Hunter himself fills it the next.
At closer things are a little tricky with Workman giving up some runs. But for this to work for the Phillies, both Neris and Workman probably will have to pick up saves down the stretch too, just as the likes of Hunter and Phelps will pick up some eighth inning holds.
Hopefully the starting pitching will cooperate.
Do you think the Phillies have a better shot at the playoffs now compared to a week ago?
It is certainly hard to think that the Phillies are not better off. Winning five games in a row certainly was a good way to get back into contention. Despite being three games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, the Phillies are one of the playoff teams with a .500 record.
Even with the difficult schedule, it is hard to see the Phillies not having a shot at one of the five Wild Cards.
But the Phillies are must better-positioned than before. The Phillies have really added five relief arms to what the Opening Day roster had: Phelps, Workman, Heath Hembree, David Hale, and Ranger Suarez. With eight really bad losses attributed to the bullpen out of the first 30 games, I cannot see the remaining 30 games having that same drop off.
I do not think this is by any means an amazing, lock-down bullpen, but it will not be as bad. The team continues to miss Jose Alvarez, but they will get by.
The Phillies offense continues to rake. The designated hitter has helped the Phillies string together runs, as has the three-batter rule in the bullpen. The Phillies feast on bad pitching.
So I think at the very least, the Phillies are in a good place for a Wild Card. I say that now but anymore line drives to the groin for any players, that could change soon.