THE PHILLIES' bullpen was almost empty. And that was even before the game started.
On the day after starter Antonio Bastardo lasted just one inning before a long rain delay helped end his night, manager Charlie Manuel handed the baseball to starter J.A. Happ and hoped he could pitch deep into the game.
If he couldn't, he had Chan Ho Park, who had been unavailable Saturday night because of a sore elbow. He had closer Ryan Madson. And he had Tyler Walker, fresh off the turnpike from Triple A Lehigh Valley.
That was it.
So Manuel wasn't feeling too comfortable when the Red Sox batted around in the fourth inning yesterday at Citizens Bank Park, scoring four runs in the process.
Happ settled down after that, though, and ended up lasting 5 2/3 innings while allowing just one more run. The Phillies came back to avoid a sweep with an 11-6 win.
"He was having trouble getting his fastball down," Manuel said. "In the third, fourth and fifth he went more to his breaking ball and kept it down."
Said Happ: "In the back of my mind, I kind of knew what the situation was. It's always kind of tough when they score on you early and you know you still have a long way to go. But after that [second] inning, I was able to make some adjustments and get some ground-ball outs.
"I didn't have a great game, but we won. [The hitters] came back and took care of business. I'm going to learn from this, take what I can from it and look forward to my next start."
A Walker in the park
Kyle Kendrick was called up on Friday and sent back on Saturday. Sergio Escalona was called up on Saturday and sent back yesterday. Veteran righthander Tyler Walker yesterday became the third reliever the Phillies have summoned from Triple A Lehigh Valley in as many days.
The 33-year-old would like to stay for a while, but has been around baseball long enough to know there are no guarantees.
"You've got to go about it one outing at a time. Get the first guy out. That's the biggest thing, and go from there. I can't think beyond today," said Walker, who didn't pitch yesterday. "As a reliever, you've got to have a short memory and a singular focus."
Walker was originally a second-round draft pick of the Mets in 1997 and had experience as a closer for the Giants in 2005 and Tampa Bay is 2006. He signed with the Mariners as a free agent last offseason, but was released at the end of spring training.
Asked what he throws, he laughed. "Fastball, slider, split-finger. Occasionally the changeup. Kitchen sink. Resin bag. Whatever it takes," he said.
He ended up signing a minor league contract with the Phillies and went 2-1 with a 1.40 earned run average in 15 appearances. In 19 1/3 innings he allowed just eight hits and three walks while striking out 20.
"There weren't that many options out there, because at the time of year it was everybody's rosters were set, not only in the big leagues but in Triple A. They're kind of trying to figure out their own rosters," Walker said. "So it's bad timing all the way around. The Phillies gave me an opportunity, so I ran with it. There really wasn't much out there."
Said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.: "More than anything else, he was a guy who had had some success in the big leagues, and he was still coming back. He was building arm strength. His velocity wasn't there, but we felt like he still had something left in the tank. So we felt like we owed it to our organization to get a little more depth."
Walker was making $12,000 a month for the IronPigs. His big-league contract is for $750,000 plus up to $150,000 in performance incentives if he makes 65 appearances and award bonuses.
He also had a clause that allowed him to ask for his release if he wasn't on the major league roster by June 15. That just happens to be today, but that apparently wasn't the primary reason for his call-up.
Leftfielder Raul Ibanez, who started play yesterday leading the league in RBI and runs scored and tied for the top spot in home runs, didn't play even though the Phillies were facing a tough righthanded pitcher in Boston's Josh Beckett.
It turns out that Ibanez recently changed shoes and that resulted in some soreness in his Achilles'.
"It's fine," he said, adding that he expects to be back in the lineup when the Phillies play Toronto tomorrow night. "It's feeling a lot better. It's really nothing at all."
Ibanez had started 222 consecutive games. *