Shorthanded bullpen crumbles vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO - Charlie Manuel spoke calmly from his office inside the visitor's clubhouse yesterday at AT&T Park. He probably wanted to scream.
SAN FRANCISCO - Charlie Manuel spoke calmly from his office inside the visitor's clubhouse yesterday at AT&T Park.
He probably wanted to scream.
"We're short," he said after a 9-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, which included Barry Bonds hitting his 744th career home run. "We're short in the pen."
The Phillies placed righthander Ryan Madson on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained left abdominal muscle, 24 hours after they placed righthander Tom Gordon on the disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. That leaves Manuel with Brett Myers, Geoff Geary and Antonio Alfonseca in the back of his bullpen with a mixed bag of Francisco Rosario, Fabio Castro, Yoel Hernandez and Clay Condrey providing the rest of the support.
Myers is the closer. Geary and Alfonseca are the setup men. So unless they suddenly receive bionic arms that allow them to pitch every inning of every close game, Manuel has no choice but to turn to the mixed bag in some important situations until Madson and Gordon return.
That's what happened yesterday. The Phillies scored runs in the sixth and seventh to cut the Giants' lead to one.
Manuel wanted to save Geary in case the Phillies tied or took the lead. Alfonseca, who allowed seven earned runs in 32/3 innings in his last four appearances to raise his ERA from 0.75 to 4.60, was unavailable after he threw 27 pitches Friday. So Manuel went with Rosario in the seventh.
Rosario immediately allowed a leadoff homer to Eliezer Alfonzo to left field, but the Phillies scored another run in the eighth to again pull within one.
Rosario recorded the first out in the eighth, and Manuel went with Castro - the only lefthander in the bullpen - to face lefthanders Ryan Klesko and Bonds. Castro walked both, then allowed a single to right to Ray Durham to score Klesko. Manuel inserted Hernandez, a righthander who was making his major-league debut, to face Pedro Feliz.
Hernandez threw two balls to Feliz, then Feliz crushed the next pitch over the left-field wall for a three-run homer to make it 9-4.
"I could have used Geary there, but the only trouble is if the game goes very long . . . " Manuel said. "I figured we could hold them there."
Geary hadn't pitched since he threw three innings Wednesday in Atlanta. Manuel was asked if he felt stuck in his decision-making process. He could have used Geary for two innings or more yesterday and hoped the Phillies came back, but would he then have had Geary available to pitch with a lead tonight? If not, who could pitch with a lead other than Alfonseca?
"I wasn't thinking about that," Manuel said. "I was thinking about what happens if we tie the game up. Geary is our guy. I was thinking about who was going to get us to the point where Myers could close. . . . That's who we have. They've got to pitch."
Phillies starter Jon Lieber allowed a solo homer to Bonds to lead off the second inning to make it 1-1. Bonds has hit career homers Nos. 377, 410, 436, 713 and 744 off Lieber.
"Fastball, just up," Lieber said of his first pitch to Bonds.
Bonds scooted out the Giants clubhouse immediately afterward, so he couldn't be reached for comment.
Lieber (1-1) allowed three more runs in the third inning as the Giants took a 4-1 lead. The Phillies slowly came back, but Rosario, Castro and Hernandez allowed four hits, five runs and two walks in two innings.
Is it just a matter of weathering the storm at this point?
"Why should we have to worry about weathering the weather?" said Shane Victorino, who went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. "I have confidence in them. That's not even a question I ask: Can we go through the storm without these two guys? Our bullpen is strong enough that we're going to do the things we need to do."
"We've just got to pick each other up," Lieber said.
Yesterday wasn't a good start.