The eighth-inning reliever sets everything up for the ninth inning. He is expected to keep the game right where it’s at. They are supposed to be reliable.
The Philadelphia Phillies only had that guy for a short period this season. They had reliever Mike Adams until he suffered a season-ending injury. Antonio Bastardo could have been an option, but he was suspended for using a banned substance. That left the Phillies having to rely on rookies. Next season, both Adams and Bastardo will be eligible to pitch. Will one of them be the man to set it up for the ninth inning?
Adams will have a difficult time coming back from surgery. He may not have the same velocity he once had, which is important for an eighth-inning reliever. Before he got hurt, Adams had an ERA of 3.96, which is high. He appeared in 28 games and gave up 11 runs. It may just have been his shoulder, but it was still not the Adams that the Phillies wanted to see.
Hopefully in 2014 Adams shoulder will be fully rehabbed and strong. He needs to show the Phillies that he can be the arm they were looking for.
Bastardo had chances of being the Phillies’ eighth-inning reliever in seasons past. He has a strong arm and comes in and gets the job done. This season before he was suspended, Bastardo had an ERA of 2.32 in 48 games. In his career, Bastardo has had an opportunity to save games, which is an even more important role than pitching in the eighth inning.
The question is that with all the time off this season, will Bastardo’s arm be the same? It may take some time, but I believe that Bastardo can come back the way he was. He made a mistake, but I believe he is willing to come back and be better than ever. He wants to make an impact.
Adams and Bastardo are both excellent choices for the eighth inning. It will be a difficult decision to make if they both have the talent they are known for. It will be exciting to see who ends up with the job.