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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

5 Ways Philadelphia Phillies Can Fix The Bullpen

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5 Things Philadelphia Phillies Must Do to Fix Bullpen

Jonathan Papelbon
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The back end of the bullpen didn't just suddenly become a problem for the Philadelphia Phillies this week. It was a disaster waiting to happen, which was why a lot of Phillies fans were clamoring for the team to add a free agent reliever like Grant Balfour in the offseason.

Instead of Balfour, the Phillies got a ball four from Jonathan Papelbon with the bases loaded this week in a literal walk-off loss. There are five simple fixes, though.

5. Longer Starts

Kyle Kendrick
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5. Longer Starts

Jonathan Papelbon
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Kyle Kendrick was sailing along with a shutout against the Texas Rangers before Ben Revere had to ask for directions to a fly ball that turned into a triple. Still, Kendrick had a 3-1 lead after seven and there was no reason to lift him. If Kendrick or Cliff Lee or any other starter are sailing along, Sandberg must allow them to finish the job.

4. Extend Long Relievers

Brad Lincoln
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4. Extend Long Relievers

Brad Lincoln
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The Phillies got Brad Lincoln to be a long reliever. In the event of a less-than-quality start, long relievers like Lincoln must be extended to the eighth or ninth inning.

3. Make Antonio Bastardo The 8th Inning Guy

Antonio Bastardo
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3. Make Antonio Bastardo The 8th Inning Guy

Antonio Bastardo
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If the Phillies have had one quality back-end guy over the last couple of years, it has been Antonio Bastardo as a left-handed relief specialist. The team should move Bastardo from a one-batter guy to the full eighth-inning guy until Mike Adams returns from an injury later this month.

2. Move Mario Hollands Into Bastardo’s Spot

Mario Hollands
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2. Move Mario Hollands Into Bastardo’s Spot

Mario Hollands
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Hollands had a great spring for the Phillies, but it’s pure folly to expect someone who has never pitched in the major leagues to pitch an inning or two consistently. Moving Hollands into Bastardo’s spot as a left-handed specialist for one or two batters frees Bastardo up to have an extended role.

1. Make Jake Diekman The Closer

Jake Diekman
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1. Make Jake Diekman The Closer

Jake Diekman
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No one had a better spring than Diekman, who is the Phillies’ first 100 mph reliever since Billy Wagner toed the mound a decade ago. Diekman is finally ready to get his chance as a closer, where he appears best-suited. Fans might ask where this leaves current closer Jonathan Papelbon, but the answer to that question is on the bench or cut where he will do the team the most good.