On Labor Day, the Philadelphia Phillies used four pitchers (Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon) to no-hit the Atlanta Braves. This historic event in Phillies history may seem impressive at first, but facing the Braves makes this event less significant.
Hamels pitched the first six innings, but he reached the 100-pitch threshold that inning. When Hamels was replaced, the bullpen finished the game with five strikeouts without allowing a base runner. The bullpen has been the only consistent piece of the Phillies this season. Three relievers have above a 9.00 K/9, and only two relievers have above a 4.00 ERA. When called upon, the bullpen has been closing games out as a cohesive unit.
Only one Phillies reliever is over 27 years old, suggesting the bullpen will continue to improve over the next few years. Giles has been a pleasant surprise this season with a team leading 1.26 ERA. I believe he will compete for the closer role next season.
Phillies fans do not have much to look forward to in September. September call-ups will likely provide a spark and some added interest in watching some prospects perform on the best stage. We should continue to watch the bullpen exceed expectations. Although the Phillies have performed this feat only once in their long history, the bullpen has shown how significant their role has been towards the recent success of the Phillies.