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Phillies' bullpen finally starts to come around

Once an embarrassing weakness, the Phillies’ relief corps have been coming through in big spots.

Mike Adams has returned to form as a set up man in the Phillies' bullpen this season. Credit: Getty Images Mike Adams has returned to form as a set up man in the Phillies' bullpen this season. Credit: Getty Images

The Phillies have actually been receiving some relief from their bullpen of late. The pen, which has been the Phillies Achillies heel since the beginning of the 2012 season, shows signs of potential stability.

Entering Sunday’s game, the Phillies relievers have posted a 1.15 ERA since May 22.

“I think we’re coming together,” Mike Adams said.

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Adams has been a shutdown set-up man since returning from the disabled list last month. Adams has not allowed an earned run in each of his last 13 appearances.

“I’m feeling good and I’ve been getting outs but it’s just not me,” Adams said.

Jonathan Papelbon has not allowed an earned run in 19 of his last 20 appearances. Mario Hollands is in the middle of an 8-inning scoreless streak. Jake Diekman has held lefthanded hitters to a .113 average over his last 53 appearances, going back to July of 2013.

“I think what we have here is promising,” Adams said. “If we can continue to do what we’re doing, the bullpen can help win quite a few games.”

After throwing three impeccable innings against the Mets, Jeff Manship strained his right quad running out a grounder. Manship, who impressed during spring training, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Phillippe Aumont, who has struggled in Triple-A, has been recalled to replace Manship.

Darin Ruf, who went 1-10, in his brief return with the Phillies, was optioned to Triple-A. The Phillies purchased the contract of Cesar Jimenez from Lehigh Valley to fill Ruf’s spot on the roster.

Who knows if Aumont will ever find himself but there but there’s more hope for the bullpen, even with a struggling Antonio Bastardo, who has walked seven batters in his last three innings.

Ethan Martin is dealing with dead arm but he’s been solid since he’s been rounding into shape in Triple-Awith a 1.86 ERA in nine and two/third innings.

Flamethrower Ken Giles is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA at Lehigh Valley. If Martin progresses through dead arm as he should and Giles progresses like he has, perhaps both will be part of the Phillies pen by the All-Star Break.

“There still is a chance the Phillies could put together a decent pen this season,” a NL scout said. “Some of those young arms could come around and Adams has pitched great since coming back and Papelbon has been consistent. It’s not easy to put together a good bullpen. Relievers go up and down every season. But if you want to content for a spot in the playoffs, you need a good bullpen.”

 
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