Roberto Hernandez has pitched well lately for the Phillies, and has been going deep into games to help relieve the bullpen. He will start the series opener Friday against the Mets. Credit: Getty Images Roberto Hernandez has pitched well lately for the Phillies, and has been going deep into games to help relieve the bullpen. He will start the series opener Friday against the Mets. Credit: Getty Images

The Phillies bullpen ERA is ranked No. 29 of 30 teams in baseball. It also allows more than 1.5 runs per nine innings more than the National League average.

This is not an abstract statistic — it is costing the Phillies games.

 

After getting shelled during his outing in the Phillies 10-0 loss to the Blue Jays Wednesday, Shawn Camp was optioned (he has given up seven hits to 15 batters faced) and replaced with Luis Garcia.

Garcia had control problems with the Phillies last season, but pitched well in Triple-A. He hasn’t allowed a run in 11 games.

Another interesting stat is the total number of innings the pen has tossed, the second least in the MLB.

No one can make the argument that the bullpen is overworked. It is just bad.

Of the 11 pitchers who have relieved for the Phillies, eight of them have an ERA over 5.10.

The only respectable bullpen arms thus far have been Jonathan Papelbon (2.03 ERA), Antonio Bastardo (3.77 ERA) and Garcia, who tossed one scoreless inning earlier this spring.

The Phillies are close to the .500 mark. And that is perhaps the most astounding stat of all.

They will travel to Queens for their first of three series against the Mets Friday night.

They are not only trying to get out of last place against their NL East foes from up the I-95 corridor, they also are looking to right the ship after a lackluster showing in four games against the Blue Jays.

The Mets series is a short change of pace for the Phillies, who return to interleague play against the high-powered Angels Tuesday at home for a two game set with off-days in between.

But before they come home, they have to deal with two of the Mets’ best starters in Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, set to pitch Saturday and Sunday respectively.

On the hill for Philadelphia, the Phillies hope to get more of the same from Roberto Hernandez and Kyle Kendrick, and something new from a struggling Cole Hamels, who pitches Sunday.