To say the late innings have not been good for the Phillies in the past week would be an understatement. Roy Halladay blew Tuesday's lead, Ryan Madson blew Friday's lead, Antonio Bastardo blew Sunday's lead, and Lidge topped it off with a loss on Sunday. Having only lost 1 game with a lead in the ninth all season, the Phillies did it 3 times in a week with their ace pitcher and two best relievers.
Oh no! And the Braves cut the Phillies lead to 6.5 games! What are we going to do?
Calm down, now. I know Phillies fans galore look at our bullpen and then look at the Braves bullpen. Then proceed to have a coronary. It looks really bad, but there is absolutely no reason to panic. Here are three reasons to ease your worries about the pitchers from each of the three blown saves.
Halladay was 52-0 when inheriting a ninth inning lead until the debacle this week. He had no problem holding the lead in his MLB best 7 complete games. He just had a bad inning. Leave it at that.
As bad as Madson looked on Friday, he had a lot of bad luck. Espinoza's hit dropped in front of Mayberry due to the "no-doubles" defense. Johhny Gomes' RBI single might have been a double-play if Martinez was not drawn in to guard against a bunt. And Ian Desmond's game-tying single was a blooper. And although the grand-slam looked bad, at least he didn't walk in the run.
Bastardo made one bad pitch yesterday. That's it. He still has ridiculous numbers and looked unhittable until the homer on Sunday. He's fine.
We are not approaching a bullpen apocalypse just yet. So, go to your happy place and forget about the three nightmares you had this week. Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball, Madson is still one of the best closers in the game, and Bastardo is still possibly the best lefty reliever in the majors. It takes more than one bad game each to change that.