© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
09/23/07 12:53 AM ET
Notes: Bullpen continues to thrive
Myers, Gordon, Romero playing key roles down the stretch
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- If anything, the Phillies' relievers are tired of hearing about how they're tired. "I don't know the meaning of that right now," Tom Gordon said after Saturday's 4-1, 10-inning victory over the Nationals. "That's what you train for in the offseason," J.C. Romero said. "This is the time of the year where your teammates are counting on you. There's no doubt I can pitch [Sunday]." Brett Myers hasn't squeezed exhaustion into his busy schedule. "There's no time to feel tired," he said. "When the phone rings, you have to be ready. If I have to pitch [Sunday], I'll pitch. The more we throw, the better we get." No one can argue with the trio's effectiveness, as each has established a career high by working in five straight games, and have combined to allow just two runs in 14 2/3 innings. The bullpen has been a huge part of the team's latest surge, posting a 1.84 ERA on the road trip that dips to 0.66 if one removes the performance in Monday's 13-11 win over St. Louis. They've posted 15 scoreless innings in the series against Washington. "Maybe they heard what I said about stepping up, when I said, 'If we got it, let's see it,'" manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it. They might have gotten mad as hell." Romero said it's just knowing how close the Phillies are to the postseason. "I don't know about that," Romero said. "The one thing I wan't to bring to this team was the swagger. I've been blessed enough to be in good bullpens, in Anaheim and Minnesota. I've seen what it takes for a team to have a good bullpen, and we have the arms here. It's about guys getting comfortable. Everybody is hungry, and they feel the playoffs are around the corner. A lot of guys are forgetting about bruises and soreness, and just trying to win." Rotation juggle? Jamie Moyer and Kyle Lohse are set to start Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, it's anybody's guess. An off-day on Monday allows the Phillies to shuffle their rotation for a final time, should they so desire. Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels, who are scheduled to pitch on Friday and Saturday, could be bumped up a day and still be on regular rest. In that scenario, Adam Eaton would face the Nationals on Saturday, instead of the Braves on Thursday. The righty has a 6.14 ERA in eight starts against Atlanta and a 4.89 ERA in six outings vs. Washington, and the Phillies are looking for any edge. Moyer will start the regular-season finale next Sunday. Surgery for Mathieson, Segovia: Righty Scott Mathieson, one of the Phillies' top pitching prospects, is scheduled to have surgery on his throwing arm on Monday, the team announced. The 23-year-old is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Mathieson missed most of the 2007 season after Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow last September, and was on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment in August when he felt this new discomfort. Right-hander Zack Segovia also had surgery on his throwing shoulder Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., and is also expected to be ready for Spring Training. Comeback kids: The Phillies lead the Majors with 48 come-from-behind wins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they've overcome one-run deficits 21 times, rallied from two runs down 14 times, three runs eight times, four runs four times and eight runs once. Quotable: "It looks the same as the first time I came here, in 1969. The seats look the same color. Everything about it looks the same. ... [The billboard for] PNC Bank wasn't up there. Toyota wasn't up there. Budweiser was there.]" -- Manuel, on RFK Stadium, which will host its final baseball game on Sunday Philling in: Yes, Manuel stayed up to watch Colorado's 14-inning win over San Diego, which ended at nearly 2 a.m. ET. The Padres' loss moved the Phillies within 1 1/2 games of the National League Wild Card lead. "I followed it on computer," he said. "When [San Diego's Adrian] Gonzalez hit a homer in the ninth, it ticked me off. I was looking on the board, and I saw a run pop up. Then, [Colorado's Brad] Hawpe hit one in the 14th. He hit one good in that ballpark. I loved it." Coming up: Hamels, who opposes Joel Hanrahan on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. ET, was rusty in his first start on Tuesday after missing more than a month with a strained left elbow. He allowed three runs on five hits in three innings, while striking out two and walking one. He is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA in seven career starts against Washington.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.