And certainly there won’t be a dearth of news for the relief scribes. The prognosis for that “pop” Chan Ho Park heard in his right hamstring after making his final pitch of the seventh inning last night could have a major domino effect on the rest of the roster.
The obvious loss if Park’s injury is significant is the work he takes on in the bullpen. No, his numbers don’t pop off the page, but they are good. Plus, Park is versatile enough to pitch in many roles and take on more than one inning. Of his 38 relief appearances, Chopper has pitched more than one inning 13 times and three innings five times.
Better yet, when Park was moved out of the rotation for J.A. Happ in May, he went without sulking or pouting. He just went to work and as a result remains one of the more popular players in the clubhouse with his teammates.
The numbers aren’t bad, either. In 38 relief appearances, Chopper is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA. Since the All-Star Break he has appeared in 20 games and picked up 23 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings with a 1.85 ERA.
So if Manuel can’t turn to Park, even in the best of times, it’s going to hurt. With Scott Eyre attempting to pitch through a bone chip in his elbow, J.C. Romero’s season still uncertain, Clay Condrey returning from a series of oblique injuries, and Brad Lidge’s ineffectiveness, losing Park could be major.
That’s where we get to the trickle-down effect. Just last weekend I was prognosticating my Phillies playoff roster (as if anyone would ask), and decided it would be a good idea for the club to carry 12 pitchers. Last year they took 11 pitchers throughout the playoff run from the short-series NLDS to the World Series with two games played with the DH and it was more than enough.
After all, Happ appeared in just one game throughout the run, while Eyre saw action in four games for a total of two innings, while Condrey got into just two of the games. Meanwhile, the extra players on the bench, So Taguchi and Chris Coste, played in seven games combined for 10 plate appearances.
When looking at it that way, it’s clear that Manuel doesn’t go too deep into his bench if he doesn’t need to.
But as Manuel said last week in Houston, “[Bleep] the last two years.” If the Phillies want to repeat this season, it may have to come from an unsung player on the roster like Park. If that’s not an option, Manuel doesn’t have too many sure things right now.
Nevertheless, if anything, Park’s injury just might have secured veteran Jamie Moyer a spot on the playoff roster. Here’s what I came up with:
Tyler Walker/Clay Condrey
Scott Eyre/Jamie Moyer
Needless to say, Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. are going to have some tough decisions with the pitching staff. If Park is able to pitch – and Romero, too, for that matter – some of the decisions will be easy.
But what do the Phillies do with Moyer, Eyre, Walker and Condrey?