Sunday, April 5, 2009

NL East Preview Week 10: Bullpen

The bullpen plays a crucial role in a team's success, as the Phillies and Mets proved last season. Philadelphia's excelled, locking down games in the late innings. On the other hand, the Mets' blew game after game, leading to their second consecutive September choke.

The Phillies still have the best bullpen, but not by as wide a margin. How J.C Romero preforms after serving his suspension could be a key for the bullpen down the stretch. They still have the other core guys with Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin among others.

The Mets went from worst to.... second to first. Acquiring the single season saves leader, "K-Rod," and one of the most underrated arms in baseball, J.J. Putz will do that for you. The Mets middle relief could still be a bit shaky, but if they can make it to the eight with a lead, they will be in much better shape than last season.

Atlanta has a pretty solid bullpen, with Mike Gonzalez at the back-end. Up and down, they are solid and can use a wide variety of arms to retire batters.

Washington's bullpen improved, with Joe Beimel and Julian Tavarez. Their lack of an established closer is their biggest bullpen problem.

Florida has a young and inconsistent bullpen. Their group is unpredictable, and could either excel or get lit-up. Most likely, they will be fresh and strong at the start of the season, but their lack of experience will arise once again when mid-season rolls around. Trading Kevin Gregg may have actually been a large mistake for Florida, as he won the Cubs' closer role over Carlos Marmol.

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