Philadelphia Phillies: Decisive bullpen moves for 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15: Wilson Ramos #40 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Seranthony Dominguez #58 after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on August 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15: Wilson Ramos #40 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Seranthony Dominguez #58 after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on August 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Expect Dominguez to close again this year. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images. /

Top guns:     

While seven firemen are succeeding, one is struggling. But the seven games remaining are against postseason-like competition and will weigh heavily on general manager Matt Klentak’s decision-making for 2019.

Aside from under-contract-arms Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, Seranthony Dominguez is the top pitcher returning and is growing into the most critical role in the pen. Yes, he had a rough patch, but the Phillies cut back on his workload and stressful frames. Voila!

Since his August difficulties, Dominguez has five saves and a 2.38 ERA for his last 10 performances: eight good, one so-so and one bad. Stuff-wise, he’ll be able to handle the toughest inning of the last three, but his workload could occasionally be four outs.

Even though Neshek has five bad appearances since mid-July’s downtime, the Phils have used him in more critical situations, Double D. As for his second-half stats, he has four saves and a 3.38 ERA with 18 good performances.

Also returning is Victor Arano, who proved he could record ninth-frame outs. He has a 1.93 ERA and 21 good outings out of 24 since the All-Star break. Additionally, he saved his only three opportunities in the first half.

As for Hunter, his 2.59 ERA is more than two runs lower than his first-half ERA, and he has three saves since the break. Apparently, the faithful didn’t write him off because they were too occupied with Hector Neris. But if he has a terrible April, many fans will dread his appearances.