It's almost obligatory at this point. When you read a general story about the Phillies, it'll talk about the amazing four aces. It'll talk about the offense that is aging but that should still be adequate, especially once Utley returns. It'll talk about the big question mark in right field.
And it will say the bullpen is [insert negative adjective here].
But can we cut that crap please? Yes, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and J.C. Romero are on or have spent significant time on the disabled list. And yes, David Herndon has struggled. But does anyone writing about the Phillies bullpen even look at the stats and what the bullpen has actually done?
Well, for those who haven't, here's what this horrible, troubled, subpar, and downright awful group of pitchers has done:
ERA: 2.79, 4th in the NL, 5th in the majors
BAA: .219, 3rd in the NL, 7th in the majors
OPS: .625, 4th in the NL, 7th in the majors
WHIP: 1.27, 7th in the NL, 11th in the majors
Now, there's no guarantee they'll keep this up, and more advanced stats like FIP and xFIP put the Phillies more in the middle of the pack in both leagues. But, even if they're better at evaluating what this crew has done, can we quit it with calling them by every negative descriptor out there?
This bullpen has been very solid, if not awesome. Get it right.