It's Time for the Phillies to Give Younger Middle Relief Arms a Shot

It's Time for the Phillies to Give Younger Middle Relief Arms a Shot

You could've pinned one of the losses that made for the Reds series sweep of the Phillies last month on John Lannan's quad, which helped Cincy plate six runs in 1 2/3 innings 12 hours before it put him on the DL. As for the other two, those were on Jeremy Horst and Phillippe Aumont.

In Game 1, Horst let two baserunners reach in three at-bats before intentionally walking the bases loaded in the eighth and handing it over to Mike Adams. The next batter, Brandon Phillips, smeared a two RBI single for the go-ahead runs in a 4-2 loss.

In Game 2, Aumont's command and a Ben Revere fielding error loaded the bases in straight at-bats for Zack Cosart's walk-off single for a 1-0 loss, like, 10 minutes into the pick-up of a rain-suspended game.

Both Horst and Aumont opened their innings with clean slates.

As for the finale, Raul Valdes didn't help much by serving five in 3 1/3.

Add in Chad Durbin, and you've got the four parts of the Phillies bullpen needing remodeling.

And even if it's coincidence that the Phillies are about to play these same Reds again, in a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park, proposing a roster redress isn't about three games. It's about the past 42 and next 120.

They don't hold leads. They don't stop routs. They don't strand runners. They don't throw strikes.

Makes it hard to justify not giving some younger talent a look-see, doesn't it?

Durbin's guaranteed contract, reputation for being a slow starter, and history with the organization make it tough to fathom them cutting him loose now. But if they did, would you blame them?

Valdes has no such short list of reasons to hang onto. He has options. He's also here to eat innings and make spot starts, both of which Mike Stutes can do. Drop one outing from his time at Triple-A this year, and Stutes has a 2.13 ERA. He's been scoreless in his last 10 1/3 spanning seven appearances, four of which he's gone five outs or more in. He was also a starter his first two years in the minors.

That brings up Aumont. Hopes that he'll be able to harness his 97 m.p.h. fastball and rectify what seems to be the biggest mistake in recent organizational history figure to be his sticking points. It also doesn't help that Jake Diekman, the only other guy in the system who can sniff high-90s, is having the same issue controlling it, walking 10.90 batters per nine for a 6.75 ERA at Triple-A this year.

But expanding the rotation to five starters again on May 21 necessitates at least one roster move, and if Valdes is ever to go, you'd have to think it'd be to call up Stutes. If they stick with Horst, it's probably because they have more patience than they can afford, and probably means they'll stick with Aumont, too.

That figures to leave Justin De Fratus the odd man out, which is a shame.

How it should be: Cloyd, Stutes, De Fratus, Aumont.

How it likely will be: Cloyd, and everything it's been.

Flyers' loss changes complexion after questionable penalty on Radko Gudas

Flyers' loss changes complexion after questionable penalty on Radko Gudas

There are good penalties. And bad penalties. And penalties which aren’t even penalties.

The last one would perfectly describe Radko Gudas’ hip check on Miles Wood that was whistled as clipping by referee Dan O’Halloran in the second period.

Even Wood was laughing as Gudas went to the box, realizing what a break he had gotten – a power play for nothing.

“He’s a pretty quick D-man,” Wood said. “I don’t think it should have been a call, but it was a good hit by him.”

That gave the Devils a power play. Then, when Wayne Simmond argued the call with O'Halloran, Simmonds drew two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. The resulting 5-on-3 New Jersey power play saw the Devils score to break a 1-1 tie.

Minutes later, the Flyers had a bad line change and it was 3-1. Game over. The Devils would go on to win, 4-1 (see game story).

Bottom line? The Gudas call changed everything.

“I was really surprised,” Gudas said. “I didn’t think it was a penalty at all.”

Is this oversimplifying the game to say everything changed with that one call?

“Are we really simplifying it?” Gudas asked. “I think that after those calls we have to get together as a group and make sure we kill these off. Unfortunately, we let them score on that power play. It was just unlucky.”

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol called it “an excellent hit” by Gudas. He wouldn’t go deeper than that.

The six muffed power plays gave him enough reason to believe the Flyers could have gotten back in it. His Flyers are 3-9-3 since winning 10 games.

You can’t underestimate how those two calls turned the tables on the Flyers in this game.

“Everyone has their own opinion on the hit and we were obviously frustrated on the hit,” Travis Konecny said. “We thought it was a clean hit and we reacted to it. We have everyone’s backs.

“We have all had the one’s where we are angry with the ref and the one who made a hit like that. There is a time for that moment there.”

Goalie Michal Neuvirth thought it was a difference maker.

“Oh, absolutely, we were playing better in the second period,” he said. “I thought we had a momentum. You know stuff like that 5-on-3 for two minutes, it’s tough to defend.

“I think it’s taking way too many penalties lately and you got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).