How the Phillies' bullpen changes without Archie Bradley


Archie Bradley’s injury creates an opportunity for three relievers, in particular, to step up and make themselves even more vital to the 2021 Phillies: Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod and Brandon Kintzler.

Bradley will be sidelined at least 10 days with an oblique strain. Given the usual timetable for oblique injuries and the necessity for a pitcher of building back up, it would not be surprising if he misses a month. When Bradley spoke with reporters early Sunday evening, he said it was too early to provide a timetable.

Bradley has made four appearances as a Phillie since signing a one-year, $6 million contract. His injury continues a decades-long theme for the Phillies of acquiring accomplished relievers who quickly get hurt, from Mike Jackson and Jeff Brantley in the late-90s to Mike Adams, Pat Neshek and David Robertson in recent years. 

Bradley has pitched three times for the Phillies in the seventh inning and once in the eighth. He and lefty Jose Alvarado had been the main setup men for closer Hector Neris.

With Bradley out, it would be natural for either one of Brogdon or Kintzler to slide into that setup role. Kintzler has more experience, Brogdon has more stuff. Both have pitched well in the early going. Kintzler has picked up four and five outs in two of his outings and Brogdon has also made an important five-out bridge appearance.

Yet it was Coonrod who pitched the seventh on Sunday night, appearing after Brogdon. Manager Joe Girardi said it was based on matchups and the fact that Coonrod had faced the hitters due up in the sixth inning the previous night.

Brogdon has a fastball in the upper-90s and a changeup in the low-to-mid-80s. His confidence has to be through the roof right now. In his last nine appearances dating back to September 2020, this is Brogdon’s line:

  • 13⅓ innings
  • 4 hits
  • 0 runs
  • 3 walks
  • 18 strikeouts

That’s a 0.00 ERA, a 0.53 WHIP and a .098 opponents’ batting average.

Kintzler is more the savvy vet, the guy who can’t rear back and fire 97 past you but who commands the zone and knows how to get that big groundball. His 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 89 appearances since 2019 did not come by accident.

Coonrod has been responsible for two baserunners in five scoreless innings. Alvarado has captured a lot of the headlines with his velocity but Coonrod has it, too — 33 of his 50 fastballs have been 97 mph or harder.

"He’s thrown the ball well all year long," Girardi said over the weekend. "Pretty dominating inning Wednesday, pretty dominating (Saturday). It’s really good to see, another power arm in our bullpen. I love it."

Left-hander JoJo Romero was the Phillies’ call-up to replace Bradley on the 26-man roster. Romero is 24 with a lot of potential. When the Phillies cut him at the end of spring training, Girardi referenced his ceiling.

“We’re really excited about JoJo,” Girardi said then. “I think he has the possibility of being an elite reliever. He has a lot of weapons. To me, it’s just becoming a little bit more efficient for him.”

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