The Philadelphia Phillies are a team with clear playoff aspirations in 2022.
At 36-33, they are 8.5 games behind the division leaders, the New York Mets.
However, with six teams making the playoffs in each league, the Phillies have a good chance of being one of those six if they play their cards right.
One of those “cards”, the bullpen, hasn’t been right for a long time.
The area has been an issue for years: it certainly was in 2021, and it doesn’t look rock-solid either in 2022.
They signed Corey Knebel to close out games and he was recently demoted because he didn’t earn the trust of the manager and coaches.
And they have another pitcher who was supposed to be a high-leverage reliever in a reduced role because of performance: Jeurys Familia.
A Home Run Issue For Familia
The problem with Familia is the crazy number of home runs he has allowed so far.
In just 24.1 innings, he has already surrendered six long-balls.
“Phillies are in a tough spot here with Jeurys Familia. Homers were a huge problem for him last season and it’s the same thing in 2022. He’s already in a reduced role — pitching with Phillies behind — and it’s hard to trust him otherwise,” The Athletic’s Matt Gelb tweeted.
Phillies are in a tough spot here with Jeurys Familia. Homers were a huge problem for him last season and it's the same thing in 2022. He's already in a reduced role — pitching with Phillies behind — and it's hard to trust him otherwise.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 22, 2022
As a result of his home run issues, Familia has an elevated 5.55 ERA and 1.77 WHIP.
Those numbers are hard to stomach in any role, let alone as a setup guy or closer.
It’s a huge disappointment, too, for a bullpen-needy team like the Phillies, considering Familia’s past as a closer.
He will need to improve or will risk being left off the team at some point.