By Sam Bush

Okay, the Phillies bullpen looked pretty good on Thursday, picking up for starter Aaron Nola in the last 3 1/3 innings of the win over the Braves.

Especially Jose Alvarado, who struck out the side.

But it was only one game, and the memory of last season’s disaster is still fresh in our memories.

Those Phillies went 28-32 and missed the playoffs by one game after losing seven of their final eight games.

They took 14 bullpen losses and blew 12 saves against only 11 successful saves. The 7.06 ERA was the worst in baseball, as was the 1.79 WHIP. It wasn’t like a bad string ruined the numbers, either. They were consistently atrocious, posting a 6.17 ERA in July, 7.21 ERA in August and 7.04 ERA in September.

On Thursday, Archie Bradley got out of the seventh while Alvarado, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon would get them through the 10th without allowing a run. The Phillies then won in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off single.

The four relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out four. Brogdon didn’t even allow the automatic runner on second base in extra innings to score. No blown save. No bullpen loss. A bullpen win. This against what profiles as one of the best offenses in baseball.

Let’s see how the pen does today and the first month before we think the Phillies have enough relief to make it through to October!

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