Tim Kurkjian reports that Brad Lidge won't be ready for the season opener and included this scary-sounding quote from Lidge: "I've never had shoulder issues before."
As good as the Phillies' rotation is, the bullpen is starting to look the opposite of that. Last season, the bullpen was only 10th in the NL in ERA, and that was with good Lidge (as opposed to the 2009 disaster), a career year from Ryan Madson and the surprising effectiveness of Jose Contreras. Check out the 2010 numbers of the projected relievers:
Brad Lidge (2.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Ryan Madson (2.55 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)
Jose Contreras (3.34 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
J.C. Romero (3.68 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)
Danys Baez (5.48 ERA, 1.64 WHIP)
Kyle Kendrick (4.73 ERA, 1.37 WHIP as starter)
Antonio Bastardo (4.34 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
That is not a good 'pen, especially with the likely regression of Madson and Contreras. The good news is that the Phillies' bullpen pitched the fewest innings in the NL last season, a number that should decrease with the addition of Cliff Lee. The Phillies survived Lidge's 0-8, 7.21 season in 2009, but overall that 'pen was still ninth in the NL with a 3.91 ERA. We don't know whether Lidge's injury is serious or will linger, but even with a healthy Lidge, this is a mediocre group that provides another reason why the Phillies aren't a lock to win the East.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.