De Fratus' mindset key to success in tight spot

De Fratus' mindset key to success in tight spot

PITTSBURGH -- The shaky Phillies bullpen was able to preserve a 3-1 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night.

The bullpen entered the game ranked 28th among all Major League teams in opponents' batting average (.270), 29th in ERA (4.60) and last in inherited runners-scored percentage (40.4). Since June 7, seven of the Phillies' 14 losses have been charged to the bullpen.

Right-hander Justin De Fratus has had a particularly rough stretch, as he was tagged with three of the seven losses during that span.

De Fratus came up big in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's win over the Pirates when he struck out Jordy Mercer with the bases loaded to end a Pirates threat.

"I was actually very calm," De Fratus explained. "I've been in that situation before, and when you've failed before and you've already felt that feeling, there is nothing to be afraid of anymore. It's unfortunate that you do have to fail to learn that lesson, but I didn't die, so there is nothing to be worried about out there. You just throw the ball to the plate as hard as you can and let's go.

"That feeling at the end of that inning, that's why us relievers play baseball, that feeling, that's the feeling we chase, and the only way to get that feeling is to get out of a jam."

George Von Benko is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.