Phillies

Phillies

NEW YORK -- A year of personal highs continued for Phillies pitcher Pat Neshek when he was named to the National League All-Star team on Sunday.
 
The 36-year-old reliever was the only Phillie named to the club, which was no surprise. The Phillies are the worst team in the majors and no player other than Neshek has had a standout season.
 
"It’s been a long year," Neshek said after getting the news. "I'm just trying to throw zeroes up there every night. It’s a pretty big honor. I’m really excited."
 
Neshek will be making his second trip to the All-Star Game and he hopes this one will be better than his first. He made the club in 2014 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Neshek allowed three hits and two runs in one-third of an inning in that game in Minneapolis.
 
"I’m a good trivia question," he said with a laugh. "Who got the loss in Minnesota?"
 
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak acquired a handful of veterans in the offseason to serve as stabilizers for a young rebuilding team.
 
The Phils have gotten little (Michael Saunders) to nothing (injured Clay Buchholz) from some of those acquisitions. They've gotten a mixed bag from Howie Kendrick, who is on the disabled list for the second time, and Joaquin Benoit, who has had his ups and downs out of the bullpen.
 
But Neshek, acquired for cash from Houston, has been consistently excellent, save for a couple of blips. He entered Sunday having allowed just five runs in 32 1/3 innings. That 1.39 ERA was the 10th best mark among big-league relievers.
 
Neshek actually entered the weekend with the best relief ERA in the majors at 0.57. He had given up just two runs in 31 2/3 innings before being tagged for three hits and three runs in taking a loss against the Mets on Saturday.
 
Twenty-four hours after that difficult outing, Neshek experienced the euphoria of learning that he was headed to the All-Star Game a week from Tuesday in Miami.
 
"It’s kind of bittersweet," he said. "I feel really bad for yesterday so it’s tough to really enjoy it right now. But it’s been a heck of a year so far.
 
"The Astros kind of traded me in like a salary dump. To come here and get the opportunity to pitch big innings. It means a lot. It’s really hard to (make the All-Star team) as a middle reliever. I’m just thrilled. I’m kind of surprised, which you guys might not think. But for me, I didn’t really think it was going to happen."
 
The news was the latest personal highlight for Neshek. In March, he pitched five scoreless innings to help Team USA win the World Baseball Classic. In April, he and his wife, Stephanee, welcomed a baby girl, Skye.
 
The All-Star Game could end up being one of Neshek's last hurrahs with the Phillies. When the Phillies took on his $6.5 million contract, they hoped he would pitch well enough to be turned into a July trade chip.
 
That is likely to happen.
 
Neshek, in fact, believes it will happen (see story).
 
"I’m ready if that happens," he said. "You could go into a pennant race and if not, I like what’s going on here. We've lost a lot of games, but we've lost so many close games. I think we have something good (developing) here. It would be nice to stay, too. But I understand."