Phillies

Phillies pitcher sent down after delivering their best relief outing of 2020

Phillies

It was understandable but still pretty interesting that the Phillies, with their league-worst bullpen, sent Connor Brogdon back to Lehigh Valley after he delivered their best relief outing of the season in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader.

Brogdon retired all seven hitters he faced with four strikeouts. The only other Phillies reliever in the last nine seasons to allow no baserunners or runs while recording that many outs was Jeff Manship in 2014.

Brogdon was the roster casualty for catcher Rafael Marchan because he would have been unavailable to pitch in Game 2 anyway. The move made sense from that standpoint. The Phillies needed another catcher with J.T. Realmuto injured and unable to play either game Sunday.

There weren't many other options to open a roster spot. The only other realistic moves would have been optioning JoJo Romero, who has pitched well, or the recently activated Ranger Suarez. Kyle Garlick has options left but he's pretty important right now with the Phillies down three outfielders in Jay Bruce, Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery.

Anyone else would have had to be passed through waivers. It couldn't have been Ramon Rosso because he was only with the team Sunday as the 29th man.

The Phillies cannot recall Brogdon for 10 days unless he is replacing an injured player. There's a pretty high likelihood the Phillies will lose at least one player over the next 10 days — just look at how many they've lost over the last 10 — so bringing Brogdon back shouldn't be an issue.

 

Beyond the unique nature of the roster move Sunday, it was a good sign to see Brogdon miss bats the way he did. He generated seven swinging strikes on just 34 pitches, inducing whiffs with his fastball, cutter and changeup. He could have been made a winner in relief of Ramon Rosso if the Phillies' bats were able to touch Sixto Sanchez.

Brogdon's fastball averaged 96 mph. He threw a first-pitch strike to six of the seven hitters he faced. The 25-year-old rookie needed an outing like that given how things went last month, when he allowed three homers and five runs in 2⅔ innings, failing to seize an opportunity.

Brogdon has promise. He was in the mix to earn high-leverage innings this summer because of his stuff. He dominated at Double A and Triple A last season and factors into this bullpen's future. He'll be back up soon.