Wouldn’t it be nice if every starter did what Zach Wheeler did his last start? He pitched 8.0 strong innings, gave up 1 hit, 1 earned run, with 9 strikeouts. Wheeler gave the Phillies’ bullpen a much-needed night off as Hector Neris was the only bullpen arm used.
The Phillies had a small number of players and coaches who were put on the COVID injured list on April 19th. Jose Alvarado was one of those players and he is ready to hit the mound again. Although Alvarado did not test positive, he still had to quarantine. Staying in game shape was his hardest challenge during his layoff. He bought a stationary bike and pitched into a net to keep his arm loose.
Jose Alvarado, 25, was an underrated trade made by Dave Dombrowski and it has shown early on in the season. Before being put on the COVID injured list, Alvarado had a 1.59 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 2-0 record all within just 5.2 innings of work. His electric fastball is something that is must-watch television. He can make the ball move in crazy ways at such a high velocity that it is hard for the hitters to keep up. Oh yeah, he also has a wipe-out slider that is almost unhittable that sits at around 90-94 mph.
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The Phillies’ Road Ahead
The Phillies’ schedule does not let up, either. They kick things off as they have to travel back home for a 3 game series against the Mets. Right after is a 4 game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. All of these teams have really good lineups that will give the Phillies pitchers fits.
The combination of Matt Moore, Chase Anderson, and Vince Velasquez has not worked as the back end of the rotation continues to struggle. With no help in sight, Joe Girardi will have to use his “signature bullpen magic” to help ensure the guys in the bullpen are fresh and ready to go when need be.
The Phillies are very happy to get Jose Alvarado back. As the week continues, fans can be excited about nearing the return of Archie Bradley. Bradley has been recovering from an oblique injury that has him sidelined until May 3rd. Alvarado has continued to dominate since returning in Bradley’s absence as well. The hard-throwing southpaw pitched on all of April 27, 28, and 30. In 2.1 total innings during those games, he held both the Cardinals and Mets scoreless, lowering his ERA to 1.13.
The offense has had many individual hot streaks but nothing as a cohesive unit. The bullpen has saved this team over and over again as the Phillies are struggling to break their .500 record. With much-needed reinforcements on the way, the Phillies are looking to take over 1st place in the NL East as it is theirs for the taking.
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