Hector Neris Earns Save On the Same Day He Was Demoted

MLB: SEP 12 Braves at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 12: Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Hector Neris (50) celebrates after completing the ninth inning during the game between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies on September 12, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Hector Neris, hours after being demoted from the Phillies’ closer position, was called upon to close game two against the Mets on Friday.

Do you ever have the feeling that you’re seeing the same thing happen multiple times? Apparently, the Phillies do too. After the atrocious game that was game one, the Phillies put themselves in an identical situation (minus the historic performance) heading into the bottom of the seventh against the Mets in game two.

Prior to the start of Friday’s games, Joe Girardi announced that Hector Neris would no longer act as the Phillies’ main closer. Jose Alvarado was dubbed the closer and immediately blew a save in game one versus the Mets on Friday. Aaron Nola tied Tom Seaver’s record for 10 consecutive strikeouts in a game in game one. Later, in extra innings, the Phillies lost 2-1.

Another Good Start Wasted for the Phillies

Matt Moore continued where Nola left out, pitching five scoreless innings in his return from the injured list. Moore allowed three hits and one walk in an outing that dropped his season ERA to 5.79.

Unfortunately, however, the Phillies provided no run support for Moore, scraping up three hits on the game. Bryce Harper hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to give the Phillies the lead, though Moore was left with the no-decision. Rafael Marchan went 2-for-3 on the game as well for the Phillies.

Following a quiet top of the seventh, the Phillies found themselves in another 1-0 save situation. Since Alvarado was unavailable to attempt the save again, Archie Bradley received the call. After a leadoff single from Billy McKinney, Alec Bohm botched a potential double-play ball. Following the error, Bradley had two runners on base with no outs. After Bradley loaded the bases on a Conforto walk, James McCann hit a sacrifice fly to center field, tying the game.

Hector Neris Notches Team’s First Save of the Day on the Third Attempt

In the top of the eighth inning, the Phillies managed to score their placed runner at second base on a groundout from Odubel Herrera. Entering the bottom of the eighth in the third save situation of the day, the Phillies turned to their former closer: Hector Neris.

Hey, game on the line. The team needs Hector.

Neris worked his way through the bottom of the eighth with ease. He forced consecutive groundouts to Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, keeping the runner at second base. He then struck out Dominic Smith on three pitches to secure the save. The save is Neris’ 11th of the year, however, he also owns six blown saves.

On the year, the Phillies now have 18 blown saves and only 16 saves as a collective. The Phillies have also had three blown saves in the past three games. After salvaging a split DH on Friday, the Phillies have 16 games in the next 16 days heading into the All Star Break. If they want any chance of success over that stretch, the bullpen will need to get its act together.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire