Every team has its share of role players who remain out of the spotlight, quietly do their jobs when the opportunity presents itself. Despite the poor first third of the season, the Phillies are no exception. Veteran reliever Pat Neshek is putting together the best season of his career.
Certainly, not much has gone well for the Phillies in their 19-35 start to the 2017 season. One bright spot has come from perhaps an unlikely source. Pat Neshek, acquired in the off-season as a right-handed specialist out of the bullpen, has more than done his job. The 36-year old veteran, playing for his sixth Major League team, leads all Phillies pitchers in ERA.
Perhaps not a household name, Neshek began his Major League career with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. He pitched in Minnesota through 2010, before moving on to San Diego for the 2011 season. Neshek spent two seasons in Oakland before having posted a 1.87 ERA in 71 games with the Cardinals in 2014. After two seasons with the Astros, Neshek signed with the Phillies.
Neshek’s role wont put him in the spotlight, but as a specialist likely is called upon to get out one or two tough right-handed batters with runners on base. In 23 games, Neshek has thrown 21 1/3 innings, allowing only two runs on 13 hits, four walks, and 20 strikeouts. His ERA is a slim 0.84, and his WHIP is remarkably lower at a microscopic 0.80. For his career, Neshek has a very solid 2.82 ERA in 446 games, covering 404 2/3 innings.
The Phillies have had weak numbers overall from their staff, posting the 30th ERA in the league, at 4.90. The bullpen, led by the veteran leadership of Neshek, has been infinitely better. The combination of Neshek, Luis Garcia, Hector Neris, Joaquin Benoit and Ebudray Ramos has an ERA of 2.80 in 112 1/3 innings.
Neshek certainly isn’t the savior for the season, but his performance to this point is worth noting. His presence should have a positive influence on a young bullpen as the season progresses.