The Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to face the AL West in interleague this season, which could mean multiple reunions with former team members.
The Philadelphia Phillies could see some familiar faces this season, with the team scheduled to play the American League West in interleague action, barring any changes forced by factors such as the ongoing lockout or the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a breakdown of the teams and former Phillies they might face.
Houston Astros – Héctor Neris
The Phillies are scheduled to start their season on the road, with an opening day game at the Houston Astros on March 31, followed by a day off, then two more games to conclude the series, on April 2 and 3.
The Astros signed right-handed reliever Héctor Neris to a two-year deal prior to the lockout, ending Neris’ decade-plus tenure with the Phillies organization. He signed as an amateur free agent in 2010 and pitched a clean inning in his major league debut in 2014, ironically against the Astros.
Neris has largely been the poster child for the frustrations of Phillies fans during the team’s lengthy rebuild. He’s been in and out of the closer role, posting inconsistent results and creating tense moments late in games.
Neris had a 3.01 ERA and 26 saves in 74 games during 2017, before posting a 6.90 ERA through his first 33 games of 2018, which earned him a month and a half at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
He looked great in 2019, with a 2.93 ERA and 28 saves, before giving up seven runs (four earned) in his first 5 1/3 innings of the shortened 2020 season, where he ultimately lost the closer job to trade acquisition Brandon Workman.
Neris improved as 2020 rolled on, with a 3.86 ERA after that slow start, including a 2.70 ERA in his final 13 games. He posted a 3.63 ERA overall in 2021, where he started with a 1.90 ERA in his first 25 games and ended with a 2.51 ERA in his last 40 games; it was 16 runs (13 earned) surrendered in 7 2/3 innings, during a nine-game stretch, that hurt him.
Neris recorded 84 saves as a Phillie, but it’s his 26 blown saves that stand out. He’s tied with Ryan Madson for a franchise record of blown saves since the statistic started being officially tracked in 1988.
For Phillies fans who were waiting for the team to move on from Neris, they got their wish. For Neris, the fact that the reunion would take place in Houston is probably a good thing. Imagine if the Phillies were to score off of Neris at Citizens Bank Park, it would be easy to picture a loud fan reaction.
Neris wasn’t a horrible pitcher for the Phillies but is likely one that a majority of fans will be happy to watch on an opposing squad.