The Phillies’ best relief pitcher might surprise you

It's undeniable that Matt Strahm has been the Phillies' best reliever this season.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm has been the best reliever in the bullpen this season
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm has been the best reliever in the bullpen this season / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

A lot of attention has been paid to the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation over the last month, and for good reason, as they have continued to deliver quality starts. While the Phillies rotation is a major factor in the team's early success, it's easy to gloss over the impressive work being done by a few members of the bullpen.

The Phillies came into 2024 experimenting with a closer-by-committee arrangement, and while the results have been mixed at times, minus a few hiccups in early April it's hard to call it anything but a success. Manager Rob Thomson's unconventional bullpen usage has created some interesting moments, with the likes of Seranthony Domínguez and Gregory Soto struggling to get big outs in high-leverage situations.

But let's not focus on the negative. The Phillies are in first place after all.

Solid performances from Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, José Alvarado and Matt Strahm have contributed to the Phillies having one of the scariest bullpens in MLB. While Hoffman and Alvarado garner most of the talk with their late-inning contributions, it's easy to sleep on the type of season that Stram is having through his first 18 appearances.

But what has made him the most valuable arm in the Phillies bullpen so far?

Matt Strahm has been the Phillies' best relief pitcher

The versatile left-hander has been a dominant force out of the bullpen over the first month and a half of the season. Most impressively, Strahm hasn't given up an earned run since he allowed two during his first appearance on Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves. Seventeen games later, Strahm is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. He has only walked one batter and currently has an off-the-charts strikeout-to-walk ratio of 29.00.

To get a better sense of just how dominant Strahm has been, he has a minuscule 0.06 FIP and an impressively low WHIP of 0.72. In fact, he leads all Phillies relievers in nearly every statistical category with the exception of saves.




























According to reporter Paul Casella, Strahm's 17 outings without allowing a run is now the second-longest streak in Phillies history behind Hoby Milner, who holds the record with 21 consecutive scoreless appearances in 2017.

Strahm has only pitched multiple innings twice this season

Last season saw Matt Strahm doing a little bit of everything for the Phillies. It's easy to forget, but he spent the beginning of the year in the starting rotation when Ranger Suárez began the season on the IL. Strahm was a workhorse last year, starting 10 games and making a career-high 56 appearances. His 87 2/3 innings were the second-most of his career.

Pitching multiple innings has been a rarity for Strahm so far this season, and only two of his 18 appearances have been more than one inning. During his most recent appearance, in Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Mets, he was tasked with coming into the game with little warning following an early exit by starter Taijuan Walker. Strahm was excellent in his 1 2/3 innings of relief work, striking out two and not allowing a Mets hitter to reach base.

It will be interesting to see how Thomson uses Strahm going forward. The lefty, who was signed to a $7.5 million contract extension ($4.5 million club option for 2026) during spring training, has offered the Phillies versatility on the mound in a variety of roles.

He's off to a historic start this season, and with four innings to tie Milner's 21 consecutive scoreless appearances streak, a storyline to follow. The numbers tell us the Phillies have one of the best left-handed relief pitchers right now.