Evan Phillips, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ newfound closer, has swiftly adapted to his pivotal role in the 2023 season, displaying remarkable prowess on the mound. In his inaugural year as the Dodgers’ closer, Phillips has taken charge, proving his mettle after serving as a high-leverage pitcher in 2022.
With a stellar performance, Phillips has solidified his position, amassing an impressive record of 23 saves out of 26 opportunities. His pitching boasts a stellar 2.38 ERA, coupled with a remarkable 0.85 WHIP over 56.2 innings. This transition to the closer role has demanded a change in approach, with Phillips often taking the mound with just a narrow 1 or 2-run lead, knowing the weight of the game rests squarely on his shoulders.
As the crowd’s thunderous cheers reverberate through the stadium, Phillips maintains an unwavering composure. He clinched the coveted closing role this season, as the Dodgers began the year without a designated closer. Now, with October baseball games looming, Phillips assumes the mantle of the Dodgers’ closer, and his teammates rally behind him with unwavering confidence.
“I think letting things kind of [sort out] organically was most beneficial for our group, because it kept my role loose, and I was able to do different things here and there to make sure we had the best opportunity to win a ballgame,” Phillips said.
The bolstered confidence in Phillips’ role is in no small part thanks to the mid-season acquisition of Ryan Brasier, the Dodgers’ latest high-leverage bullpen asset. Previously with the Boston Red Sox, Brasier was waived after a challenging start to the season, posting a daunting 7.29 ERA in 21 innings.
Responding to their bullpen’s early struggles, the Dodgers claimed Brasier. Since joining the team, Brasier has transformed into one of the most formidable bullpen arms in Major League Baseball. His impressive stats include a jaw-dropping 0.77 ERA and a minuscule 0.66 WHIP in 35 innings pitched.
Brasier’s journey began with regular innings out of the bullpen, gradually escalating in intensity as he took on close and tight outings. Today, he thrives in high-pressure moments, consistently shutting down opposing batters. Evan Phillips himself has recognized Brasier’s invaluable contributions, acknowledging how they’ve eased his transition into the closer role.
“But things have definitely ironed themselves out quite a bit, in large part due to [setup man] Ryan Brasier’s ability to pitch the way he has and take down big parts of the order in big moments, along with some of our other mainstays who have done it throughout the year. That’s allowed me to kind of settle into this role.”
As the postseason approaches, Evan Phillips and Ryan Brasier stand as the cornerstones of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Fans can anticipate their formidable partnership, as the duo combines forces to stymie opponents and secure victories on the October stage.
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