Connor Brogdon making himself more valuable for Phillies
Brogdon making himself more and more valuable for Phillies originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Middle relievers tend to fly under the radar but the Phillies have one in Connor Brogdon who is becoming more versatile and valuable by the day.
Brogdon pitched two scoreless innings Saturday night at Coors Field, bridging the game from Ranger Suarez, who threw 72 pitches over four innings in his season debut, and an incomplete back of the bullpen.
The Phillies are without their best reliever, Jose Alvarado, for at least a few weeks as he deals with elbow inflammation. On Saturday night, they were also without Craig Kimbrel and Seranthony Dominguez, who had been used three times in the last four games.
It meant that protecting a lead would be more challenging than usual and manager Rob Thomson would have to get creative. His choices paid off as Brogdon, Andrew Bellatti, Jeff Hoffman and Gregory Soto combined to allow just one hit, one walk and one unearned run over five innings in a 7-4 Phillies win.
Brogdon, the 6-foot-6 right-hander some teammates call "Slim," is a big key in helping the Phillies navigate this period without Alvarado. Like Matt Strahm, he is now capable of pitching multiple innings or at the back end of games. On Tuesday, Brogdon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with the Phillies leading the Blue Jays by a run. On Saturday, he picked up at least five outs for the fifth time this season. All five of those appearances have been scoreless.
You can't overstate the confidence Brogdon gained mowing through the competition last postseason when he pitched 7⅓ scoreless innings in the NLCS and World Series with 11 strikeouts and no walks.
Over his last 84 appearances dating back to the end of 2021, Brogdon has a 2.70 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 21 walks. Armed with a four-seam fastball, changeup and cutter, the 28-year-old has neutral platoon splits. Righties have hit .226 with a .683 OPS off of Brogdon in his big-league career; lefties have hit .229 with a .658 OPS, though they've done more damage so far this season.
Brogdon and Bellatti were unsung heroes for the 2022 Phillies, combining for a 3.29 ERA with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Bellatti did not get off to as strong a start this season, struggling to command a slider that held hitters to a .186 batting average in 2022. He was worked hard in the season's first three weeks, appearing 10 times in the Phillies' first 20 games before going on the injured list with triceps tendinitis. He was reinstated Wednesday when the Phillies placed Alvarado on the IL and was sharp in his first appearance back, striking out two in a 1-2-3 seventh inning for his first hold.