It’s hard to find a silver lining when you lose 15-1 and your bullpen gets pummeled for 10 runs.
But the Philadelphia Phillies may have done just that by finding a reliever who actually got some batters out.
They found him in left field and his name is Aaron Altherr.
But in the Phillies’ 15-1 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday, Altherr was pressed into double-duty as a pitcher because, well, there weren’t a lot of other options — and the game was over, anyway. Altherr did quite well.
First, he struck out former all-star Brian Dozier by reaching 90 miles per hour on a fastball.
Altherr dials up a 90 mph fastball and strikes out the first batter he faces. pic.twitter.com/Xb2pN7q2Ck
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 11, 2019
Then, after giving up a double to Howie Kendrick, he got Juan Soto to ground out for the second out. The next batter, Matt Adams, drove home Kendrick with a single, but Altherr struck out former all-star Yan Gomes to end the inning.
No joke… Aaron Altherr might be the Phillies’ best reliever pic.twitter.com/bFa20edQQF
— Dave Loughran (@Loughy_D) April 11, 2019
Two strikeouts of former all-stars in one inning — not bad for a guy who has never pitched in the majors before.
The last time Altherr pitched was in high school, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
But he has displayed his strong arm in the outfield, such as during this play from last year where he nailed Arizona’s Jake Lamb at the plate.
His manager, Gabe Kapler, was surprised and impressed. They had used position players to pitch last year, but not Altherr. That will probably change.
“We didn’t know that he might be the best guy we have (among the position players),” Kapler said, the Inquirer reported. “I thought that was a good light moment and probably pretty necessary given our performance.”
The Inquirer reported that his newfound pitching ability may save him from being sent back to the minors when outfielder Roman Quinn returns from injury.
Altherr is one of the last outfielders on the depth chart. This season, he has one hit in nine at bats for an average of .111.
Last year, the 28-year-old hit .181 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 273 at bats. His best year in the majors was 2017, when he hit .265 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 372 at bats.
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