It is now the middle of June and the Philadelphia Phillies still do not have a classified closer. Hector Neris began the season as the official closer but due to his struggles to start the season his role in the bullpen has diminished and since then this team has still been unable to label a player their closer. However this season is now a third of the way through and the Phillies are way above expectations for their rebuilding year. It is about time Gabe Kapler names a closer and he has no choice but to declare Seranthony Dominguez the closer for the rest of the season.
Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies should serve as an eye opener for Gabe Kapler as he almost watched his bullpen blow another late inning lead. Aaron Nola was once again himself pitching 6 and two thirds of an inning and only giving up one run. If it wasn’t for Max Scherzer in Washington Nola would be the front runner for the NL Cy Young award. What was going through his mind in the top of the 9th only Aaron himself knows but his mind must have been flooded with nervousness and anxiety. The Phillies were leading 5-1 only to see the lead diminish to 5-4 and he almost was not credited with the win due to the bullpen’s lack of ability in closing out games.
Sure the Phillies finished the game with the victory which inched them ever so slightly to the top of the NL East Gabe Kapler would not have had to use extra relievers for this game if he would have just utilized the skills of Seranthony Dominguez to start the 9th. Seranthony has been nothing short of unhittable since he was called up to the Majors early in the season. A huge bright spot in the bullpen Seranthony has only allowed seven hits and allowed one walk in his 19 innings pitched. He has a 1.42 ERA which is amazing for a first year relief pitcher. Sure he has given up a run in two of his past three outings Dominguez is still the strongest pitcher in the bullpen for the Phillies and if he continues on this pace there is a good chance he will be one of the representatives for the city of Philadelphia in the All-Star Game.
While it is unorthodox to bequeath such a major role to a player who has just 19 innings on his Major League resume what other options do the Phillies have at this current juncture of the season? The starting pitching led by Nola and Jake Arrieta has been the huge bright spot for this team and it is now time for the bullpen to show some signs of improvement. Pat Neshek should be coming off the DL any day now and when he does that will certainly bolster the bullpen. Seranthony’s confidence would only improve with such a major promotion and for a normal 23 year old rookie that might be too much pressure. However, Seranthony has proven he is not a typical 23 year old rookie and it is about time Gabe Kapler recognizes that.
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