Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Evan Phillips Credits Early Career Struggles for Turning Him Into Dominant Reliever

Sometimes life has a funny way of working things out and for Dodgers relief pitcher Evan Phillips, this rings true. Phillips was drafted back in the 2012 MLB Draft but didn’t make his major league debut until 2018. He didn’t really get a full shot until recently. His career has seen a bunch of ups and downs but Phillips himself understands that without the struggles, all the success wouldn’t be as worthwhile.

“I feel like I’ve been through the worst in this game,” Phillips said to the New York Times, “so when I’m out there and it looks like it’s a hot situation for a relief pitcher, I feel as cool as can be.”

Per The New York Times

Phillips has turned himself into one of the best bullpen options across Major League Baseball and has been somewhat of a secret over the last two seasons for Los Angeles. Over the last two seasons, the pitcher with the lowest ERA with at least 65 appearances has been Phillips. He also has the lowest WHIP in baseball and opponents have really struggled against his stuff on the mound.

Going from being a guy that was cut from some of the worst teams in baseball to being the high leverage man for the Los Angeles Dodgers hasn’t changed the mindset of Phillips.

“Why would I ever believe that I should be pitching leverage innings for the Dodgers?” Phillips said. “Coming from where I came from, that never felt like something I could say. So it took me a long time to really believe that that’s where I belonged.”

Per The New York Times

He knows that each time he takes the field that he has a job to do and goes out there to execute it to the best of his ability.

“Fortunately, I never carry those feelings to the field or anything. Every time I go out there and compete, it’s about as simple as it can be. It’s never been about, ‘Am I the right fit for this at bat?’ or ‘Why am I here?’ Throwing the baseball is the most comfortable thing I do in my life. I’ve been doing it longer than anything I’ve ever done. It’s like taking a step forward, it’s that simple for me. It’s something I love to do, and I chase that work every single day.”

Per The New York Times

So far in 2023, Phillips has been one of the few bright spots for the Dodgers bullpen. As a unit, the team has struggled for any sort of consistency and it’s become a real issue for LA. But Phillips has held his own and he been crucial to the success that the Dodgers have seen this season. He currently holds an ERA of 2.55 in 26 games and is one of the more trusted players of manager Dave Roberts. If Roberts could play Phillips every night, he would. That’s how good this guy is.

The Dodgers gave Phillips a shot after multiple teams gave up on him and both parties are thankful they did. He has turned his career around and since joining LA, he has made a name for himself and is another prime example of the Dodger magic on pitchers working.

Phillips will continue to be a mainstay in the Los Angeles bullpen going forward and he has earned every second that he is out on the field. The Dodgers season depends on them revamping the bullpen but Phillips will be right at the forefront leading the charge as the team goes for their goal of winning another World Series.

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Matt Levine

Matt earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Louisiana State University in 2021. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, growing up a huge fan of the Dodgers and Lakers. Matt Kemp was his favorite Dodgers player growing up.

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