Pat Neshek made the first All-Star Game appearance of his career in 2014 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The result? He was the losing pitcher in that contest, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs in 1/3 of an inning.
After a fantastic first half in 2017, posting a 1.27 ERA with a .91 WHIP and 36 strikeouts while limiting hitters to a .216 average, Neshek rightfully earned his second All-Star nod, the only Phillie to make the trip to Miami.
Making an appearance in the second inning, he fared much better this time around. Neshek needed just one pitch to retire Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, one of the rising stars in the game. After giving up a single to Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays, Neshek would get designated hitter Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays, to fly out. The final batter he would face, Royals catcher Salvador Perez, would be retired on a spectacular diving catch by Bryce Harper.
One inning pitched, one hit, no runs. Neshek was able to sit on the bench the rest of the game and work on getting Zack Greinke’s autograph.
2017 has been quite the year for Neshek. It started off with the World Baseball Classic. Maybe this was the sign that Neshek was going to be dominant.
In 5 innings for Team U.S.A., Neshek did not allow a run. He let up 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. He also got the win in a game against Venezuela.
Now heading into the second half of the season, it’s expected that Neshek will not be in Phillies pinstripes for much longer. In a year when bullpens across the league are in disarray, there are too many teams who could use a player of Neshek’s caliber.
Teams to keep an eye on are the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Nationals, who have the worst bullpen ERA in the league at 5.20.
Even with those numbers, don’t expect to get a haul of prospects in return. Neshek is after all a 36-year-old relief pitcher who can become a free agent at the end of this season.
Even at his age, though, he does represent one of the best trading chips the Phillies have to offer at the deadline, especially after Howie Kendrick’s second trip to the disabled list this season. Whatever happens, Neshek has positioned himself to ensure that his 2017 season continues to be one filled with thrilling moments.
Photo: Carol Flower (Via Flickr)