Dodgers News: Evan Phillips Appreciative Of Time With Hometown Orioles Despite Struggles

With MLB’s new balanced schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing every team at least once this season. After taking two of three from the New York Mets, the Dodgers have continued their road trip with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Dodgers visiting Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a homecoming of sorts for Evan Phillips, who grew up cheering for the team in nearby Salisbury, Maryland, and pitched in the organization for parts of three seasons.

Phillips was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves but traded to the Orioles in 2018. He struggled before going on to have a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Rays and developing into one of the league’s better relief pitchers with the Dodgers.

Phillips enjoyed returning to his old stomping grounds and expressed some regret for not pitching better as a member of the Orioles, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“It will always mean something to come play in this ballpark,” Phillips said. “I had the opportunity to live out the dream of playing in that uniform. Personally, I wish things had gone a little better in that uniform. But without what happened in that uniform, I wouldn’t have landed here. So I see that as a blessing in a lot of different ways.”

Phillips is still grateful for his time with the Orioles as it allowed him to experience some hardships and learn how to deal with adversity:

“I’m still very appreciative of that time because I learned how to struggle, I learned about failure and I kept going,” he said. “That’s something that I’ll forever be thankful for. I never stopped working on things. I never stopped trying. It landed me here eventually and I think things have gone pretty well for each side.”

Phillips went 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 1.87 WHIP and 12.3 strikeouts per nine in 47.2 innings pitched across 44 games (one start) with the Orioles.

After making just one appearance with the Rays, Phillips was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers. He has posted a stellar 9-7 record, 1.79 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 10.6 strikeouts per nine and 14 saves in 110.2 innings pitched across 110 games with the team.

Evan Phillips among All-Star Game snubs

Phillips entered Tuesday with a 1-3 record, 2.41 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 10.6 strikeouts per nine and a career-high 12 saves in 39 appearances this season.

There was some thought Phillips would be named Clayton Kershaw’s injury replacement on the National League roster in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game, but the honor went to Pittsburgh Pirates closer David Bednar.

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