When the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Evan Phillips off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays near the end of last season, not much was made of the move.
He joined the Dodgers with a career record of 1-3 to go along with one save, a 7.26 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in 49 games over parts of four seasons in the Majors. The right-hander ended up appearing in seven games for L.A. but he performed well, throwing 10.1 innings with a 3.48 ERA.
This season, Phillips has become one of the best relief pitchers in baseball while earning his way into a high-leverage role for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
With that type of success on the mound, Alex Vesia designed and brought “High Leverage Honey Bun” shirts to the Dodgers clubhouse to celebrate Phillips.
— Blake (@ByBlakeWilliams) September 19, 2022
“Honey Bun” is a nickname Phillips has had going back to his time in college while playing for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The name stuck with and followed him to the Major League level.
Phillips has appeared in 58 games this season, posting a 1.26 ERA, 2.15 FIP and 0.75 WHIP with 10.4 strikeouts per nine and 2.22 walks per nine across 57.1 innings. If the Dodgers end up advancing far into the postseason, he’s likely going to be a big part of their success.
“He’s a dude,” Roberts said of Phillips in early July. “Evan’s a dude now. He’s got a good story. And so we’re lucky to have him.
“I don’t know where we’d be without him. I just love his heartbeat. He’s got a great head and he’s got good stuff. So I feel comfortable putting Evan in any spot versus any hitter.”
Evan Phillips served at Jack in the Box during Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour
At the end of August, Phillips, Vesia and Tony Gonsolin took over a local Jack in the Box, where they surprised fans by taking orders and working the drive-thru line as part of the 2022 Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour.
“We got to see how the backstage of everything kind of works,” Vesia said. “It was a lot of fun. We enjoyed it. I didn’t realize how fast-paced everything is. They have a timer in the drive-thru once the order is in, they have a specific amount of time. They didn’t say what their goal is, but it’s quick.
“There was one that was like a minute and 52 seconds for them to get their food and move onto the next customer so it moves smoothly. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.”
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