It’s been quite an April for the Phillies, who vowed to get off to a hot start.
The team is keeping that promise; they are nine games above .500, a milestone they did not reach until July last season. 

One noteworthy thing is that Jose Alvarado seems to be getting the opportunity to close games on a pretty consistent basis. Outside of the first game of the season against the Braves, Alvarado has been outstanding this year. The Phillies have been very clear dating back to the Gabe Kapler era that a solidified closer is not necessarily something that they believe in, and Rob Thomson specifically has mentioned on more than one occasion that the 9th inning will largely be left up to matchups. Still, it doesn’t seem that way right now. 

The Phillies flame-throwing lefty notched his fifth save of the season this afternoon in San Diego. Alvarado has previously been used as the team’s “fireman,” coming into games in big spots and stomping out the fire, something he did very well at.

The emergence of Gregory Soto and Matt Strahm pitching in high-leverage spots has obviously given the Phillies confidence that they could save Alvarado, perhaps their best arm in the pen, for the ninth.

It’s very unlikely that the Phillies will ever have a set closer. Even someone with as much experience as Craig Kimbrel fell victim to circumstances that prevented him from getting the final three outs last season.

However, Alvarado has gotten the bulk of the opportunities (5) and has made the most of them thus far. Only Jeff Hoffman has more than one (3) in the rest of the Phillies pen. 

It’s assumed that Orion Kierkering could work his way into some save opportunities this season and could serve as the closer of the future, but with the job that Alvarado has done this year, that could now be up for discussion.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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