The Phillies announced Wednesday that closer Jose Alvarado was included in the 15-day injury list due to inflammation in the left elbow. His IL period is valid from May 8th. Right-handed person Andrew Belletti was reinstated from the 15-day injury list in place of Alvarado.
The team has yet to release an injury timetable, but losing Alvarado even for a short time is a notable blow to the squad. Alvarado, who signed a two-year extension ahead of the season, has been one of the biggest relievers in the Major League this season. He shot 14 1/3 rounds with a 1.88 ERA ball with an amazing strike rate of 46.2%, second only to Cincinnati’s Alexis Diaz to lead the MLB. More impressive is that Alvarado, whose previous command issues are well-documented, has yet to commit a walk or hit a batter until 2023.
With Alvarado sidelined at least for the time being, the Phillies will likely switch to a combination of Craig Kimbrel, Seranthon Dominguez and maybe Gregory Soto to close the game. Alvarado led the team with five saves but wasn’t the only one getting closer anyway, as Kimbrel had three of his own.
Kimbrel was tagged for three runs in his first appearance of the season before going through 10 dominant appearances (10 innings 2/3, two runs, 14 to 4 K/BB ratio). Since then, he’s slipped again, hitting a total of six runs in one half in two appearances at Dodger Stadium earlier this month, which has brought his ERA up to a current 7.62. in. Dominguez saved nine games for the 2022 Phillies but now has an ERA of 5.02 and his strike rate has plummeted from 29.5% to 20.5% in 2023. Soto has scored 30 saves for 2022. Tigers and has a career-best 30.8% hit rate, but he’s also gone 13.8% against his opponent, which has contributed to a lackluster 4.50 ERA.
Suffice it to say, the Phillies certainly have no shortage of talented hands with close-up experience. However, Alvarado is the only one in the group to perform at an elite level (or even above average) at the start of the 2023 season. They will be hoping for a quick turnaround with no lasting impact, long – due to both his overall excellence and the nature of the contract he signed six weeks ago. Alvarado was supposed to be a free agent after the 2023 season, but he signed a two-year, $18.55 million contract extension with a club option for a third year in 2026.