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Phil Klein to make Phillies debut in wake of Aaron Nola DL stint

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I don’t want to hear any of you complaining that you don’t know who this guy is when he starts tonight.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of weeks ago, Lehigh Valley IronPigs pitcher Phil Klein was watching The Rookie with Dennis Quaid, having an emotional reaction to the scene where Quaid’s character gets promoted to the big leagues for the first time as a 35-year-old. Little did 27-year-old Klein know that he’d be making his own debut not long after.

Phillies debut, that is. Klein’s played at this level before. Plucked off waivers by the Phillies on June 19, Klein threw for the Rangers from 2014 until earlier this season, serving in a relief role in 34 games. Tonight, he will be spot starting in place of Aaron Nola, which will be the third big league start of his career. In his brief flirtations with starting, Klein has thrown 7.1 innings and given up eight runs (seven earned) as well as three home runs.

It looks like he was best served as a countermeasure to right-handed hitters, given the splits.

  • vs. RHB: .163/.248/.286, 29 SO, 9 BB in 98 AB
  • vs. LHB: .333/.429/.679, 18 SO, 13 BB in 78 AB

This is sort of hilarious, as the Giants starters he will be facing are of course mostly left-handed hitters, except for, you know, Buster freaking Posey.

Here is some scouting info courtesy of Lone Star Ball in 2014, when Klein was first called up:

A very smart dude who enjoys the quiet serenity of bow hunting in the offseason, Phil had to learn to turn off the noodle a bit and just trust his stuff, his catcher, and his defenders.

A FB that will sit 92-95, but that according to several opposing players I've spoken with over the years "looks 95-98" is his most reliable weapon. He gets massive extension and drive from his mechanics and the ball simply jumps on hitters. He'll use the FB to set up a very good slider, that usually comes in around 82-84mph. He'll mix in a few 88mph cutters from time to time as well, but he's essentially a FB/SL guy who uses a bit of deception and a whole lot of his massive frame to give hitters a unique look.

As an IronPig this year, the 6’ 7" Klein has made four starts (and appeared in four other games as a reliever), and has put up decent numbers. His ERA is at 2.13; he’s only given up one home run and six walks; and he’s struck out 25 hitters in 25.1 IP. This is an improvement from his days earlier in the season with the Rangers’ Triple A club in Round Rock, with whom he had a 4.26 ERA after eight appearances and one start.

Like all of us, he struggles with the intricacies of bed making and salad consumption, and has a favorite college team to which he has sworn lifelong allegiance. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he went to college in Youngstown, and is chomping at the bit for Buckeye season.

And, most importantly, a few days after the Phillies picked him up, he saw some ducks geese.