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Victor Arano and an all-time great relief appearance

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After a brutal spring, Arano has reemerged; Sunday showed him at his absolute, unhittable best

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This past spring was a problem for Victor Arano. Nothing went right. He allowed 20 runs in four innings, walking seven and only striking out one. It cost him his job in the Opening Day bullpen, and stoked fears of some sort of mystery injury or, worse, a Monstars-like event.

Sunday showed he was not washed up, nor deprived of his ability in a cosmic event. Instead, Arano took to the mound in extra innings against the Marlins with the score tied at 1. What he did from that point on ended up becoming one of the best, most dominant relief appearances in franchise history.

Batter 1: J.T. Riddle

Pitch 1: Fastball, 95, Swinging Strike

Pitch 2: Slider, 85, Swinging Strike

Pitch 3: Slider, 86, Swinging Strike (K)

Batter 2: Chad Wallach

Pitch 1: Fastball, 95, Ball

Pitch 2: Fastball, 95, Swinging Strike

Pitch 3: Slider, 85, Swinging Strike

Pitch 4: Slider, 86, Ball

Pitch 5: Slider, 84, Foul

Pitch 6: Slider, 86, Swinging Strike (K)

Batter 3: Lewis Brinson

Pitch 1: Slider, 84, Called Strike

Pitch 2: Slider, 87, Ball

Pitch 3: Slider, 86, Swinging Strike

Pitch 4: Slider, 87, Swinging Strike (K)

Batter 4: Rosell Herrera

Pitch 1: Slider, 83, Called Strike

Pitch 2: Fastball, 94, Ball

Pitch 3: Slider, 83, Swinging Strike

Pitch 4: Slider, 87, Swinging Strike (K)

Batter 5: Pablo Lopez

Pitch 1: Slider, 83, Swinging Strike

Pitch 2: Slider, 86, Ball

Pitch 3: Fastball, 95, Foul

Pitch 4: Slider, 86, Swinging Strike (K)

Batter 6: Brian Anderson

Pitch 1: Slider, 85, Ball

Pitch 2: Slider, 84, Foul

Pitch 3: Slider, 85, Swinging Strike

Pitch 4: Slider, 87, Swinging Strike


That’s 20 sliders and five fastballs. That’s 19 strikes and just six balls. That’s just three foul balls. That’s six up, six down in the most oppressive fashion.

Was it Pedro Martinez in the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland or Madison Bumgarner in Game 7 of the World Series? Maybe not. And it’s a shame that an outing this world-beating came in the throes of extra innings in a sleepy Sunday afternoon game (that the Phils eventually won, 3-1, thanks in no small part to Arano’s work).

But these are Major League hitters just the same, and outings like this are far from commonplace. Consider: The last time a pitcher faced six or more batters in an appearance and struck them all out was Josh Hader, who struck out six last September. Before that, it hadn’t happened since 2013, and had only occurred 10 other times total.

Results
Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO Pit Str WPA
1 Josh Hader 2018-09-10 MIL CHC W 3-2 7-8, H 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 24 19 0.254
2 Alfredo Simon 2013-05-06 CIN ATL L 4-7 6-7 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 26 19 0.062
3 Craig Stammen 2012-10-01 WSN PHI L 0-2 6-7 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 30 20 0.068
4 Tyler Clippard 2011-05-06 WSN FLA W 3-2 7-8 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 22 19 0.186
5 Chris Schroder 2006-09-17 WSN MIL W 6-1 5-6 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 31 20 0.129
6 Rafael Soriano 2003-07-30 SEA DET W 13-3 7-8 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 29 23 0.002
7 Scott Williamson 1999-05-27 CIN LAD L 3-4 8-GF 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 26 20 0.081
8 Roberto Hernandez 1996-07-25 CHW TEX L 3-4 9-10 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 27 20 0.303
9 Willie Hernandez 1983-07-03 PHI NYM W 6-4 8-GF, W 2.0 0 0 0 0 6 0.167
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/14/2019.


What’s more, Arano generated 14 (fourteen!) whiffs in these six plate appearances. That’s more than any Phils starting pitcher has in a game this season in any amount of innings. It was as impressive an outing as we’re likely to see all year, and the best relief appearance by a Phils pitcher since Mark Leiter’s crazy outing in Colorado back in August, 2017.

Bad spring? What bad spring?


Below, check out a composite of every final pitch from the six ABs detailed above: