Each game of this National League Championship Series, we’re going to take a microlevel look at an intriguing matchup of the day.
Today’s matchup: Bailey Falter against the Padres’ lineup
The last time Bailey Falter took the hill, he threw only one inning against the Astros in the days after the team had clinched the final wild card spot. The last time he pitched in a meaningful game, it was September 30 against the Nationals, the Phillies needing to win to keep alive in the chase for the wild card.
Short story: it’s been a while.
Falter was arguably one of saviors for this team in their final push for the playoffs. When Zack Wheeler went down to an injury timeout, the team put Falter into that rotation spot and he performed quite admirably. He made eight starts from August 20 to September 30, throwing 44 innings where he had a 3.07 ERA and held opponents to a .240/.274/.383 line against him. The line doesn’t seem like much, but in past years, the Phillies were pushing for the playoffs and had to have games started by Hans Crouse. The horrors of the roster constructions past were swept aside when the team decided to build actual pitching depth, depth that, in the form of Falter, helped the team get to this point.
Falter’s Baseball Savant page is filled with a lot of blue, except for the one thing that is unique about him.
This isn’t to say that Falter’s extension that he gets on his pitches is going to save the day, but it will help him get through the Padres’ lineup.
One of the biggest takeaways from players facing Falter is how quickly the ball gets on them. You can see that he doesn’t have the kind of overpowering velocity on anything that he has in his arsenal, but the fact that he looks like he throwing the ball from a closer position relative to the plate than other pitchers, it makes that velocity play up. It can take a bit to get used to him, time that can be used by the Phillies to mount an offensive attack of their own. We know going into this game that it is going to be a bullpen game, so if Falter’s deception can keep San Diego at bay for a while, it can only help the team.
Of course, that may not even be the plan. Maybe Rob Thomson doesn’t plan on using Falter for longer than one time through the lineup. Maybe he wants the Padres to construct their lineup in such a way that he’ll counter early in the game. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, we have to go with Falter. If he’s able to keep the Padres’ offense off balance, he can really give this team a boost for the game.