After several days of anticipation, Phillies fans finally got to see highly-touted relief prospect Michael Schwimer make his MLB debut yesterday against the Washington Nationals. The right-hander averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, helping him maintain a 1.88 ERA. A rain delay shortened Roy Halladay‘s outing, opening the door for Schwimer to get his first taste of the big leagues, starting the bottom of the sixth inning.
While fans were hoping for a storybook start to his Major League career, Rookie of the Year candidate Danny Espinosa had other things in mind. The Nationals’ second baseman drove Schwimer’s second pitch, a fastball down the middle, well beyond the fence in right-center field. Quite the inauspicious start, given the hype. However, Schwimer quickly rebounded and retired the next three Nationals for an otherwise easy inning.
As the Phillies will play 23 games in the next 24 days, giving the rest of the bullpen a breather was a goal for Charlie Manuel — after winning the game, of course. So, Schwimer was called upon to pitch not just one but three innings, a yeoman’s effort as the late Harry Kalas would say. Schwimer’s second inning of work in the seventh went much more smoothly — he struck out the side, the #1-3 hitters in the Nationals lineup. The eighth inning was nearly as smooth: he got two quick outs, including a Jayson Werth strikeout, and worked around an Espinosa single to end the inning.
All told, the rookie’s line in his Major League debut: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. Quite good.
Schwimer showcased a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a slider, and a change-up. You can see a .gif for each pitch after the jump, a warning to those of you with low bandwidth or otherwise slow computers. Continue reading…