The Braves beat the Phillies, 4-1, on Wednesday night (game tracker). Team that with the Mets loss and the Braves have clawed to within just three games in the NL East. As the 2022 season continues to unfold, that's the bigger story from Philadelphia on Wednesday. We have plenty of time for feel-good stories, too, though, because in the top of the ninth, Mark Appel pitched for the Phillies.
Appel was drafted first overall in 2013, one spot ahead of former MVP Kris Bryant, left baseball in 2018 and returned to the minors last season. This was his MLB debut after a long journey.
He did allow a one-out single, though it was an infield, single, but otherwise got a lineout, strikeout and grounder in his scoreless inning of work.
He only needed 10 pitches to get through that efficient inning. As can be seen in that highlight package above, it was an excellent spot hitting the low-and-away corner on his strikeout. Nine of Appel's 10 pitches were sinkers (a.k.a. two-seam fastball), averaging 96.4 miles per hour and topping out at 97.5. His other pitch was an 83.1 mile-per-hour slider.
If Appel is going to work in short relief and continues to effectively use his sinker, he doesn't need much more in his arsenal. It'll be fun to see if he can carve out a niche in the Phillies' bullpen moving forward. They've had issues there and he certainly has good enough stuff.
Prior to being called up, Appel had a 1.61 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 28 innings in Triple-A. He recorded five saves and five wins in relief without a loss.