Phillies reliever Victor Arano retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings of Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Braves. That included a three-pitch eighth inning in which Ryan Flaherty, Lane Adams, and Ender Inciarte each swung at the first pitch they saw from Arano for an out.
Arano has retired all 22 batters he has faced thus far in the 2018 season and retired consecutively the final five batters he faced in the 2017 season, giving him a streak of 27 consecutive batters sent back to the dugout, as Crashburn Alley’s Matt Winkelman points out. Of those 27 outs, 13 have come on strikeouts.
Arano, 23, is a bit of a hidden gem in the Phillies’ bullpen. The club acquired him as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez deal with the Dodgers back in August 2014. Across 18 innings in the majors thus far, Arano has yielded just two runs on six hits and four walks with 22 strikeouts.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.