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June 01, 2018

Seranthony Dominguez is becoming Sir Stopper for the Phillies

Standing in the home dugout on a dreary Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, just before he and the Phillies embarked on their critical 10-game road swing, Seranthony Dominguez politely explained that his English isn’t that great.

The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher spoke about how happy he is in Philly, and how important it is to him that manager Gabe Kapler believes and trusts him.

That couldn’t have been more evident when Kapler kept Dominguez in to record the final six outs in what was a huge 2-1 victory over the hot Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night in Los Angeles. In 11 appearances this season, Dominguez has an ERA of 0.00, retiring 41 of the 43 batters he’s faced over 13.2 innings pitched. He’s struck out 15 and hasn't walked anyone so far. 

More importantly, Dominguez is comfortable in his role — that’s pitching. He doesn’t care of he’s closing or coming in during the middle innings.

“This team is a family, and anything I can help us win is good for me,” Dominguez said. “I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m pitching. They’re letting me pitch. It doesn’t matter if [I'm closing] or not, my job is to get guys out no matter [what inning] I’m in.

“I like how [Kapler] has been using me. He’s [shown] a lot of confidence in me. But this has been a surprise to me [as has how well I'm doing]. I really didn’t see this [success] coming. I just wanted [an opportunity] to pitch. That’s what’s happening.”

With great results. 

Aside from having one of the great names in baseball, Dominguez has been equally brilliant against both left-handed and right-handed batters. Lefty hitters are 1-for-23 against him, while righties are 1-for-20. He needed just 23 pitches to get through the Dodgers Thursday night in the two-inning save.

The Phillies split their four-game series in Los Angeles — and, on June 1, they’re 31-23, one game behind the National League East Division Atlanta Braves (33-23) and a half game behind the second-place Washington Nationals (32-23). The Phils have the fourth-best record in the National League and are way ahead of schedule (they didn’t win their 31st game until July 18 in 2017).

No one expected this team to contend this quickly (except Kapler). Most didn't even think they would still be around in June — but they are.

Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta have had a lot to do with that — as has Dominguez.

“I’m just trying to help the team,” Dominguez said. “They’re giving me a chance. That’s all I want.”

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