PHILADELPHIA -- The bullpen has not been a strength for the Phillies this season, but a healthy Mike Adams should go a long way toward improving a unit that entered Sunday with a 4.99 ERA, which ranked last in the National League.
Adams had arguably his best performance of the season on Saturday, striking out two during a perfect eighth inning to bounce back from a rough outing in the eighth on Friday, when he allowed three runs to surrender a lead. The right-hander reached 92 mph with his fastball, a good sign as he comes off shoulder surgery last July.
On Sunday, he got a big out in the eighth inning, helping the Phillies hang on for a 1-0 victory over the Nats.
Adams said the increased velocity was a result of his arm feeling looser and wanting to atone for Friday's struggles. But he added that his surgically repaired right shoulder feels better than it has in some time.
"It's completely different," Adams said. "Now the shoulder isn't even a worry at all. Not a single day do I come in here and say, 'How is my shoulder going to feel?' I mean, there are days when I feel a little crappy, but that's normal. I felt that way even when I was healthy. Compared to how I felt when I started throwing off the mound to now, it's not even a question."
The Phillies need Adams to help solidify the back end of the 'pen. He hasn't allowed a baserunner in four of his six appearances this year and has a 0.75 WHIP, which is tops among the team's relievers.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.