Phils face off with Pirates, ex-teammate Bailey Falter

Field Level Media

April 12, 2024 at 6:31 am.

Bailey Falter will take the mound in a familiar setting for the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The left-hander will make his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park since being traded last July to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia. He went 8-12 with a 4.56 ERA for the Phillies in 50 games (24 starts) over his first 2 1/2 major league seasons.

Falter (0-0, 5.40 ERA) hasn’t experienced a major turnaround since joining the Pirates, going 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA over 12 appearances (nine starts).

However, the 26-year-old delivered his strongest start for Pittsburgh in his most recent outing. Falter limited the Baltimore Orioles’ high-powered offense to one hit over six shutout innings as the host Pirates prevailed 5-4 in 11 innings on Saturday.

“That’s the sharpest we’ve seen Bailey,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “An outstanding effort.”

Falter struck out just one of the 21 batters he faced and relied heavily on a fastball that never topped 92.8 mph, but the fourth-year pro said he pitched true to his identity.

“Honestly, I think I kind of shied away from being the player that ended up getting me to the big leagues,” Falter told reporters. “Personally, I think my fastball is my best pitch and all my other stuff is just to get you off of it.”

Falter will face a Philadelphia offense that generated a power surge in the Phillies’ series-opening, 5-1 win on Thursday.

After going the previous two games without an extra-base hit, Philadelphia mashed three home runs, just the club’s second multi-homer game of the season.

Alec Bohm blasted a solo shot in the fourth for his first home run of the year. Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott each added a two-run homer in the seventh to propel Philadelphia to its second straight win.

Marsh has been especially hot at the plate over the past four games. He has collected six hits, including two home runs, as Philadelphia has won three of four to climb above .500 for the first time this season at 7-6.

The 26-year-old outfielder leads the Phillies in batting average (.333), home runs (four), RBIs (nine) and OPS (.998). Marsh’s production has been vital amid the struggles among some of Philadelphia’s big-name batters.

Reigning Silver Slugger Award winner Bryce Harper is batting just .196 over his first 12 games. Nick Castellanos, who clubbed 29 home runs and hit .272 last year, has gone his first 46 at-bats this season without a homer and is hitting a team-low .152.

Despite their early-season slumps, Marsh is confident that his power-hitting teammates will soon return to form.

“Those guys are gonna come and step up throughout the whole year whenever we need them the most,” Marsh said.

Until then, Marsh trusts anybody in the clubhouse to jolt the Phillies’ offense.

“We got dawgs on dawgs,” Marsh said. “Whoever gets to go that day, they’re gonna go get it. We’re all ready.”

Cristopher Sanchez (0-1, 4.82 ERA) will start for Philadelphia on Friday in the second game of the four-game series. The 27-year-old left-hander has pitched a total of seven scoreless innings over two career outings (one start) against the Pirates.

In his most recent outing, Sanchez lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up all three runs in the Phillies’ 3-2 road loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

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