ANAHEIM, Calif. — Getting his first start as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, outfielder Brett Phillips was an unexpected hero in Wednesday afternoon’s victory over the Washington Nationals. Getting the start in centerfield with Mike Trout serving as the DH, Phillips made an immediate impact on both sides of the ball.
Finishing the day only one registered at bat, Phillips walked twice in his three plate appearances, including once with the bases loaded to tie the game. Phillips also made the most of his time on base, stealing second, stealing third, and then scoring on a throwing error by the catcher to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead.
When asked after the game about his base running, Phillips said, “That’s why I’m a part of this team. I can play good defense, I can base run… That’s just what I’m trying to do each and every day. Have fun, and be of assistance wherever I can be.”
Some have questioned why Phillips is on the roster as opposed to other outfield options, but this game was a perfect example why. Unlike Jo Adell, who the Angels want getting regular at bats, Phillips and the team are content with him playing a specific role that caters to his plus speed and defense. Both were vital in Wednesday’s win, as Phillips not only made things happen at the plate and on the bases, but his glove shined in center as well:
When asked after the game about his first start, Phillips said, “For me being a fourth outfielder, it’s making sure that when I’m playing, this team doesn’t skip a beat. Wherever I can be of assistance each and every night when I’m called, that’s all I’m trying to do.”
While Phillips had made limited appearances prior to Wednesday’s game, his impact has been felt every night. This is something Angels manager Phil Nevin noted after the win, specifically referencing Phillips’ role of crowning players with the team’s famous home run helmet:
Phillips was asked about this conversation with Nevin after the game, and went in-depth about the plan he has for his first home run. Not only does Phillips want Nevin to crown him with the home run helmet, but Phillips wants to get down on one knee and receive the home run helmet:
Evident by his energy every single day in the clubhouse, Phillips is a guy that other players love being around. As he proved on Wednesday, his good vibes are not the only way he contributes, as his speed and defense were key in picking up a victory before hitting the road.