No one thought much when the defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies drafted ex-Quake reliever David Herndon in the Rule 5 draft in December. After all, he would need to make the 25-man Major League roster or would have to be offered back to the Angels.
Herndon was only two years removed from a 3-7, 5.01 ERA season with the Quakes. But he improved significantly in the second half when they moved him to the bullpen and he saved 17 games in the second half of the 2008 season. Last year he was 5-6 with 3.03 ERA and 11 saves for Double-A Arkansas.
Well, Herndon pitched well in spring training, compiling a 1.42 ERA for the Phils and he got some luck go his way. Three veteran Phillies pitchers: starter Joe Blanton and relievers Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero started the season on the disabled list opening the door for Herndon.
So Herndon got his chance, making the opening day roster and the Phillies got him into Monday’s season opener. With the Phillies leading Washington 11-1, Herndon pitched the bottom of the ninth and here’s how it went. Adam Kennedy ground out to first. Ivan Rodriguez double to right. Mike Morse single to left, Rodriguez to third, Morse to second on throwing error by LF Raul Ibanez. Cristian Guzman strikeout looking. Willy Tavares groundout to short.
Herndon pitches out of a jam and doesn’t allow a run in his big-league debut.