After a four month break, Phillies baseball is finally back in action! The last time the Phils were in uniform, Joel Embiid had yet to make his Sixers debut, the Eagles were 3-0, and the President wasn’t a- I digress-. The point is, we are well overdue for some Philly baseball.
The Phils begin their 2017 Spring Training by taking on a familiar foe in the New York Yankees. Florida native Alec Asher would be the starting pitcher for the team and would be backed up by a solid lineup filled with youth.
Here's how we'll line up in our Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees at 1:05pm. #GoPhils
📻 @SportsRadioWIP pic.twitter.com/75xc4LdTF6
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 24, 2017
Unfortunately, it didn’t take Asher long to get a not so friendly ‘welcome back’ from Yanks’ stud Didi Gregorius. The 27-year old shortstop took Asher deep on a solo strike in the top of the 1st inning. On the bright side it was Asher’s lone run allowed of his brief 2-inning outing, but it certainly wasn’t the start he was looking for.
Asher’s successor, Nick Pivetta, was much more impressive on the mound. Pivetta struck out three batters and allowed zero runs in two innings of work. Pivetta also caused Dominican slugger Gary Sanchez to sling his bat in the stands after whiffing on a fastball. Good stuff from the young righty.
The 22-year old lefty Elniery Garcia, who relieved Pivetta, didn’t have such a good outing. The Dominican lefty hung a fastball that was absolutely blasted out of the park by Aaron Judge.
On the other side of the ball it seemed as though the Phillies’ bats were still in offseason mode. The Yankees pitchers were dominating the offense through the first six innings, holding Philly hitless. The bats began to wake up a bit in the seventh, however. The inning began with an E6 by New York that put 2B Scott Kingery on first. Minor leaguer Cameron Perkins followed up the error with a single to center-the first hit of the game for Philly. OF and recent addition Daniel Nava kept the momentum going with another single that drove in Kingery from second for the team’s first score of the year. The Phils’ were a bit lucky this inning as the Yankees went on to commit another error, which gave Philly a free run and making it a 4-2 game.
Veteran reliever Sean Burnett took the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning and was not impressive to say the least. After recording an out on the first batter he faced, Burnett allowed a triple to young OF Dustin Fowler. The triple was immediately followed up by a sac fly, and then a monstrous no-doubt home run, swelling the Yanks lead to 6-2.
The Phillies’ bats continued to be silenced at the top of the 8th inning, and the wheels completely fell off the wagon in the bottom half of the inning. The outfield defense was horrid by the two corner outfielders for Philly, as they allowed two extra-base hits after failing to track fly balls. The Yankees took advantage and increased their lead to 9-2.
Cameron Perkins and Brock Stassi did their part to spark a comeback with a solo bomb a piece in the 9th inning, but the deficit proved too great.
Although it wasn’t the debut the team envisioned, there were still flashes of promise from Philly’s young talent and it feels great to have baseball back in action.
Stay tuned to Philly Sports Network as we will recap every Phillies game this season!
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports