Phillies Opening Day recap: An explosive start lifts Phils above Reds in 4-3 win

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After several long, blistering cold months, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. The Eagles have signed TE Trey Burton to a one-year tender! Oh… that’s not what we’ve been waiting for? Although I love Trey Burton, his return isn’t the subject of this article. Phillies baseball is back! Spring is upon us and it is time for hot dogs, t-shirts, and lots and lots of baseball. The Phils begin their season on the road against the Cincinnati Reds, and rolled out a pretty formidable lineup.

Leadoff man Cesar Hernandez started the season off with a BANG, as he blasted a 3-2 pitch 377 feet to left field to begin the game. Offseason addition Michael Saunders made it a 2-0 Philly lead later in the inning, after bringing Maikel Franco in to score on an RBI double.

Hellickson, making his second consecutive Opening Day start, followed the top half of the inning up with a strong bottom half. He didn’t allow any runs and the only hit recorded against him was a bloop single to shallow right.

Not to be outdone by fellow Venezuelan teammate Hernandez, Galvis smashed a homerun to deep right center at the top of the second inning. It was the Phils’ lone run of the inning, but was good enough to give them a 3-0 lead.

After a flawless 1-2-3 inning in the second inning, Hellickson ran into trouble at the bottom of the third. The Reds recorded three consecutive singles against him to start the inning- loading the bases with no outs. Hellickson minimized the damage; however, holding Cincy to just one run after a sacrifice fly and an inning ending double play.

Hellickson found himself in hot water with the bases loaded again the very next inning, but once again danced his way out of danger- this time not allowing any runs. The young pitcher’s ability to stay cool under pressure and retire batters when there are runner in scoring position is definitely encouraging to see, especially early in the season.

Apparently Hellickson can do more to help his cause than just limit the opponent’s scoring opportunity, as he hit an RBI triple at the top of the sixth inning- extending the lead to 4-1. He was relieved by Joaquin Benoit the next inning after a one-run five inning performance. Not a bad way to start the season.

The score remained 4-1 through the bottom of the ninth inning, when closing pitcher Jeanmar Gomez was summoned out of the bullpen. Gomez had a rough 2017 debut, allowing a two-run blast that made it a narrow one-run lead for the Phillies. He was able to recover and seal the victory for the Phils, but his status as closer was already rocky before his outing today, so it’s fair to wonder how long he’ll keep that role.

All in all, it felt incredible to have Phillies back on the field and even better to start the season with a victory! The team is now on pace to be the first team in MLB history to go undefeated and there is no doubt in my mind they will be. Okay, okay I know they aren’t going undefeated, but I really like the way the team set the tone early in the ballgame, and hope they continue to do so throughout the season.

The team will be back at Great American Ballpark for Game 2 of the series versus the Reds on Wednesday. Be sure to stay tuned right here at Philly Sports Network as we cover every Phillies game this season!

 

Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

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