After a hot start on Opening Day where the team compiled four runs on ten hits, the Phils’ offense was everything but productive on Wednesday night. Following a one hour rain delay, Reds’ pitcher Brandon Finnegan took the mound and would face off against a slightly different Phils’ lineup from Opening Day:
Phillies lineup tonight at CIN.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) April 5, 2017
Finnegan was worked hard in the early going, as the Phillies hitters were patient at the plate and worked the count- to the delight of hitting coach Matt Stairs. Finnegan threw nearly 30 pitches in the opening frame and it seemed as though he was headed towards a short outing. The hard-throwing lefty, however, settled in nicely on the mound.
After a two-out single by Maikel Franco in the first inning, Finnegan retired the next 19 batters he faced. His lively fastball and ability to locate his pitches on the corners of the plate kept batters off balance. Through seven innings of work he allowed only one hit and recorded nine strikeouts.
Not to be outdone, Phils’ pitcher Jerad Eickhoff came with his A-game as well. Eickhoff retired the first seven batters he faced and seemed very comfortable despite the rainy weather. The Reds were swinging at everything, which helped Eickhoff keep his pitch count low. Eickhoff tossed six scoreless innings in the pitchers duel with Finnegan, before being the first to blink at the bottom of the seventh inning.
Eickhoff allowed two runs in the seventh, including a solo blast to Joey Votto to start the inning. The seventh inning scores were the only runs he allowed, and he was relieved by Pat Neshek in the 8th inning. Eickhoff’s start on Wednesday reflected that of his 2016 outings- quality performance but lack of run support costs him a win.
The Phillies offense remained off balance the rest of the game and the team was shutout for their first loss of the season. Philly will be back on the field for the finale of the series Thursday- their first day game of the year. Veteran RHP Clay Buchholz will start the game for the Phightin’, as the team looks to bounce back.
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Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports