The New Phillies are here and on Thursday afternoon they debuted with a bang: 3 home runs, in a 10-4 shellacking of the Braves.
We all knew that the new lineup was going to be potent but nobody said anything like this. The day started with the former Pirate Captain, Andrew McCutchen, took a Julio Teheran pitch to center field for the first Phillies run of 2019.
Franco took one deep off of Shane “Rick from the Walking Dead yelling” Carle to add 3 runs making it 6-1. And Rhys “Watch This” Hoskins hit his first career grand slam, slamming the door on the Braves.
So what can learn learn from this first game?
The Phillies Have the Power
Like He-Man, the Phillies have all the power they need. Rhys Hoskins led the team last year with 34 and could be looking to top that total. Up and down the lineup there are power threats except for Jean Segura and Cesar Hernandez. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Phillies to have 3-30 HR hitters this season and 6-20 HR hitters.
Speaking of the Lineup…
When Jean Segura was at 3rd with nobody out, it took Julio Teheran a herculean effort to get through the Phillies 3-4-5 hitters of Harper, Hoskins, and Realmuto. He threw 18 pitches, striking out the 1st 2 and walking Realmuto bringing up Odubel Herrera. Herrera broke the tie with a single up the middle which soon turned into a 2-run lead.
In years past, bring the runner home was no easy task for the Phillies. In 2019, there are RBI threats from 1-8 in the lineup, even Jake Arrieta if he’s feeling hitterish.
Aaron Nola is Still Good
Nola didn’t have his best stuff today and it would be scary to see if he did. He pitched 6 innings of 1-run ball with 8K and 5BB. The 3 of his 5 walks came in the 2nd inning. Nola didn’t have his best command, but looked locked in past the 3rd inning. This wasn’t a pushover team either. This was the reigning NL East Champions Atlanta Braves. It’s going to be fun watching Nola again this season.
Even When Harper is Hitless He’s Impactful
Rhys Hoskins’ grand slam came after Bryce Harper was intentionally walked before him. Rhys is going to find more pitches like that because of simply hitting behind Bryce Harper. This same effect is amplified with JT Realmuto hitting right behind him.
Ronald Acuña jr. is Trouble
There’s a reason Ronald Acuña won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2018. He’s going to be an absolute menace for the Phillies for a while. Today he went 1-2, drew 2 walks, stole a base, had a run scored, and had an RBI. He really does it all and will cost the Phillies games eventually.
The Bullpen is Still a Big ?
Hector Neris gave up a 2-Run pinch-hit home run today. I don’t know what Neris is. This is the man who came back from AAA to win Reliever of the Month honors in 2018. He is a legitimate wildcard. David Robertson gave up 2 hits, a walk, and a run. He might need some time to get accustomed to National League hitters after playing in the AL his entire career. Pat Neshek gave up a hit, but otherwise closed the door on the Braves. It will take a while before we know if the bullpen needs to be addressed via trade (or Craig “I’m still not signed” Kimbrel”).