Baseball season is finally back.
The Philadelphia Phillies kicked off their unofficial season, traveling to Lakeland, Florida to take on the Tigers. Jordan Zimmerman tossed the first pitch, and thus baseball returned.
The Phillies trailed for the majority of the game, as Nick Pivetta allowed three runs early. After a fairly noneventful game, scoring burst open in the eighth inning, where Philly scored six to the Tigers three, tying this game up late.
The late surge by Philadelphia could not be held, as Cristopher Sanchez and Addison Russ couldn’t keep guys off base. The teams wound up tied at eight apiece to kick off the 2020 campaign. While getting sunburnt at the left-field foul pole, there were some important takeaways I picked up on:
Same ol’ Nick?
Spring training is a good time to settle positional battles. The Phillies’ fifth starter is still a toss-up between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and (probably) Spencer Howard. Pivetta flashed his potential early, starting the game by making the Tigers fall 1-2-3 in the first frame of the game.
On the box score, Pivetta tossed 1.2 innings, allowing five hits and surrendering three runs, and striking out one batter. On paper, it looks to be the Nick Pivetta we are all used to, but the eye test showed more than that.
- He looks to have changed his stance and delivery, where he still is hitting upwards of 96 MPH, but with shorter a rotation and delivery.
- Pivetta looks to be bringing an improved changeup to the table- a pitch featured a lot yesterday.
In the end, though, classic Nick came back in the second inning. Five hard-hit balls and three runs later, Nick got pulled, leading to Philadelphia getting to see a total of nine pitchers used in the afternoon.
For the others who appeared, Cole Irvin and Adonis Medina were the only notable names. Irvin, who tossed two innings of one-run ball, looked promising. After a stellar first career start last season, “Swirvin Irvin” struggled and was put into the bullpen. He will likely start his season with Lehigh Valley again.
Adonis Medina is an intriguing name for the Phillies as well. He took a bit of a step back last season and needs a good spring to make a case for himself. He entered in relief with the bases loaded and got the job done. Medina allowed one unearned but looked composed overall. Adonis will likely make a few more appearances, and hopefully will mold into a bullpen piece this season, or… potentially a trade piece?
Mickey Moniak looked stellar in his debut yesterday. The 2016 first overall pick subbed in for Adam Haseley in the sixth inning and didn’t disappoint. He made a few nice catches battling the sun out in centerfield, showing off his cannon of an arm as well, almost recording an outfield assist during his first inning. At the plate, he had a hard hit RBI double in the eighth.
Moniak is likely not MLB ready this season, especially since rosters will no longer expand to 40. However, coming off a great season last year, where he reached double-A in Reading, don’t be surprised if he shines in Lehigh Valley this season.
Ah, the name that everyone wants to hear about.
Alec Bohm didn’t start the game but entered the game when he pinch-hit for Logan Forsythe in the top of the sixth. Bohm had a stellar day at the plate, going 2-3, with a run and an RBI. At third, he bobbled a ball, but still recorded the out at first. Overall, a great day for the youngster.
Bohm will definitely crack the majors this season. His name continually pops up in the Nolan Arenado/ Kris Bryant trade talks, but Bohm will likely be the Phillies’ opening day third baseman. If not, expect Kingery, who went hitless yesterday, to start at third, with Gregouious at short, and Segura at second.
The Phillies resigned Andrew Knapp in the offseason, but that does not knock Grullon’s chances of cracking the big leagues this season.
With how poor Andrew Knapp has played in a Phillies’ uniform, it couldn’t get any worse giving Grullon a shot. He was a September call up last season, picking up his first career hit in his nine plate appearances.
In his 2020 spring training debut, Grullon caught five innings. He made no mistakes behind the plate and stood his ground at the plate. He picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice and made hard contact. He’ll make a strong case to replace Knapp as the backup to JT Realmuto at one point this season.
In a quick rundown, a handful of usual starters for Philadelphia made appearances in game one as well.
Scott Kingery played five innings at second base. He started a double play and looked comfortable at his natural position. At the plate, he walked once and went hitless, while leaving two men on base.
Rhys Hoskins started this game too. Hoskins, using his new batting stance went 1-3. The catch is that he struck out twice, bringing back bad memories of last season. Hoskins was replaced in the sixth inning for Darick Hall, who had a good game himself.
(Disclaimer: Hall is no competition for Hoskins, don’t even bring that conversation up)
Adam Haseley looks to be the opening day centerfielder for the Phillies in 2020. He got the nod in center yesterday and picked up right where he left off. To kick off is Sophomore campaign as a big name, Haseley walked once and scored a run, but went hitless at the plate. Mickey Moniak replaced him to start the sixth inning.
Nick Williams failed to really kick anything off for the Phillies last season. After flashing potential in the spring and the regular season a couple of years ago, Williams hasn’t done much. Ex-manager Gabe Kapler gave him countless chances before having him sent to Lehigh Valley, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t start his season there again. In yesterday’s exhibition, he played well, and picked up an RBI double, walked twice, and scored.
The Phillies will make their Clearwater debut today at 1 PM. Bryce Harper will not be making his first appearance yet, but some other notables will play some ball for the first time this season:
Philadelphia does not go into this spring with many positional battles, but the few that they do have could be crucial to their success this season.
Keep an eye on not only the new-look Phanatic at today’s game but on how Jean Segura fairs at third base and how Roman Quinn looks while not injured.
The game can be caught at 1 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports