March 26th would’ve been the day that the Phillies opened up the season in Miami. In all fairness, that’s what did happen, just not in the traditional sense.
Rhys Hoskins took on Marlins player Miguel Rojas in a game of MLB the Show 2020. The game fit in with MLB’s #OpeningDayatHome campaign.
Rhys would ultimately take home the win, but let’s see how he did it.
Before we get to the actual game action, Rhys and Miguel restarted the game…twice. The first seemed like a genuine connection issue, occurring in the middle of Jonathon Villar’s first at bat. Nothing of note happened in that first attempt.
The second restart came after Rhys and Rojas took a break between innings to answer fan questions. This seemed to lead to a timeout and they disconnected. The disconnect happened between the 1st and 2nd innings. This time something of note did happen. Jonathon Villar hit a leadoff home run, which was erased.
Rhys Hoskins had a much better start this time around. Andrew McCutchen started things off with a walk. JT Realmuto took a 1-0 pitch up the middle, putting men on first and second with no outs. Hoskins got eager and swung at the first pitch with Bryce Harper, rolling into a double play. He then struck out as himself, stranding McCutchen at 3rd.
Pitching as Aaron Nola, Rhys performed very well. The Marlins took until 2 outs in the 4th inning to get a hit. That runner was erased with a caught stealing. In the 5th, Hoskins/Nola struck out the side. The 6th would be his last inning. Nola allowed just 2 hits and struck out 8.
On the other side of the ball, Hoskins had a few opportunities. In the 3rd inning with 1 out, Aaron Nola slapped a single down the 1st baseline. After “Cutch” lined out to the shortstop, JT Realmuto singled through the hole, bringing Bryce Harper to the plate.
“This is why they pay you,” said Hoskins to the data-made Harper.
He would draw a walk, loading the bases for Hoskins controlled by himself. A weak fly ball to the right fielder would end it.
The 4th inning held a similar situation. Singles by Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius and an error by the second baseman loaded the bases for McCutchen. McCutchen lined out to the third baseman to end the inning.
Adam Morgan and Seranthony Dominguez would hold things down on the pitching end, while the Phillies finally put up some offense. With a 1-1 count in the 8th inning, Bryce Harper would lead off with a home run to put the Phillies on the board. Rhys would walk after and Jay Bruce almost homered, hitting a very deep fly ball.
Before Hector Neris came in, the Phillies added one more run for insurance sack. With 2 outs, McCutchen and JT Realmuto both singled to set up Bryce Harper. Harper doubled and McCutchen scored.
In Hector Neris fashion, there was some drama in the 9th inning. Miguel Rojas, as himself, singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Harold Ramirez struck out for the second out and Villar would fly out to end the game.
We also found out some things from Rhys Hoskins and Miguel Rojas on commentary. When Jorge Alfaro came up in the 5th inning, Hoskins couldn’t help but gush about the former Phillies catcher. “He was the best,” said Hoskins. “Always smiling”. He also spoke glowingly about Alfaro’s power.
When Neil Walker pinched hit in the top of the 9th, Rojas gave s a peek at what Walker is like. He spoke glowingly about Walker. Rojas specifically mentioned how great of a lockerroom guy he was.
The stars of the game for the Phillies shined bright
Bryce Harper went 2-4 with a homer, double, and a walk.
Andrew McCutchen went 2-4 with a walk and a run scored.
JT Realmuto went 3-5 in the game.
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.