MLB finally returned this past week, but excitement rapidly turned to concern for Phillies fans. The Phils opened their campaign against the Miami Marlins, who brought the team crashing back down to earth after a turbulent opening series. Here’s all you need to know in our first series recap of the 2020 season.
Game 1: Trouble with the Curve
Opening day started the same as the past 2, with Aaron Nola on the mound. Things were looking good from the Phillies’ ace. Through 5 innings, he allowed just 1 ER on a sac fly and had 6 punchouts.
Of course, this all came to a screeching halt in the 6th inning.
Nola started with a leadoff walk, which never leads to good things. After the first out, slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar took a curveball that just hung a tad out of the park. Former Phil, Corey Dickerson got a hold of an ever more hanging curve and roped a double.
Rookie righty Ramon Rosso (say that 5 times fast!) got the ball with one out and a man on first. He got one out, but walked one, gave up an RBI double, and uncorked 2 wild pitches. He looked nervous out there even without the fans.
Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara tore up the Phillies’ lineup. He allowed only a single ER on a Didi Gregorius homer (we’ll gush about him more later). His high 90’s fastball had Phillies flailing. On the live stream we hosted, it brought up an interesting stat.
Rhys Hoskins can’t hit the heat. Last season against power pitchers (pitchers in the top 1/3 of the league in strikeouts plus walks), Hoskins slashed .138/.317/.315. That might be something to watch this season.
The Phillies went on to lose 5-2 to the Marlins.
Game 2: True Gosselin MVP
During Saturday afternoon’s radio broadcast, we found out that while Phil Gosselin’s mom was pregnant with him the Phanatic rubber her belly. That single event set off a chain in which brought us to this game, probably.
The High Street Hammer, Barrels, or Goose, as he is now called, kept his hot streak from Summer Camp. He was on base four times and each got progressively better, starting with a walk. Here’s Vince McMahon to illustrate how we all felt.
This is a man who only had 7 major league homers before Saturday. The High Street Hammer is here to stay.
Zack Wheeler had a great Phillies debut. Over 7 IP, he allowed just a single ER. If not for a pitch limit, he probably could’ve gone 8 or 9 innings. He gave a lot for Phillies fans to be excited about.
Didi Gregorius had another home run on Saturday. He certainly is looking like the best sign of the offseason for the Phillies. He also made this play.
If he keeps playing like this, the Phillies might be forced to resign him. Speaking of resigning…
J.T. Realmuto hammered a 3-run home run to extend the Phillies’ lead. But the question is, “When will the Phillies extend JT?”.
The weirdest part of the Phillies 7-1 win was the way it came about. the Phillies walked 9 times in the game, yet won on home runs. Rhys Hoskins was walked 3 times alone.
Out of the bullpen, Deolis Guerra made his Phillies’ debut. He impressed with 2 strikeouts. After what happened Sunday, hopefully, he can be the Phillies’ bullpen MVP.
Game 3: What is pitching anyway?
Remember when Vince Velasquez blew a 7-run lead last season against the Marlins? Well, he pulled a Britney Spears and Oops, he did it again.
As soon as the Phillies gave Vinny Velo a 4-run lead, it was gone. Here’s a fun fact of that 11-19 Phillies loss. Nick Pivetta came in relief and took the loss. In Sunday’s game, Pivetta came into the game and gave up 2 ER.
It was Cole Irvin who gave up 4 runs and took the loss. Reggie McClain also gave up a run. Only Hector Heris had a clean appearance. This could be a reoccurring theme during the season. The Phillies’ bullpen is the shakiest part of the roster.
The Phillies lost 11-6, but there were some bright spots. Bryce Harper had his first homer of the season, starting the scoring in the first.
In his first start of the year, Adam Haseley showed every bit of potential the Phillies saw when they drafted him 8th overall in 2017. He went 4-6 in the leadoff spot with 2 runs scored and an RBI. Phil “Barrels” Gosselin also stayed hot with a single and a walk in 4 appearances.
Oh the Marlins’ side, Miguel Rojas was a pain in the Phillies’ proverbial backside all series long. He accumulated 7 hits, 3 of which were for extra bases. On Sunday, he was a double away from hitting for the cycle.
In 2019, he batted .351 against the Phillies. We could have an emerging Phillie-killer on our hands.
Rhys Hoskins is on pace to walk 140 times this season. That would surpass the all-time Phillies record set by Lenny Dykstra in 1993 by 11 in 101 fewer games.
Jay Bruce is out slugging again. He already has a double and a triple to start the season, good for a .625 slugging %. He posted a .523 mark last season.
Didi Gregorius posts emoji tweets after ever win. Here was his first after Saturday’s win.
The Phillies as a team went 3-22 with runners in scoring position. On Sunday alone they went 2-13 with RISP. Jean Segura left 6 players on base and JT Realmuto left 5 in that game.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
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.