Behind 5+ innings of one run ball by starter Jeremy Hellickson, the power duo of Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, and four Bull Pen Pitchers, the Phillies edged the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on Opening Day at Great American BallPark.
The Phillies used 7 XBH, including Cesar Hernandez lead-off HR, something no Phillies player has done since 1938 to open a season. An RBI 2b by Michael Saunders made it 2-0 Phillies before many Reds fans made it to their seats.
The next inning showed Phillies Phans that it was never to early to #DoTheFreddy
as Galvis sent one over the RF wall to make it 3- 0 Phils.
Hellickson helped himself in the 5th with a 2 out RBI 3B, to add a run the Phillies would need, 4-1 Phils. Per Hellickson is the 1st pitcher to triple on Opening Day since Jack Sanford in 1963.
Though he did not figure in any scoring Brock Stassi got his first MLB plate appearance, but no AB when he drew a walk as a PH in the 8th inning.
For the night the offensive line was 4 R, 10 H, 8K, 5 BB, committing 0 errors in the field. All starters had a hit except Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, though each contributed with some stellar defensive plays.
Hellickson’s 5+ Start:
Hellickson was working ahead of most hitters early, but he lost a bit of control when a moderate rain started to fall. He loaded the bases with no outs in the 3rd, but only gave up a sac fly by Billy Hamilton, but then got a DP to end the inning. He would load them again in the 4th with one out, but gutted it out for no runs.
Hellickson was pulled in the 5th with one man on, Eugenio Suarez, who doubled to start the inning, no outs. His final line would be 6H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1K, 0 HR, 67 P – 45 for strikes.
Something New, Somethings Old Bull Pen:
It was then up to the reinforced Bull Pen to do what they could not last year at this same time in this same park.
Joaquin Benoit making his Phillies debut in relief of Hellickson, K’d the first two batters with a mix of a mid 90’s FB and a 10 mph slower slider that moves, finishing each off with the FB going right by them. The last out was a weak FO to CF on a 1st pitch FB.
Then the holdovers took over as Edubray Ramos also earned an H in the 7th despite a walk and a Hamilton 3B, thanks to a great DP by Joseph, in the right place at the right time to snag a hard LD, in between.
Hector Neris had easy 1-2-3 8th.
Jeanmar Gomez, not so much in the 9th, as he gave up a first pitch single to Scott Schebler, and then 2 outs later noted slugger Scooter Gennett lofted a 2 run Hr to LF. The DejaVu ended there though, as he induced a FO to Herrera to end the ballgame.
Hellickson bolstered the confidence Manager Pete Mackanin showed in him to earn the W. Give the L to Reds starter Scott Feldman who gave up 7H, 3R, all earned, 2BB, 6K, 2HR, 99 P – 58 for strikes in 4.2 In. Holds all around to Benoit, Ramos and Neris, and a shaky but successful S to Gomez. It will be interesting to see how long a leash Mackanin has on Gomez before exploring other options. Both Neris and Benoit show they have the stuff to close.
The rest of the series will see RHP Jerad Eickhoff Vs LHP Brandon Finnegan on Wednesday at 7:10 and RHP Clay Buchholz against RHP Rookie Davis on Thursday 12:35 PM. I will be around Thursday night to recap the last two games as well as some added notes on the opener.