Saturday was a day many Philadelphia Phillies phans have been anticipating for weeks as some kid named Bryce Harper made his first spring training game appearance. Also by the end of the weekend all possible starting P’s, but one, had thrown at least an inning, as the opening day starter was named.
Bryce Harper Debut:
A record sold out crowd at Spectrum Field on Saturday was there to see Harper batting third in the order as the DH.
Bryce worked a 5 pitch BB, then
It was his first dinger of the spring for Rhys Hoskins. With high OBP guys ahead of him like Harper, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen, we could see a lot of that this season. Segura also had a BB, down 0-2, but was erased on a pick-off at 1st.
Harper walked again in his 2nd PA, and then was lifted from the game. So he still does not have an “official” AB in a ST game.
The tentative schedule going forward is for Bryce to start today in RF vs. Rays, likely 2 PAs & couple innings in the field, Wednesday at the Yankees, and then Friday vs. the Blue Jays.
To no one’s surprise, Aaron Nola was named the Opening Day starter. This opener will rival the WS Champions, 2009 CBP opener in crowd size and excitement.
“I thought long and hard about that one,”Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler joked.
Below we list each possible member of the rotation’s first outings:
3/3 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 4SO, 0HR, 0.00 ERA
3/9 1.2IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 3SO, 0HR, 15.00 ERA
Jake looked pretty good in the 1st inning of that second start hitting in the mid 90’s on the “fast” Spectrum Field gun, but the second, not so much. That is not so unusual after the first starts of the spring when they start to “work on stuff” more than game situations. He actually went into the pen to get to a set pitch count after being pulled.
“It wasn’t as crisp, but the stuff is still good. I just need to refine some things.” Arrieta said afterwards.
3/2 3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 2SO, 0HR, 3.00
3/8 2.2IP,1H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 3SO, 0HR, 0.00
Great to see Eflin with two good outings early. He could be the big surprise this season if he can keep that up.
3/5 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 3SO, 0HR, 0.00
3/10 3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 6SO, 0HR, 9.00
Much like Arrieta the second outing saw Nola working on his command, which was off early on his fastball.
3/6 1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 2SO, 2HR, 9.00
They are bring VV along slowly as he had admittedly changed his approach in the off-season, including a new number, 21
“It’s kind of a different approach, a new change, a new beginning,” Velasquez said. “A new beginning all the way around. I would say I’m kind of a new pitcher. A new Vince Velasquez.” He has changed his delivery, eliminating a lot of early motion and now just starting with his hands at his waist, then over his head and back to to throw to the plate.
“It’s just one of those things that I changed,” Velasquez said. “It’s a different approach.”
Only Jerad Eickhoff has not gotten into a game, though he did pitch in a “simulated game” in which he gave up this HR to Harper
The Phillies made their first moves of ST on Saturday after the game:
INF Arquimedes Gamboa & RHP Adonis Medina have been optioned to AA Reading Fightin Phils. INF Malquin Canelo, C Deivy Grullon, 1B/OF Austin Listi, OF Mickey Moniak & LHP JoJo Romero have been reassigned to MiLB camp. This leaves 55 players left in MLB camp.
Now that the HarperMania firsts stuff will hopefully die down, and just 17 days until the opener, the Phillies need to get down to figuring out the other 24 guys that will head to Philly with the big club. We should soon see more guys being sent to the minor league complexes so the regulars and the on the bubble guys can get more ABs with only 15 more ST games left.
I leave you today with a hint for those that want an outsiders look at the Phillies and their fans in the UK, you need to follow @UKPhillies on twitter. He has posted NL East previews with blokes from other UK MLB team sites, and went live on his you tube channel this past weekend with a Phillies preview. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJNDoJFfZ3b97Wp4PBJCdEQ There is even the chance that this scribbler will take part in his Opening Day extravaganza.
Best of Luck, Mate.