It wasn’t pretty, but baseball is back. The latter part of that statement is about the only thing you can conclude from the first Spring Training game of the year. The game wasn’t as bad as the box-score makes it seem for the Fightin’s, but the offense struggled for the most part and relievers Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor allowed the Pirates to break the game open in the fourth and fifth innings. Not much insight was gained on any of the positional battles as all three players fighting it out for the backup catcher role went 0-for-1. However, the game did have it’s bright spots:
Moyer looked good on the mound, despite walking two batters in two innings. He allowed only one hit, while striking out two and inducing four ground-outs. JoBla got off to a slow start, allowing a single and a double to give the Pirates their first run of the game, but recovered and retired the next three batters in a row. He finished with two strikeouts (both looking) in only one inning of work. Strong pitching carried the Phillies in the playoffs and they’re hoping they can continue to ride that streak into the start of this season. It’s fun to think about what this team could look like with an entire Eaton-less April.
The non-roster invite was one of the few positives in the Phillies’ lineup today. In two at-bats, he managed a single and double and sparked a mini-rally for the Phillies in the ninth inning. Unfortunately for him, even if he keeps up this pace, he is unlikely to have a spot on the team. The Phillies need a bat for the bench, but they’re looking to drop a left-handed outfielder rather than gain one in the process of finding that bat.
The new left-fielder had a good first game as a Phillie, driving in Jimmy Rollins with an RBI single in the third inning. He finished the day 1-for-2 at the plate as he looks to continue to piece together a good first impression with his new team.
Veterans in the Pen:
It wasn’t a happy day for the youngsters Bisenius and Nestor, but offseason pick-ups Dave Borkowski and Mike Koplove (a local product) were impressive in picking up the slack in relief. Borkowski tossed a perfect sixth inning and Koplove struck out two batters in his one inning of work.
Tomorrow looks to be a better day as the Phils head to their Clearwater home, Bright House Field to take on the Blue Jays. Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ are scheduled to pitch for the Phillies as they begin to make their cases for the fifth spot in the rotation.