For the first time since 2011, the Phillies won the home opener.
It was a 5-0 win over the Marlins, with Maikel Franco supplying much of the offense. He knocked two runs home in the first inning with a single, then blasted a two-run home run in the seventh to put the game away. And while it didn’t score any runners, Franco hit a triple in the fifth, ending just a double shy of the cycle.
What was best about Franco’s day were his swings. Yes he went downstairs with a looping swing a couple times, but most of the time his swing started higher and and stayed up, somewhere between a line-drive swing and a low-arching fly-ball swing. On the homer he connected with the ball at the barrel, sending it on an upward plane (launch angle 20 degrees) at an exit velocity of 104 mph. The swing isn’t an elite home run swing, but Jarlin Garcia’s rudimentary fastball caught too much of the barrel.
Odubel Herrera added a run-scoring single after a Scott Kingery stolen base in the third. In fact the Phils stole four bases on Thursday and were caught just once (probably an ill-advised steal of third by Cesar Hernandez). Either way the Phils were aggressive against catcher Bryan Holaday.
Nick Pivetta pitched well in his second start, striking out nine Marlins in 5.2 innings while surrendering just four hits. It was some of the best pitching we’ve seen yet from Pivetta. He was pulled after 5.2 innings, but that was the right move, as he was already at 98 pitches and with a man on, Adam Morgan was the better choice against lefty Justin Bour.
Morgan pitched 1.1 clean innings, and Luis Garcia and Hector Neris finished the game.
It was a great home opener for the Phils, though I didn’t get to see the first inning of it. The first base gate was a mess at the beginning of the game. My group and I arrived at the first base gate before first pitch and waited in a crowd of fans for at least 20 minutes before getting through the gate. I’ve never been in a line like it before; it was inexcusable.
The Phillies had better address this issue. There’s no way people should be waiting for 20 minutes to get into the game. Someone should’ve at least been directing traffic, moving some fans to the third base gate or somewhere else around the park.
Anyway, good game. Phils are off today and back at it Saturday.