2018 Recaps

Phillies win home opener behind Franco, Pivetta

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.



  1. Vernon Dozier

    April 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

    All the gates were a mess yesterday. I’ve never seen it take so long to get inside the park.

  2. Vernon Dozier

    April 6, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I can’t remember a manager ever getting so much national attention during his first week on the job:

    “Kapler engenders strong feelings, from his former colleagues with the Dodgers (one estimate was that half of them were detractors), former Dodgers players (some “hated” him, according to one person with Dodgers ties, leading to their strong recommendations that Dave Roberts be hired when Kapler as seen as the strong favorite) and even people who hardly know him, but don’t like his bold ideas (like the chicken coop, the rap music he had played in Dodgers offices and the rest), his bold website (complete with unusual tanning ideas and beefcake photos), or his look or probably even his obvious confidence.”

    “You had all these managers available—Aaron Boone, Alex Cora, Mickey Callaway, Dave Martinez. You had Joe Girardi and John Farrell out there as well. And you hired the train wreck?”



    • Ken Bland

      April 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Repetitive, worthless negativity. Old.

      • Vernon Dozier

        April 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm

        We’ll find out a lot over the next few months. As we found out, the Cubs made the right decision by not hiring Ryne Sandberg as manager. Maybe the Dodger’s decision was just as good.


  3. Vernon Dozier

    April 6, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Rosenthal ranks Kapler as the manager most likely to be fired first this season.

    “Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies: A full accounting of his early miscues would crash our website. Kapler created his own hot seat, all but placing a blowtorch under his office chair, becoming part of the story in each of the Phillies’ first five games. He finally managed in peace on Thursday in a 5-0 home victory over the Miami Marlins—or should I say relative peace, considering that fans booed him first in pre-game introductions and booed him even louder when he removed starting pitcher Nick Pivetta from a shutout after 5 2/3 innings.

    Some in the sabermetric community might perceive the criticism of Kapler to be simply a reaction to his extreme reliance on data, and to an extent that might be true. But the real problem for Kapler is that his lack of feel might cause him to lose the clubhouse, if he hasn’t already. Kapler did not arrive with the credibility of say, a Joe Maddon. He needs to earn his players’ trust, and his questionable decision-making—not to mention his failure to execute a proper pitching change—unsettled at least some of his players, as reported by The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.

    Kapler has shown a measure of humility and accountability in his public comments—a good sign. Still, none of that will matter unless he starts using better judgment. And if he flops—as many in the industry suspect he will—then the scrutiny will fall on the man who hired him, general manager Matt Klentak.”

    (Subscription required) https://theathletic.com/303061/2018/04/06/rosenthal-which-managers-are-in-real-jeopardy-the-hot-seat-is-here-earlier-than-usual/


    • Ken Bland

      April 6, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      More negativivity.

  4. Mitchell Nathanson

    April 6, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Can somebody explain to me why Franco looks to be in such lousy shape? Nice game yesterday but, jeez, the guy looks like Pablo Sandoval in pinstripes.

    • Ken Bland

      April 6, 2018 at 12:57 pm


  5. Mitchell Nathanson

    April 6, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    New nickname: The Pinstriped Panda. You’re welcome, Maikel.

    • Ken Bland

      April 6, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      And the negativity rolls on.

  6. Ken Bland

    April 6, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I was real pleased with Pivetta yesterday. I don’t know that his ceiling is significantly higher, seems to peak at reasonably solid back of the rotation guy, but that was good.

    Course all the focus still centers around Kapler. A Patriot, in Bellechick land would refuse to discuss certain subjects (i.e. Brady’s thumb, Gronk celebrations, pinpointing on the assigned focus, but for his inexperience, Kapler seems compelled to focus on it rather than refusing to answer how he felt about the boos. And no matter what he says, the man is light years from gaining acceptance with the Phillie following. For whatever reason, this city took to Californian Vermiel, though it took a little time, but Kapler? Just doesn’t feel like a fit. We’ll see.

    Elsewhere in this side bullshit, Nick W voiced uneasiness about not playing, Jake took a stand against being pulled early, and some anonymous clown, who God only knows what HIS credentials are for passing judgement on Kapler gave Heyman a nice quote on bypassing Kapler, which circles us back to Pivetta.

    Sometimes, copying and pasting don’t work around here too good, so you will have to deal with my paraphrase from the Atlantic City Press post game, which any and all other outlets ignored to the best of my visibility.

    Paraphrasingly, Pivetta said, “Gabe’s a great manager. We were all fired up today for both he and the organization. 97 pitches was the right spot to pull me.

    Real good job, Nick. I knew there was something worthwhile about having Papelbon here.

  7. czontixhldr

    April 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    What I liked about Pivetta yesterday is he made nice use of his offspeed pitches.

    We all know that he can throw hard (Vince, are you listening? ), but the offspeed stuff kept hitters off balance.

    • Ken Bland

      April 6, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Seems like a really good point, and an EXCELLENT reference. Nice.

  8. Betasigmadeltashag

    April 6, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    In a long season I think you let Pivetta finish that inning and leg the Morgan start the next. But to pitch to one guy then sit on a cold day to come out and pitch again might not be a great decision. What if they came out and scored runs in the 6th and Morgan had to sit longer. But I will reserve judgement on Kepler to see if he learns every day is not game 7. And even then LA proved last year. It doesn’t work in a7 game series either.

  9. Ken Bland

    April 6, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Nice start to the year for Clearwater’s Adam Haseley, last year’s first round pick. 8 at bats now, no strikeouts, homer last night, sittin’ pretty with 5 rbi now off tonight’s 2 more.

  10. Andy

    April 7, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Ken, what in the heck do you expect given the circus-like way this season has started for the Phils? And coming on the heels of FIVE previous seasons that were altogether miserable? It’s logical–while not altogether psychologically healthy–to vent negativity as a Phan in reacting to the first 4% of the 2018 season. I wish I could be above it all– able to focus on Adam Haseley’s nice early stats-‘-and be generous enough give Kapler the benefit of the doubt…but I guess I’m just too simple-minded and selfish. Until I see consistent W’s from this major league team, it’s gonna be hard for me to feel too chipper.

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