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Realmuto on Velasquez’s new pitch and more Phillies camp observations

As Tropical Storm Fay washes out the eighth day of Phillies camp, it’s time to reflect on what went down during yesterday’s session.

Vince Velasquez was impressive during the Phillies’ Thursday-afternoon scrimmage. (Cheryl Pursell)

The team held their second intrasquad scrimmage of spring training II. In a game that lasted six innings, the Phillies team wearing white pinstripes defeated the red shirt Phillies by a score of 3-1. Josh Harrison’s lead-off triple, which should have been a home run, led to the red Phillies’ lone run while Didi Gregorius’ two-run single in the final inning was the difference-maker for the team in pinstripes.

The biggest storyline from this particular scrimmage is the performance of Vince Velasquez, who started the game for the red team. He retired nine consecutive batters before walking both Andrew McCutchen and Roman Quinn. The next batter Jean Segura drove in McCutchen with a single, which ended both the inning and Velasquez’s outing as he had reach his allotted pitch count.

Manager Joe Girardi said he was encouraged by what he saw from the 28-year-old.

“I thought he had a really good three-pitch mix,” Girardi said. “I thought his changeup and curveball were good. I thought he threw his fastball at the bottom of the zone really well today. He got in trouble the second time through the lineup and lost his strike zone a little bit but I was encouraged by what I saw today because the first time through the lineup, he was dominant.”

J.T. Realmuto caught Velasquez during the game and was also pleased with his performance. Realmuto also had some insight on a new pitch Velasquez worked on during the pandemic-induced shutdown.

“He worked on a new pitch during the quarantine, mixing in a cutter now,” Realmuto said. “And he’s using his changeup a lot more often than he did in the past. Just the pitchability from him. I was talking to Bryan Price about it and we’re going to try not to be so one-dimensional with him. We’re going to move the ball around the plate. Pitch up. Pitch down. Mix a changeup in. Mix that cutter in and he’s always had the curveball. He looked really good today in the scrimmage and I expect big things from him.”

Far too often, Velasquez relied on missing bats with fastballs up in the zone. That approach led to both dreadful numbers when facing the opposing lineup the third-time around in 2019 and an overall disappointing season. He’s more likely to bounce-back in 2020 with a refreshing approach, which could include an additional pitch.

Zack Wheeler also performed well in the game. He struggled in the first inning but was able to settle in well. While facing 11 hitters, Wheeler induced five ground balls, including a double play off the bat of Alec Bohm.

Here are some of my game notes and videos I had taken from the press box. I’ll apologize for them beforehand as they are a bit incomplete.

Top of the 1st: Wheeler pitching

  • Harrison triples to the left-field corner. Definitely should have been a home run.
  • Logan Forsythe drives in Harrison on a sacrifice fly.
  • Bryce Harper walks. He tries to steal second but is thrown out by Andrew Knapp.
  • Realmuto strikes out. Inning over.

Bottom of the 1st: Velasquez pitching

  • McCutchen flies out to right field.
  • Quinn strikes out.
  • Segura strikes out. Inning over.

Top of the 2nd: Wheeler pitching

  • Neil Walker singles to center field.
  • Kyle Garlick reaches on a fielder’s choice.
  • Bohm grounds into a 6-4-3 double play. Inning over

Bottom of the 2nd: Velasquez pitching

  • Rhys Hoskins grounds out to third.
  • Gregorius strikes out.
  • Jay Bruce grounds out to Ronald Torreyes at shortstop.
  • Knapp grounds out to first. Inning over. Yes, that was four outs.

Top of the 3rd: Wheeler pitching

  • Nick Williams grounds out to second base.
  • Torreyes grounds out to Phil Gosselin at second base.
  • Harrison strikes out.
  • Forsythe grounds out. Inning over.

Bottom of the 3rd: Velasquez pitching

  • Nick Martini strikes out.
  • Gosselin grounds out to short.
  • McCutchen walks.
  • Quinn walks.
  • Segura singles. McCutchen scores. Inning over.

Top of the 4th: Reggie McClain pitching

  • Harper grounds out to second.
  • Realmuto walks.
  • Walker singles to center.
  • Garlick hits into a double play. Inning over.

Bottom of the 4th: Adam Morgan pitching

  • Hoskins flies out to Garlick in right.
  • Gregorius flies out to Williams in center.
  • Bruce strikes out looking.
  • Knapp fouls out to Bohm at third. Inning over.

Top of the 5th: McClain pitching

  • Bohm singles to right.
  • Williams singles.
  • Torreyes ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
  • Harrison strikes out. Inning over.

Bottom of the 5th: Bud Norris pitching

  • Martini flies out.
  • Gosselin grounds out.
  • McCutchen flies out to Quinn in center. Inning over.

Top of the 6th: Blake Parker pitching

  • Forsythe walks.
  • Harper ground into a double play.
  • Realmuto strikes out.
  • Walker ground out to second. Inning over.

Bottom of the 6th: Anthony Swarzak pitching

  • Quinn singles to left-center field.
  • Segura doubles to right.
  • Hoskins pops-up to second.
  • Gregorius drives in both Quinn and Segura with a two-run single to right.
  • Bruce singles to right.
  • Knapp flies out to left.
  • Martini strikes out. Game over.

Here’s the position breakdown by team.

  • C: Realmuto (Red), Knapp (White)
  • 1B: Walker (Red), Hoskins (White)
  • 2B: Forsythe (Red), Gosselin (White)
  • 3B: Bohm (Red), Segura (White)
  • SS: Torreyes (Red), Gregorius (White)
  • LF: Harrison (Red), Bruce (White)
  • CF: Williams (Red), Quinn (White)
  • RF: Garlick (Red), Martini, (White)
  • DH: Harper (Red), McCutchen (White)


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