It was only an exhibition, but Saturday’s tune-up against the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals went about as well as it possibly could have for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Across five innings, the Phillies tagged three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer for seven runs, six of which came courtesy of the long-ball.
In the top of the first, Didi Gregorius brought Roman Quinn, Rhys Hoskins and himself home with a three-run home run:
It’s worth noting that Gregorius homered off of a likely future Hall of Famer while wearing a mask. Earlier this week, the new Phillie explained why he plans to wear a mask during all games in 2020.
In the top of the second inning, Roman Quinn brought home Jay Bruce with a sacrifice fly to left field. Quinn, who batted second in Joe Girardi’s lineup Saturday, was hit on his right hand in the top of the first inning. Fortunately, the oft-injured outfielder stayed in the game and appeared to be fine.
Later in the second inning, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate with Andrew Knapp and Scott Kingery already on base. He proceeded to hit a towering three-run home run off of Max Scherzer:
Harper, who spent the first seven seasons of his career in D.C., homered three times and drove in nine runs in 64 at-bats against the Nationals in 2019.
Perhaps the most noteworthy development from the game was that Aaron Nola allowed just one hit and struck out four in five innings of work. The 27-year-old righty had been slightly behind track at the outset of summer camp because he was delayed in his arrival due to having come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. He appears to be caught up now.
After the game Girardi didn’t commit to Nola as the opening day starter, though that does appear to be the overwhelmingly likely outcome. Girardi added that he believes Nola could pitch six innings and/or 80 pitches in his first start of 2020.
Hector Neris, who was also delayed in his arrival to summer camp, came in to relieve Nola in the sixth inning. Neris, the Phillies most steady reliever a season ago, walked one and struck out a batter in his inning of work. He did alone the first Nationals run on the night, an RBI groundout off the bat of Juan Soto.
Cole Irvin, Deolis Guerra and Edgar Garcia pitched the final three innings, with just Garcia giving up a run. The Phillies defeated the Nationals by a final of 7-2, limiting Washington to just three hits.
The Phillies will return home to Citizens Bank Park Sunday, as they’ll host the Baltimore Orioles in another summer camp exhibition at 6:05 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on NBC Sports Philadelphia and heard on SportsRadio 94 WIP.
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