Final Score: Phillies 2, Braves 1
You don’t need to be told that the Philadelphia Phillies sweeping the Atlanta Braves to open a 162-game set doesn’t guarantee much of anything. Still, if you can jump three games ahead of the three-time defending National League East Champions, you’d rather do that than not.
Sunday, the Phillies got out the brooms at Citizens Bank Park, riding a strong start for Zach Eflin and timely hitting to a third consecutive win to begin the 2021 season.
- Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm reached base with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, but Didi Gregorius struck out, standing them at second and third base.
- The Phillies would get on the board in the second inning, though, as Andrew Knapp casually walked up and hit a home run off the facing of the second deck in right field. It was Knapp’s first at-bat of the 2021 season and he hit the ball 411 feet:
- For the second time in three days, Didi Gregorius made a tremendous defensive play, robbing Ozzie Albies of a hit to end the top of the sixth inning. Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer says that the expected batting average on the ball that Gregorius ultimately caught was .690:
- The Braves tied the game 1-1 in the seventh inning when former Phillies farmhand Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo shot to left field:
- In the home half of the seventh, Knapp reached on an infield single, eventually advancing to third base after Braves reliever Tyler Matzek threw away what would have almost certainly been a successful pick-off. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Roman Quinn struck out to end the inning, stranding Knapp at third base.
- After a clear top of the eighth inning from José Alvarado, Alec Bohm continued his early-career success with runners in scoring position, driving in Rhys Hoskins to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. As Phillies Nation‘s Jonny Heller noted, Bohm is hitting .444 in his first 45 career at-bats with runners in scoring position.
- In the bottom of the ninth inning, Héctor Neris ran into a bit of trouble, but ultimately got d’Arnaud to fly out with runners on first and second base, ending the game.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Outside of allowing a home run to Andrew Knapp, Ian Anderson was pretty impressive for the Braves Sunday. Anderson surrendered just four hits and one run, but was pinch hit for after throwing 88 pitches through five innings.
- The Phillies spoke very highly of Eflin for much of the offseason, and it was clear why on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty pitched seven frames in his season debut, allowing just four hits and one run, while striking out eight.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Andrew Knapp
Knapp credited increased playing time with his success in 2020, and it seems likely that he’ll get a bulk of the playing time during games Eflin starts in 2021. Sure, he probably should have gotten picked off of first base Sunday, but the end result for Knapp was a 2-3 day and the first home run of the season for the Phillies.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Monday, April 5 vs. New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET start time
- TV: NBCSP+
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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