Final Score: Phillies 9, Athletics 5
The Philadelphia Phillies looked exactly like what we expected they would in an Opening Day win over the Oakland Athletics Friday — an excellent offense, but one that will need to overcome some defensive miscues.
After Aaron Nola retired the side in order in the top of the first inning, Kyle Schwarber led off for Joe Girardi in company. In a moment with striking similarities to Andrew McCutchen’s leadoff home run in 2019, Schwarber hit a 426-foot home run in his first at-bat as a Phillie:
J.T. Realmuto singled into right field with one out in the home half of the third inning, which allowed Schwarber to advance to third base after a walk. Not only did reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper plate Realmuto in the following at-bat, but thanks to a lack of a serious tag attempt from Oakland second baseman Tony Kemp, he wound up on second base:
While Nick Castellanos struck out with Harper on second base and Realmuto on third base, Rhys Hoskins picked him up with a two-run single into right field:
In total, the Phillies scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning, with Didi Gregorius delivering the final blow in the frame with an RBI single.
Like the Phillies, the A’s first hit of the day came in the form of a home run. With that said, it took Oakland until the top of the fourth inning to break into the hits column, with left fielder Chad Pinder hitting an opposite-field home run off of Aaron Nola:
In the bottom of the sixth, Matt Vierling — starting in center field for the injured Mickey Moniak — just missed completely putting the game out of reach by hitting a ball to deep right field with the bases loaded. While Stephen Piscotty was able to make the catch against the wall, Vierling did more than enough to bring Hoskins home with a sacrifice fly:
With the Phillies failing to put the A’s away when they had the chance, an Oakland team thin on experience finally got after Nola in the top of the seventh inning.
Catcher Sean Murphy — one of the few remaining veterans for the A’s — led off the inning with a double, and then Pinder singled into left field. With runners on the corners and no one out, Nola hung a pitch over the middle of the plate, and Oakland first baseman Seth Brown sent him to the showers:
While Nola struggled to begin the inning, the Phillies defense didn’t make things easy for Jeurys Familia and Brad Hand — both making their Philadelphia debuts — for the rest of the seventh inning.
A half inning after Bryson Stott recorded his first Major League hit, the ball found him multiple times defensively.
With the shift on, Stott struggled to get the ball out of his glove attempting to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play, with Stephen Vogt instead reaching first to keep the inning alive. On the next play, Christian Pache hit a sharp ground ball that kicked off of Stott’s glove and was scored a single. Tony Kemp then hit a swinging bunt, which Stott tried to barehand, and well, it didn’t go very well:
Fortunately for the Phillies, Hand was able to induce an inning-ending strikeout, stranding runners on second and third base, and keeping a 6-5 lead intact.
Castellanos added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning, doubling to plate Harper and secure his first RBI as a Phillie. (He was ultimately thrown out at third base, trying to stretch the double into a triple):
For as lengthy as the top of the seventh inning was, you could blink and the top of the eighth inning was over. Seranthony Domínguez needed just seven pitches to retire the side, a welcome sign as the Phillies look for him to recapture the elite form he showed at times in his rookie season of 2018.
Stott cleanly fielded two balls at third base in the top of the eighth inning, before recording his first extra-base hit and RBI on an opposite-field hit that brought Jean Segura home:
Stott was then plated on Schwarber’s second RBI of the day, a single to right-center field:
While not a save situation, new Phillies closer Corey Knebel came on to pitch in the ninth inning, setting the A’s down in order to secure a victory.
Friday’s formula may not be one that leads you to winning 100 games. But if Opening Day was any indication of what’s to come offensively from the Phillies, it figures to be a fun summer at Citizens Bank Park.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Aaron Nola — making his fifth-consecutive Opening Day start — looked excellent through six innings, allowing just a solo home run. However, the former All-Star hit a wall in the seventh inning, with Seth Brown hitting a three-run home run to end Nola’s day. Over six plus innings, Nola allowed four hits and four earned runs, while striking out seven. Unfortunately for him two of those four hits left the yard.
- Frankie Montas got the Opening Day nod for Mark Kotsay’s squad, and struggled to navigate through the loaded lineup of the Phillies. While the 29-year-old did strike out six batters, he allowed six hits and five earned runs over five innings.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
According to Sarah Langs of MLB.com, Kyle Schwarber’s nine leadoff home runs since the start of the 2022 season are the most of any player in baseball.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, April 9 vs. A’s at Citizens Bank Park
- 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia +
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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