MLB Spring Training: the ups and downs of the Phillies

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper had 3 hits, but the Phillies had other issues. Then there was the double play heard ’round the world, and more MLB spring training news.

The Toronto Blue Jays turned a wall-banger into a double play Monday. That’s something you don’t see very often.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi wishes he could see more of ace starter Aaron Nola, who failed to make his appointed Monday start thanks to the flu. Girardi acknowledged that might jeopardize Nola’s readiness for opening day.

And if anybody can find the hits in Didi Gregorius’s bat, Girardi would appreciate that as well.

Here are the winners and losers from Monday’s MLB spring training camps.

Winner: Toronto defense

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 3-1 to a split-squad Toronto team Monday, their 13th defeat in 16 spring games.  But it might have been different save for one unusual play in the seventh inning. The Pirates trailed 2-0 at the time, but Phillip Evans drew a walk to start the inning and Kevin Kramer followed with a base hit. When Jacob Stallings followed by drawing another walk, the Bucs suddenly had the bases full.

What followed one out later was the kind of thing that may not happen once a year. Oneil Cruz sent a line drive over the head of Jays center fielder Chavez Young and off the wall.

Evans of course scored easily. But Stallings, running hard, gained ground on Kramer, who was proceeding more cautiously off second to make sure the ball fell in. Young, meanwhile, retreated quickly, fielded the ball cleanly, and fired  to shortstop Kevin Smith, whose perfect relay retired Kramer on a close play at home.

No sooner did catcher Patrick Cantwell tag out Kramer than he saw Stallings racing toward him just a few feet behind Kramer. Stallings tried to reverse course but Cantwell was easily able to run him down and tag him out as well, ending the inning and giving him two putouts at home on the same play.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse