In some places, MLB Opening Day is a holiday. It is the beginning of a new season and, for the fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, another shot at winning a World Series title. While Thursday’s game did not have the result fans wanted (nor thought would happen), it is only one out of 162 games. So, buckle up Phillies fans, because we have a long season ahead of us!
The bad (and good) from the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day
Hopefully this is just a quick blip on the radar for Aaron Nola, but this is two bad starts in a row (if we count spring training). In all honesty, Nola might be dealing with the effects of how the pitch clock is cutting down his time to deliver the ball to the plate, or it could also be Game 1 hitch in his step. Whatever the case is, Nola has a lot of work to do in order to get better and become the ace we know.
If we all remember, Cole Hamels had a similar start to the 2009 season after all of the innings he had pitched in 2008. Nola could potentially still be feeling some of the effects of the fatigue from throwing the number of pitches and innings he went through, but it is no excuse for the rest of the bullpen to fall apart the way they did.
Gregory Soto was brought in to do damage control, but ended up giving a run and loading the bases. Connor Brogdon came in and gave up a two-run home run as well. While it can be growing pains for the bullpen and overall pitching staff, hopefully Zack Wheeler can pick up the Phillies and help them get a win against the Texas Rangers, a team to which the Phillies have lost 10 straight.
It wasn’t all bad on Thursday though. There were some good bright spots. Brandon Marsh getting some hits on lefties and appeared to have shortened up his swing. Alec Bohm showed off his power and got two big hits on Jacob deGrom. Nick Castellanos might be returning to MVP form thanks to a couple of adjustments in the box. The offense did show up and usually having a 5-0 lead can win you a game.
Seeing the offense get going early and getting hits on a guy who plagued them for years in the NL East was a positive. Hopefully seeing these guys have confidence will carry over to the bullpen. With the production they had without Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper is very encouraging for this group moving forward. Eventually, Harper will return to the lineup and will bring more production and power. Seven runs aren’t always easy to score, especially early on in the season, but it bodes well for the team moving forward if the bullpen can get their act together.
There are still 161 games left of the season. The Phillies still have a chance to go 161-1 (joking obviously). Only time will tell, but I will hold out on judgement on this Phillies team until we hit mid-June or early July.