3/19/22 : Grapefruit League Home Opener
A stadium capacity crowd of 8,646 was on hand for the Phillies 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at BayCare Ballpark for the 2022 Grapefruit League home opener. Before the game Phillies Ambassador Scott Palmer emceed a ceremony honoring the 75th season of the Phillies holding spring training in Clearwater. Multiple former Phillies were introduced along with the Phanatic - as per usual the green mascot got the loudest ovation along with the 2008 World Champions manager Charlie Manuel. It was cool to see Lee Elia amongst the honored attendees - he served as a coach for the 1980 World champion Phillies.
There was a buzz in the crowd given the recent signings of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. So much for a hangover effect of the lockout - fans were abundant today and ready for baseball ! I have to admit that yours truly hasn’t been as amped as normal for big league ball given the agony felt during the lockout but today that sparkle of energy was back - hope for winning ways has revamped itself for Phillies fans 🤓.
The game :
JT Realmuto doubled in a run in the first inning. Luke Williams dropped a fly ball single into right field in the 2nd to score Johan Camargo ( doubled ) and Yairo Munoz singled in the seventh inning to score Jhailyn Ortiz ( tripled ) with what became the game winning run.
The Phillies had 7 hits and 4 walks. Toronto scored their two runs on single run homers by Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Orelvis Martinez.
Pitching : yielded just 3 hits and 4 walks - aided by 4 double plays
RH Aaron Nola - 2 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K’s - 33 pitches - 26 strikes - gave up two solo home runs - both with two outs in the inning - otherwise was strong - threw four seamer, curve, change, sinker and cutter - max velo - 93 - avg velo - four seamer - 92, curve 78, change - 84, sinker - 91, cutter -87. Had good movement - left two up in the zone and payed for those.
RH Nick Nelson - 1 IP,0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K’s - 8 pitches - 6 strikes - aided by a 6-4-3 double play - faced just three batters - max velo - 95 - threw four seamer, change, slider - avg velo - four seamer - 95, change - 88, slider - 84
LH Kyle Dohy - 1 IP - perfect inning - 1 K - 8 pitches - 6 strikes - max velo - 91 - four seamer, change, sinker - avg velo - four seamer - 91, change - 80, sinker - 91 - good bounce back outing for Kyle who struggled in a mini camp scrimmage vs Tigers - he had good fade on his changeup today - used it as a put away pitch on his strikeout. Has higher velo but today showed doesn’t need it so much with the movement he has if pitches are in good spots.
LH Damon Jones - 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 HB, 0 K’s - threw a DP grounder to eliminate a lead off runner from hit batter. Faced just three batters. 8 pitches - 4 strikes - max velo - 91 - sinker, slider, curve - avg velo - sinker - 91, slider/curve - 78 - like Kyle he’s got great movement on pitches - especially the slider - when Damon operates within the zone he’s got big league quality stuff - again can reach higher velocity but today proves movement on his pitches is indicative that he doesn’t necessarily need to push higher - yet has it if needed.
RH Francisco Morales - 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K - also was aided by a 6-4-3 double play. He walked the first batter on four pitches prompting a visit from coach Caleb Cotham. Afterwards Francisco kept his front shoulder tucked and square and had success. When he’s consistent with mechanics he can dominate - 11 pitches - 4 strikes - max velo - 96 - four seamer, slider, sinker - avg velo - four seamer - 96, sinker - 96 , slider - 86.
LH Erik Miller - 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K - also had a double play behind him - faced just three batters - 11 pitches - 3 strikes - max velo - 96 - four seamer, slider, curve, sinker, change - avg velo - four seamer - 94, slider - 86, sinker - 92, curve - 74, change - 81
LH Jeff Singer - 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB - 15 pitches - 9 strikes - got the W - max velo - 93 - four seamer, slider, change, sinker - avg velo - four seamer - 92, slider - 81, change - 84, sinker - 91 - Jeff continues to get the job done - efficient.
LH Brian Marconi - 1 IP 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K’s - 15 pitches - 7 strikes - max velo - 91 - four seamer, slider, change - avg velo - four seamer - 91, slider - 77, change 82 - he’s got good fade on all of his pitches - heavy pitches - gets ground balls - two today.
Web Gem :
Left Fielder Justin Williams made a diving catch on a sinking fly ball in short left field in the top of the ninth.
Complex Notes :
The Phillies sent their designated A and High A squads to Lakeland to play the Tigers - we saw the buses return when we drove by the complex on the way home. The AA and AAA scheduled games at the complex were cancelled. Morning workouts took their place.
Another Ace Photographer in town :
Cheryl Pursell is in Clearwater this week and she’s got field credentials - looking forward to seeing some great images from her ! Check out her web site at cherylpursell.com - excellent photos !
Mark Wylie and his wife Hiro were also in the house - plenty of great photos coming later 🎥
Shout out as well to Steve and Tiffany Stone and son Liam visiting from Michigan. Steve is a high school classmate of mine and an avid Phillies fan. Also would like to thank the folks who acknowledged me today and said they read our webpage - much appreciated.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
JT Realmuto - photo by Cheryl Pursell