The New York Yankees came in to Bright House Field and beat up on Phillies (1-2-1) minor league pitcher Mike Nesseth in the 4th inning, scoring 3 times for what amounted to the difference in the game.
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Nesseth is not a prospect, turning 27 years old next month. He has 4 minor league seasons under his belt after the Phils selected him in the 17th round of the 2010 Amateur Draft. In a 2014 spent mostly at AA-Reading but also with four AAA appearances, Nesseth had just a 5.60 ERA and 1.574 WHIP, and could be pitching for his spot in the organization right now. If that’s the case, he didn’t do himself any favors today.
Both Gregory Bird and Didi Gregorius touched Nesseth for RBI doubles in that 4th, sandwiched around an RBI single by Ramon Flores, and the Yanks led 3-0. The Yankees stretched their lead out to 4-0 with a run in the 6th off Ken Giles, who was ineffective on the afternoon. Giles allowed a hit and two walks in his one inning on the mound.
“Batting practices are great, bullpens are great, but there is just a little more adrenaline and focus that you need when you actually have a guy in there from an opposing team.” ~ Hamels
Much as with yesterday’s game, the really important action from a Phillies perspective happened right at the beginning. Cole Hamels took the mound for the first time this spring, surrounded by ongoing trade rumor and speculation.
Mar 6, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA;Philadelphia Phillies pitcher
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Hamels was able to block it all out and concentrate on the task in front of him, with a focus that has become a signature in recent seasons. The lefty struck out 2 over a pair of shutout innings in which he allowed just one hit. He threw 31 pitches, 22 of them for strikes, in pitching through game-opening rain showers that would eventually cause a delay after he left.
The Phillies veteran homegrown ace was quoted afterwards by Meghan Montemurro: “It’s something where I just wanted to go out there and face hitters. Batting practices are great, bullpens are great, but there is just a little more adrenaline and focus that you need when you actually have a guy in there from an opposing team.”
Hamels was followed to the hill by Nefi Ogando, who allowed a walk and a hit while striking out a pair in his single inning of work. Then came Nesseth, and away went the scoreless tie. In between the Nesseth and Giles poor outings, Jake Diekman had a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. It was the first outing of the Grapefruit League season for both Giles and Diekman.
Following Giles to the mound for the Phils was Andy Oliver, a lefty battling for a situational role out of the big league club’s bullpen. Oliver allowed two hits and a walk in a pair of innings, but also struck out 4 Yanks batters. Luis Garcia finished up in the 9th, allowing a hit and striking out a batter..
The Phils are back at it tomorrow afternoon with a 1:05pm start at Bright House Field against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game will be televised on both TCN in Philly and the MLB Network, and will be available on local Philly radio as well. The Jerome Williams/David Buchanan combo is scheduled to go on the mound, while Jonathan Papelbon should see his first action of the spring.