Phillies: Didi Gregorius crushes 2nd home run of 2020 season
By Matt Rappa
Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius launched his second home run of the season in Zack Wheeler’s club debut
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius appears to have already adjusted to his new team.
After inducing a Gregorius groundout to short in Friday’s season opener, the Marlins failed to retire him in each of his following four plate appearances — two of which resulted in solo home runs.
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During his second plate appearance on Opening Day, after the groundout, Gregorius launched a game-tying solo home run to right field; later, he recorded a walk and single.
Gregorius’ early-season momentum continued into Saturday’s early evening contest; during his first plate appearance of the game, in the bottom of the second inning, the longtime shortstop crushed another home run to right — this time into the second deck to the empty, blue seats at Citizens Bank Park — giving starting pitcher Zack Wheeler an early 1-0 lead in his club debut.
With the home run, Gregorius became the first shortstop in franchise history to go yard in each of its first two games of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
After his second home run, Gregorius’ slash line in red pinstripes improved to .750/.800/2.250 across five plate appearances as a Phillie; it was his 70th career home run dating back to the start of the 2017 season.
Overall, since his 2012 debut, Gregorius now has 112 home runs and 419 RBI across 853 games.
The Netherlands native signed with the Phillies this past offseason on a one-year, $14 million deal following his bout with Tommy John surgery and a five-season stint with the New York Yankees, where he hit 97 home runs and 360 RBI in 660 games. In three of those seasons, Gregorius played under current Phillies manager Joe Girardi (2015-17).
The nine-year veteran began his career with the Cincinnati Reds (2012) and went on to play two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-14), before joining the Yankees.
At the time of his blast on Saturday (No. 2 of the 2020 season), only four other players in the majors had hit multiple home runs — Leury Garcia (Chicago White Sox), Max Kepler (Minnesota Twins), Max Muncy (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds).
It’s great to see Gregorius off to a fast start as a Phillie. Right now, he seems to be the lone batter in red pinstripes on a hot streak, early on in the 60-game sprint.
The Phillies went on to win, 7-1, behind their four home runs (Gregorius, Gosselin 2, Realmuto); it was Girardi’s first win with the team, and his first managing in the National League since Oct. 1, 2006 — a Marlins walk-off win against the Phillies in the season finale. In addition, it was Girardi’s first win at Citizens Bank Park since Game 4 of the 2009 World Series with the Yankees.
Wheeler earned the win, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run; right-handed relievers Tommy Hunter and Deolis Guerra pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings.