5 observations from Phillies spring training opener
By Matt Rappa
Chances are likely that you experienced déjà vu watching the Phillies bullpen.
Through the first two innings of Sunday’s contest, Phillies pitchers combined to throw 71 pitches while allowing six hits, seven runs, and six walks. They would finish the seven-inning game yielding 11 hits, 10 runs, and nine walks through six innings — good for a terrifying 3.333 WHIP ratio and 15.00 ERA.
To make matters worse, at least four of the runs allowed scored without a Tigers player needing to even swing his bat. There were four bases loaded walks, including three in the bottom of the first inning and another in the sixth to secure the Tigers their 10th and final run scored of the game.
The Phillies bullpen accounted for five runs allowed throuugh 5 2/3 innings of work. Most of the Phillies pitchers used in the game were non-roster invitees, with the exception of David Hale — who too struggled with allowing two hits, a walk and run. Fan-favorite J.D. Hammer yielded a pair of hits and runs (including a solo home run), as well as three walks, in just 2/3 innings of work.
The lone bright spot was non-roster invitee Bryan Mitchell, who tossed two scoreless innings while allowing just a double. The former New York Yankees pitcher under Joe Girardi struck out three batters.
Ivan Nova significantly hurt his chances to make the 2021 Phillies roster.
Another former Yankee, right-hander Ivan Nova did not make a strong case for him to earn a starting rotation spot behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin.
The 11-year veteran, invited to Phillies spring training as a non-roster invitee, was able to record only one out — but that was after he allowed a leadoff home run, back-to-back singles, and then back-to-back walks to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Nova’s first and only out recorded was a taxing, effort-filled strikeout, needing nine pitches to do so. Girardi then turned to left-hander Jonathan Hennigan — who was not scheduled to pitch in the opener. The 26-year-old, who reached Double-A in 2019, then gave up a hit and three walks to finish the frame. In total, five runs were charged to Nova, and one to the southaw prospect.
Aaron Nola will get the mound on Monday in the team’s Grapefruit League home opener. Hopefully, his performance is much better than Nova’s.