Phillies stars Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins sure look ready for Opening Day.
Monday was a great day for two Philadelphia Phillies players who the team rely on heavily this coming season at the starting rotation ace and first baseman roles, respectively — Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins.
As for Nola, manager Joe Girardi named the former first-round pick out of Louisiana State University as the team’s starting pitcher for their season opener matchup — one week from Thursday, home against the Atlanta Braves. Nola earns his fourth straight Opening Day nod, the longest such streak for the franchise since “lefty” Steve Carlton started in 10 straight from 1977 to 1986.
Hours later, the veteran put up a solid performance against Girardi’s former team, showing why he deserves to take the mound come April 1. Tossing six innings in an eventual 4-0 shutout victory against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Nola allowed just a single and no walks while striking out nine of his 20 batters faced.
According to Baseball Savant, Nola threw 33 four-seam fastballs, 25 knuckle curves, 19 changeups, four cutters, and three sinkers. His average pitching velocity was 85.7 miles per hour, with his fastball peaking at 94.2 miles per hour.
Among the batters Nola struck out were DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, and his former Phillies teammate Jay Bruce. Nola tossed 84 pitches, 56 of which were strikes, while inducing six groundouts and three flyouts.
At the plate, Hoskins looks ready to start his fourth full season in the majors, and fifth overall. In the top of the first, he logged his first double of the spring on a sharp line drive to left field. Two innings later, he singled on a ground ball to right, scoring Ronald Torreyes from second base. In the fifth, Hoskins worked a four-pitch walk opposite the hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman, before he singled again to right field in the seventh.
According to Baseball Savant, Hoskins had an average exit velocity of 98.9 miles per hour, including reaching up to 102.2 miles per hour. He saw 22 pitches, 15 of which were four-seam fastballs.
It is hard to take spring training performances seriously, but Nola and Hoskins surely shined Monday evening, with the regular season not too far away.