Phillies: 3 positive signs, 2 things to forget from Opening Day

Gregory Soto of the Philadelphia Phillies
Gregory Soto of the Philadelphia Phillies / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3

J.T. Realmuto was also a positive for the Phillies in Game 1 of their season.

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto batted 3-for-5 in the season opener — including a double and triple, one run scored, and a stolen base. Realmuto already has a good start on his career-high of 21 stolen bases — a feat he accomplished just last year. The widely known "best catcher in baseball" stayed locked in from his participation for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Realmuto hit 6-for-12 in the tournament with two doubles, two RBI, and a slash line of .500/.553/.667. As the overall smart hitter that he is, Realmuto took what the Rangers’ pitchers gave him while at the plate.

Among the best signs to think that Realmuto is locked in was in his third inning at-bat against Jacob deGrom. The situation for J.T. was a 2-1 count with no runners on base. deGrom had his fastball with ease so that was being used to set up his devastating 91-92 miles per hour slider. Rangers catcher Jonah Heim called a slider to the outside bottom corner of the plate to get Realmuto to swing and miss — or to poke one lightly at first baseman Nathaniel Lowe or second baseman Marcus Semien. That outcome did not come to fruition for deGrom, as Realmuto made good enough contact to drop the ball in shallow right field along the foul line. If that piece of hitting wasn’t admirable enough, Realmuto had great anticipation — as he ran hard right out of the box to stretch the bloop hit to a double on a bang-bang play. It is safe to say that Realmuto is locked in early.

The Phillies collected eight extra-base hits in the season opener.

The final positive sign from the Phillies' 2023 Opening Day is their eight extra-base hits in the 11-7 defeat. Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, J.T. Realmuto, and Nick Castellanos all hit doubles to various spots on the field. Bohm and Marsh hit their doubles down opposite baselines, Bohm hit his down the first base line and Marsh hit his down the third base line. Realmuto, Trea Turner, and Marsh all hit triples of their own. Marsh, and Turner legged out triples after sneaking hits past the fielder down the first base line.

Without a fully healthy lineup — which won’t happen all season due to Rhys Hoskins’ devastating injury — the Phillies showed up with their bats ready. The team hit the ball hard throughout most of the game. That was good enough to chase deGrom out of the game in just 3 2/3 innings pitched. DeGrom allowed six hits, five earned runs, and a home run. The Phillies took advantage of knowing full well that deGrom was on a pitch limit to begin his season, as he is coming back from a right scapula injury.

Bohm’s home run was significant for two reasons. He is improving on hitting fastballs and deGrom gave up a home run on an elevated 99 miles per hour fastball for the third time in his career — joining Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Andrew Stevenson. Bohm comfortably hitting high heat is a positive indicator that will be for sure monitored in his potential breakout year.