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
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Gregory Soto and Bryson Stott disappointed for the Phillies

Of the two things to forget from Opening Day, the first is Gregory Soto’s overall performance when in relief of Aaron Nola. Soto entered the game with only one out needed to record to get out of the inning. The situation that he came into was less than ideal. Soto let up a 1-2 bloop single on a fastball placed at the bottom of the zone. So, it was a good piece of hitting that helped continue the disaster inning for the Phillies. Soto walked the next batter to load the bases. Then, on a 2-1 fastball low in the zone, Soto got the weak contact that he was looking for. Lowe hit a very weak ball barely 15 feet away from the plate.

Soto fielded the ball kind of awkwardly. He was stumbling as he was bending to grab with his glove and flick the ball to J.T. Realmuto for the out at home plate. Due to the nature of the play, Soto had no other option but to attempt the out at home. The way Soto tripped over the grass could be potentially GIF-worthy if someone were inclined to make it. Other than that, it was mainly a forgettable play due to its difficulty. Also, it was less than ideal for a lefty like Soto to make that play, as it was hit toward third base — Soto’s glove side.

The second thing to forget from Opening Day is Bryson Stott’s 1-for-4 performance. Stott is anticipated to take a step up this season — his second full year in the majors. On top of that, manning the middle infield with shortstop Trea Turner should put Stott in a comfortable position to flourish with less pressure than last season. Stott came up to be the everyday shortstop for the Phillies, a position that has been largely unfulfilled since Jimmy Rollins’ departure.

Stott’s day was spent hitting sixth in the batting order. On top of his .250 average that he posted for the day, Stott struck out twice. In the top of the second inning, Stott called got caught looking at strike three and was sat down by Jacob deGrom. Then he led at the top of the fourth with a strikeout. This time, he picked the bat off his shoulders to swing at strike three. There’s no need to even remember the performance Stott put on against the Rangers. Stott didn’t do anything terribly bad or extraordinarily good in his first game of what is always a long season. He should forget about his day at the plate and fill his memory bank with better at-bats, better contact, and some hits.

Game 1 of the 2023 MLB regular season is in the books. The Phillies had both good and bad things happen on Opening Day. It felt like a short preview of what the season could feel like with increased competitiveness and split schedules. It will be an eventful rollercoaster of a season.