Jeanmar Gomez made things interesting in the ninth, but the Phillies escaped Great American Ballpark on Monday with a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the season opener. The Phillies tallied seven extra-base hits on the day, jumping on Reds' starter Scott Feldman early with a pair of runs in the opening frame highlighed by a Cesar Hernandez solo shot to open the contest.
Did You Notice
Hernandez worked the count to open the contest before eventually launching a Scott Feldman fastball into the seats in right center field. The at-bat lasted eight pitches and demonstrated a patient approach at the plate that carried throughout much of the lineup. On Monday the club saw an average of 4.25 pitches per plate appearance, a stark contrast to the 3.81 average last season - 27th worst in baseball.
Beyond the Boxscore
With a pair of hits including a homer, Freddy Galvis had the highest WPA at the plate for the Phillies at .088. His wOBA was also tops for the Phillies at .816. Beyond Galvis, Jeremy Hellickson put up the highest WPA of the day at a combined .187 (.063 at the plate and 1.24 on the mound). Joaquin Benoit also performed well (1.25), inheriting a runner on second in the sixth before striking out a pair and inducing a pop-fly to center. Tommy Joseph had the lowest WPA for the Phillies at -.076 thanks in part to a pair of strikeouts.
"I had two guys up in the 'pen in that ninth inning," said manager Pete Mackanin. "(Gomez) is just not getting the ball down the way he did when he was successful. I want to make sure that he gets opportunities, but at the same time, I don't want to let games slip away."
The leash on Gomez is short and Mackanin believes he has other arms in the bullpen that are extremely capable of stepping into the closer role. He's loyal to Gomez for now, but that may change quickly if outings like Monday persist.
Most Important Play
Michael Saunders' two-out RBI-double in the first was the largest sway in win expectancy on the day for the Phillies at 1.01 WPA. The shot to center gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Hellickson only threw 67 pitches before being lifted in the sixth. Through five innings he scattered six hits while surrendering just one run. He also notched a strikeout and walked a batter. His Game Score was 54. His average Game Score last year was 53.7.
Tuesday is an off-day so the series resumes Wednesday night with Jerad Eickhoff scheduled to oppose Brandon Finnegan.