It's Spring Training, so tradition dictates that we all incautiously extrapolate based on minuscule samples against lesser competition. In that spirit, I encourage all of you to take the incredibly favorable odds on the Phillies winning the 2015 World Series. Don't waste time thinking; just do it.
The Phillies won their first Grapefruit League game today in a swiftly played (less than 2.5 hours) contest with the Yankees. I took a couple of notes during the game. Some are more important than others. None of them are particularly important, though, since it's Spring Training.
- Odubel Herrera is leaving the ghost of Michael Martinez--which haunts all Rule 5 utility-types--behind. Today he went 3-for-4 with 3 SB (which is a bit misleading because 2 were on wild pitches) and 2 runs. There was even completely level-headed and reasonable buzz on Twitter concerning his
MVPROY candidacy. Absent any compelling evidence against such assertions, I have no choice but to declare him the current favorite for the award.
- Howard went 0-for-3 today. After I talked up his Best Shape of His Life status yesterday and Justin fawned over his promising debut, Howard came back down to earth. First impressions being as infallible as they are, we should all expect a bounce back performance tomorrow.
- Maikel Franco started at 3rd and delivered a performance that didn't lend itself to any Hot Spring Training Reactions, going 1-for-4. That one hit, however, was an RBI grounder up the middle that generated a MLB At Bat description representative of the sharpness of play in early March:
"Maikel Franco singles on a ground ball the center fielder Mason Williams. Odubel Herrera scores. Domonic Brown out at home, center fielder Mason Williams to pitcher Kyle Davies to catcher Brian McCann to third baseman Chase Headley to catcher Brian McCann."
- Ethan Martin did not look great. His fastball was sitting in the 86-88 range. Had shoulder issues last year, which can be death for pitchers, so the fastball being 86-88 when it used to be in the mid-90s is quite the concern. I was optimistic he would convert well to a bullpen role, but if this is what he has left after should troubles, that optimism will wane quickly.
- Hector Neris, on the other hand, looked good. He went 2 innings with no hits and 2 strikeouts. His fastball was touching 94. While he only pitched one inning with the Phillies last year (surrendering no hits and striking out one), he struck out a batter an inning in 58 AAA innings. He's definitely in play for one of the last bullpen spots.
Name Of The Game: Wilking Rodriguez (Yankees RHP)
Cliff Lee is scheduled to start tomorrow, so let the anticipation begin for some more Hot Spring Training Reaction. Unfortunately, as best I can tell, it will not be on TV, so all the takes will have to come from in-the-trenches guerilla reportage.
Save your worries for tomorrow because today we are champions!