For the first time since 2014, the Phillies held on to win an opening day start.
The best moments of this game were undoubtedly in the early innings. Starter Jeremy Hellickson dealt pitches as if he was dealing punishments to... uh... evil Nazis who need punishment? He was pitching well, okay? That’s all you need to know.
And Hellickson was supported by some early offense. And I do mean EARLY. Cesar Hernandez, who is currently the Phillies lead-off hitter, led off the game with a home run.
You are not hallucinating. I did write, that, you read it, and it absolutely happened. Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a home run. Seriously. And then? (Oh yeah, there’s more.) A Howie Kendrick single was wiped off the board thanks to an Odubel Herrera double play, but Maikel Franco followed that up with a single. And Michael Saunders doubled, and what do you think Franco did? HE WENT FOR IT. He ran like a hellion, diving for home plate and juuuuuust getting his hand onto the base to score. Two runs in the first, it was like an embarrassment of riches!
And then, in the next inning, Freddy Galvis attacked his first at-bat of the 2017 with the same vim and vigor as Cesar Hernandez. Freddy — I’m sorry, EL FALCON, that’s what we’re calling him now — hit a solo home run, just like Cesar did. Just two incomplete innings into the 2017 season, the Phillies had three runs and two homers.
And then things slowed down. In the third, Hellickson gave up two straight singles to the Reds, and then two sacrifice plays scored a run. The Phillies wouldn’t score again until the sixth inning, when El Falcon (yeah, get used to it, that’s his name now) doubled. Jeremy Hellickson, in his last at-bat of the game, followed that up with a TRIPLE to score El Falcon. It was really a double and an error, but this was the opposing scorers doing this, so I’m not going to argue. It was 4-1, so I was definitely not going to argue.
And then the evil ninth inning. The inning that gave the Phillies so many issues during the 2016 opening series. It was Jeanmar Gomez this time, and... oy. He gave up a two-run home run to Scooter Gennett that gave all of us either a heart attack or an ACID FLASHBACK, THANKS JEANMAR. Thankfully, he shut it down for the third out and the Phillies got the win.
The Phillies got the win. It wasn’t all pretty, but there were parts that were pretty damn good. And I’ll settle for that any day.
161 more to go. Show us what you’ve got, boys, because we’re here to see it.