Daniel Nava scraped onto the Phillies’ 2017 opening day roster by the skin of his teeth, but if his performance Thursday afternoon against the Reds was any indication, he might be sticking around for a while. Nava was almost the entirety of the Phillies’ offense in a 7-4 loss to the Reds in a cold, wet Thursday afternoon affair.
For the second time in the series, the Phillies got a first-inning homerun. On Monday, it was Cesar Hernandez providing the power. This time around, it was Nava, who cracked a solo blast into the right field seats to put the Phillies in front.
The Reds got a run back in the bottom half of the 2nd inning, but the Phillies answered with a three-run third, with plenty of help coming from Nava. Hernandez singled to start the inning, and Nava followed by turning on Cincinnati right-hander Rookie Davis’ 88 MPH change-up. Nava sent another one into the right field bleachers, giving the Phillies a 3-1 advantage.
Odubel Herrera also seemed eager to atone for his Wednesday night baserunning sins. Herrera, you will remember, was nearly thrown out at second base in the 9th inning, with a replay reversal keeping the Phillies alive before eventually falling 2-0.
Thursday would be a bit different, though, as Herrera doubled down the right field line following Nava’s homerun. Herrera then reached third base on a ground out, taking off from second after shortstop Zack Cozart launched the ball to first for the out. One batter later, Herrera scored on a wild pitch to put the Phillies up 4-1. That’s the kind of baserunning you want to see from Herrera.
That would end up being the end of Davis’ afternoon. The Reds’ right-hander ended up throwing 38 pitches in that third frame, chasing him from the game after allowing five hits and four earned runs. There wouldn’t be much else to celebrate for the Phillies on offense, though.
Clay Buchholz’s debut ended up being a real mixed bag; he ran into trouble in the 4th inning, allowing the Reds to tie the game at four a piece. Buchholz threw 51 of his 77 pitches for strikes, allowing seven hits and four earned runs while walking two and striking out three. He was never really sharp at any point in the game, and didn’t seem to have swing-and-miss type stuff as the raindrops continued to fall.
If you were looking for a more frustrating way to lose a game than the now-patented lack of run support for Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Morgan had your answer. Morgan entered in the 6th inning, got the first two outs with relative ease, but ran into problems against reliever Michael Lorenzen.
With just a four-man bench at his disposal Reds manager Bryan Price opted to go with Lorenzen as a pinch-hitter, knowing that he probably wasn’t available to pitch out of the bullpen after appearing in the first two games of the series. It would prove to be the right move. Lorenzen, pinch-hitting for Cody Reed, who was far from sharp in relief for the Reds, crushed a solo homerun over the center field wall to give the Reds a 5-4 lead. Lorenzen is no slouch; he hit .324/.394/.478 with 11 HR in his college career at Cal State Fullerton. Nonetheless, not a good look, Adam Morgan.
Morgan allowed another homerun in the 7th inning, a two-run shot from Adam Duvall, to put the Reds up 7-4 and put the Phillies away for good.
The cherry on top? The Phillies’ offense, mostly dormant in the early going this season, gets the wonderful reward of facing Max Scherzer tomorrow afternoon in the home opener. Buckle up.