Now having to continually redeem themselves every year after their 2015 defeat, the Phillies embarked on the 2018 version of Spring Training with a 9-0 victory over the University of Tampa Spartans that might actually be remembered as 6-0. Who knows for sure?
The Phils managed to cram more than 25 players into the game, cycling through nearly everyone available to them. A handful of expected starters - Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez, to name four - did not play.
Only available to watch via a U. of Tampa stream that started out with poor play-by-play man Jack Eich sounding as if he was broadcasting from a wind tunnel at the gates of hell (which, had this game gone differently, could’ve been a more foreboding bit of foreshadowing), the two teams played a relatively tame bit of exhibition baseball; the four combined errors even felt par for the course. Through nine innings, no one homered and the only extra-base hit was a Tommy Joseph double in the first inning. But, spring being spring, the teams agreed to play a bottom of the ninth with the Phils, as the home squad, already having “won 6-0,” Homers from Zach Green and Andrew Pullin helped bump the margin up a few clicks more.
The Phillies smacked a few hits around in the supplemental bottom of the ninth before conceding their third out in order to advance to the mutually agreed-upon 10th.
The Phillies have conceded the 3rd out of the real-but-fake bottom of the 9th in order to play an extra inning in a 9-run game. They're just winging it. This is the XFL of baseball games. Spring Training!— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) February 22, 2018
Only the top half of the 10th ended up being played, and nothing really happened, and somewhere along the way everyone decided they’d finally had enough and ended the game. Again.
The players that are always of greater interest in these early spring games are the pitchers. Who has good early velo? Who has a pitch they’re clearly trying to work on above others? Who could position themselves as a surprising candidate to be a difference maker? If one appearance in one game is any indicator, Seranthony Dominguez is the guy to peep (and, if you’re a deep-league fantasy player, stash). The newly-converted reliever sat in the mid-to-upper-90s with his fastball, and (from the skewed, off-center angle we had on-stream) looked fantastic with his offspeed stuff, as well.
#TheKnight Seranthony Dominguez allowed a leadoff single, then struck out the side in the 7th. 95-96 on the fastball.— Kirsten Karbach (@Kirsten_Karbach) February 22, 2018
It’s no secret that the Phillies have what’s shaping up to be impressive pitching depth. On the starting end, it’s more quality than quantity, but the relief end could feature a bevy of capable supports and replacements in case anyone goes down during the season. Dominguez may be one quick-riser who could find himself pitching more meaningful innings later this summer.
On the position player end, a smattering of hits from Joseph, Pullin, Green, Nick Williams, Scott Kingery and others buoyed the offensive effort. Danny Ortiz also impressed, going 1-for-2 - his out being a well-struck fly to the track in left-center field - and making a nice defensive play in center. The Pirates cast-off is with the Phils as a non-roster invitee this spring after clubbing 15 homers and posting a .457 SLG in Triple-A last season.
The Phils’ next spring game is tomorrow, Friday, against the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. ET. Expect to see a few more regulars make their debuts and start rounding into game shape.