Remember last year when the Phillies traded for Asdrubal Cabrera and he wasn’t very good, and the team cratered after he came aboard? It’s still early, but I think it’s fair to say that the trade for Jay Bruce is working out a little better. On Friday night, he made a little bit of history.
According to @EliasSports, Jay Bruce is the first #Phillies player who debuted with the team in the modern era to hit four home runs in his first four games with the team.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 8, 2019
Bruce’s two-run blast combined with strong pitching from Zach Eflin and the bullpen allowed the Phillies to start out their homestand with a 4-2 win over the Reds.
Eflin’s night started off shaky when he gave up a home run to Joey Votto in the first inning, and had to pitch out of a bases loaded jam in the second. He settled down after that, pitching 6.1 innings, and the only run he allowed after the first was unearned.
Thanks to the unstoppable Bruce, the Phillies took the lead in the fifth, and they tacked on two more insurance runs thanks to errors by the Reds.
Of course gaining a lead is one thing, and holding it is another. With Seranthony Dominguez headed to the injured list, the Phillies have a dearth of proven relievers. So it’s up to guys like Jose Alvarez and Vince Velasquez to step up. On Friday night, those two were up to the task, with Velasquez looking especially strong, striking out two in his inning of work.
In the ninth, Hector Neris remained perfect in save opportunities when he worked around two base runners to shut the door on the Reds.
Hector Neris pitches a scoreless ninth to pick up his 13th save in 13 save opportunities this season. He has a 1.35 ERA since his first appearance of the year. #Phillies win, 4-2.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 8, 2019
There may be a day when Jay Bruce plays a game for the Phillies and doesn’t hit a home run. Fortunately, that day was not Friday, and because of it, the Phillies earned a win.