The Phranchise is off and running!
This is the first post of the (simulated) season so let’s map some things out.
First and foremost, formatting of these articles. We’ll cover any major changes to lineups, rotation, bullpen, and 40-man roster at the top of the write-up. From there we’ll go in to game summaries. After that we’ll jump into AA/AAA top performers once the minor-league season gets underway and will end with it open to comments about how we approach the next series. Clear? Clear.
Moving on, the comments have been awesome. In the future, any suggestions that turn green in the comment section (4+ recs) will be applied to the Phranchise. The first article had several interesting suggestions (including making a human sacrifice, not a feature included in this year’s game) on how to play our first series at Miami. The implemented suggestions, in no particular order, are:
1) Realmuto to 4th, Hoskins to 6th in the batting order.
2) Kingery to 7th in the order, CF spot to 8th.
3) Quinn and Haseley platooning in CF, Haseley gets the start against RHP.
5) Bruce and Williams to the trading block.
6) Neris to Closer, Robertson to Setup.
7) Velasquez to bullpen, Spencer Howard up from AA to the 5th spot in the starting rotation.
So… we have ideas to build on. Once we’ve put all of these into practice let’s go ahead and sim through the first 4-game set at (a probably empty) Marlins Park in Miami.
3/26/2020: Phillies 6; Marlins 5 (F/10), W: Victor Arano (1-0), L: Conley (0-1)
Nola pitched 5 respectable innings and allowed 3 earned on 5 hits, but left the game on the hook for the L as the Phillies didn’t get the scoring started until a 2-run top of the 7th. The bats made a late-inning appearance as Hoskins (1) and Realmuto (1) each homered to take a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the 9th just in time for Neris to come in and… blow the first save opportunity of the season. A Realmuto sac fly in the top of the 10th made the difference as the Phils escaped in a nailbiter.
3/27/2020: Phillies 5, Marlins 2; W: Zack Wheeler (1-0), L: Pablo Lopez (0-1)
Zack. Wheeler. The guy goes 8 strong innings with 4 strikeouts and 2 earned on 6 hits before giving the mound to Neris, who made up for the previous night’s blown save (not in style, however, as he walked 2 and turned a routine appearance into a 9th inning escape act). The Phillies relied on the strength of home runs from Harper (1) and Realmuto (2) while Haseley added 2 RBIs with two doubles in his 4-for-4 showing.
3/28/2020: Marlins 6, Phillies 2; W:Caleb Smith (1-0), L: Jake Arrieta (0-1)
Jake Arrieta gave up 7 hits and 5 earned in just 4 innings in a game that we shouldn’t dive too deep into. Hoskins’ second homer of the year was a bright spot in what really just amounts to a bad day for baseball. Moving on.
3/29/2020: Marlins 7, Phillies 5; W: Josh Roeder (1-0), L: Vince Velasquez (0-1)
Eflin struggled in his first appearance of the season giving up 4 runs in 5 innings, but left the game in a 4-4 tie thanks to 2-run shots from Harper (2) and Kingery (1). Vince Velasquez took the bump from his newly-appointed bullpen role and gave up 3 runs on 2 hits in – let me make sure I get this right – 2/3 of an inning. Sweet. Didi brought in a run with a 9th-inning single to close the gap but the rally fizzled as the Phils dropped to .500 after a 4-game trip to Miami to start the season.
So… a 2-2 start in Miami isn’t what we were all hoping for, but the Nats are leading the NL East at 2-1 after a 3-game set in Flushing, NY and are heading into Miami for a 3-game set before their home opener. 162-0 might be off the table, but it’s still early so let’s see where this goes. Hey, we’re on track for 81-81!
HIGH POINTS: The bats are alive. Realmuto, Hoskins, and Harper each have 2 home runs through the first series and are all slugging near the .700 mark. Adam Haseley is off to a 5-for-11 start and is tied for the league lead in doubles.
LOW POINTS: The pitching (hey, this game might be more realistic than we thought). Arrieta is off to an 11.25 ERA in his first 4 innings pitched, Eflin and VV both have ERAs above 7, and Neris is basically serving up late-inning batting practice. Anybody have Brad Lidge’s number? Looking ahead, Spencer Howard is on the hill for his first big-league start at Citi Field in the next game, which should definitely be interesting. Just remember that you put him in the rotation, not me. Unless he goes 8 scoreless, then it was my idea.
What changes do we make here, and what comes next? TGP’s Phranchise will be back for more!