Spring Training Notes: Phillies Bullpen, Haseley Injury, and Odubel Herrera
Rule number one of Spring Training is to never look at the box score and make serious assumptions about what you might find. However, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 yesterday down in Clearwater, Florida and it’s really hard to ignore how great pitching was for the Phillies. Yesterday was the first real glimpse of what the bullpen could actually look like as we inch closer to Opening Day. Starting rotation hopeful Chase Anderson got the start for the Phillies and threw two scoreless innings, allowing zero hits and striking out three.
Questions definitely remain about the Phillies pitching, in terms of who will make the starting rotation and how the bullpen will shape up. The Phillies still do not have a certified closer, but they definitely have some options to explore. The Phillies approach this year is to bank on guys who pitched well in 2019 and developing young talent such as Connor Brogdon and JoJo Romero. It’s a risky play heading into the season but when you’re coming off a year with a historically bad bullpen, it’s refreshing to see some type of strategy in place to improve.
Spencer Howard, got things rolling yesterday with a beautiful inning in relief for Chase Anderson. Howard struck out two. After making his Spring debut, Archie Bradley was asked about the Phillies’ bullpen and mentioned several guys he was excited about. The always outspoken Bradley added “I would throw Spencer Howard in there, too.” Much like the previous day where Matt Moore pitched and Vincent Velasquez pitched in the relief, the same happened yesterday with Anderson and Howard.
Spencer Howard is the Phillies’ organization top pitching prospect and the hope was that he could join the rotation, but if Moore and Anderson continue to pitch well, there might be an avenue for him to make the roster as a bullpen arm. Archie Bradley was initially thought to be a starting pitcher before settling in nicely as a relief pitcher in Arizona and Cincinnati.
Following Spencer Howard, Archie Bradley was first in line, followed by Héctor Neris, José Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod, and finally JoJo Romero. Each pitcher threw one scoreless inning. There was a sense of confidence and anger on the mound which was great to see and each pitcher that entered the game seemingly threw harder than the one before them. Overall, they held the Pirates to just two hits and two walks. They struck out eight batters. Yes it was the Pirates and week two of Grapefruit League action, but there’s reason to believe that the bullpen with significantly improve from last year’s disaster.
Bryce Harper makes Spring Debut
Bryce Harper hit an opposite field home run. He finished the day with two at-bats, two hits, a home run, two RBI, and a run scored. Andrew McCutchen also hit a home run and Brad Miller, Didi Gregorius, Roman Quinn, Travis Jankowski all got hits for the Phillies.
Haseley out 4+ Weeks
Following yesterday’s 3-0 win vs the Pittsburgh Pirates, Joe Girardi broke news that Adam Haseley will miss at least four weeks with a left groin strain. According to Girardi, Haseley injured his groin running on a 3-2 pitch during Thursday’s game against the Yankees.
With Haseley sidelined for at least a month, it’s unlikely to see him in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot. Haseley got things rolling for the Phillies this Spring with a home run on the second pitch of Grapefruit League play. Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, and outsiders Odubel Herrera and Mickey Moniak just got a bump in the centerfield competition.
Currently the Phillies’ are very right-handed heavy, with only Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius batting left throughout their lineup. Odubel Herrera and Mickey Moniak both bat left-handed and have increased the competition in the outfield this Spring after performing well early on. I’m still not sold on Roman Quinn making the roster given the surprising depth in the outfield. Quinn has shown flashes of talent, especially on the base paths, but only hit .213 last season.
The Phillies will play the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05pm today. The game will not be televised. Check out the full Spring Training schedule here.