Harper, Moniak combine for 4 HR as Phillies top Tigers 8-7
The Phillies Bryce Harper and Mickey Moniak combined for 4 HR and 6 RBI as they topped the Tigers by a score of 8-7 on Sunday afternoon in Clearwater.
Phillies Quick Hits:
Luke Arcaini predicts who’s in and who’s out of the Phillies Opening Day roster.
Bryce Harper paid tribute to fellow NL MVP Mike Schmidt in the 2022 Phillies Media Guide.
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Spring Training: Tigers @ Phillies
- Phillies Win 8-7
- Winning Pitcher Jonathan Hennigan (1-0)
- Losing Pitcher Jose Cisnero (0-1)
- Save Michael Kelly (1)
Opening Day starter Aaron Nola made his final appearance of the spring and looked locked in early on. Nola made quick work of the Tigers by striking out the side in the 1st, including this fastball to punch out Javier Baez.
The Phillies had Tigers #1 starter Casey Mize on the ropes early as Kyler Schwarber pelted this four seam fastball 446 feet onto the highway. That’s the longest home run I have seen in Clearwater all spring.
Not to be outdone, Bryce Harper decided to get in on the early action by taking Mize to the opposite field putting the Phillies up 2-0.
Harper is absolutely dominating the competition this spring slashing .370/.414/.963 and appears ready to defend his NL MVP belt from all challengers.
Bryce especially loves hitting the ball in Clearwater, FL. Just check out his career OPS at BayCare Ballpark since joining the Phillies…
For all the analytically challenged minds, OPS adds on-base percentage and slugging percentage to get one number that unites the two. It’s meant to combine how well a hitter can reach base, with how well he can hit for average and for power.
- 2019: 1.147
- 2020: 1.679
- 2021: 1.248
- 2022: 1.239
Not at all surprising considering Harper led the league with a 1.044 OPS in 2021.
If Aaron Nola has one glaring weakness, it is his propensity for allowing home runs.
In 2021, Nola allowed 26 long-balls, which was tied for 11th-most in baseball. Allowing home runs doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad pitcher but it can highlight a temporary lack of focus..
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole also allowed 26 and is a perennial Cy-Young Award candidate.
If Nola can find a way to limit the long ball by getting back to something closer to his 2018 number of 17, it would go a long way to propelling him back in the upper echelon of starting pitchers.
Nola gave up this shot to 2020 #1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson, cutting the Phillies lead to 2-1.
Nola finished the day 5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Phillies top prospect Bryson Stott has more than proven to Joe Girardi with his bat that he is worthy of starting Opening Day, although many still question whether the 24-year-old has the chops to effectively play third base so early in his career.
I’d say Stott looked pretty comfortable on this chopper to get the speedy Javier Baez. He has the footwork and arm strength of a natural shortstop which plays well in the modern game that so often sees the third basemen as the only infielder on the left side while implementing the shift.
Compare Stott to Alec Bohm, who in my opinion is too tall and lanky to effectively cover ground laterally on the left side of the infield.
Mickey Moniak hit his fourth home run of the spring, pulling this fastball 426 feet into the right field grass to increase the Phillies lead to 3-1.
I am getting maximum enjoyment watching the Moniak doubters squirm in their gaming chairs as they come up with new reasons why Mickey isn’t good.
Pleaseeee hit me up on twitter @slowbiasH to tell me why he’s been in the minors too long to be a starter at the MLB level.
As soon as Nola exited the ball game, Akil Baddoo rocketed this Jonathan Hennigan sinker to the opposite field for a two run home run knotting the game up at 3-3.
Hennigan, the former 21st round pick out of Texas State, has yet to appear in a major league game and had only logged one inning of work this spring before entering today’s game.
Is Mickey Moniak hitting himself into contention for the starting center field job? I think he has to be considered after smashing another home run to put the Phillies up 5-2 in the 6th inning.
If you listen closely Joe Girardi lets out an audible groan of satisfaction as he watches this opposite field shot fly over the left field fence.
While Matt Vierling projects as a better defender in center, he would be a much more effective hitter and benefit from a platoon situation. That situation was supposed to involve Odubel Herrera, who is currently sidelined 4-6 weeks with a hip injury.
Moniak appears to have shown the former convicted domestic abuser what it truly means to grab a situation by the throat.
Bryce Harper hit his second home run of the day off this Rony Garcia changeup to put the Phillies up 7-3.
If this was the regular season, I would think that opposing teams would simply choose to walk Harper rather than trying to get one past him.
Harper finished the day 3-4, 2 R, 3RBI
Jose Alvarado made his first appearance of Spring Training, striking out Willie Castro on a nice looking curveball. Alvarado threw one hitless frame allowing one walk and zero hits while absolutely lighting the radar gun on fire.
Everyone knows Alvarado throws incredibly hard. But if he is able to keep hitters off balance by controlling his secondary pitches, like in this at bat, he should be among the most valuable pitchers on the Phillies roster.
Rhys Hoskins put the Phillies up 8-3 courtesy of an Andrew Navigato error that would eventually prove to be the winning run. Hoskins also popped out to shortstop in an earlier at bat with the bases loaded in the 1st inning.
Dillon Maples entered the game in the 8th inning and promptly allowed home runs to Victor Reyes and Gage Workman to bring the Tigers within one run at 8-7.
Maples, already a long-shot to make the Opening Day roster, allowed four earned runs on four hits and also walked a batter in a disastrous 0.2 innings of work.
Michael Kelly entered the game and closed out the 9th inning to earn his first save in what was undoubtedly the most exciting game of Spring Training thus far.
Up Next for the Phillies
The Phillies take on the Yankees in Tampa on Monday at 1:05 p.m.
NBC Sports Philly WILL NOT carry the game!