Philadelphia – The 20th home opener in Citizens Bank Park history was delayed one day, but none the less the Phillies put together an all-around game to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 before a sellout crowd of 44,365 fans on a chilly but dry day under cloudy skies in South Philadelphia.
“At times, we’ve done a lot of good things,” said shortstop Trea Turner, who was making his home debut as a Phillie after signing an 11-year, $300 million contract in the off-season. “We’ve gotten a lot of hits, but we haven’t necessarily scored, we’ve made some plays on defense, and we’ve pitched at times. We just have to put it all together. Today, I thought we did that. I thought we played really well in all facets, and everybody contributed.”
Phillies Facing Hard-throwing Greene
The Phillies were facing hard-throwing Hunter Greene for the first time. The 23-year-old is in his second season in the Majors after being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. His velocity was as advertised, he threw 57 four-seam fastballs, and 17 of them reached 100 MPH or more, and none of the 57 were slower than 97. In the first inning, he struck out Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and J.T. Realmuto. All swinging and all on four pitches each.
However, it was Greene’s inability to find the strike zone that led to the Phillies’ first run. Nick Castellanos got a leadoff double and was standing on third when Greene issued three straight walks, the final one to Brandon Marsh, forced in Castellanos.
The third time through the lineup was Greene’s undoing, Turner led off the fifth with a single, and he scored when Schwarber doubled off the wall in the right-field corner.
Reds Make It A Game
The Reds got on the board with two outs in the fifth when Spencer Steer doubled. After a walk, he scored on a single by Jose Barrero. They tied it in the sixth when TJ Friedl doubled to start the inning. One out later, he was knocked in by Tyler Stephenson’s two-base hit to left-center field.
That would be it for Phillies’ starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Wheeler gave up two runs in five-and-a-third innings on five hits and three walks while striking out five. Despite a free pass, Andrew Bellatti closed the door in the sixth. Gregory Soto, who would ultimately be the winning pitcher, pitched a one, two, three sevenths. Jose Alvarado was dominant as he struck out the side in the eighth. Craig Kimbrel notched his first save as a Phillie despite allowing a hit and a walk in the ninth, but by that time, his teammates had added three runs by the longball to take control of the game.
In the seventh inning, Realmuto blasted the second-longest home run of his career to put the Phillies up to stay at 4-2. It was a 448-foot shot to left-center that scored Turner, who had singled. In the eighth, Edmundo Sosa hit his first-ever pinch-hit home run. The Phillies put together an all-around game to beat the Cincinnati Reds
It was the third-straight win in home openers for the Phillies and the fourth in the last five. The Bedlam at the Bank started before the game as injured stars Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins raised the 2022 pennant. Before the game, several members of the organization met with the family of fallen Temple University Police officer Christopher Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was murdered in the line of duty on February 18th. The officer was remembered, and his family was honored on the field during the game.
“I’m a very blessed individual,” said Castellanos, who, along with his nine-year-old son Liam, met with the family, “so any time we can give back and make other people happy or take whatever weight or pain they might be feeling at the moment and kind of ease that. We’re very happy to do so.”…Dating back to August 26, 2022, Alvarado has thrown 16-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. He’s struck out 31 of the 56 batters he faced, he’s walked three and allowed just four hits – all singles.
He’s struck out multiple batters in a club-record 10-straight appearance…Prior to the game, the Phillies recalled infielder Kody Clemens, son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger, from triple-A Lehigh Valley. Clemens started at first base. He took the roster spot of infielder Darick Hall, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain. Hall will need surgery and is expected to miss a significant amount of time.
Rock Hoffman has been covering sports in the Philadelphia region for over 30 years. He’s been the co-host of a radio show – SportsPage – on the Delaware Valley Radio Network (WRDV.org) in the time. He’s reported on games involving all the Philadelphia teams at the profession and collegiate levels. During his career he’s provided coverage for a Super Bowl, an All-Star Game, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games as well NFL, MLB and NHL playoff games. Additionally, he’s the College Football Editor for Football Stories Magazine (FootballStories.com).