October 2, 2023

Takeaways after Phillies sweep Braves in opening series


Photo via Philadelphia Phillies' Twitter

Now this is how you start a season!

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 on Sunday afternoon to complete a three-game sweep.

Alec Bohm had the game-winning hit, a hard line-drive single up the middle with men on first and second in the bottom of the eighth.

Here are three takeaways:

Eflin bounces-back for an amazing outing

Starting pitcher Zach Eflin threw 23 pitches in the first inning. He bounced back and threw just 57 over the next six innings, an average of 9.5 pitches per inning. He struck out eight and induced two double plays.

Eflin’s strikeout rate has spiked as he’s hit his prime. He struck out 28.6% of the hitters he faced last season. To put that in perspective, he was at 12.5% as recently as 2017.

Knapp hits home run No. 1 for the team

Andrew Knapp hit the Phillies’ first home run of the season. It was a hard blast off the Jumbotron in front of the second deck in right field.

Knapp added an infield single in the seventh and advanced to third base with two outs on a over-thrown pickoff attempt by A.J. Minter. Roman Quinn struck out to end the inning.

Knapp will catch most of Eflin’s starts. He caught eight of the 11 last season.

J.T. Realmuto pinch-hit for Adam Haseley in the seventh inning and struck out.

Alvarado goes squeaky clean, Neris howsoever…

Jose Alvarado left the bases loaded in his first outing but was perfect this time around. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning against the bottom of the Braves’ order, striking out two and throwing just two balls.He threw seven sinkers in the inning. They registered 98, 98, 99, 100, 99, 100 and 99 mph.

Alvarado got the win.

Hector Neris — pitching in a third straight game — picked up the save with a higher-degree-of-difficulty ninth inning. After a Ronald Acuña Jr. strikeout and Ozzie Albies flyout, Neris walked Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna before a d’Arnaud popped out to right to end the game. It looked like Neris was overthrowing the ball. He threw more balls than strikes and missed often on the outside corner but did enough to finish the job.

Up next

The Phillies begin a three-game series Monday with the New York Mets, who haven’t played a game yet becuase their opening series against the Nationals was postponed as a bunch of Washington Nationals players tested positive for COVID-19. Because that series was postponed, the Phillies will see Jacob deGrom in game one. The flipside is that if the Mets stay on rotation and don’t skip anyone in their rotation, the schedule change would have deGrom miss next week’s four-game series between the teams. The Phillies will send out Matt Moore for his first start as a Phillie.

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