Philadelphia Phillies: Opening the season in grand fashion

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

If writing a Hollywood script, the Philadelphia Phillies couldn’t have penned a more fitting open to their 2019 campaign.

After an exciting offseason of player acquisitions, the Philadelphia Phillies answered the bell with an impressive win to open the season against the division rival Atlanta Braves. Following the additions of Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, and J.T. Realmuto among others, Philadelphia was in a frenzy leading up to first pitch, and boy did the Phillies deliver!

The Phillies put the NL East on warning Thursday afternoon with a convincing 10-4 victory. In doing so, the boys from South Philly declared a new sheriff in town.

Boy did the game get off to a hot start. After Aaron Nola disposed of the Braves one, two, three in the first, up stepped free-agent acquisition Andrew McCutchen to the plate. Ahead in the count 2-0, “Cutch” crushed a Julio Teheran fastball into the left-centerfield seats. The thunderous roar of anticipation that was emanating throughout the ballpark only grew louder.

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Nola wasn’t as crisp in the season opener but recovered nicely after running into some command issues early. This may be more encouraging than had he been his dominant self. It showed that he has the ability to battle through adversity, gather himself, and actually get stronger as the game progresses.

Nola would end up providing six effective innings of one-run ball.

One of the most encouraging signs to come from the game was all of the timely hits. After McCutchen’s leadoff home run, the next five runs from the Phillies came with two outs. How often did we see that last year?

In the bottom half of the fourth, Odubel Herrera knocked a hard hit single up the middle scoring Jean Segura. Next up stepped Cesar Hernandez who sent a liner into left bringing in Realmuto from second base, providing the Phillies a 3-1 lead. Two innings later, with two men on and two outs, Maikel Franco smacked a three-run homer into the left-field stands.

The Braves would go on to bring the score to 6-3 before one big blast from Rhys Hoskins would send the Philly faithful into a state of euphoria, capping off a 10-4 win.

Though only one game, this was a statement victory to kick off the season and quite accurately depicts a microcosm of how good this team can be.

Bryce Harper was probably a bit over aggressive at the plate. Understandable for a guy trying to immediately endear himself to the city with one gargantuan swing. [As if the Phanatic cleats, pregame t-shirt, and welcoming attitude haven’t already done the trick. (See our very own Matty Breisch’s excellent story here.)]

Harper finished 0-3 at the dish in his Phillies debut, receiving one pivotal intentional walk in the seventh that directly set up Hoskins’ impending grand slam, the first of his young career. First base was open, and the Braves chose to bypass the righty-lefty matchup in favor of facing Hoskins, who made them pay in a memorable way.

This game had everything, and the anticipation and enthusiasm matched the result. A quality performance from Nola. A deep Phillies lineup which proved their ability to wreak havoc in any number of ways from batters one through eight. And a team-first mentality where one player is ready to pick up the next.

The official tagline this season for the Philadelphia Phillies is “#RingTheBell.” As that bell is ringing following each Phillies win, the Harry Kalas-led “High Hopes” echoes throughout the ballpark’s speakers.

Flashes of dominance highlight Aaron Nola’s opening day. dark. Next

If this game is any indication, get your vocal cords ready because there will be much singing ahead.