A lot happened for a game that was shortened to five innings because of rain in Bradenton, Fla. The Phillies and Pirates played to a 3-3 tie, with five of the six runs scoring on home runs. Aaron Nola (0-0, 7.20) gave up two solo home runs and the Phillies got a two-run shot from Rhys Hoskins and a solo homer from Mickey Moniak.
OFFENSE – Rhys Hoskins picked up his first home run and his first two RBI of the spring when he homered off reliever Roansy Contreras in the fourth inning. Morandini’s home run came in the following inning and tied the game. The home runs were the only two hits for the Phils through five innings. They had drawn two walks and struck out three times in the game. Hoskins is now batting .333 (3-for-9) in his four games this spring.
HR – Hoskins (1), Moniak (1); 3B – none; 2B – none; LOB – 1
PITCHING – On the same day that manager Joe Girardi named Aaron Nola to make his fifth straight opening day start, the Phillies pitcher allowed three earned runs on three hits over three innings of work. Nola didn’t walk a batter and he struck out three with 34 of his 48 pitches going for strikes. Right-hander James McArthur gave up three hits and a walk resulting in one earned run in just 2/3 of an inning before Mike Adams came on to get the final out of the fourth by striking out the only hitter he faced. Cam Bedrosian pitched the fifth and gave up two hits but no runs.
PHILLIES NOTES – Two pitchers who are behind schedule – Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suarez – will move a step closer to pitching in a spring game this weekend when they throw live batting practice. Wheeler will throw on Saturday and Suarez will throw Sunday. Girardi believes that both will be ready to make their first start some time during the first week of the season… Girardi officially put Moniak into the discussion to win the center field job for opening day. Odubel Herrera will start the year on the IL and could miss up to a full month of the season because of an oblique injury. Moniak’s home run was a monster and Girardi has spotted adjustments made to Moniak’s swing and he likes what he sees. “Great swing (on the homer), we really like the little adjustments that he’s made. He’s gotten closer to the plate, he’s not crossing over now. We think it’s going to pay big dividends,” said Girardi after Thursday’s game.
ON THE AGENDA – The Phillies are back in Clearwater on Friday to host the Yankees. Kyle Gibson (0-0, 0.00) threw two shutout innings in his first start and will be back on the mound for Philadelphia. He will be opposed by right-hander Luis Severino (0-0, 18.00) for the Yanks.