It was a beautiful day at Citizens Bank Park as the 2022 Phillies took the field for their very first regular season action. The energy in the stadium was palpable, even prior to first pitch, as it seemed the Phillies fan base had fully bought into Dave Dombrowski’s exciting moves this offseason. Well, it didn’t take long for those additions to start paying off. After a 1-2-3 inning from Aaron Nola in the top of the 1st, Kyle Schwarber hit a leadoff home run and the Phils were off and running. A 4 run 3rd inning helped to extend the lead for the Phils as Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Didi Gregorius all contributed their first RBIs of the year, taking advantage of Oakland’s starter Frankie Montas. While one Phillies addition (Schwarber) excelled in the opener, Nick Castellanos had himself a rough start to the season. He struck out 3 times in his debut in pinstripes, which was hopefully a quiet start to a loud career in Philly. More on that later.
While Nola had a good start to his afternoon, he did not have a great finish. In the top of the 7th he allowed 2 straight scorched hits, and despite Jeurys Familia warming in the bullpen, manager Joe Girardi decided to stick with his starter. It was a costly decision, as 1B Seth Brown promptly deposited a ball into the seats in right center to cut the Phils lead to 2. Unfortunately, it got worse from there. Bryson Stott, who had his first major league hit earlier in the contest, made a couple of costly defensive mistakes that led to another run for the A’s. With the score at 6-5 in the bottom of the 7th, Bryce Harper walked, setting up Nick Castellanos for his welcome moment as a Phillie. Castellanos ripped a ball down into the left field corner, scoring Harper to extend the Phils lead… then promptly got thrown out trying to take 3rd after a bobble from the cutoff man. It was Castellanos in a microcosm – aggressive, sometimes to a fault. Remind you of any other ballplayers? Right fielders, I guess.
After heart palpitations in the top of the 7th, Seranthony Dominguez, who only pitched a singular inning last year after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2020, had a shut down top of the 8th in his first action of the year. The Phils offense then reminded everyone that they’ll be here all year, hanging 2 more in the bottom of the 8th to make it a 4 run game. Despite there not being a save situation, Corey Knebel still got his first look as a Phillie, finishing out the day with a scoreless 9th inning. Just like that the 2022 Phillies improved to 1-0.
The player of the game was an easy pick. I’m giving it to Kyle Schwarber, who finished the afternoon 2-4 with a HR and 2 RBIs, effectively throwing himself a welcome party at The Bank. Rhys Hoskins also had 2 RBIs on the day. Aaron Nola gets his first win of the 2022 season. The two teams will face off tomorrow at 4pm with Kyle Gibson facing off against Cole Irvin.