Phillies top prospect Kingery to bat leadoff against Biagini, Blue Jays in Grapefruit League opener
Flyers-Senators: Game 62 Preview

Eflin, Phillies look for first win of the 2018 Grapefruit League campaign

By Matt Albertson, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

CLEARWATER, Fla — The Philadelphia Phillies return to the diamond for the third time this year on Saturday when they take on the Baltimore Orioles in Grapefruit League action. Young rotation hopeful Zach Eflin will toe the slab for the Phils against Baltimore's Dylan Bundy, a 13 game winner in 2017. 

On Friday, the Phillies kicked off the Grapefruit League slate with a 2-1 defeat against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Starter Nick Pivetta struggled early, surrendering two runs in the first inning, including a home run to leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson. Left fielder Danny Ortiz scored the only run of the game for Philadelphia with a home run off of Toronto hurler Sean Reid-Foley.

Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler hinted during the offseason that recently signed free agent Carlos Santana has the tools to hit leadoff, and has placed the veteran first baseman in the leadoff spot to this afternoon's game. Rhys Hoskins will bat second, which means it's clear that Kapler wants his two power hitters to have more at-bats in this game and put the pressure on early in the first inning. 


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Away Team (W-L) Home Team (W-L)
RHP  Dylan Bundy RHP Zach Eflin
(2017 13-9, 4.24 ERA) (2017 1-5, 6.16 ERA)

Eflin, 23, is projected to begin the year in the Phillies' rotation and will look to start his spring off right with command of the strike zone and solid mechanics. The native Floridian has struggled with injuries in the past and spent significant time on the disabled list in 2017. But he's been a full participant in the first week and a half of spring training and hasn't faced any limitations. Eflin explained to The Athletic's Matt Gelb "now that I'm healthy, I'm able to participate in everything and actually feel like I'm growing and getting stronger. It all feels like it's coming together." With his health issues hopefully in the past, Eflin feels he can significantly contribute to the club in 2018. 

Bundy, 25, will open 2018 as a member of a revamped Orioles rotation that includes Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman, and the recently signed Andrew Cashner. In 2017, he started 28 games, completed one, and posted a shutout in 169.2 innings of work. Bundy had a 1.196 WHIP last season, good enough for 8th in the American League. 


Starting Lineups:

Away Team (W-L) Home Team (W-L)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1  RF  Presley 1  1B  Santana
2 CF  Mullins  2  LF Hoskins 
3  DH Santander  3 Alfaro 
4 1B   Davis 4 RF  Altherr 
5 3B  Mountcastle  5 2B  Hernandez 
6 Sisco  6  SS Crawford 
7 2B  Tejada  7  DH  Joseph
8 LF  Stewart   L 8  3B Flaherty 
9 SS  Sardinas  9  CF Quinn

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

What's Next:

  • Sunday, February 25, 2018: vs. New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
    • Spectrum Field
    • TBA vs. TBA
    • TV: MLB Nework, NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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