Summer Camp Game 1 - Saturday Night, July 18th in Washington
Record - 15-5-1
One Sentence Summary: In front of no fans at Nationals Park, the Phillies returned to exhibition play with a decisive 7-2 win over the Nationals.
What It Means: This is the first live game summary post I've had the pleasure to compose since the 20th game of spring training back in mid-March. Live baseball is back for now.
What Happened: Aaron Nola started and looked ready for the start of the regular season. Against a line-up of Nationals regulars, Nola pitched five strong innings allowing a hit while striking out four. Max Scherzer started for the Nationals and got hit fairly hard in his first Summer Camp outing. Didi Gregorius, masked up, hit a three-run home run in the first and Bryce Harper followed that up with a three-run home run of his own in the second.
Featured Card: Harper continues to look locked in and for whatever it's worth, his 1 for 3 performance raised his spring/summer exhibition average to .474. There have continued to be baseball card releases during the shut-down, including this card from the Topps Now Road to Opening Day set that arrive in my mail box in early May. According to the Topps website, there were 496 of these sets produced.
Camp Head Count: 49 - 4 = 45. The Phillies officially removed four players from their roster on Saturday afternoon. Two of the moves were procedural with right-handed pitcher Victor Arano optioned to "Phillies Alternate Training Site," per the team's website, and catcher Henri Lartigue removed from the Player Pool.
The other two moves were somewhat surprising, as the team announced the release of veterans Francisco Liriano (lhp) and Logan Forsythe (inf). Both seemed to have a real chance of making the 30-man opening day roster given their spring performances, but manager Joe Girardi has indicated the Phillies could go with a more youthful bullpen and bench. Related to the Phillies' bench, the team also announced super utility man Neil Walker had made the club and a corresponding roster move will eventually be needed to add him to the 40-man roster.