(Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
The Phillies took home their second win of Spring Training today, beating the Atlanta Braves 12-11 in an absolute slug-fest. One bright spot for the Philadelphia pitching staff was the work of Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson gave up one run over two innings of work, striking out five Braves in the process.
The 28-year-old righty is competing against Aaron Nola for the Opening Day starting spot. Early indications are that Hellickson, given his experience and ability, will earn that right at some point during Spring Training. Andrew Bailey and Chris Leroux were the only Philliesâ€™ pitchers to toss scoreless frames as the rest of the Phillies bullpen was lit up for 8 runs over four innings of work. However, this is no time to worry. The first few weeks of March are crucial to a pitcher as they continue to build up their arm strength and work on their command, so early results donâ€™t necessarily tell the story.
The Phillies were led offensively by Maikel Franco. Franco went 2-3 on the day, launching his second home run of the spring.
However, the hero of the day would be Cedric Hunter. The Phillies were trailing by two with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as Hunter stepped into the box. After getting himself into a 1-2 count, Hunter laced a Jason Hursh fastball over the right field fence to give the Phillies the victory.
Hunter appeared for a cup of coffee with San Diego in 2011 before being bounced around the minor leagues the last four seasons. The 27-year old from Georgia spent the 2015 season with the Gwinnett Braves hitting .283 with 12 home runs and 77 Rbis. Hunter signed as a free agent with the Phillies in January.
The Phillies will be back at it again tomorrow against the Toronto Blue Jays. The aforementioned Aaron Nola takes the mound against Drew Hutchinson and a very potent Blue Jaysâ€™ line up. First pitch is slated for 1:07 PM.
Credit to MLB.com for the highlight videos. You can follow S.P. Duckworth on Twitter for more Phillies news and analysis.