As of Sunday afternoon it is officially baseball season. And as of last night, the Philadelphia Phillies are first place in the National League East. The Phils are off today, so there is extra time to soak in the club’s first Opening Day victory since 2014. For those who missed yesterday’s ball game and want to find out how Jeremy Hellickson earned his first win of 2017, check out the game recap.
The first game of the season did not only bring joy to the Philadelphia fans who yearn for a winning team to represent their city, but it also brought a bit of history.
Cesar Hernandez led off yesterday’s game with a home run to give the Phillies a lead that they would never relinquish. According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, it was the first season since 1938 in which the Philadelphia lead-off batter hit a home run on opening day. Hernandez, who hit only 6 long balls all of last season, could not have gotten his team out to a better start.
Cesar finished the day 1-for-5, but he did something that had not been achieved in 79 years.
En route to his first win of the year, Jeremy Hellickson pitched 5 innings and gave up only one earned run. He struck out one batter and threw only 67 pitches. Although he had a short, solid outing to begin his second season in Philadelphia, the right-hander did something that no other pitcher has done in major league baseball history. In the 6th inning, with the Phillies up 3-to-1, Hellickson lined a ball to right field where Reds right fielder Scott Schebler unsuccessfully dove to attempt a play on the ball.
The ball eventually rolled to the fence, and J-Hell slid safely into third base for a triple. Via Matt Breen, also of the Philadelphia Inquirer, he was the first Phillies pitcher to hit a three-bagger on opening day since 1918–99 years.
The next 161 games will most likely not be as joyous and historic as the first, but there will definitely be much more to be excited about as the Phillies play out their 2017 campaign.
Photo by unicornsmarshmallows (via Flickr)