Phillies slug 8 HRs in Reading, Futures add 3 more
By Paul Hagen
READING, Pa. -- Manager Pete Mackanin was discussing what his lineup might look like when the Phillies open the regular season against the Reds on Monday at Great American Ball Park.
The conversation occurred before Freddy Galvis led off Thursday night's 19-4 win in a seven-inning exhibition at FirstEnergy Stadium against a Futures Team comprised of many of the Phils' best prospects. But Mackanin was at least considering putting Cesar Hernandez at the top of the order, he added.
That will be a matter of far more consequence beginning on Opening Day. The Phillies won't be able to count on using the long ball the way they did against the youngsters, clubbing eight homers -- including one each by Galvis and Hernandez -- at the home of their longtime Double-A affiliate.
"There were a lot of home runs," Mackanin said. "I can't believe it. I would have liked to have taken a bat up there. But everything went well, nobody got hurt and we'll go on from there.
"The fans loved it. They had to go home enjoying what they saw even though their team didn't win. They're still big Phillies fans and that's the important thing. It was fun for us. Not so much for [the Futures Team]. But it helps everybody. They realize they've got a ways to go. They've got to prove themselves. And we've got some pretty good players at the big league level. I'd rather win than lose."
With the wind gusting to center, the Phillies belted four homers in the first three innings. Odubel Herrera got it started with a two-run blast in a five-run first. Galvis and Darin Ruf added solo shots in the second and Hernandez topped it off with a three-run bomb in the third.
All of that came against Futures starter Zach Eflin, acquired from the Dodgers as part of the Jimmy Rollins trade before last season. Eflin, who was also hurt by some sloppy defense, gave up 11 hits and 12 runs, nine earned, in his three innings.
Ryan Howard, still a popular figure from his days playing in Reading, added an exclamation point with a pinch-hit homer leading off the seventh, which drew a roar from the sellout crowd of 9,320.
"That was outstanding," Mackanin said. "I knew they wanted to see Howard hit, so I found a spot for him. I told him, 'If you don't hit a home run, you stink.' That's why he was smiling coming around the bases."
There were a total of 11 home runs hit in the game. Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn and J.P. Crawford went deep for the Futures Team.
Galvis hit seven home runs last season. Hernandez hit one. So as much fun as they might have had flexing their muscles on Thursday night, that won't be what the Phillies are looking for from them beginning on Monday. No matter where each of them hits in the order.
Up next for Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Nola will treat his final spring tuneup against the Orioles at 6:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Citizens Bank Park as if it is a regular-season game. Watch the action live for free on MLB.TV. "We're in Philly now. We're finally back at our home spot, playing in front of our home fans. So I feel like we're going to have a little more adrenaline," Nola has a 5.28 Grapefruit League ERA, but Mackanin isn't concerned. The skipper noted that Nola has been working on his changeup and that he's been much sharper (2.38 ERA) in his past two outings, one a Minor League game.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.