Good morning and welcome to a snow-free edition of Extra Innings. The Phillies were snowed out yesterday in New York, giving them a second consecutive off day before tonight’s game against the Mets. The Phillies chose to push Ben Lively’s start back instead of skipping him, so now Aaron Nola’s second start of the season will come almost a week after his season debut. Nola should have enough rest this time to throw more than 68 pitches. The Phillies announced yesterday that Doug Pederson will throw out the first pitch Thursday at the home opener. Good thing the Eagles didn’t give up on Pederson after some early criticism.
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Kapler compares Kingery to Jeter
It was a rough first three games for Gabe Kapler, but lost in that shuffle was the debut of Scott Kingery, who looked good in his first two major-league games. Kingery, who could make his debut at second base tonight, had two hits on both Friday and Saturday after sitting out the opener. Kapler compared him to Derek Jeter, saying Jeter always seemed to have the same heartbeat and “nothing ever got too big for him.”
“When I watch Kingery play, I get that same sense that his heart just beats at the same pace no matter what the situation is,” Kapler said.
Kingery said he felt nervous until he struck out in his first at-bat Friday. He then settled in. He played third base and shortstop in his first two games, giving a preview of how the Phillies plan to use him. The Phillies could find a creative way to give Kingery everyday playing time without having him at an everyday position. He can even play the outfield and first base.
“It’s a special moment stepping on the field and being out there with your teammates,” Kingery said after his debut. “It’s something you work for your whole life. It’s incredible. It’s pretty crazy out there.”
Here are the details of yesterday’s snowed-out game and the plans for the July doubleheader. Tacked at the bottom are the pitching rotations for double A and triple A. Those two teams play an exhibition against each other. tonight in Reading.
Rob Tornoe, a friend of the newsletter, said Kevin Stocker did a solid job on the radio during the first three games as he replaced Larry Andersen as Scott Franzke’s color commentator. The Phillies will use Stocker, Kevin Jordan, and Kevin Frandsen for road games and Andersen at home. Angelo Cataldi said he missed Andersen during Kapler’s rough series.
Here’s a story from our Villanova coverage. The game ended up being a rout, but it didn’t always look that way. Mike Jensen, our version of Jalen Brunson, wrote about how the Wildcats adjusted and shut down Michigan’s Mo Wagner after his dominant start.
Tonight: Ben Lively vs. Matt Harvey, 7:10
Tomorrow: Aaron Nola vs. Noah Syndergaard, 1:10
Thursday: Home opener at Citizens Bank Park, 3:05
Sunday: Jake Arrieta’s Phillies debut, 1:35
Stat of the day
A win tonight would be the first time the Phillies won their first game after a Villanova basketball national championship. In case you missed it — and if you did, we have some questions for you — Villanova cruised Monday night to its third national title. In 1985, the Phillies had just three hits and were blanked on opening day a week after Nova won the title. In 2016, the Phillies lost in Cincinnati on a walk-off homer allowed by then-closer Dalier Hinojosa two days after Kris Jenkins hit a walk-off of his own.
From the mailbag
What is the reasoning for not starting [Jorge] Alfaro at catcher? – John B., email
Answer: This question was sent in after opening day when Andrew Knapp started over Alfaro. Kapler said that day that he envisioned the two catchers splitting the first six games of the season. So far, Knapp has played twice and Alfaro once. It made sense to start Knapp on opening day just because Aaron Nola was starting. We could see a pattern develop in which Knapp gets most of Nola’s starts. It will be interesting to see who catches Arrieta on Sunday. He worked with both catchers in spring training.