CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies received a better picture of their fifth-starter competition on Saturday afternoon as they fell to Baltimore, 4-2, and lost to Pittsburgh, 4-3, in split-squad games.
Ben Lively: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K against the Pirates
Lively became the second pitcher this spring to stretch a start more than two innings. The righthander threw 38 pitches, 30 of which were strikes. He has not allowed a run or a walk in his five innings this spring as he stays in the hunt for a rotation spot. Lively made 15 starts in the majors last season and had mixed results. The race for the fifth starter will likely come down to either Lively or Zach Eflin if the Phillies do not add a free agent.
Tom Eshelman: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K against the Orioles
Eshelman exited early against Baltimore after exhausting 42 pitches, just 26 of which were strikes. He retired three of the four batters he faced in the first inning but worked deep counts. It was an uncharacteristic day from Eshelman, who has moved quickly through the system because of pinpoint control. He’s not yet on the 40-man roster and will likely start the season at triple A.
The Phillies went without a hit against Baltimore until Flaherty stroked a single to center with one out in the eighth inning. His hit came against St. Joseph’s University product Jimmy Yacabonis. Flaherty, a utility player, thought he was returning to Baltimore this season until contract talks stalled over the winter and he moved onto the Phillies. The Phils were last no-hit in spring training in 1993.
The first overall pick in 2016 joined the Phillies for a day as a minor-league reinforcement against Baltimore. Moniak, who turns 20 in April, will likely repeat at single-A Lakewood. He struggled there last season but was also one of the league’s youngest players. The Phillies hope it provided some lessons.
Ramos struck out two of the three Baltimore batters he faced in the third inning. The Phillies will carry eight relievers in their bullpen and some intriguing options for the later innings. Ramos has the stuff to play a key role.
The Phillies will play just once Sunday when they host Toronto. Jerad Eickhoff will make his second Grapefruit League start. The game begins at 1:05 p.m. and will be broadcast by NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus and WIP-FM.