Manager Joe Girardi won’t come right out and say it, but it appears Adam Haseley will get the first opportunity to grab the Phillies’ center-field job.
Haseley returned to the lineup Sunday, as expected, after exiting early from opening day because of tightness in his left hamstring. He went 1-for-2 with an infield single and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of the Phillies’ sweep-completing 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
“There’s no exact science to it,” Girardi said of the division of labor between Haseley and Roman Quinn in center field. “Hase, when I’m giving him days off, a lot of time it’s going to be against left-handers.”
But Haseley started against Braves lefty Max Fried on opening day and would’ve been in the lineup Saturday, too, if not for the hamstring scare, according to Girardi. With the New York Mets expected to start right-handers Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman on Monday and Tuesday nights, respectively, Haseley could get two more opportunities to start.
After Haseley won the final roster spot over Odúbel Herrera on the last day of spring training, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested the 2017 first-round pick is “ready to take that next step” as an everyday player. He also described Quinn as “somebody to come in and try to steal a base late in a game.”
Ultimately, though, Dombrowski said the allocation of playing time will be up to Girardi.
“If ‘Q’ has some good days, or one of them gets hot, I’ll play them,” Girardi said. “But I wouldn’t run [Haseley] out four or five days in a row just because he hasn’t played a lot. I thought his at-bats were good the other day. ‘Q’ contributed the other day. They’re both going to have to help out.”
Waiting for deGrom
In all likelihood, the Phillies would have faced deGrom this week even if the New York Mets’ season-opening, three-game series in Washington hadn’t been postponed after four Nationals players tested positive for the coronavirus.
Now, though, they’ll have to face deGrom in the series opener.
The Mets’ 32-year-old ace won the Cy Young Award in each of the last two full major-league seasons (2018-19). The Phillies handled deGrom in their most recent meeting, knocking him out after three runs on four hits in two innings last Sept. 16 at Citizens Bank Park. But he’s 8-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 102 innings over 17 starts against them in his career.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a couple runs off deGrom,” Bryce Harper said in spring training, laughing at the prospect of facing him as many as six times this season, “if that’s even possible anymore.”.
Between them, starters Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin allowed three runs in 20 2/3 innings against the Braves. Dating to last season, Phillies starters have a 3.65 ERA in the last 43 games against NL East opponents. The Miami Marlins are second-best with a 4.78 mark. ... The announced crowd of 10,773 Sunday was the largest of the weekend, as the city increased attendance at outdoor events to 25% of capacity from the previous level of 20%. Catcher Andrew Knapp was aware of the crowd after hitting a home run in the second inning Sunday. “To be able to hear them cheer, I think that’s what the weekend was all about, giving those guys a show,” Knapp said. “We love having them back in the stadium.” ... Left-hander Matt Moore will make his Phillies debut at 7:05 Monday night against the Mets.