MLB News

Speed and a little luck key Phillies’ first win: ‘Sometimes that’s all you need’

Speed and a little luck key Phillies' first win: ‘Sometimes that's all you need'

Speed and a little luck key Phillies’ first win: ‘Sometimes that’s all you need’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Why would a win-now team with enormous expectations open the season with an unproven center fielder who hit .170 in spring training after going 4-for-43 in the playoffs?

Because the Phillies are focusing on what Johan Rojas can do, not what he can’t.

The Phils’ elite defensive center fielder is 0-for-8 with a walk and a stolen base through three games. His most important moment of the weekend was a simple groundout to shortstop in the seventh inning Sunday. With his blazing speed, Rojas just barely beat out a fielder’s choice. It was initially ruled an inning-ending double play but was overturned after replay review.

The inning was extended for Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Alec Bohm, who each singled as a one-run deficit became a two-run lead.

Schwarber, Turner and Bohm did the damage, but Rojas set the table.

“That’s baseball, right? You think the inning’s over, you let your guard down a little bit and you get some luck,” Bohm said after the 5-4 win. “Sometimes that’s all you need.

“You never want to get swept. We came in today, third game of the season, we really wanted this one. Get some luck like that, kind of get the momentum back and now we’ve got our guys going in the bullpen with a lead and smell a win.

“He beats that ball by a hair and you see what happens. … I’ve been there, everybody’s been there. It’s a hard game and he’s a young kid. He does a tremendous job for us in center field and the hits are going to come. He’s only going to get more comfortable and experienced. The more at-bats he gets, the more comfortable he’s going to get and you’re going to see his talent really come out.”

Manager Rob Thomson has expressed a ton of confidence in Rojas publicly and privately. Rojas is one of their guys. He might not last in the majors all season if he hits .170, but there are other ways he can help, and the Phillies feel that if the first eight players in the order do their job, they can get away with having a light-hitting defensive whiz in the nine-spot.

“Rojas beating the ball out was the biggest part of the game, really,” Thomson said. “We pitched well, but to keep that inning alive was really good.

“He’s battling. For the most part, he’s giving us good at-bats, and he’s dynamic, he runs the bases. Just like that play right there, it kept the inning alive just because of his speed. He’s doing…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at MLB Baseball News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games…