Hero of the Game: Nathan Eovaldi (0.510 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Placido Polanco (-0.092 WPA)
Play of the Game: Placido Polanco grounded into a double play in the first inning. Justin Ruggiano out at second base. (-0.123 WPA)
The Miami Marlins only needed one run tonight to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, but the team had a late surge to make the game academic at 4-0. Signs were negative for Philadelphia when starter Roy Halladay was failing to hit the strike zone or spark the radar gun, Early on, Halladay walked both leadoff man Donovan Solano and Christian Yelich, and before that it was mentioned in the broadcast that he was hitting 83 mph as his highest velocity. Phillies pitching coach Rich Duby came out and immediately signaled to the trainers, leading to Halladay's early exit due to right arm tiredness.
His replacement, Luis Garcia, did not fare much better in the first inning. He came in and walked Giancarlo Stanton in four pitches before struggling against Justin Ruggiano as well. Ruggiano walked with the bases loaded and delivered the only run the Marlins eventually needed. It was Placido Polanco, however, who recorded the biggest play of the night when he grounded into a double play to end that potential firestorm of an inning.
It did not matter, as Nathan Eovaldi was on top of his game. He went 7 2/3 innings and struck out five Phillies while walking two. He also gave up just three hits, which was a testament to his work and the Marlins' defense. Eovaldi induced a lot of ground balls that went right to Marlins defenders, as 52 percent of his batted balls were on the ground. He did not have a great swing-and-miss night with only five whiffs in 109 pitches. He also did not have great control, as he threw 45 balls versus 20 called strikes (2.3 balls-to-called strike ratio). His velocity may have been the cause, as he dipped into the 95 mph average after staying at 96-97 mph for most of the season.
But it did not matter, as the Phillies struggled just enough on offense to make Eovaldi look good and the Marlins look successful in a 4-0 win to open the series.