|Ryan Howard, image- Jay Floyd|
READING- It is a mystery if the Phillies will win many more games than the MLB-worst 63 they notched last season, but it's clear that they could be dominant if they continue competing against minor leaguers after pounding their top prospects by a convincing 19-4 score.
In the seven-inning exhibition, the big league club slammed eight home runs, four each off of right-handers Zach Eflin and Mark Appel.
Eflin, who was acquired from the Dodgers two off-seasons ago in a trade for Jimmy Rollins, was charged with 12 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits while striking out two and walking one with a wild pitch in three innings of work. The 21-year-old declined to speak with media after the loss, but he and Appel (3 IP, 8H, 6R/6ER, 2K, 0BB, WP) did engaged in a little joke cracking at each other's expense on Twitter later in the evening.
Each of the Phillies' eight home runs were launched by a different player. Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis, Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez, Tyler Goeddel, Maikel Franco, Cedric Hunter and Ryan Howard all recorded big flies.
With the conditions in the hitters' favor, as wind was blowing out and helping fly balls get some extra giddy up, the Futures Team slammed three homers of their own, as Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford and Roman Quinn all went deep.
Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan, who was the skipper of the Futures Team, commented about the remarkable power results in the first-ever Phillies Futures Series game.
"This is a bad combination- major league baseballs and that wind and in a stadium like this...it was the perfect storm," Watham said.
Having watched 10 players homer before he came to the plate as a pinch hitter in the final frame, Ryan Howard insisted that he didn't feel pressure to do the same, even though his manager, Pete Mackanin, told him if he didn't go deep, that he really stinks.
"I'm glad I was able to come through on that one for him. That's just Pete, keeping it loose and light and everything," Howard said.
The historic event, which celebrated Reading's 50 years of affiliation with the Phillies by having 25 of the organization's top prospects take on the major league roster, drew 9,320 fans to FirstEnergy Stadium.
The two teams will face off once again in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park at 1:05 PM on Saturday.