WASHINGTON -- No matter the hitter, Marlins manager Don Mattingly is perfectly comfortable matching them up with David Phelps.The most versatile pitcher in their bullpen, Phelps is suited for any role or occasion. The right-hander on Monday was asked to throw two innings, and ended up getting victimized by Bryce
WASHINGTON -- No matter the hitter, Marlins manager Don Mattingly is perfectly comfortable matching them up with David Phelps.
The most versatile pitcher in their bullpen, Phelps is suited for any role or occasion. The right-hander on Monday was asked to throw two innings, and ended up getting victimized by Bryce Harper and Adam Lind, who each homered, in the Nationals' 4-2 comeback win over the Marlins at Nationals Park.
Harper connected on a solo shot in the sixth inning, and with two outs in the seventh, the pinch-hitting Lind delivered the game-changing, two-out, two-run homer that gave Washington the lead for good.
"Obviously, you don't want to give up anything there," Mattingly said. "But David, I'd put him up against anybody. I always give him the toughest matchups. So total confidence in who he is. But, yeah, a rough day for him today. He's a guy we know is going to bounce back and handle that."
Phelps, who allowed just six home runs in 86 2/3 innings last year, gave up two homers in the same outing for the first time since July 15, 2016, against the Cardinals in a game Miami prevailed, 7-6.
The Marlins' fortunes weren't as good on a picturesque Opening Day afternoon in front of 42,744 at Nationals Park.
"I've faced Lind enough in the past to know what I was trying to do there," Phelps said.
In his career, Lind is now 6-for-15 off Phelps, with three homers and two doubles.
"I didn't execute," Phelps said. "With Bryce, every pitch in the at-bat was away. He was all over that one. I tip my cap, and come out the next time and be ready to go."
So much of the Marlins' offseason strategy was dedicated to building the best bullpen possible. They added Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler to join an already imposing group.
With Phelps, Mattingly regularly briefs the right-hander ahead of time on what to expect. Pregame, the skipper informed the right-hander that he could be used in the sixth and seventh innings.
Starter Edinson Volquez did his job, throwing five shutout innings, and working out of jams in the first and fourth frames. At 82 pitches, he was done, and Phelps came in with a two-run lead.
Harper connected on a 2-2, two-seam fastball clocked at 94.9 mph. Harper blistered a home run, which was projected by Statcast™ at 419 feet. The exit velocity was 107 mph.
In the seventh inning, Phelps logged two quick outs before Matt Wieters singled, and Lind's two-run shot was projected at 415 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph.
"We just have eight weeks of Spring Training where we were facing hitters," Phelps said. "It was two bad pitches. What's more frustrating is that second inning. It was two outs and no one on, and it turned into two runs. Preaching little things, and that third out is one of our little things. Come out the next time and bear down."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.