DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Phillies starter Vince Velasquez struck out at least one batter in each of his five innings of work in Monday's 7-1 win over the Blue Jays, the right-hander's final outing of Spring Training.The most impressive strikeout was the one capped by his final pitch of the night,
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Phillies starter Vince Velasquez struck out at least one batter in each of his five innings of work in Monday's 7-1 win over the Blue Jays, the right-hander's final outing of Spring Training.
The most impressive strikeout was the one capped by his final pitch of the night, a blistering 97-mph fastball that raced past the bat of Toronto slugger Jose Bautista. It was his third strikeout of the fifth inning -- facing the heart of the Jays' order -- and his fastest pitch of the night.
"It did [feel good] out of my hand," Velasquez said of the final strikeout pitch. "That one I really got behind and threw straight through [catcher Cameron] Rupp. I kind of envisioned that, just throwing that right through him."
The two batters before Bautista, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, suffered the same fate, though they whiffed at Velasquez's slider.
Velasquez tied his Spring Training high with five innings pitched, throwing 86 pitches, allowing two hits and walking two. In each of his last two starts, he has struck out seven batters. Velasquez deemed his 19 2/3 innings of work in his second spring with the Phillies a strong and healthy success.
Slated to be the Phillies' No. 5 starter, Velasquez enters the regular season for the second straight year following a great spring performance.
Entering the 2016 season, Velasquez won the fifth spot in the rotation with a 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 20 Spring Training innings. Although his ERA was slightly higher this spring (2.75), Velasquez finished camp with a .171 opponents' average and a 1.07 WHIP.
Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com.