Albert Almora had himself a pretty nice day in his first Major League start. Not only did he collect his first base hit and first RBI, but he may have prevented the Phillies from busting the game open early with his trademark defense.
After opening the bottom of the 1st with consecutive singles, the Phillies had men at the corners and were heading into the heart of the order. Then Freddy Galvis lofted a lazy pop fly out to left center and Odubel Herrera decided that he was going to test the rookie’s arm. Bad idea.
Maikel Franco then flied out to Dexter Fowler to end the inning and that was pretty much all she wrote. After giving up those two knocks to open the game, John Lackey just set the cruise and was basically untouched for seven innings. Well, there was that 2nd-inning single by Cody Asche.
Almora will eventually move to center, but it looks like he’s more than capable of manning a corner for the time being. Having him out there with Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward is basically like having a four-man outfield, given all the ground they can cover.
There aren’t too many former Cubs I can say I enjoyed watching ply their trade in the outfield, at least not out of anything other than morbid curiosity. Andre Dawson comes to mind, and he was nowhere near his peak athletic ability by the time he got to Chicago. But now they boast two players who can pick it with the best of ’em, and that is some pretty heady stuff.
Good luck, opposing hitters, better keep those BABIP sacrifices flowing.