In each of the last 2 games of the Mets series, the Phillies recorded 16 hits and scored at least 10 runs. Also, in 14 of 16 innings in those 2 games, the Phillies leadoff batter reached base. Also, in 5 of their 7 games, they scored at least 5 runs. However, in Friday’s game against the Braves, the Phillies offense was lost as they tried to spoil their home opener (and stop the chop) of their division foes. Not only that, but through the first 7 games, the Phillies starting pitching has a 6.19 ERA. Except for Doc, R2C2 has some early April kinks to work out.
The Phillies continued their hot offense in the 1st inning when Shane Victorino started off with a single. Victorino scored the games first run on a Ryan Howard sac fly. Ben Francisco followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0. Carlos Ruiz led off the next inning with a single then advanced to second on a Wilson Valdez ground out. He would later score on an RBI groundout to make it 3-0. In the next inning, Jimmy Rollins grounded out to start off which ended the Phillies streak of the leadoff batter reaching base with 11.
Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton both had early exits this season, and now it was Cliff Lee’s turn. Lee had a rough 2nd when sophomore Jason Heyward led off with a triple and scored on Alex Gonzalez’s double. Rookie Freedie Freeman singled to put runners on the corners and no outs, then Martin Prado hit a ground rule double to cut the Phillies lead to 1. Freeman scored on a Nate McLouth groundout to tie the game at 3. After an easy 3rd frame for Lee, he ran into more trouble in the 4th. He hit Freeman with a pitch to start off, then struck out his counterpart, Tim Hudson. Martin Prado and Nate McLouth hit back to back singles to load the bases for Chipper Jones. Jones would then hit a long 3 run double which tipped Shane Victorino’s glove to give the Braves a 6-3 lead. It would not have been an easy catch for Shane, but it was catchable. After Lee gave up a single to Brian McCann, Lee was pulled from the game. Lee pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed 6 runs on 10 hits. The last time he allowed 10 hits was August 31 against the Royals.
In the top 5th, the Phillies had a platinum opportunity to get back in the game. Kyle Kendrick started off with a single, then Shane Victorino single. Placido Polanco hit into a force out at second to get Victorino out then Jimmy Rollins reached on an error to load the bases with 1 out and Ryan Howard at bat. Howard had tons of success against Tim Hudson, but Hudson threw Howard a low slider and Howard checked swing which resulted in a weak ground ball back to Tim Hudson. Hudson would start a 1-2-3 double play which ended the inning and the rally.
Antonio Bastardo took over in the 6 inning and would give up Chipper Jones 2,500th hit in his career. After that, Bastardo would strike out the next 6 batters he faced in order. Bastardo was the third relief pitcher to accomplish that feat. Willie Hernandez did that on July 3, 1983 against the Mets and Jack Meyer against the Pirates on September 22, 1958.
Caught: 3-0 (3)
Missed: 2-2 (4)<-
Here is a non-Phillies related item. Manny Ramirez would retire from baseball after his short stint with the Tampa Bay Rays. If he did not retire, he would have to serve a 100 game suspension because of another drug issue.