W: Maholm (1-0, 0.00 ERA) L: Halladay (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
For the second game in a row to start the year the Phillies were down two runs after one inning and unable to dig out from an early hole. Roy Halladay allowed two home runs and failed to pitch past the fourth inning as the Phillies lost to the Braves 9-2 on a rainy evening.
Halladay struck out nine batters but struggled all night, allowing five runs (all earned) on six hits and walking three batters on 95 pitches in 3,1 innings pitched. Halladay looked visibly frustrated when leaving the mound last night, and after the game he apparently was still upset with his performance.
As quoted by Todd Zolecki for MLB.com:
"I'm frustrated. I should have gotten deeper than that. Not aggressive enough early in the count and went deep counts, and that's the most frustrating part, really. I'm going to clean that up and be more aggressive. I've got to be more aggressive getting ahead of guys and putting guys away. I can't take three or four pitches to put guys away. We can take ground balls earlier in the count and do something to be more efficient and go deeper. I'd rather get beat 20-0 and pitch eight innings than pitch 3 1/3. So that's got to change. But I felt good, felt good in the bullpen and felt good on the mound."
Halladay struggled all spring and was hit around often throughout the 2012 season. Is there something physically wrong with Halladay or he is just on the decline of his illustrious career? Honestly, I do not know for sure but I lean towards believing he is indeed just not the same pitcher he was when he arrived in Philadelphia. That said, I still believe he can have the ability to be a dependable pitcher this season, but something absolutely needs to change. What that is though is beyond me.
Free agent acquisition Mike Adams made his season debut for the Phillies last night, pitching the seventh inning. The new set-up man struck out two batters and needed just nine pitches to get through the inning.
Halladay failed to pitch past the fourth inning of course. Doc has been struggling against the Braves lately as well. His shortest outing of the 2012 season also came against Atlanta, pitching just 1.2 innings at home on September 22 and just 4.2 innings at Atlanta on August 31. And we al remember Halladay's May 2, 2012 start against the Braves, in which he allowed eight runs and 12 hits in 5.1 innings pitched.
In a non-save situation and a game that was pretty much out of reach, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon made his season debut and allowed two runs on a home run by Jason Heyward. It was the third home run of the night for the Braves, and the sixth of the two-game-old season for the division rivals.
National League East Update
Gio Gonzalez hit a solo home run and pitched six innings of shutout baseball while allowing just two hits and striking out five for the Washington Nationals, who shut out the Miami Marlins for the second straight game to start the season. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each went 2-for-4 to provide most of the offense.
The New York Mets doubled up the San Diego Chargers, 8-4. Ike Davis, John Buck and Lucas Duda each homered in the game and David Wright notched a pair of RBIs and starting pitcher Matt Harvey struck out 10 batters and allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings.
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The weather looks bad in Atlanta for tonight but if by chance they do fit the game in it will be Cliff Lee taking the mound for the Phillies. Lee was 0-1 with a 4.79 ERA this spring, allowing 16 runs (11 earned), four home runs and 25 hits while striking out 24 batters in 20.2 innings pitched in Grapefruit League action. Lee is 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA all-time against Atlanta (3-1, 3.62 ERA in games played in Atlanta).
Lee is scheduled to be opposed by Kris Medlen, who comes off a career year for the Braves in 2012. Medlen struggled a little bit in the spring, going 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in six starts after going 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA last season. Medlen was 0-0 with a 8.10 ERA and 1.800 WHIP against the Phillies last year in three games.