Roy Halladay was booed off the field Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, perhaps for the first time since coming to Philadelphia three years ago. The starter once again struggled with command and was unable to get past the fifth inning as the the New York Mets rung him up for seven earned runs in a 7-2 victory in the series opener. Mets catcher John Buck hit a three-run home run in the second inning, after the Phillies were unable to take a lead despite having Ben Revere draw a lead-off walk in the first inning (stranded at third base).
Halladay got little support from the bats as Mets pitcher Matt Harvey allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings. Harvey struck out nine Phillies batters and walked just one batter after walking Revere in the top of the first inning. After the game Halladay addressed his biggest problem in the early going of the season.
"Definitely command," Halladay said. "For a starting pitcher, it's important to get ahead and attack. I had a lot of 2-0 counts, a lot of high pitch counts. There are a couple pitches I made that I felt were good pitches that got hit, but for the most part, I got behind and made pitches I didn't want to make. And that's where I was giving up the hits. That's the biggest thing. And that's the hardest thing to force. When you're really trying to force the ball to a spot instead of just letting it go there, the more you force it, the more it goes away from there."
Fans going to the game were given a cool opening night t-shirt and able to get home in time to catch the second half of the NCAA championship game. Congratulations Louisville.
The Phillies fell behind early when Roy Halladay struggled in the second inning, with a thee-run home run by John Buck capitalizing on the starter's lack of command. Halladay now has a 14.73 ERA after two starts, which caused a noticeable number of fans in attendance to serenade Doc with a chorus of boos as he was removed from the game by Charlie Manuel in the fifth inning.
At the plate Ryan Howard once again had a poor night, going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. Howard did drive in a run but his struggles continue to frustrate many in the early going. But it was not all Howard last night. Michael Young and Domonic Brown each went 0-for-4.
The Phillies have some starting pitching issues to work through between Halladay and the rough start by Cole Hamels, but the bullpen right now is the Springfield Tire Fire. Chad Durbin's return to Philadelphia is off to a terrible start, having now allowed all seven inherited runners to come around to score in his outings. Opponents are currently hitting .357 off of Durbin.
National League East Update
The Atlanta Braves continue to roll against the NL East while the Miami Marlins manage to prevent he Phillies from dropping to the bottom of the division. Atlanta improved to 6-1 this season with a 2-0 victory in Miami, which also dropped the Marlins to 1-6. Miami managed just one hit off of Paul Maholm, who went seven strong innings while striking out seven batters. Craig Kimbrel picked up his third save and Justin Upton hit his sixth home run, which is two more than the Phillies have combined for after one full week of the baseball season. Upton also has more home runs than nine other teams.
The Washington Nationals were off Monday. The Phillies are now four games behind the division-leading Braves.
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Cliff Lee takes the mound for the Phillies Tuesday night, looking to pick up his second win of the season after a dominant outing in Atlanta last week. Lee pitched eight full innings against the Braves without allowing a run on just two hits. Lee has good career numbers against the Mets, with a 4-1 record in eight starts and a 2.09 ERA and 1.036 WHIP. The Mets will counter with Dillon Gee, who owns a 9.00 ERA in 18 innings pitched in Citizens Bank Park. Look for the Phillies to try and pounce early and hope that Lee can maintain a lead, which has been a clear struggle early on. The Phillies have already blown two different 4-0 leads on this home stand in games that turned out to be losses.
Quotes provided by MLB.com.