The Phillies kicked off their 2010 season with the new guys leading the way to an 11-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Roy Halladay allowed a run over seven strong innings. Third baseman Placido Polanco hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, leading a top three in the order that combined to go 6-for-12 in the game with five walks and seven RBI.
Looking to quibble, one might want suggest a weak Nationals lineup was a big factor in Halladay’s outstanding performance. It’s important to remember, though, that the Nats’ offense wasn’t all that weak in 2009. The Nationals finished ninth in runs scored overall and eighth after the All-Star break. They outscored the Phillies for a big stretch of the second half last year.
Halladay is just good.
If you’re intent to quibble, I’d go with he can’t bunt, or at least he didn’t yesterday, and there’s not a lot that happened in game one that should make you feel much better about Bastardo or Herndon pitching out of the pen. You might find a better time for quibbling if you wait long enough, though.
The Phillies won their first game of 2010 yesterday, beating the Nats 11-1.
Halladay made his debut with the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out nine.
Nyjer Morgan led off the bottom of the first for the Nats with an infield single and stole second before Halladay struck Willie Harris out for the first out. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he doubled to center, scoring Morgan to put the Nats up 1-0. Halladay struck out Adam Dunn for the second out before Josh Willingham drew a walk that put men on first and second for Adam Kennedy. Kennedy lined to short to end the inning.
Ivan Rodriguez led off the bottom the second with a double, but Halladay struck out Ian Desmond and the pitcher John Lannan behind him before getting Morgan to line softly to second for the third out.
Harris flew to left to start the third. Halladay struck out Zimmerman and Dunn behind him.
Halladay started the bottom of the fourth up 5-1. Willingham led off and lined his first pitch into left for a single. Halladay struck Kennedy out swinging for his seventh strikeout of the game. Rodriguez was next and he chopped a ball to Polanco. Polanco started the Phillies first double-play of the season, which was turned with the help of a nice scoop from Howard on Utley’s relay.
Halladay walked Desmond on four pitches to start the fifth, but righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Jesse English and hit a double-play ball to Utley that cleared the bases. Morgan grounded to short to end the inning.
I was pretty sure at the time that walking Desmond on four pitches to start the inning was the beginning of the end for the day for Halladay, but the Gonzalez double-play ball was huge. It’s still one of those things you want to try to avoid, what with the .388 career minor league slugging percentage and whatnot.
Up 7-1, Halladay set the Nats down in order in the sixth. Utley made a nice play moving to his left to field Harris’s ground ball for the first out.
Halladay started the seventh up 11-1. He struck out Willingham for the first out, but Kennedy and Rodriguez singled back-to-back to put men on first and second. Desmond struck out for the second out and switch-hitter Cristian Guzman hit for the pitcher Jason Bergmann. Guzman grounded to first to turn Washington away.
Bastardo started the eighth for the Phils. Morgan led off with a double and Harris followed with a fly ball to right for the first out that moved Morgan to third. Bastardo struck Zimmerman out swinging for the second out, but walked the lefty Dunn on four pitches to put men on first and third. Danys Baez came in to pitch to the righty Willingham and got him to ground to second to leave both men stranded.
Bastardo gets the righty Zimmerman to strike out with one out a man on third, but Baez bailed him out from an unimpressive outing. Bastardo faced four batters and allowed a double and a four-pitch walk, both to lefties. Harris hit his ball well, too.
Herndon made his major league debut in the ninth with a ten-run lead. Kennedy grounded to first for the first out before Rodriguez delivered an opposite field double. Mike Morse, who had entered defensively at first in the top of the inning, followed with a single to left. Ibanez’s throw back to the infield didn’t hit the cutoff man, allowing Morse to take second. Ibanez was charged with an error and the Nats had men on second and third with one out. Herndon got out of it, though, striking out Guzman and getting Willy Tavares, another defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, on a ground ball to short to end the game.
Herndon threw 18 pitches in the game, Bastardo 13 and Baez two. I’d guess they would all be available for game two of the series with an off day today.
The Phillies lineup against lefty John Lannan went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. We’ll have to wait and see if Polanco hits second against righties as well — he surely will on Wednesday coming off of six RBI, but I mean on normal days. Even if he does to start the season, I think we’ll see Victorino moving up in the order and Polanco down before too long. Werth breaks up three lefties in the lineup 3-4-5-6.
Rollins led off the game with a single to left and stole second with Howard at the plate after Polanco and Utley both flew out. Howard hit a ball to short that Desmond didn’t handle for an error. Rollins tried to score, but Dunn’s relay from Desmond nailed him at the plate to end the inning.
Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second.
Ruiz led off the third with a walk. Rodriguez took Halladay’s bunt in front of the plate and nailed Ruiz at second for the first out. Rollins flew to left and Polanco grounded to short.
No bunt for Halladay in his first chance.
The Phils were still down 1-0 when they started the fourth. Things got better real fast, though. Utley walked. Howard smashed the first pitch of his at-bat way out to right. 2-1. Werth blooped a single to right. Ibanez moved Werth to third with a single that dribbled into right. Victorino was next and he had a real single, a line drive into left that scored Werth to make it 3-1 and moved Ibanez to second with nobody out. Ruiz drove a ball well to right that Harris took on the track, moving the runners up to second and third. Halladay dribbled a ball down the third base line that Lannan fielded and tried to shovel home, but the throwish was wide and Ibanez scored (4-1) as Victorino moved to third. Rollins walked and the bases were loaded. Polanco lined a ball to left. It was well-hit, but right at Willingham who took it for the second out. Victorino tagged and scored to make it 5-1 with Rollins and Halladay holding first and second. Utley was next and he singled into center. Halladay couldn’t score, though, so the bases were loaded for Howard. The Nats brought in lefty Jesse English to make his major league debut and English got Howard on a ground ball to second to set the Phils down.
Halladay doesn’t score from second on the single with two outs. The Nats take the lefty out of the game and bring in another lefty to pitch to Howard with the bases loaded. You might have too if you had seen how hard Howard hit his home run in the inning. It worked, too, and kept the game from being blowner open for a while.
The Phils went in order in the fifth.
Righty Miguel Batista took over for Washington in the sixth. Ruiz led off with a walk and again Halladay couldn’t bunt him over, this time striking out as he bunted three straight pitches foul. Rollins picked him up, though, lining Batista’s first pitch to him into center for a triple. Ruiz scored and the Phils lead was 6-1. Polanco followed with a single to left. 7-1. Utley walked to put two men on, but Howard and Werth both grounded out to leave both men stranded.
Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Victorino fouled out before Ruiz singled into right, sending Ibanez to second. Halladay hit for himself and hit a ground ball out in front of the plate. Rodriguez took it and threw to first for the second out. With two outs and men on second and third, Rollins got ahead 3-0 and the Nats put him on intentionally to load the bases for Polanco. Right Jason Bergmann came in to pitch to Polanco and Polanco hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a grand slam that put the Phils up 11-1. Utley flew to center for the third out.
Lefty Sean Burnett threw the eighth for Washington. Howard led off with a single and Werth moved him to second with a ground out to the pitcher for the first out. Ibanez struck out, though, and Victorino was called out looking at a pitch that didn’t look like it was in the strike zone.
Ruiz started the ninth with a walk off of righty Brian Bruney. Dobbs hit for Baez and flew out for the first out. Rollins struck out looking at a close 3-2 pitch. Polanco got another hit, a single to center that sent Ruiz to third with two down. Utley walked to load the bases for Howard again. Howard flew to the warning track in center on a 3-2 pitch for the third out.
Rollins was 2-for-4 with a triple, two walks and an RBI.
Polanco 3-for-5 with grand slam and six RBI.
Utley was 1-for-3 and walked three times.
Howard 2-for-6 with a two-run homer and eight men left on base.
Werth was 1-for-5 with a bloop single.
Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and made an error in the field.
Victorino 1-for-5 with an RBI.
Ruiz 1-for-2 and walked three times.
Nine walks in the game for the Phillies. Three for Ruiz, three for Utley and two for Rollins. Rollins walked twice in his first 64 plate appearances in 2009 and walked more than once in a game just four times.
No game today.
Cole Hamels faces righty Jason Marquis on Wednesday night. Marquis had his best year in a while in 2009, going 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA for the Rockies in 33 starts. Hamels had a disappointing 2009 and wasn’t good in spring training either, throwing to a 6.00 ERA. He’s going to be good tomorrow, though. Start to worry if he’s not, but not before.