The best news of all from the Opening Day win for the Phillies is that changing the calender from 2011 to 2012 apparently hasn’t made Roy Halladay any less fantastic. Halladay looked exactly like the best pitcher in baseball yesterday. He needed just 92 pitches to throw eight shutout innings, leading the Phils to a 1-0 win over the Pirates.
Going back to his last start of 2011, game five against the Cards, Halladay has thrown 16 innings in his last two starts and allowed one run. The Phillies have scored one run in those games.
In yesterday’s game, he allowed singles to the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning. After that, Halladay threw eight shutout innings in which he didn’t allow a hit or a walk, but hit two batters.
Jonathan Papelbon looked rather impressive himself in his Phillies debut. Pitching the ninth with a one-run lead, Papelbon faced three hitters and set them all down on a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.
The defense was good. The Phils turned a big double-play behind Halladay in the bottom of the first after a couple of hits. Wigginton made a pair of nice plays at first. So what could possibly be wrong?
Well, after a Spring Training dominated by worries about how the Phillies will score runs, they came out on Opening Day and managed just one. The bigger problem for the team is not what they did yesterday, but what they look likely to do tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that. And how they’re going to win when they don’t get eight shutout innings from their starter.
Still waiting on that one.
The Phillies are 1-0 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 yesterday afternoon.
Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles. He didn’t walk a batter. He hit two and struck out five.
Lefty Alex Presley led off the bottom of the first for Pittsburgh and singled into center. Righty Jose Tabata was next and singled as well, on a swinging bunt down the third base line that put men on first and second for righty Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen grounded to short with Rollins going to Galvis and Galvis relaying to first to complete the double-play. Two down and a man on third for switch-hitter Neil Walker. Walker flew to left to leave Presley at third.
Nice first touch of his career for Galvis as the Phils turn a big double-play on McCutchen.
Lefty Garrett Jones grounded to second for the first out of the second. Righty Rod Barajas was next and dribbled to Halladay for the second out. Lefty Pedro Alvarez flew to center on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Halladay threw a 1-2-3 third, getting righty Clint Barmes to pop to third, the pitcher Erik Bedard swinging and Presley on a ground ball to second.
Tabata led off the fourth with a ball hit to Rollins. Rollins fielded and threw to first, where Wigginton came off the bag nicely to tag and get Tabata for the first out. McCutchen was next and Halladay drilled him with a 1-2 pitch. Walker followed and hit a ball well to left that Mayberry took at the warning track. McCutchen was way off of first and had to go back, putting a man on first for Jones with two down. Jones grounded to first, leaving McCutchen stranded.
Nice play by Wigginton starts the frame with an out. The McCutchen hit-by-pitch breaks up nine down in a row for Halladay.
Halladay struck out Barajas and Alvarez both swinging to start the fifth. Barmes was next and he hit the ball well to left, but Mayberry took it going into the wall to end the inning.
Second time in two innings the Pirates hit the ball well to left, but Walker and Barmes both go down with no damage done.
Halladay had thrown 62 pitches through five innings.
He threw a 1-2-3 sixth, getting Bedard on a soft fly ball to center and Presley and Tabata on a pair of ground outs.
The Phillies led 1-0 when Halladay started the seventh. He struck McCutchen out swinging 2-2 for the first out and got Walker and Jones on ground outs.
Halladay started the eighth after running the bases in the top of the inning, which he had started with a leadoff single. He got Barajas on a popup to second for the first and Alvarez on a fly ball to center for the second. Barmes was next and Halladay hit him 1-2, breaking Halladay’s sting of 13 in a row. Lefty Nate McLouth hit for the pitcher Chris Resop with two outs and a man on first. Halladay struck McLouth out swinging 1-2 to end the inning with Barmes at first.
Papelbon started the ninth with the Phils still up a run. He threw ball one to Presley, but came back with three straight strikes, getting him swinging 1-2 for the first out. Tabata grounded softly to third for the second out. Papelbon got ahead of McCutchen 0-2 and McCutchen hit a ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw to first, where Wigginton again made a nice play, holding the bag to get the out and end the game.
Ten pitches in the game for Papelbon.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Erik Bedard went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Victorino leads off against the lefty with Pierre on the bench. Mayberry starts in left and Wigginton at first, which is what you would expect, despite ugly Spring Trainings for both players. Galvis makes his debut, starting at second base for the sidelined Utley. Polanco hits second in the order, which is too high. In his final 406 plate appearances of 2011, Polanco posted a 243/304/287 line. Four places where the Phils have big offensive holes in the lineup — second, third, left and first. Against a lefty, they at least have a shot at approaching league average production in left and at first. Less so at second and third. Should be at least a little better against lefties for the righty Polanco. We’ll see how the splits for the switch-hitter Galvis look.
The Phillies start the game with a bench of five left-handed hitters — Nix, Pierre, Thome, Orr and Schneider.
Victorino was the first hitter of the year and he popped to shallow left for the first out. Polanco flew to center for the second before Rollins bunted for a single. Pence lined to center to leave Rollins at first.
Rollins bunts for a hit out of the three-hole and it works beautifully.
Wigginton led off the second and hit a ball up the middle that the second baseman Walker handled behind the shortstop side of second. Walker threw to first and Wigginton was called out on a very close play at first, which Manuel argued without success. Mayberry was next and he singled into right. Ruiz followed, coming off of a monster Spring Training in which he hit 479/500/771. He blooped a single into right, putting men on first and second for Galvis’s first career at-bat. Galvis grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame.
Wigginton looked safe to me. Would have changed the inning significantly, given the two hits behind him. Also, he’s really, really slow to make it as close as it was. That took a long, long time to develop.
Halladay led off the top of the third and struck out swinging. Victorino struck out looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Polanco grounded to first to set the Phillies down.
The Phils went in order in the fourth. Rollins popped to second, Pence grounded to third and Wigginton flew to left.
Mayberry struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fifth. Ruiz was next and singled on a ball deflected by Barmes at short. Galvis was next and grounded into a double-play again, this time to third, to set the Phillies down.
Ruiz 2-for-2 in the early going. Galvis 0-for-2 and twice grounded into a double-play.
Halladay struck out to start the sixth, but Victorino followed and walked on five pitches. Polanco flew to center for the second out. Victorino stole second as Rollins took strike one, but Rollins popped to short to leave him there.
Pence flew to center to start the seventh. Wigginton was next and hit a ball hard into center for a single. Mayberry followed and hit a ball into right that rolled into the corner for a double. Wigginton, who’s really slow, moved up to third. Ruiz was next and flew to right, not too deep, and Tabata took it coming in for the second out. Wigginton tagged from third and slid in just ahead of the tag from Barajas, putting the Phils up 1-0 with two down and a man on second for Galvis. Galvis grounded to short to end the frame with Mayberry at second.
Golly on Wigginton not scoring from first on Mayberry’s double that rolled into the corner. Nice job to score on Ruiz’s ball to right. Galvis did his best to hit into another double-play, but it’s not his fault if the Phillies don’t have a runner on first.
Halladay hit for himself to start the eighth and singled to right off of righty Chris Resop. Victorino showed bunt early in the count before striking out for the first out. Polanco walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Rollins. Rollins hit an 0-1 pitch hard, but it was snared by a leaping Walker at second for the second out. Resop struck Pence out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.
Halladay hits for himself up 1-0 in the eighth to lead off the inning having thrown 79 pitches in the game. Really not a fan of the idea that Victorino would try to bunt Halladay to second with the first out.
Righty Juan Cruz started the ninth for Pittsburgh. He got Wigginton on a ground ball back to the mound for the first out and struck Mayberry out for the second. Ruiz was next and he singled into right for his third hit of the day. Galvis nearly bunted for a hit with a pretty ball down the right field line, but it finally rolled foul. Cruz struck Galvis out swinging 2-2 to leave Ruiz at first.
Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk.
Rollins 1-for-4 with a bunt single and three men left on base. He lined hard to Walker in the eighth.
Pence 0-for-4 with a strikeout and three men left on base.
Wigginton was 1-for-4 with a single and scored the only run of the game. Didn’t score from first on the double from Mayberry, but did tag and score on the ball hit by Ruiz. He also made a couple of nice plays at first, one to handle a throw by Rollins and another on the throw by Polanco to end the game. Should have had another hit in the second on the ball he hit up the middle (and yes, he’s really slow, but, in his defense, he was also really safe at first).
Mayberry was 2-for-4 with a double and struck out twice.
Ruiz 3-for-3 with a sac fly that brought in the only run of the game.
Galvis was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and five men left on base. He hit into two double-plays. Defensively was part of the big double-play in the first inning that helped keep Pittsburgh off the board.
Cliff Lee faces righty Jeff Karstens on Saturday night.
For lovers of #DIV/0!, the Start Log for 2012 is up. Third straight Opening Day start for Halladay with the Phillies — in those starts he has combined to throw 21 innings and allow two runs.
This suggests that Scott Podsednik is likely to report to Triple-A rather than retire.