I'm sorry, you were undoubtedly expecting more than that for today's Opening Day game recap. But I don't even know where to start! This was a game of things happening. Many, many things happened in today's game. Good! Bad! Dramatic! Boring! This game had it all!
In most game recaps, Cliff Lee's outing would be the major story, because it was pretty putrid. If I told you that Lee had only one strikeout, you'd know just from that tidbit that he had a terrible outing. The other stats are just as evocative. Lee gave up eleven hits and eight runs in just five innings pitched. He even gave up a walk. A walk! Those stats don't tell you the most important thing about his outing: after the Phillies scored six runs in the second inning, Lee turned around and gave all of them right back in the next two innings, plus one more. In just three innings, he blew a six-run lead. It really wasn't his day. The eight runs he gave up tied his career high, but in the end it didn't matter. He got the win, the silliest of all "stats", and now sports a robust 14.40 ERA. Wins!
The real story of this game was the offense. After a quiet first inning, the second inning opened with Ryan Howard *walking*. Yes, you read that right. Two outs later, Carlos Ruiz walked. Cody Asche then hit a double to score Howard, and Ben Revere followed that up with a single to score Chooch, loading the bases. And THEN Tony Gwynn Jr. walked! But that wasn't the end of it -- what happened next MAY SURPRISE YOU. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate and hit a grand slam, putting the Phillies up 6-0. In the second inning. Over the next seven innings, the Phillies would score another eight runs on 14 hits (two of them solo home runs) and three walks on their way to the victory.
You want more baseball things? I've got more baseball things! Today, every Phillies player in the lineup not named Cliff Lee and Tony Gwynn Jr. had at least one hit. Both Revere and Chase Utley went 3-for-6. Cody Asche and Marlon Byrd each hit home runs. And Asche owns the highest average on the team thus far (.750) going 3-for-4 with a walk. In fact, the team logged six walks today, and Chooch had two of them. Jake Diekman was used for more than one inning of work. John Mayberry Jr. was inserted into the game to face a lefty, which means he was used appropriately, which is a landmark event for this team. Domonic Brown executed some heads-up baserunning in the sixth inning, which scored a run.
But even more things happened in today's game. Historical things.
Jimmy Rollins just became the eighth shortstop in history to reach 200 career HRs, joining these dudes: pic.twitter.com/NQUyv9NwIc— Procrasti-stats (@Procrastistats) March 31, 2014
Rarefied air. Jimmy Rollins is awesome and I will hear nothing to the contrary. Related: do you remember the last time the Phillies hit a grand slam on Opening Day? I do! It was 2010, and that home run was hit by none other than Placido Polanco. I remember looking up his stats, wondering if homering was something he did often. It was not, so it made the grand slam even more special.
Phillies needed just six innings to score 10+ runs this season. They didn't hit double-digits until 81st game last year.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 31, 2014
That's right, last year it took the Phillies half of the 2013 season to score double-digit runs. The venerable Pat Gallen also tweeted that over the last two seasons, the Phillies have scored 10+ runs only 11 times. Yikes.
Today, the Phillies set a new record. Sorry, 1932.
This was all in today's game! All of this happened in the span of nine innings of baseball! God, baseball is so great. Baseball forever! Long live baseball!
Also great? Today's game graph. Just look at that gorgeous, confused game graph down there. I could comfort it and say "most baseball games aren't like this, everything will be ok" but I don't want to. If only baseball could always be like this. Just without the Phillies giving up ten runs.