Opening Day is like pizza: even the worst opening days are still pretty good. And let's not sugarcoat things, this was a pretty terrible opening day for the Phillies. They were shut out by Clay Buchholtz and the Red Sox bullpen and Cole Hamels gave up 4 dingers to the Red Sox lineup. It was the first time the Phillies have been shut out on opening day since 1998 and the first time they have been shut out and recorded 3 or fewer hits since 1987 in a 6-0 loss to the Braves. In other words, it was the most impotent opening day display we have seen from the Phillies in nearly 30 years.
But, it's Opening Day, so it really can't be that bad. Baseball is back and the softens the blow of even the most crushing of defeats. So, in the spirit of keeping Opening Day fun and enjoyable, let's focus on the positives from this game.
The 4-5-6 of Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Grady Sizemore was a veritable murderers' row as they accounted for all of the Phillies hits and walks in this game. Combined they went 3-for-9 with 2 BB. We'll save a look at the rest of the lineup for another day. For today, note that the heart of the Phillies order went for a .333/.454/.444 line. Still got it!
If you put on blinders, aka, remove all the bad stuff from his line, Cole Hamels had himself a pretty good game today. In 5 IP, he only gave up 5 hits while striking out 6. I could complete the picture, but do you really want to know more? I didn't think so! Good opening day spirit.
The bullpen also pitched well if we pretend Jake Diekman didn't pitch. That non-Diekman bullpen put up a line of 3.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K. What's more is that we didn't even have to pitch our best guys to get that line. That was Luis Garcia, Jeanmar Gomez, Justin DeFratus, and Cesar Jimenez. We didn't even have to break out Giles, Papelbon, or Diekman. That last sentence is true and I won't let you convince me otherwise.
In positive news regarding future Phillies, Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with 1 HR and a walk. It's unclear to me who he hit that homerun off of because I don't see any homeruns mentioned in the above recap. It's definitely a good thing that future Phillies are performing well.
At the end of the game though, the Phillies did get shut out and lost. It is their first Opening Day shutout since they lost 1-0 to the Mets in 1998. In that game though, the Phillies put together 9 hits and just didn't manage to score. You'd have to go back to 1987 against the Brave for the last Opening Day on which the Phillies were shut out and recorded 3 hits or fewer.
We're going to need to get used to this around here, as we all predicted the Phillies would lose at least 90 games this season. If you're going to the park, the Phillies have been kind enough to provide beer, wine, mixed drinks, and artery-clogging burgers to dull the pain. In the comments, share how you are planning to keep the season entertaining despite the piles of losses.
- Former Phillie and current Rockies ace Kyle Kendrick got the win today against the Brewers. He put up a line of 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. He also went 2-for-3 with a double. SHOULD OF KEPT.
- Former and eternal Phillie Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4 with a dinger, a stolen base, and a walk in a Dodgers win against the Padres. SHOULD OF KEPT.
- Former Phillie Marlon Byrd went 0-for-4 with 3 K. GOOD RIDDANCE.
- I've said it before and I'll say it again, if Major League Baseball is serious about shortening these games, they need to do away with God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch. They don't start the between innings timer until after the conclusion of the song. Isn't the national anthem at the start of the game enough patriotism? If I remember correctly, God Bless America was not a feature of most baseball games before 9/11. Why can't we just forget that era of widespread mindless patriotic fervor ever happened and cut God Bless America from the program? In related news, I really like the between innings timer.