Philly Sports Live

Braves Operate On Doc, Phils Fall Again

Roy Halladay made his much anticipated 2013 season debut Wednesday night with hopes of pitching his team to victory. When asked by his manager whether or not he felt ready, Halladay responded by saying, “Yep. I was ready on Monday but you didn’t give me the ball.” Age and velocity issues aside, the Cy Young winner has not lost his competitive nature.

As for the game, once again, not the result the team or Halladay had hoped for on a very wet night at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Halladay managed to strike out the side in the bottom of the first inning, but not before allowing a two run home run to Justin Upton that put Atlanta ahead 2-0. It was Upton’s second round tripper in as many games. The Phils’ starting pitching failed to record a clean first inning for the second straight game.

Halladay then walked Freddie Freeman, struck out B. J. Upton and walked Dan Uggla. Third baseman Juan Francisco then stepped in, and singled home Freeman for a 3-0 Braves lead.

Halladay ran into trouble again in the fourth, allowing a solo home run to Braves rookie catcher Even Gattis, the first of his career to make it 4-0. Doc allowed another runner to reach base in the inning, and manager Charlie Manuel had seen enough. Halladay was lifted after just 3.1 innings.

He averaged 89 mph for the evening, a solid start velocity wise, but not great. Doc allowed six hits and was charged with five earned runs. He also walked three, but managed to strike out nine Braves. His earned run average after one game stands at a whopping 13.50.

Raul Valdes replaced Halladay in the fourth, and he too was knocked around. After a hit and a walk, he allowed a bases clearing double to Freeman, pushing the Braves advantage to 7-0 after four innings.

Atlanta starter Paul Maholm lasted 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and punching out six Phils hitters. The Phillies would not score until the seventh, when second baseman Chase Utley doubled home Laynce Nix and Ben Revere, making it 7-2.

The Braves tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth when closer Jonathan Papelbon allowed a two run home run to Jason Heyward, making the final score 9-2.

The Phillies bullpen allowed four runs on three hits and had three bases on balls. The Phillie hitters left nine men on base through the game, but equaled the Braves in hits with nine a piece. The team was forced to play catch up for the second consecutive game, as once again the Braves were able to score in the first inning.

Some numbers to keep in mind, the team began both the 2008 and 2009 seasons 0-2 and the 2007 season 0-3. If history is any indication, there is no need to hit the panic button. There is however cause for concern with Halladay. The Cy Young award winning surgeon we once saw is no more. Here we see a good, experience savvy pitcher looking to find consistency. A must if the Phillies plan to stay competitive in the playoff chase come September.

Cliff Lee gets the start tomorrow night against the Braves’ Kris Medlen.

Stats courtesy of Phillies.com