On Monday the Phillies unveiled new staff Ace Roy Halladay and he came as advertised. Halladay was the Phillies first opening day starter in the past three years that wasn’t named Brett Myers and the result showed as the Phillies steam rolled the Nationals 11-1 to win their first Opening Day since 2005.
In the offseason the Phillies had signed second basemen Placido Polanco to fill the void left by Pedro Feliz at third base. In his first game as a Phillies since 2005 Polanco had a game to remember going 3-5 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, and the first ever Grand Slam in Phillies Opening Day history.
The other big acquisition was Roy Halladay and he also made quite the impression on the thousands of Phillies fans who made the trek down to Washington. After struggling a bit in the first inning Roy Halladay settled down and went on to pitch 7 wonderful innings while striking out nine and walking two and one earned run. He exited the game in the eighth inning with only 88 pitches. Ryan Howard also started out 2010 in a big way hitting his first HR of the year
In the second game the Phillies threw Cole Hamels out to face off against Jason Marquis. This is a big year for Hamels after an abysmal 2009 and looked to get 2010 off on a good note.
In 5 IP Cole let up 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5K, 1 HR. Cole ended up picking up the win and pitched pretty good considering what he was given. The strike zone that night was extremely tight and if given just one inch more on the strike zone Hamels stat line is drastically different. He did struggle after surrendering the HR to Ian Desmond but all in all I thought it was a really good performance for Cole.
Ryan Howard also continued 2010 on a good note going 2-5 in the game with 1 HR, and 3 RBI. Placido also picked up from the night before picking up two hits while scoring 3 runs. He has looked very good but remember he is a career .303 hitter. Phillies won their second in a row defeating the Nationals 8-4
The Phillies looked for the sweep of the Nationals and threw Kyle Kendrick to secure the win. Kendrick was a guy who won 21 games in his first two years as a starter but eventually struggled in the role and was sent down. After having an unbelievable spring posting a 1.66 ERA.
Kendrick got rocked in his first start of the season going only 4 IP allowing 5 ER and striking out 2. He allowed 1 HR to Willie Harris. Kendrick looked decent for the second and third inning but got yanked after just four innings.
The Phillies battled back with the help of Jayson Werth's 3 doubles and the rest of spots 1-5 in the lineup where everyone had at least two hits each. After a leadoff double by Chase Utley in the top of the ninth the Phillies were unable to get him in to tie the game and they lost their first game of the season with a final score of 5-4
· The Phillies two big acquisitions (Polanco, Halladay) showed they were worth the praise. Polanco is hitting .556 with 1 HR, and is leading the team lead with 6 RBI in his first 3 games. I have never seen the pitching display that I saw on Monday. Halladay was having back, to back, to back, single pitch innings. Cliff Who?
· Ryan Howard is continuing his hot spring, with an even hotter 2010. He is hitting .364 with 2 HR, and 5 RBI. He has an RBI in every game so far this season
· Cole Hamels didn’t go 7 innings pitched but he did look good. He showed good movement on his changeup and his velocity was much better than it was in 2009. He did walk 4 but most of the pitches that were called a ball were very close.
· Jimmy Rollins is off to a fast start. He wants to steal 50 bases this season and the first way to do that is get on base. Rollins is certainly doing that. He is hitting .429 with an OBP of .636
· Raul Ibanez is off to one awful start. The worst part about Ibanez' slow start is that is a carryover from the spring where he hit .122 and has been questioned after having a slow second half of last season. In three games this season Ibanez is hitting .91 this year with 1 RBI. In Thursdays game he had Chase Utley on 3rd with 1 out and failed to drive the ball to the OF.
· Kyle Kendrick's motto appears to be "What Happens In Spring Training Stays In Spring Training". After having a great, eye opening spring training Kendrick failed big time in his first start of the season against the Nats. With Joe Blanton ahead of schedule he won’t have much time to show why he deserves to be in the rotation
Phillies will throw JA Happ, and also Jamie Moyer on the mounds. Happ needs to avoid the sophomore slump while Moyer will look to prove age is just a number. Roy Halladay will also end the series against the Astro's.