Besides the offensive explosion by the Phils the score indicates, this started off as a good battle of two deserving opener starters, Aaron Nola (1-0, 1.50 ERA) and RHP Julio Teheran (0-1, 5.40) making his sixth consecutive opening day start for the Braves.
Nola started it with a 1-2-3, 10 pitch first inning.
Then the first not-Bryce moment happened as one of the other new additions LF Andrew McCutchen put a 2-0 FB into the LCF seats.
Nola though had some control problems in the 2nd inning, exacerbated by veteran Umpire, Mike Winters‘ typically tight strike zone. He would walk the lead-off man Ronald Acuna, who would then steal 2nd. He would then score on a Nick Markakis single. Nola would BB two more in the inning, but neither would score.
Meanwhile Teheran would not give up another baserunner until new SS Jean Segura got to 2nd on a single and the Braves first E to start the fourth. He would then move to 3rd on a WP. With the heart of the $$$MMM$$$ order coming up, this had the makings of at least a go ahead run. After Harper and Rhys Hoskins struck out, it looked like the UnClutchables of the Phillies past were back.
Nola then, as we saw often last season, adjusted to himself, as well as the HP Ump, and would not only get the SDI, but would work his way through a solid 6 In, 2H, 1ER, 5BB, 8K, 0HR, 99 P, 57 for strikes.
Teheran would not come out for the bottom of the 6th, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 7K, 1HR, 88P, 52 for strikes.
The Phillies were happy about that as they proceeded to tee off on Atlanta’s Pen.
Hoskins would start the 6th with a BB off of RHP Shane Carle. Two outs later Hernandez would do the same which led to this on a 3-2 count by another Philly “oldie” Maikel Franco to make it 6-1 Phillies.
At this point five of the six RBIs came from the 6-7-8 hitters, and all those where with two outs.
Fortunately the big lead allowed the bull pen to not have a great start, beginning with Hector Neris. He would get the first two outs easily, but then fell apart with a BB and a HR to PH Matt Joyce to make it 6-3.
The top of the order then decided to get in on the phun.
The Braves third P of the night RHP Luke Jackson would be the victim. McCutchen led off with a BB. Then a single by Segura and the 2nd Atlanta E made it 2nd and 3rd no outs. Atlanta Manager Brian Snitker made the obvious strategic move with the IBB of Harper. This played right into the 2019 Phillies “lengthened” lineup’s hands:
That was Hoskins’ 1st career GS, which made it 10-3 Phillies.
One more of the Phillies newbies, RHP David Robertson, would give up just one run after a BB, and two singles to start the inning, which led to the final score of 10-4.
It was the first time the Phillies would beat the Braves on opening day since 1999.
I am a person that tends to be put off by over-hype, especially for things that I already anticipate, so as the Harper-Hype went into overdrive these last few days. culminating in the NBC10 pre-game coverage of the Team parading in, having a dedicated camera focusing on Bryce, basically ignoring the rest of the team, I have been tweeting often as I said in the opening – there are 24 other players on this roster not named Harper. Don’t get me wrong, I love having him here, but I don’t appreciate that this takes away from the team aspect of baseball. Yeah there will be plenty of nights when Harper is the Hero, but just as often he will not.
Every starter in this game had a hit, except Realmuto and Harper, but they both still contributed with a BB and a R.
“It’s scary good,” Hoskins said after the game. “There’s just not a deep breath, there’s not a breath of fresh air for the opposing pitcher. They decided to walk Bryce tonight. Sometimes they’ll walk him and they’ll walk me and then you have to face J.T. You walk Cutch, you have to face Segura. You walk Odubel, you have to face Cesar and then Franco.
Hopefully the media and the phans will realize this soon and back all the players, as they need everyone to contribute if they want to be playoff contenders.
These are the starters for the rest of this series. The Braves are going with two rookies, which can be good or bad as there is not the “book” on these guys like pitchers they have faced before. Then again, these kids are making their first and second starts respectively.
After this the Phils face the Washington Nationals in DC for two mid week, and then back home for the Minnesota Twins next weekend. The Phillies have 21 games against the NL East before the end of April, so this could be an important start of the season.
Though I was born a few blocks from what was to be the NY Worlds Fair/Shea Stadium/Forrest Hills Complex, my parents saved me from being a NY fan by moving to Elkins Park in 1955, when I was 6 months old. I have been living and dying w/ Philly sports teams ever since. Now over 60 , I bring an older, but hopefully not stodgy, spin to this blog. By day I am a mild mannered controller/IT guy for a family business, but by night you will either find me @ CBP at least 17 games a season, and most other nights yelling at my tv as if they can hear me. Though I attend many other local sports, my main love has always been baseball, and my focus here is the Phillies, but I am also part of the team covering the Philadelphia Union.