There was not a lot optimism from the Phillies faithful going into this season. The fans less than positive attitude toward the Phillies resulted in low expectations, which were almost immediately raised with the Phillies offensively packed season opener.
The Phillies didn’t score any runs in their last 3 spring training games, instead they saved all their runs for the home opener; they exploded for an astounding 14 runs in the 14-10 victory against the Texas Rangers in Texas. The entire starting lineup recorded at least one hit except for starting left fielder Tony Gwynn Jr.
Jimmy Rollins had an especially eventful afternoon. Rollins busted the game open with a grand slam in the second inning marking Rollins’ 200th career home run. Rollins also became the 19th player in MLB history to hit 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples, and 200 or more home runs in a career. J-Roll tied the record with Cal Ripken Jr. for most openers started by a shortstop with 14th consecutive openers. Newly acquired right fielder Marlon Byrd homered in this game to help the effort. Centerfielder Ben Revere had a stand out game as be went 3 for 6 with 3 RBIs, 2 runs scored, and 1 stolen base. Third baseman Cody Asche led the charge as he went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs, 4 runs scored, and drew 1 walk. One of Asche’s three hits was his first homer of the season. As a whole the Phillies offense that had not produced in spring training produced in this game by recording 17 hits but the offense was led by catalysts Asche and Revere.
The Phillies had a 6-0 lead and Cliff Lee was on the mound for the Phils. Phillies fans would think the game was in the bag, well that was certainly not the case. After being given run support that was not so common in the past he coughed up the lead in the third after being given a 6-0 lead. The offense bailed Lee out of taking a loss as he left the ball game when the Phillies were up 13-8. Lee pitched in the ball game for 5 innings, allowed 11 hits, gave up 8 earned runs, struck out one, and walked one. This start is sort of shocking after the tremendous spring he had only given up 7 runs in 24 2/3 innings of work while striking out 26 and walked 4. This start shouldn’t be anything to worry about as Lee should be able to bounce back in his next start if leaves the ball out of the middle of the plate. The bullpen kept the Phillies in front of Texas as Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless sixth and Antonio Bastardo pitched out of a rough situation in the seventh and then came back out for the eighth to get a 1-2-3 inning. Closer Jonathan Papelbon recorded the final three outs of the victory.
After the victory the Phillies are now 60-70-2 all time on Opening Day. The Phillies showed just for this game that the offense can produce and put some runs. This game had its ups and downs for the Phillies fans watching and proved to please all the Phillies fans. This one game will not change the perception of the Phillies but could have the pessimistic people to possibly change the opinion of what the Phillies will ultimately do this season. All in all this one game proves that Jimmy Rollins was right as he said, “Spring training doesn’t matter”…. for now.
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