4/5/09

Opening Night Wrapup

Braves 4, Phillies 1

Derek Lowe: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB

Brett Myers: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 K, 3 BB

Well, that went better than we expected. Derek Lowe was excellent, the offense looked capable, the defense made all the right plays, and how about Jordan Schafer!  Kid knocked a donger in his very first MLB AB.  You love to see that.  Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur also bopped a four-bagger apiece; McCann's was a 2-run shot.  Nice to see him get started off right, and it's especially nice to see Francoeur yanking a ball out.  He's showing off a new open stance (that the broadcasters made very sure we knew all about) and it looks like it's working so far.  The only complaint we have with this game was Bobby Cox going to Mike Gonzalez in the 9th.  Lowe had been excellent all game, allowing only 2 runners, and had thrown 6 and 8 pitches in the 7th and 8th, respectively (and 97 for the game).  So why abandon the hot hand, especially when you're going to a lefty who's going to be facing righties to start the inning?  The matchup ended up working out, but only because Gonzo was bad enough to get to the lefty-heavy top of the lineup.  Regardless, we guess it's good to have him back on the mound, but if Cox is going to be making these kind of bullpen decisions all year, we have a feeling there's going to be some ugly losses.

The Phillies on the other hand did little right.  Brett Myers was pretty bad, flashing low velo and inconsistent, ineffective changeups and sliders.  The curve was nasty, but he didn't go to it until the damage had been done.  And only getting 5 runners on base for the entire game (4 hits - 2 off Gonzo - and a walk - also Gonzo's fault) doesn't often yield a win.  Chase Utley looked alright coming off his hip surgery, and Ryan Howard's in midseason form, meaning that he K'd twice.  Rollins, Werth, Bruntlett, and Ruiz accounted for the Phillies' hits.  Also it's worth mentioning that I enjoy watching Ruiz catch.  On each of the home runs the Braves hit, he never left the crouch, and he has this bizarre way of catching where every so often he'll lay one leg flat on the ground.  Bizarre...but fun.  

Anyway, the player of the game for us is Derek Lowe, who was dominant in his 8 innings of work.  He's earning that ace paycheck.  But we'd also like to extend congratulations to Jordan Schafer, whose homer, single, walk, and strikeout were all MLB firsts.  And, as of right now, he leads the MLB in batting.  So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

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