Philadelphia Phillies: Opening day observations

The Philadelphia Phillies started off the season on the right foot in a crazy 14-10 victory over the Texas Rangers.  It looked as though the game would be decided early, when the Phillies jumped out to a six run lead at the top of the second inning.  However, Cliff Lee struggled, giving the lead back before the offense fired back.  Here are some observations about the Phillies opening day victory:

Cliff Lee

  • Cliff Lee is not a fan of Texas.  Heading into the game his career ERA in the state of Texas is 5.73.  Anywhere else, his ERA is 3.42.  This means that his career ERA jumps from 3.42 to 3.51 due to the Texas games.
  • Another Lee stat: the pitcher was 17-0 heading into this game when the Phillies score 6 or more runs.  That number is now 18-0 despite Lee giving up 8 earned runs.
  • Do not put much merit into Lee’s opening day struggles today, as in his only other opening day start he gave up 7 runs.  The opponent?  The Rangers in Texas.  Fans should wait to judge Lee, as his struggles in Texas could easily be blamed for today’s game.

Jimmy Rollins

Despite trade rumors, Rollins is his upbeat self.

Rollins record setting day gives him the last laugh.

  • Jimmy Rollins probably has everybody repeating his “who cares?” comment in regards to spring training after his game today.  He only had one hit today, but it was a big one.  In the second inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Rollins came up and hit a grand slam, giving the team a short lived 6-0 lead.
  • Rollins’ homerun not only gave his team the lead, but it was also his 200th career homerun.  It made Rollins the 19th player in Major League history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples, and 200 or more home runs in a career.  It is great company to be in, as 15 of these players are in the Hall of Fame.  Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, and Willie Mays are just a few of the players Rollins joins in this achievement.
  • The shortstop also set another record for shortstops with his 14th consecutive opening day start for the same franchise.

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An Offensive Explosion

  • In just the first game of the 2014 season, the Phillies have matched their total of games last season in which they had 17 hits.
  • Ben Revere and Cody Asche both had huge days, each finishing with three hits.  Revere had three RBIs and two runs scored, and Asche had two RBIs as well as four runs scored.  These two will be key pieces for the Phillies to a successful season, and they showed it in today’s win.
  • Ryan Howard appeared slow at times when running, but he made it on base three times, walking in his first at bat.  It is a good sign from the Big Piece, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons.
  • The team showed a lot of patience at the plate today, finishing with six walks.  It helped against the Rangers’ Tanner Scheppers, who was making his first start in the majors.  The Phillies made the young pitcher work and took advantage, scoring seven runs against Scheppers.

It is only one game out of 162, but after being shutout in its last three exhibition games, the Phillies’ offensive explosion offers optimism about this season.  It will be important for the offense to remain consistent, although 14 runs a game is not expected.  A.J. Burnett takes the mound tomorrow for the Phillies against lefthander Martin Perez.

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