The day began with promise as the Phillies players warmed up and took batting practice on a mild, sunny day. There were smiles all around; fans and players were happy to be back in Philly for a new season. Roy Halladay had extra reason to smile today; he was named the NL Player of the Week for his 2 wins and sparkly clean 0.56 ERA.
The Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch; fans lined the red carpet in centerfield to greet the players; the 2009 NL Championship flag was hoisted and the Navy Seals jumped out of an airplane to deliver the game ball:
And then, the drama began. The Phillies took the field, but for some reason, Jimmy Rollins looked a bit like Juan Castro at short stop. Oh wait, it is Juan Castro…what??
Like the game, “Where’s Waldo?”, fans everywhere chatted about “Where’s J-Roll?” He was announced as a starter; what is going on here? Turns out, Jimmy strained his calf muscle during the pre-game warm-ups, right after the Opening Ceremonies.
Rollins will have an MRI tomorrow and his Red Bull / Guinness World Record for the longest batted ball event has been postponed. Jayson Werth was also injured today, although his issue appears to be less serious. He left before the 6th inning with soreness in his left hip…no MRI is schedule for Werth.
As for the game, things looked a bit dicey as Cole Hamels allowed 4 runs in the first four innings. He settled in and would have gotten through 6 total if not for an error by Castro to extend the 6th inning. But Castro did pull through at the plate with a double in the 5th that led to a huge 5 run inning, so we forgive him.
Placido Polanco made a big splash that same inning, singling in 2 runs. Chase Utley put the exclamation mark on the inning by then smashing a 2-run homer to right that bounced off the foul pole net. Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth also collected RBI’s on the day to rally their team to a 7-4 win over the Nationals. Here is some of the game action:
The bullpen did a great job as well; 4 pitchers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Danys Baez looked shaky at first, throwing 7 straight balls before he got an out. But he got out of the jam and then Ryan Madson closed the game, looking very sharp. And it is a good thing too as Brad Lidge’s recovery is not looking promising right now.
And here is just one more fun moment from the day; near the very end of the National Anthem, Chase Utley was so anxious to get the game started, he bolted for the dugout before it was over, realizing after a few seconds that no one else was following him. Funny stuff:
You have to love the man’s enthusiasm. Here is the full Photo Album of the game and ceremonies. Off day tomorrow…back at the Nats on Wednesday :O)
Photos by Jenn