The Philadelphia Phillies’ 2011 season opener saw Roy Halladay and the Houston Astros’ Brett Myers facing off in a pitcher’s duel. Surprisingly, neither starter received the victory. Halladay received no help from the offense and Myers received no help from the bullpen. A three-run and six-hit outburst in the ninth inning gave the Phillies a dramatic 5-4 victory.
Jimmy Rollins (2/4, 2 runs, SB) led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single, followed by a Ryan Howard single. Rollins then got the fans’ adrenaline pumping as he stole third base. After Rollins’ steal, Ben Francisco drove Rollins in with an RBI single to cut the Astros’ lead to 4-3. Francisco had a poor performance in the outfield but redeemed himself in the ninth inning with clutch hitting. Carlos Ruiz then delivered what would be a game-tying or game-winning hit; however, it was a foul ball. Several pitches later, Ruiz delivered a single to load the bases. Wilson Valdez then tied the game with a single to left field. John Mayberry sealed the victory with a pinch-hit single to win the game by a final of 5-4.
Halladay and Myers both pitched well. Although Halladay pitched a good game, he did not display the pinpoint control he normally has. Halladay ran into three-ball counts and threw more first-pitch balls than he normally does. Halladay left after pitching six innings while trailing 1-0. In addition to three-ball counts, Astros hitters fouled off many of Halladay’s pitches.
Roy Halladay: ND, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 101 pitches (68 strikes)
Due to the absence of Chase Utley, many people have questions about the Phillies’ offense in 2011. With or without Utley, the Phillies should win plenty of games as long as their pitching staff, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard stay healthy.