In the words of the great Knucksie from atop the Braves dugout tonight, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play ball!”
And hey, here’s a new one for Cole HamelsFacts: he’s now 0-1 on Opening Day, because we just beat the crap out of him.
After Tim Hudson dispatched the Phillies in order in the top of the first, the Braves got right to crushing Hamels via a savage 2-run swipe from Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the inning. From my infield vantage point…
…it was obvious that Hamels was having trouble controlling his breaking pitch, bouncing a couple and sailing a third.So the Braves sat on his fastball and had a flyball party all night, and it was great fun to behold.Dan Uggla sent a cripple pitch soaring into the leftfield stands in the second inning, and Freeman followed up in the third with an RBI single that was hit so hard that, despite my vantage point, in the infield…
…I didn’t see the ball until John Mayberry scooped it up. So things were rolling merrily along until the hate-ably splendid baseball player Chase Utley took Hudson deep in the fourth inning, with Hudson beginning to struggle generally, getting deep into too many counts. This culminated in the fifth with a 11-pitch walk to Ben Revere, sandwiched by singles by Hamels and Jimmy Rollins, whereupon the annoyingly excellent Chase Utley hit a completely predictable single to right, scoring two more runs and making the score 4-3.
Luis Avilan came in and stopped the bleeding, and followed it up with an uneventful sixth inning as well, eventually earning the win. Meanwhile, Justin Upton gave us all a hearty hello with a mammoth shot to left field in the fifth, and fellow new arrival Gerald Laird drove in Uggla with a soft liner to The Exact Spot in the sixth, and then Chris Johnson hustled home on a double play to make it a 7-3 Braves lead.
EOF retired every mortal he faced in the seventh, giving up one run. Jordan Walden emitted a series of alarming spasms in the eighth, giving up one more. Finally, Craig Kimbrel’s first two pitches in the ninth were terrifyingly wild, but then he settled down and nailed down Victory #1 in 2013. Huzzah!