Braves 7, Phillies 5

Braves (1-0), Phillies (0-1)

WP: Luis Avilan  (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

LP: Cole Hamels (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

SV: Craig Kimbrel (1)

 

The Braves and Phillies both logged 10 hits. Atlanta went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, the Phillies 3-for-10. Both starters were chased early. Both bullpens allowed two earned runs.

The difference on Opening Day? The Braves rocketed three home runs, the Phillies just one.

Such is the perk of having power in the lineup – or, the peril in lacking it.

Cole Hamels, Had

To put Hamels’ first game of the 2013 regular season in exhibition terms: It looked more like his only outing against World Baseball Classic competition than the five in the Grapefruit League.

He allowed three runs on seven hits, three of them home runs, and lasted just five innings.

Of his 89 pitches – again, needed to retire just 15 batters – only 58 were strikes.

Against a lineup of five guys to strikeout 120-plus times in 2012, Hamels fanned just five.

He struggled to keep his fastball down – two of the bombs came off fastballs that sailed – didn’t deploy his changeup, and in general, seemed uncomfortable and out of control.

His first Opening Day start was the ninth of his career in which he’s served three or more bombs. His career high for home runs allowed is four, from April 23, 2010 against the Braves.

The Other Guy

If the game plan was to get to Hudson early, to then get to the bullpen and drain it for the rest of the series, they succeeded.

Hudson lasted 4 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits. 90 pitches, 58 strikes.

That forced Atlanta to dip into the bullpen four times and for 71 pitches.

After a day of rest on Tuesday Luis Avilan, Eric O’Flaherty, Jordan Walden and Craig Kimbrel, should all be available Wednesday.

That won’t be the case in other series, though, and this will be the model for victory.

Chase Utley, The Man

In his first at-bat of 2013, he launched a bomb to center. He gutted out a triple in the bottom of the sixth, in obvious response to the Braves extending their lead by two runs in the frame prior.

He finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.

His knees may be crumbling. (Though they didn’t show it on Monday.)

But Utley’s status as the heart and soul of the Phillies endures.

If It Quacks Like A Leadoff Hitter…

Entering Ben Revere’s eighth-inning at-bat, he’d performed about how you’d hope your leadoff hitter might: 1-for-3, one walk, two runs scored.

He averaged 5.75 pitches per at-bat. He worked Hudson for 11 in the fifth. Just three Phillie at-bats lasted six.

Then came the eighth. Two outs. Erik Kratz on second. Revere, the tying run.

He took the first two pitches against right-handed reliever Jordan Walden, but swung at the third; he should’ve taken it.

After a blown ball-three call by home plate umpire Tim Welke, Revere hacked away for an inning-ending strikeout.

He may be imperfect. But Revere is still Charlie Manuel’s best option atop his lineup.

Needing Relief?

Mike Adams was signed to harden the Phillies 2012 soft spot, the eighth inning.

That may have just bumped it back a frame.

Chad Durbin allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk in the seventh, without recording an out.

Jeremy Horst and Phillippe Aumont were better, combining for three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk.

It's far from last year's eighth. But this year's seventh is also far from solidified.

Also: Ryan Howard went 0-for-5 and 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position … Dom Brown went 1-for-3 with a walk … Michael Young went 0-for-2, but walked twice … The Uptons, who’ll combine to earn $22.25 million this season, combined to go 1-for-8 with three strikeouts … Freddie Freeman, who’ll make $565,000 in 2013, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Next: Roy Halladay and Paul Maholm at Turner’s Field again at 7:10 on Wednesday, in arguably the most important start of Halladay’s 15-year big-league career.