Braves 9, Phillies 2

Braves (2-0), Phillies (0-2)

WP: Maholm (1-0, 0.00)

LP: Halladay (0-1, 13.50)

Once again: Nine hits for the Braves, nine for the Phillies. With runners in scoring position, Atlanta went 2-for-7, Philadelphia 1-11. Six left on base for the home team, nine stranded for the visitors.

Not as even as yesterday, but still close enough to make one last stat line pop:

3 home runs for the Braves, none for the Phillies.

Oh, and then there’s that Roy Halladay guy…

What the Hall(aday)?

Maybe the most important start of Halladay’s career was inarguably his most bizarre.

He served 5 earned runs and 2 home runs in 3 1/3 innings, but struck out 9 Braves, becoming the first pitcher in big-league history to log so many strikeouts and yet last so few innings.

He survived for just 95 pitches and needed 40 to get through the first inning, his highest since a June 12, 2007 tilt with the Boston Red Sox, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

His command was off throughout, yet after the first inning, he threw first-pitch strikes to 9-of-11 hitters. His best inning was a 13-pitch second, the frame he most struggled in throughout spring. He hit 92 m.p.h. on the radar gun, yet threw off-speed pitches on 47-of-95 overall.

His ERA is a 13.50. His strikeout rate is a 24.30.

The awkwardness is understandable for a guy still scrambling to redefine himself after 15 big-league seasons, and the positives from tonight tease the what’s in store if he gets there.

But the blemishes reiterate a stark reality: Halladay’s not there yet, and may never be.

The Other Guy

Paul Maholm’s not a power pitcher, but he’s no push-over.

He tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings with as many strikeouts (6) as hits with only 1 walk.

The 30-year-old southpaw faced six batters with runners in scoring position, and didn’t allow a baserunner. He threw first-pitch strikes to 16-of-25 batters he faced.

So far, it’s looking like the Braves No. 1 weakness – their starting rotation – is anything but.

Bats in the Cave

Ryan Howard has yet to log a hit. He’s 0-for-8 with 4 strikeouts. Kratz is 1-for-8 with 4 strikeouts.

Dom Brown is 3-for-5 with 1 walk.

Needing Relief

The bullpen allowed four earned runs, two apiece from Raul Valdes and Jonathan Papelbon.

Valdes’ came off a Freddie Freeman double in the fourth, Papelbon’s off a Jason Heyward shot (which, maybe, John Mayberry, Jr. should’ve pulled back over the right field wall.)

Antonio Bastardo tossed a clean sixth. Mike Adams needed just 9 pitches to get 2 strikeouts in a perfect seventh. Chad Durbin warmed up for the ninth, but obviously wasn’t needed.

Blown Clutch

Through two games, the Phillies are 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 17 batters in 18 innings. Tonight, Erik Kratz was 0-for-3 with RISP, Michael Young 0-for-2.

They’ve had a baserunner in all but 1 frame this season.

Also: Jimmy Rollins tied Richie Ashburn on the franchise list games played all-time with 1,794, 610 (or 3. 76 full seasons) behind Mike Schmidt. … Ben Revere was penned in the leadoff spot again, this time against a left-handed starter. Same story for John Mayberry, again tapped in right field over Laynce Nix. … Evan Gattis, who once checked himself into rehab at age-17 to make sure he’d be ready when he left for college, went yard his first career hit – off Halladay.

Next: Cliff Lee against RHP Kris Medlen on Thursday at 7:10 p.m.