Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia –Fantasy Baseball Dugout is live in Philadelphia for the Major League Baseball home opener. BallparkBob, seated in section 117, will be reporting results from the game via his cell phone text messaging.
Brian McCann went deep in the first inning off of Brett Myers. We said McCann was going to be a fantasy baseball stud this season and would far surpass his 2008 campaign.
Baseball’s best second baseman, Chase Utley, hit one to right field in the Phillies’ first, but it was warning track power.
Jeff Francouer clobbered a inside pitch into the left field seats to open the second inning. Francouer is coming off a horrible 2008 season and this had to be a big confidence builder. It looks like Myers is off to one of his bad starts; Myers tends to struggle in the early going. We got our first look at center fielder Jordan Schafer who homered in his first major league at bat. This one was to the deepest part of the field in left-center. Just over the wall where Pat Burrell hit his big double last year in the World Series. What a start to the 2009 season if you are Francouer or Schafer.
Francouer looks to have a new stance. I recall him being more straight up to the pitcher, but he looks to pull more this season it appears. Schafer bounced a single up the middle to keep the inning going with two out. It looked like a good pitch from Myers and Schafer got a single back through the box. If you haven’t drafted yet, you might want to take a look at Schafer–he looks like he should have been part of our 2009 outfielders sleepers list instead of Josh Anderson. The Braves traded Anderson to the Tigers earlier this week to open up the center field job for Schafer whom we hear is outstanding defensively as well. Schafer looks like more of a # 1 or # 2 hitter than one to be buried in the # 8 hole.
Chipper Jones had his highest average of his career last year. Jones seems to have been around forever. This is his 14th season with the Braves. Jones clouted a long double to deep center field that even Shane Victorino couldn’t catch up to. It hit off the warning track and caromed into the stands. It got out there in a hurry, but the ground rule double probably saved the Phillies a base as it might have been a triple. Then, Myers got McCann on a nasty curve ball to end the threat. Braves 4-0.
Derek Lowe still cruising for the Braves. Only one hit allowed. He struckout Victorino and Pedro Feliz in the fifth. Newly acquired Jack Taschner was warming up in the bullpen and I was hoping we’d get our first look at him, but the Phillies never got Myers to the plate to pinch hit for him. I saw Matt Stairs swinging a bat in the dugout and I think he would have gotten the pinch hit; it’s a shame he didn’t get a chance to come up to the plate as the crowd would have gone crazy to see Stairs.
Former Angel Garrett Anderson got his first major league hit off the glove of Myers. It looks funny to see Anderson in a uniform other than the Angels. Schafer was walked intentionally with two outs to get to Lowe. Lowe laid down a 2-out bunt that probably would have been a hit had it gone fair; Feliz was deep at third and I doubt he could have made the play. It’s a wonder more pitchers don’t try to lay down bunts for hits now that I think about it.
Gregg Dobbs got the pinch hit instead of Stairs with one out and nobody on. He hit a foul ball that got by the Phillies’ ball girl in right field causing a chorus of boos from the Philly faithful. Good to see nothing is different in Philly despite a World Series championship. Rollins got a single, only the Phillies second hit of the evening off Lowe who has great stuff tonight.
Lowe is making a powerful Phillies lineup look like a bunch of high schoolers. Just two Phillies hits and he mowed them down in the eighth with ease. It will be interesting to see if he finishes the game. It looks like the Braves have a righty and lefty up in the bullpen.
This game is moving along very fast. Phillies fans are a good bunch though. They arrived early and took in the pregame activities and very few fans are leaving early.
Interesting that Brad Lidge came out to pitch with the Phillies losing 4-0, but I guess he needs the work. The Phillies were actually home the past two day with exhibition games against the Rays. It’s interesting that they had apparently scheduled the Rays prior to last year’s World Series. There was talk that the Phillies would go to New York to take on the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium, but when you can fill the place for two extra exhibition games, why not do it.
Mike Gonzalez out to pitch the ninth for the Braves. Erik Bruntlett, who is probably not on anybody’s fantasy baseball team, lines a double on the left field line. The Phillies have to be happy to have Lowe out of there. I know it’s early in the year, but the guy was cruising so why not let him go? Gonzalez walked Utley to put two on with Howard up, but Gonzalez got Howard on a fastball after throwing a series of sliders; great pitch. Gonzalez then struck out Raul Ibanez to win it
Braves – 4 Phillies – 1