All the things you expected to happen, did. Thousands of Phillies fans made the trip to the Nation's capitol to see the Phillies take on the Nationals for Opening Day of the 2010 season. The Phillies delivered in crushing fashion beating Washington 11-1. Roy Halladay made his debut and looked stellar. Allowing only one run in 7 innings and striking out nine. The Phillies hit the ball. And I mean hit. Ryan Howard put those 'slow start' talks aside and crushed a John Lannan offering into the right field seats to give the Phightins a 2-1 lead. It was all down hill from there.
As Phillies fans, we all expected this. We expected, as we do every game, for the Phillies to win. And win big. Philadelphia has always been called an AL lineup in the National League. They are going to hit home runs. We also expected Halladay to dominate. And facing the lowly Nationals it was no problem. Lifted after 7 innings and 87 pitches, I am confident he could have pitched a complete game. But there was no need for that. A call to the bullpen showed confidence in the new arms. Antonio Bastardo, Danny Baez and David Herndon finished out the game only allowing three hits and striking out two in the final two innings.
But like I said, we all expected this. There were a few things that made me, at least, say hmmmm. The first thing happened at about 10:15 Monday morning getting to the parking lot. This was the parking lot under the bridge on the Potomac where Phillies Nation was holding their Opening Day Tailgate party. Which by the way was amazing. If you weren't in this parking lot bare with me for a bit. Upon pulling into the parking lot a middle aged gentleman walked up to the car and said 'Parking? $15."
This wasn't the weird part, because we knew we would have to pay to park. He was wearing a 3-piece suit in almost 80 degree weather directing people where to park. And this was a dirt parking lot. Seemed like odd attire for a job like that. Now we move on to the game. Or right before it I should say. President Barack Obama came out to throw the first pitch. Smiling hugely as he walked out of the dugout, he shook hands with a couple discharged military people and Nationals Coach Jim Riggleman. I noticed he had a glove under his arm, like an 8 yr-old hoping to catch a foul ball. Still not the oddest part. He walked to the mound and put on a Chicago White Sox cap. We all know he is from Chicago and an avid sports fan but this seemed a little much. Almost in bad taste. But then again it is the Nationals and he is a politician.
Other oddities actually happened in the stat columns. Halladay had always been a pitcher that doesn't walk a lot of batters. Last season he had more starts than he did walks. On Opening Day he issued two walks, one of which was in the first inning. After the game the Phillies catcher, Carlos Ruiz, said Halladay never once shook him off. So it seemed Roy was comfortable throwing whatever Chooch asked for.
Next was the third baseman trotting out to the hot corner for the Phils. Polacido Polanco netted six rbis for the day with four of them coming on a grand slam in the 7th inning against Nationals reliever Jason Bergmann. A great start to his second stint with Philadelphia.
Throw in an error in left for Raul Ibanez, a stolen base by Jimmy Rollins and a base hit for Halladay it was a very exciting game. What a way to start the season! Go Phillies!
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