Like I said in the title, the Phillies, despite having one of the greatest rotations ever, will not be able to rely on Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels to pitch complete game shutouts every game.
Roy Halladay, who pitched four complete game shutouts in 2010, was on pace to do just that going into the third inning. He tantalized the crowd with grandiose thoughts of an Opening Day perfect game, mowing down the first eight batters. Then, Houston RHP Brett Myers stepped to the plate and hit a single up the middle. (Myers later got another hit, but Phillies fans shouldn’t have been surprised at his batting performance. Remember the 2008 playoffs against CC Sabathia?) Halladay’s pitch count rose to 101 pitches when the sixth inning was protracted by a misplay by Wilson Valdez. Halladay left after six, striking out six, walking none and giving up five hits and one run.
Charlie Manuel sent in J.C. Romero to get the first batter in the seventh, but instead, Romero gave up a single. David Herndon came in to replace Romero, but he didn’t fare any better. He gave up another single, followed by a triple by speedster Michael Bourn. A sacrifice fly by Angel Sanchez brought Bourn home and gave the Astros a 4-1 lead.
The middle relief proved that it is the weakest link for the Phillies. They will need to have enough offense each game to make up for any runs the bullpen will allow.