Friday, March 30, 2018

Game 1 - 2018 Topps Opening Day #81 Aaron Nola

Braves 8, Phillies 5
Game 1 - Thursday Afternoon, March 29th in Atlanta
Record - 0-1, Tied for 4th place, 1 game behind the Braves and Mets

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was inexplicably removed from this game in the sixth inning, the bullpen couldn't hold a five run lead, and Nick Markakis hit a walk-off home run off Hector Neris in this devastating 8-5 loss.

What It Means:  I struggled with the right word to use in the sentence above, and "devastating" may be over-reacting in game one, but man this loss stunk.

What Happened:  Having thrown 68 pitches, and absolutely cruising, Nola was removed by new manager Gabe Kapler with the Phillies up 5-0.  Five relievers later, and three Braves home runs later, the Phillies were in the loss column.

Cesar Hernandez hit a home run (1) in his second opening day in a row.  Rhys Hoskins had a pair of doubles and Andrew Knapp had a two-run single in the sixth.  The actual opening day line-up was not without controversy as Odubel Herrera and Jorge Alfaro were benched in favor of Aaron Altherr and Knapp.

1995 Leaf #359
As Tweeted by Todd Zolecki, the only other time the Phillies blew a five-run lead on opening day was in 1995.  Norm Charlton was on the mound when Scott Cooper's RBI-single scored Bernard Gilkey and Ozzie Smith, giving the Cardinals a 7-6 win.

Featured Card:  Nola should have pitched deeper into this game and he should have received the win.  Appropriately enough, this is his recently released Topps Opening Day card.

Transactions:  The Phillies broke camp with 30 players on their active roster, and they needed to trim that number by five prior to Thursday's opener.  As expected, Jerad Eickhoff (back), Tommy Hunter (hamstring) and Mark Leiter, Jr. (forearm) were all placed on the disabled list.  Jake Arrieta was optioned to High-A Clearwater where he'll get ready for his first start in Philadelphia on April 8th.  I honestly don't know what happened to Will Middlebrooks.  The third baseman broke his leg in early spring action, and unless I missed it, the Phillies never made an official roster move to reassign him to minor league camp or place him on a minor league disabled list.

And One More Thing:  9 years ago tonight, at 9:38 PM, I published my first post on this blog.  It's been a fun 9 years, and I'm excited to keep going.


Anonymous said...

Fire Gabe Kapler!!! :-)

I'm slightly disappointed to find that Nola's OD card uses the same photo as Series 1... I've been enjoying chasing down the cards which differ and was hoping his would be one of them.

Congratulations on the anniversary!

Section 36 said...

The Sox also blew an huge opening day lead. Maybe that's just a requirement for teams headed to the World Series?

Although this one hurts personally since Nola is a mainstay of my fantasy team.

Happy 9 years! This blog is always a daily read for me!

Jim said...

2 games in and both games were scrutinized here locally like they were Game 7 of the World Series. Should be an interesting season!