After a long offseason, the 2012 regular season finally got underway yesterday afternoon. Roy Halladay was spectacular, as was expected, breaking faces left and right. The offense couldn’t do much, also predictably, but one run was just enough to push them past the home Pittsburgh Pirates.
Factoids and tidbits follow.
Yesterday was just the fifth time in baseball history that two teams won 1-0 on Opening Day, and the first since April 10, 1980, as the Johan Santana returned after taking 2011 off and led the New York Mets to outlast the Atlanta Braves. As noted by Bill Baer, it was the Phillies’ third-ever 1-0 Opening Day win, the previous two starting the 1913 and 1930 seasons.
Via the Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:
Freddy Galvis was the first Phillie to make his major-league début in the opening day starting lineup since Bowa and Doyle in 1970.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) April 5, 2012
The full list here. Only ten total Phillies have done that since the end of WWII, before which accurate statistics are hard to come by, but Galvis certainly provided the least offense of those ten, and likely of all thirty since 1920. Galvis was also just the ninth in Major League history who made his début in the starting lineup to ground into two double plays, and the first on Opening Day. He was the 25th since the late 1940s (as far back as Win Probability Added has been measured) to decrease his team’s chance of winning by 21% or more. Long story short, he had a historically bad début.
Halladay’s Game Score of 83 was the fifth-highest by a Phillie on Opening Day, behind a pair of Chris Short and Curt Schilling starts. His .576 WPA was also fourth, behind a different Short game, along with a Robin Roberts and Terry Mulholland. The 14th in baseball history with both GSc and WPA that high in an Opening Day game. The fifth Opening Day starter with 8+ innings, two hits or fewer, and no walks or runs. As noted by Crashburn Alley in the above link in the 1-0 wins section, this was Halladay’s personal best of his ten consecutive Opening Day starts, again in terms of both Game Score and WPA, and by a wide margin. The previous GSc high was 68 in 2010 against Washington; meanwhile, the highest WPA was a .215 in 2006 when he allowed two homers to the Twins.
I’m in the process of creating a separate section for .GIFs, major props again to Bill for writing/videoing a tutorial to make the process easy enough that even I can do it. Once that is complete, I’ll update this section of the post. For now, here’s a preview, from the Rollins-Galvis-Wigginton double play turned in the first inning.
I can’t say how often I’ll do game recaps like this. Maybe every game, or maybe when I notice something particularly interesting. This is far more just a list of random trivia and minutiae than it is a recap, but regardless, I don’t think anyone needs me to describe the game. If that’s what you’re into, you can find it at so many other Phillies blogs. Phillies Nation and Beerleaguer are two that do that very well, and while The Good Phight obviously specializes in other things, they also have well-written recaps. However, one thing I would like to do after every game is to honor each team’s best and worst player.
For the Phillies
Winner: Roy Halladay, P. Well, no shit, Sherlock. Was that not obvious enough?
Loser: Freddy Galvis, 2B. Despite the nice defense above and lack of experience, two inning-ending double plays is still bad, not even necessarily on a historical level, but on an offense-constricting level.
For the opponent
Doff of the cap: Erik Bedard, P. Despite being on the losing end, 7 innings of six-hit, one-run ball with one walk and four strikeouts is still quite good. It’s also a reminder that, were he not so injury-prone, he could have been a bonafide ace, either staying with the Baltimore Orioles, or after going to the Seattle Mariners. The only season he posted a below-average ERA+ was in 2002, his first ever in the bigs – in two-thirds of an inning in two separate appearances, he gave up one run. He had a 146 ERA+ in 182 IP in 2007, his last year in Baltimore, posting league-leading numbers in SO/9 (10.9) and H/9 (7.0), leading to a fifth-place Cy Young finish. A remembrance of Fantasy Baseball Kryptonites of old, I suppose.
Laugh in the face: Rod Barajas, C. I could go with Andrew McCutchen, who had the lowest WPA on the team, but nearly 66% of that was due to the above first-inning double play with no outs and runners on first and second. Moreso than it was bad hitting, it displayed that (a) Jimmy Rollins still has with the glove at shortstop, and (b) along with other plays, Freddy Galvis’ defense is as good as people say. Remember that before last month, everyone was talking about his shortstop defense and he had never played second base before. So instead, Rod Barajas, who appears to have finally stopped hitting terribly against everyone but the Phillies, and rightfully simply hits terribly all the time. At -.105, his WPA was the lowest for any Pirate without any positive impact.