What a great start to the 2013 season. The Astros made a statement by winning their first game as an American League team. The American League won the first game of the new year-round Interleague play on the road. There was a near-perfect game earlier in the season than ever before. In just the 35 games played already there have been 68 home runs. The Braves have done their part to contribute, hitting three home runs in each of their first two games. Their six home runs is second only to the Rockies’ eight, who have already completed their series against the Brewers. Let’s look at some of the highlights of the Braves’ first two games as they get ready to try to sweep the Phillies tonight.
The Braves Opening Day celebration was awesome. Chipper threw out the first pitch of the season, because who else deserved that more? He even came out in his jersey. It was a nice touch to have the injured Brian McCann catch the pitch for Chipper as one of his longest-tenured teammates. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, which was well-deserved after all he did for this team. It really could not have gone any better.
As previously mentioned, the Braves have been going yard almost on command. Justin Upton continued his Spring Training power performance by hitting two home runs in just seven at bats. This ties him for first place among other National League hitters. Joining Upton in the 2013 home run club so far are Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis in his first major league game.
Tim Hudson had a decent game in the season opener. In 4.1 innings he allowed three runs off six hits while striking out three. This is not as long as I’d like to see him pitch but he’s still working out some issues he had in Spring training. Luis Avilan earned the win after coming into a second and third situation in the fifth inning. He allowed no runs in his 1.2 innings. At the end of the game, Craig Kimbrel showed why you don’t want to be losing to the Braves in the last few innings. In his one inning of work he did not allow any Phillies player to reach base. This helped solidify their 7-5 victory on Opening Day.
The second game was dominated by the Braves from start to finish. After scoring three runs in the first inning they blew the game wide open by scoring four more in the fourth. Paul Maholm earned his first win of the season for his 5.2 innings of work in which he allowed no runs off six hits and striking out the same amount. Freddie Freeman has been Mr. Reliable for the Braves so far. He has been amazing offensively, leading the Braves in almost every category.
The final game of the opening series tonight will feature Cliff Lee and Kris Medlen. If the Braves play like they have the first two games they should have no trouble bringing out the broomsticks. The first two games have been something to remember. Here’s to hoping after the next 160 I’ll be saying the same thing.