National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 7th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (1-0) at Pittsburgh Pirates (0-1), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (0-0, 0.00) Pittsburgh - Jeff Karstens (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Roy Halladay was his usual dominating self on Opening Day.
Now the Philadelphia Phillies hope Cliff Lee can erase the memory from a disappointing postseason when they continue a three-game season-opening set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
Lee was terrific in his return to the Phillies in 2011, as he went 17-8 to go along with a 2.40 ERA in 32 starts. He also struck out 238 batters over 232 2/3 innings to go along with an incredible six shutouts.
The lefty won all five of his June starts and did the same in August, while winning seven straight starts from July 30 - Sept. 5.
But, as good as his regular season was the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner ended his year on a sour note when he was unable to hold a lead in his NLDS Game 2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, a setback that may have altered the entire series.
Lee, who pitched to a 2.45 ERA this spring. has recorded double-digit win totals in each season since 2008, when he set a career high with 22 victories for Cleveland.
The Phillies began their quest for a sixth straight National League East title in winning fashion on Wednesday, as Halladay tossed eight scoreless innings and Carlos Ruiz had three hits knocked in the only run in a 1-0 victory.
Halladay (1-0), making his 10th consecutive Opening Day start, gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, and none thereafter. The 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner recorded five strikeouts and issued no walks. However, he did hit two Pittsburgh players with pitches.
Former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon worked a perfect ninth to earn the save in his first game with the Phillies.
"Papelbon came in and did a nice job, got his feet wet," Halladay said.
Erik Bedard (0-1) pitched well in his Pirates debut, scattering six hits, with a walk and four strikeouts over seven innings.
"You got to try to match [Halladay] and I did my best," Bedard said.
Tonight, Pittsburgh will hand the ball to righty Jeff Karstens, who pitched to a 2.12 ERA in four spring starts. Last year he was 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA. He has faced the Phillies five times (three starts) but has yet to record a decision against them, despite a 3.46 ERA.
"I'm just in a really good place on the mound right now," Karstens said after his last spring outing. "In the middle of Spring Training, I think I was walking some guys, coming out of my delivery, worrying about things I shouldn't have been worrying about. We got the focus back, and after today, I'm in a place where I'm really happy about going into the season."
Philadelphia won four of its six matchups with the Pirates last season. However, the Phils are just 7-10 in their last 17 trips to the Steel City.
04/07 10:33:28 ET