The opening series of 2013 is in the books as the Braves took two of three from the visiting Phillies. Atlanta's new faces were on display and the offense lit up the scoreboard in the first two games. Justin Upton gave Braves fans a glimpse of what to expect as the season rolls along with home runs in each of the two wins in the series, the first of which traveled 460 ft. to left field (video). Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward also hit their first home runs of the season.
The offensive star of the series, though, was Freddie Freeman. Atlanta's first baseman smacked a home run to start Opening Day and had five hits total along with six RBI.
Evan Gattis certainly had a debut to remember. Although he struck out in his first at-bat against Roy Halladay (who didn't?), the 26-year-old rookie took Halladay deep in the fourth inning for his first major-league home run just as his father was being interviewed (video). His story certainly is one that movies are made of, and hopefully he'll have more memorable moments as the season progresses.
One new Brave who didn't have a good series was B.J. Upton. The elder Upton struck out seven times in the series, including six at-bats in a row and was hung with a Golden Sombrero in Wednesday's win. He was 0-11 in the three games, but let's not give up hope on him after three games.
Regarding strikeouts, Braves hitters struck out 34 times in the series. The first eight outs of Wednesday's win were strikeouts, but the offense still managed to score 16 runs in their two wins. This is one guy who won't be too worried about strikeouts as long as the offense continues to put crooked numbers on the scoreboard and the pitching racks up the W's.
Braves fans will be happy to see Chase Utley leave town. Playing in his first Opening Day in three years, Utley had five hits, one of them a home run, and drove in six of the nine Phillies runs scored in the three games. Jimmy Rollins was another pest in the series, gathering five hits as well. Ryan Howard was held to one hit in 13 plate appearances.
Paul Maholm undoubtedly had the best game of the three Atlanta starters, shutting out the Phillies for 5.2 innings and striking out six. Tim Hudson labored through 4.1 innings in the opener and couldn't get the win. Kris Medlen, though, continued to have trouble with the Phillies and took the loss on Thursday, his first as a starter since 2009. The loss isn't too upsetting since Medlen would've had to be near perfect with the way Cliff Lee was pitching.
Any time you face a top three of Hamels, Halladay, and Lee and win two of three, that's a good series.