Halladay goes for win No. 200 on Wednesday night when the Braves try to build off an impressive season-opening victory.
For the first time since Halladay arrived in Philadelphia for the 2010 season, major questions abound over how he's going to perform. Going 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 2012 and missing seven weeks with a strained right lat muscle helped create that doubt - as did a rough spring training in which he posted a 6.06 ERA in six outings.
"I think a lot of people are kind of anxious and anticipating to see Doc go out there," first baseman Ryan Howard told the Phillies' official website. "We'll just try to go out there and get the 'W.'"
The Phillies couldn't do that Monday behind Cole Hamels , as Freddie Freeman , Dan Uggla and newcomer Justin Upton homered in the Braves' 7-5 victory. Atlanta picked up where it left off in spring training, during which it hit a major league-best 49 homers - seven from Freeman.
"Hopefully, that is just the beginning," the first baseman told the Braves' official website following his three-hit, three-RBI night. "We've got a very balanced lineup one through eight. It's going to be tough for pitchers to get through us."
Halladay has struggled to do that lately, going 0-3 with a 7.44 ERA in his last six starts against Atlanta. The right-hander went 0-2 with an 11.21 ERA versus the Braves last year.
Freeman was 4 for 8 with two home runs off Halladay in those games.
New Braves center fielder B.J. Upton is a .357 hitter (15 for 42) with a homer and four doubles against Halladay, while Uggla has 11 hits - three homers - in 34 at-bats off Halladay.
Paul Maholm wasn't very good the last time he faced Philadelphia, an 8-7 Atlanta victory Sept. 2 in which he gave up a season-high seven runs in two innings. The left-hander, however, did not yield an earned run in his last 20 1/3 spring training innings.
"You want to get off on the right foot. I know last year I got shelled in two straight starts to begin (2012)," Maholm told the Braves' official website. "No matter if you throw a shutout or get bombed, you've got to take it like you've got 30-plus starts and you'll have good ones and bad ones. You've got the itch to get out there and see where you're at."
Maholm (13-11, 3.67) went 4-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 30.
Second baseman Chase Utley , 6 for 18 with three doubles and a home run off Maholm, went 3 for 5 with his 200th homer Monday. The rest of the Phillies' infield of Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young were a combined 1 for 12.
|March 22, 2013||Delmon Young||15-Day DL||Recovery from right ankle surgery|
|March 27, 2013||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Sprained left elbow|
|March 22, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Brian McCann||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Paul Janish||15-Day DL||Recovery from left shoulder surgery|
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves knocked around Cole Hamels in the opener, then chased Roy Halladay in the fourth inning on Wednesday night. They have six homers through two games against the Philadelphia Phillies .
Jason Heyward just loves what he is seeing so far.
"Jumping out early is huge," he said. "It's not always going to happen, but it's nice to do and nice to give your pitcher that cushion."
Heyward, Justin Upton and rookie Evan Gattis homered, leading Paul Maholm and the Braves to a 9-2 victory over the Phillies.
Freddie Freeman had three RBIs and leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons scored twice for Atlanta, which jumped in front for the second straight game and never trailed. Upton belted a two-run shot in the first to give him a pair of homers in his first two games with the Braves.
Halladay (0-1), who struggled with a sore shoulder last season and had a difficult spring training, gave up five runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine, but dropped to 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA in his last seven starts against Atlanta.
"I felt good," Halladay said. "Felt good in the bullpen, felt good on the mound. Obviously horrible conditions to pitch in. That made it no fun, but that's not an excuse for not being able to get ahead of guys and do it consistently and put guys away quicker."
The game was played in a chilly, steady drizzle, but the conditions hardly affected Maholm (1-0), who allowed six hits in 5 2-3 scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked one.
"It was good," Maholm said. "Obviously, in the first start of the year, not the greatest conditions, but I felt comfortable."
Gattis led off the fourth inning of his first major league game with a drive to left. Maholm struck out, but Halladay's night was over after he issued a walk to Simmons.
Raul Valdes came in and walked the next two batters before Freeman hit a bases-clearing double to make it 7-0. Freeman has driven in six of Atlanta's 16 runs in the first two games.
Maholm struggled last year against Philadelphia with an 8.64 ERA in two starts. But the left-hander stranded runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings in his first start of 2013.
Cory Gearrin replaced Maholm with a runner on first in the sixth. He walked one before striking out Erik Kratz .
The Phillies were just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
"I thought (Maholm) did a terrific job," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He mixed his pitches well and he did a nice job. Gave us a great opportunity to win the ballgame."
Juan Francisco also singled in a run in the first as Atlanta quickly built a 3-0 lead.
Halladay recorded his first eight outs on strikeouts, but he needed 79 pitches to make it through the first three innings. He was trying for win No. 200 and a spot alongside New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers to be 100 games over .500.
Halladay was upset with himself for making such an early exit.
"I'd rather get beat 20-0 and pitch eight innings than pitch 3 1-3," he said. "That's got to change."
Chase Utley had a two-run double in the seventh for Philadelphia. Utley appeared to score a third run, but home plate umpire Mike Everitt called Michael Young out for runner's interference at first and the inning ended.
Heyward tacked on a two-run homer against Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth, but the Atlanta right fielder thought the key was making Halladay work.
"We did wear him down," Heyward said. "We did make sure that we got some pitches to hit and we hit them hard."
NOTES: The Braves struck out 16 times. ... Freeman has reached in six of his eight plate appearances this season. ... Philadelphia SS Jimmy Rollins played his 1,794th game to tie Richie Ashburn for second place on the Phillies' career list. ... Braves CF B.J. Upton went 0 for 4 and has struck out in his last five at-bats. ... Phillies 1B Ryan Howard is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts. ... Gattis became the first Brave since Heyward in 2010 to homer in his first big league game. ... Braves C Brian McCann , on the 15-day disabled list recovering from shoulder surgery, will return to Orlando on Thursday to resume his rehab, though Gonzalez did not know when McCann can resume baseball activities. ... The Phillies dropped to 2-6 in their last eight games at Turner Field. .. Philadelphia claimed OF Ezequiel Carrera off waivers from Cleveland and made room for him on the 40-man roster by designating OF Ender Inciarte for assignment.