The Phillies are 0-2. If Cliff Lee doesn't stop the Braves' momentum they'll be 0-3 for the first time since 2007, when the season also started with an Atlanta sweep.
Lee has been successful recently against the Braves, pitching to a 0.95 ERA and 0.79 WHIP against them in his last five starts. (Roy Halladay, comparatively, has an 11.57 ERA against the Braves over his last five starts.)
While this may be a different Atlanta lineup, current Braves hitters own a .310 OBP against Lee with just three homers in over 180 plate appearances.
His opponent, Kris Medlen, was the hottest pitcher on the planet after the All-Star break last season, finishing the year 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA, and 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts.
Medlen has a devastating changeup that helped him hold lefties to a .208 batting average in 2012. The pitch generated 105 outs by itself (in 375 chances), and induced swings-and-misses 49% of the time. Ryan Howard should have fun with that.
The Big Piece has actually had some success off Medlen -- he's 4-for-7 with two homers. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are a combined 4-for-12 with two doubles. Current Phils are 14-for-32 off Medlen, so they at least know he can be hit around, even if none of those numbers came in his unbelievable stretch last season.
Medlen hasn't lost a start since May 23, 2010, which was six days before Roy Halladay's perfecto. But he looked quite human this spring, when the Phillies scored nine runs off of him on 14 hits over five innings.
Perhaps someone other than Chase Utley can step up offensively tonight. Utley has 10 total bases and five RBIs through two games. The Phillies' other seven starters have 14 total bases and two RBIs.