Saturday, March 26, 2011

Opening Day Flashbacks, 1982

The 1982 Braves began the season by rolling off 13 straight wins-a major league record since tied by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers. The streak began with an Opening Night victory against the San Diego Padres, a team which the previous season finished at the bottom of the NL West in both halves (remember, the 1981 season was cut short by the strike, and thus a first-half and second-half division winner was announced). The Braves first loss on the season would come against the Reds on April 22, as they lost 2-1.

April 6, 1982, Jack Murphy Stadium- San Diego, California
If you enjoy watching a game with a lot of offense, then this wasn't a game for you. Instead, both teams would have a difficult time getting a hit-they combined for a total of just 6 hits. Atlanta did, however, managed to get eight walks off of Padre starter Juan Eichelberger. Surprisingly, Eichelberger didn't allow more runs, as the Braves ended up leaving 10 runners on base for the evening. One walk, however, would haunt the Padres. With one out in a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth, Brett Butler drew a walk and then scored on Glenn Hubbard's double to left. A passed ball and another walk would give the Braves runners on first and third, but they would fail to score again in the fifth. It didn't matter, however, as Butler's run would be all they would need on the night.

Player of the Game- Glenn Hubbard
Hubbard, who prior to the 2011 season had spent the last twelve seasons as the Braves first base coach, was known primarily for his defense in his playing days. This night, however, Hubbard would be the hero with his bat-with the fifth inning double that drove in the only run of the game. Hubbard would go on to hit 25 doubles and drive in 59 RBI in 1982 (both career highs to that point), as well as lead the National League in sacrifice hits that year.
Pitcher of the Game- Rick Mahler
After giving up a two-out single to Luis Salazar in the bottom of the second, Mahler would go on to pitch a masterpiece-allowing only one other hit on the night. That hit wouldn't come until the bottom of the ninth, when Rupert Jones doubled with two outs. Thankfully, Jones would be left in scoring position as Sixto Lezcano followed up by striking out to end the game. The Lezcano K would be the seventh on the night for Mahler, who also surrendered three walks (one being intentional). The win for Rick was the first of nine on the 1982 season and was the first of five complete games (2 shutouts) he had thrown that year.

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