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Opening day 2008 was just like most of the opening days in my 36 year
life. The pregame was festive with the line up of players on the
sidelines, flag bearers, and a giant American flag. Parachuter’s were
supposed to deliver the first pitch but only one made the jump because
of the wind. Much like the debacles of Kite Man. There was another
common theme, after all the optimism, all the hype, all the excitement,
the Phillies did what they have done most of my life on opening day,
they lost. I was there in 1984 when Lefty one an opener, then I missed
1993 as I was in college. Since then every opening day I have been to
they have lost.
Not to rehash what I am sure you are aware of, but the game started
good and Brett Myers looked on. The Phillies manufactured a run and it
looked like we were going to see a good game. The wheels came off of
Brett Myers and just when it looked like hope was lost, Chase Utley
then Jimmy Rollins went deep and the Phils looked like the comeback
kids of last season.
After J.C. Romero did his job, Tom Gordon looked like a batting practice pitcher and all was lost.
It is only one game but this loss is bad for a few reasons. First,
the team has a day off and will have to think about, and be reminded
of, there starts the past several years. This will put much more
pressure on Wednesdays game making them press to win and we all know
relaxed teams play better.
The second bad part of this loss was the exposure of the weaknesses
in the Phillies pitching. Brett Myers will be OK but Ryan Madson was
only throwing his fastball in the high 80’s. Gordon looked terrible. He
is either done, injured, or did not get the work in that he needed to
in Spring Training as he looked like he was pitching a bullpen session.
I understand letting a pitcher get ready for the season at his own
pace when he is a veteran, but when that pitcher shows up on opening
day not ready to pitch, there is a problem.
The third problem is that without Brad Lidge, there was no one to go
to when Gordon stumbled. Clay Condrey, who does not belong on a major
league roster, was the only thing Charlie Manual had to go to when
On a side note, a fan in the parking lot after the game suggested we
trade Gordon for a horse. Maybe Smarty Jones can come out of the pen!
The bottom line, Pat Gillick we need pitching help and we need it now!
Check back soon as I will download pictures I took at the game and there will be more added from Wednesday nights game.
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Coca Cola Field in Lehigh Valley is beautiful. Phightin’ Phils
Phorum will have to take a field trip there for some pictures as the
ballpark looks like a great venue to watch a game.
The Phillies won 5-3 but let us hope they can beat their Triple A
team or Charlie Manual may have flip flopped the roster. Kyle Kendrick
looked good and although the start was against minor leaguers his
pitches looked crisp and his location looked good. Hopefully his head
will be in the right place when he faces the
Reds on Friday.
Who didn’t look good was Jayson Werth who just was not making good
contact with the ball. He has not looked good all Spring and if he does
not put it together soon, Geoff Jenkins may be platooning with So
Taguchi. That would not be the end of the world except Werth will also
need to contribute off the bench.
Well that is it for Spring Training. Phightin’ Phils Phorum is
excited to bring you coverage of the 2008 season. Be sure to visit our
site daily as it will keep you up to date on all things Phillies. Also
be sure to subscribe to our podcast and check out our Turnpike Series about the Phillies and Mets Rivalry.
Happy Opening Day!!!
The good news for the Phillies is that they face the Washington
Nationals in the opening series this year. The Nationals are a scrappy
team that can not be taken lightly, but at least on paper, the Phillies
have the advantage. The pitching match ups are as follows:
Brett Myers (5-7 4.33 ERA) vs Matt Chico (7-9 4.63 ERA)
Cole Hamels (15-5 3.39 ERA) vs Tim Redding (3-6 3.64 ERA)
Jamie Moyer (14-12 5.01 ERA) vs Jason Bergmann (6-6 4.45 ERA)
The projected line up for Monday’s game against the Southpaw Chico is:
1. Jimmy Rollins SS
2. Shane Victorino CF
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Pat Burrell LF
6. Pedro Feliz 3B
7. Jayson Werth RF
8. Carlos Ruiz C
9. Brett Myers P
Fans may have to wait a day to see newly acquired outfielder Geoff
Jenkins as Matt Chico is left handed. He could come off the bench but
will probably not start. Less than 36 hours to game time!
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Charlie Manual announced that Brett Myers, who finished the 2007 regular season on the mound in grand style, will start the 2008 season as the opening day pitcher. Although Manual refers to Myers and Hamels and number 1 and 1A, there are other good reasons to start Myers and announce it now. First, letting a pitcher know his schedule and when he is going to pitch allows him to get ready for that date. Preparation is huge in making a pitcher successful. Second, this allows Myers to be sure that he will be a starter this season and not be moved to the bullpen due to Brad Lidge’s injury. Finally, having Myers, Hamels, Kendrick, then Moyer separates the left handed pitchers nicely.
Overall it was smart for the Phillies to announce Myers as there opening day starter. Anyway you look at it, with Myers and Hamels at the top of the rotation, the team will be successful!
As opening day moves closer, it is always fun to project a starting lineup. Here is where the Phillies opening day line up projects as of today:
- Jimmy Rollins SS
- Shane Victorino CF
- Chase Utley 2B
- Ryan Howard 1B
- Pat Burrell LF
- Geoff Jenkins RF
- Pedro Feliz 3B
- Carlos Ruiz C
- Cole Hamels P