It’s time.

It’s time..

Opening Day: Phillies at Nationals

Opening day of the 2010 Major League Baseball season has finally arrived.  Today, the Phillies will be in Washington to face the Washington Nationals, with the first game of the day scheduled to begin at 1:05 eastern.

Making his highly anticipated debut for the Phillies is Roy Halladay, who was acquired in a trade this winter.  Halladay is projected by nearly everyone to win the National League Cy Young award, as he was dominant for much of his career in the American League East.  The National League East, while still a tough division, isn’t as strong offensively as the AL East, and Doc will also get to face the Mets, Marlins, and Nationals multiple times a year.  Not quite the same as facing the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays.

John Lannan will make his second-consecutive Opening Day start for Washington.  The 25-year old went 9-13 last year, while posting a respectable 3.88 ERA in more than 200 innings.

Other things to watch for:

Placido Polanco will make his Phillies debut (but not really a debut) today as well, as he’ll man the hot corner and bat in the #2 hole.  Polanco should bring even more offense to this already potent Philly lineup.

Nationals prospect Ian Desmond will begin the season as their starting shortstop, and will bat 8th.  Desmond appeared in 21 games last season, posting a .280 average.

With Brad Lidge, JC Romero, and Joe Blanton all starting the season on the disabled list, the Phillies bullpen will be a bit thin.  Kyle Kendrick will come from the bullpen to take over for Blanton in the rotation until he’s healthy.  Kendrick had a phenomenal spring, but was unable to take Jamie Moyer’s spot in the rotation away from him.  While the Blanton injury certainly isn’t good news, it will allow Philadelphia to see Kendrick start again, and to see if he can carry over what he started in the spring.  Ryan Madson will be the primary closer while Lidge is out, also.

President Barrack Obama will throw out the first pitch.

Doc Halladay: Philadelphia Phillie

Wow, how things can change.  Just a few days ago, I was laughing at the idea of the Phillies acquiring Roy Halladay, and then out of nowhere, Doc is a Phillie.  Phillies fans shouldn’t be complaining.

After all, the Philadelphia Phillies have now acquired the most dominant pitcher in baseball over the past six or so seasons.  A former Cy Young winner. A six-time All Star.  A complete game machine.  A true work horse.  A proven ace.  And he did it all while pitching in perhaps the best offensive division in baseball.

I like the deal, and think it was a good deal for the franchise, despite what other fans and members of the media are saying.  Basically, I will combine the deal that brought Lee to Philly in the summer of 2009 with the deal that sent him to Seattle, and also netted the Phillies Roy Halladay.  I break it down like this: Continue reading

Phillies actually getting serious about Halladay?

According to MLBTradeRumors.com,

The Phillies are apparently prepared to offer the Blue Jays a package consisting of at least J.A. Happ, plus either Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor for Roy Halladay.  I have no problem including Happ in the deal, and while I’d prefer to hold on to both Brown and Taylor, if I had to part with one, I’d hope it would be Taylor.  Of course, if this deal happens, then the Phillies will have little or no choice but to find somewhere to ship Joe Blanton in order to free up cap space.

Hot Stove heating up, Flyers still struggling

Well, I’m back after a few long weeks of deer hunting, attending weddings, dealing with school stuff, and just general life.  Lots of stuff has happened when it comes to the Phillies and Flyers, some good, a lot bad.  I’ll quickly run through a few things…

The Phillies filled the spot at the hot corner, inking former Phil Placido Polanco to a 3 year deal.  I like the move, but would’ve preferred a 2 year deal.  Regardless, if we weren’t going to get Chone Figgins, Polanco is the guy I wanted.  A lot of fans wanted to see Adrian Beltre in red pinstripes, but aside from one (possibly steroid filled?) season, Beltre hasn’t been an offensive force.  That’s what the Phillies were looking for after replacing Pedro Feliz, as Feliz was a good defensive player.  Some people wanted Mark DeRosa, but I’m just not a fan.  Sure, he went to Penn, and I’m sure he’d like to come back to Philly to play every day at 3rd, but I’ll pass.  The only problem I have with adding Polanco (and it was the same I had with DeRosa) is his age.  As time goes on, he’ll need days off periodically and that means seeing Greg Dobbs at 3rd.  Now, I like Dobbs as a pinch hitter, but that’s as far as it goes.  I do not want to see Dobbs at 3rd every 5 or 6 games…That’s just not good for us.

The Phillies also added some pieces to their bench, including former Met Brian Schneider and former Marlin Ross Gload.  I have no problem with either of these moves, and I can’t wait to see the fan group for Ross Gload at Da Bank.  Gload’s Loads will be representing, I’m sure.

Now, on to the big topic…

OMG THE PHILLIES ARE GOING TO GO AFTER ROY HALLADAY!!1!!111 OMGZ

Do not get your hopes up, it’s probably not going to happen.  Of course, I’d blow my “Gload” (see what I did there?) if the Phils had Lee/Halladay/Hamels as the 1-2-3, but it’s probably not worth what it would cost.  I have no problem trading J.A. Happ, because while I like the guy, he certainly isn’t as good as he was last year.  But, once you start throwing around the names of Michael Taylor, Domonic Brown, Kyle Drabek, etc., I quickly lose my hard-on for Doc.  A likely one year rental for Halladay, or the future of our franchise?  Ruben and Co. are smart enough to know what they’re doing, and they’re trying to ensure that, while we’re in the hunt for another World Series championship now, we’re also competitive in the future.  Trading away our top prospects increases our chances for the 2010 season, but then what do we have from the 2011 season on when we lose Lee and Halladay to free agency, as well as likely a few key position players, not to mention the fact that Rollins, Ibanez, Utley, etc. aren’t getting any younger?  If Halladay can be had for a one year rental for the likes of Happ and a few of our prospects who aren’t blue chip guys, go for it.  But chances are, it isn’t going to happen.

It was also reported that the Phillies were inquiring about Cuban defect Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman is said to be one of the top 3 pitchers in the world who is not currently in the MLB.  The 6’4 lefty has a 102 mph heater, and will get a lot of attention.  Could the Phillies acquire Chapman?  Personally, I would prefer the Phillies to concentrate on Aroldis Chapman as oppose to Doc Halladay.  Do they have the money to spend on Chapman?  Doubtful.  But they could create some room to wiggle a bit, as it’s been reported that Joe Blanton might be made available for the right price.  Blanton is due for a nice pay raise due to arbitration, and will command a pretty hefty deal once he hits free agency after this season.  I’m mixed on trading Big Joe, as he’s been one of our most consistent starters over the past year.  However, chances are we won’t be able to afford him once he hits the market.  So, trade him now for the most return, wait until the deadline and see what happens mid-season, or stick to him and hope you can retain him?

In Flyers news, well, they’ve looked like shit.  They’ve lost Razor Ray Emery to an abdominal tear, Gagne is still out, their head coach has been fired, and there have been various other injuries and suspensions.  Last night, they thumped the Islanders for their second win since November 18th.  Their other win?  Against the Islanders…Let’s hope the Flyers can turn things around under a new coach, Boucher can hold steady in net, and Simon can get back soon.

The 2009 Season has come to a close

The 2009 MLB season has come to an end, and on the surface, it was a disappointing one for us Philadelphia fans.  A World Series loss is never fun, and ending the season on a loss just plain leaves a bad taste in your mouth until next April.  It hurts, plain and simple.

But, if you stop and think about it, we should be saddened, but not disappointed.  This has been an incredible 3 year run unlike any other this franchise has seen in it’s 126 years.  We’ve won 3 division titles in 3 years.  We’ve won 2 National League pennants.  And we’ve won one World Series.  Before this fall, this franchise had never won back to back pennants.  That’s something that is very hard to do, and something to be proud of, for sure.

This core group of players are very talented, and many are home grown.  2 Rookie of the Years, 2 NL MVPs, a perennial homerun king, the best second baseman in the game, a couple of Gold Glovers, and a man behind the plate who just seems to improve as time goes by.  That’s something to be proud of.

The front office has made some great moves, including one big trade for a former Cy Young winner, who helped us win our second consecutive pennant.  A few other moves, who we might not have thought were big deals at the time, such as the deadline deal for Joe Blanton in 2008, who has been solid, and the midseason pickup of Pedro Martinez, who was good as well.  Add to that the addition of Raul Ibanez via free agency, who was simply incredible in the first half of the season, and Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr. have been very good to us.  We may have all been concerned when Pat Gillick announced his retirement, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has been solid in his first season as GM.  It didn’t help that Gillick stayed on as an advisor, either…

In addition to all that, we lost the voice of our franchise, Mr. Harry Kalas this season.  HK had an enormous impact on many Phillie fans, and was missed a great deal.  The Phillies did Harry proud this year, and at times, I found myself imagining him making these calls instead of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, who truly made me appreciate Mr. Kalas…

All in all, we have nothing to hang our heads about.  Sure, it just plain sucks to lose this World Series, but it would hurt a hell of a lot more if we hadn’t won it all last year.  Keep your heads held high, and wear that Philly “P” proudly.  February 15 is just right around the corner…

With their backs against the wall, the Fightins will fight to play another day

The final game of the 2009 MLB season could come to an end tonight, but not if the Philadelphia Phillies have anything to say about it.  Sitting one game away from elimination, down 3-2 in the best of 7 series, the Phillies will try to send this Fall Classic back to a decisive Game 7.

The Phillies will send Pedro Martinez to the hill in game 6 at Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte, who will be going on short rest.  Pedro was good for much of the game in Game 2, but AJ Burnett was simply better.  Martinez has a lot of experience against the Bronx Bombers, and the Phillies will be banking on him being able to use that experience to even this series at 3 games each.

Chase Utley, who has been amazingly hot, will probably see very few pitches to hit.  Utley has 5 homeruns in as many games this series, tying “Mr. October” himself, Reggie Jackson, for the World Series record.  The key to Game 6 will be the bats of Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Howard.  If Rollins and Victorino can consistently reach base, the Yankees will be forced to pitch to Utley more often.  Also, if Ryan Howard can get some good swings and start hitting the ball like he did in the NLDS and NLCS, the Yankees will have to think twice about putting an extra runner on base ahead of “The Big Piece.”

A lot of talk has been about the pitching for this game, but I think it’s going to come down more to the bats.  Pedro and Pettitte will likely both be good, but hittable, and it will be up to a few key players.  Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have to start getting on base and getting good swings consistently for the Yankees.  Likewise, Rollins and Victorino must get on base in order to force New York to pitch to the big boys in the middle of the Philly lineup.

This should be a good game, and I’m really hoping the Phils can send this to Game 7 because I don’t think I can quite handle watching the $200 million team celebrate tomorrow.