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Article:Phillies 2009: Rough Start, But Salvaged In The End

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Yes, it's true - I reverted back to my typical fan mode and moaned about the pitiful performance by the Phillies in their first two games.

While 4-1 and 4-0 losses are not the end of the world, it's just not a good way to start a season. Especially when the team has a history of bad Aprils. I wrote a very similar article last year at this time. No need to go over familiar ground.

Well, maybe a little. Sunday's 4-1 loss: 4 men left on base (LOB). Tuesday's 4-0 loss: 11 LOB. Today's 12-11 slugfest: 11 LOB again. I suppose it could be argued that if you score 12, then leaving 11 men on base isn't so bad. I disagree, but you could argue this point.

But I'll walk away. The season is young, and World Series rings have been distributed. So everyone in the Philadelphia area ought to be feeling pretty optomistic overall. There are 159 games left - plenty of time.

Not much has changed between the way 2008 started and the way 2009 is starting. The Phillies lost winnable games in both years and I moaned about it. Now they're 1-2 and on their way to Colorado....last year, they were 1-2 and on their way to play Cincinnati.

Last year, the Phillies struggled to take 2 of 4 from the Reds. I'm hoping this year they'll surprise the crap out of me and take all three games from the Rockies. Cole Hamels will take the mound in a much-hyped start Friday afternoon amid talk of his ailing left elbow. He says he's fine, and I hope that turns out to be the case.

We need a typical Hamels outing: less than 2 runs, 8-10 Ks and 7-8 innings pitched. Of course, that also means that the Phillies need to score more than 0 and 1 runs in the game as well. But they just scored 12, so my thinking here is that they should be able to muster 3-4 runs. That would be a good start.

It's time to put the World Series win in the back pocket and get back to the business of playing the type of baseball that made them October winners. At least this year...I feel comfortable that they know the way.

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