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Random Philadelphia Phillies observations from Spring Training that could prove to be significant as the regular season gets underway…
1-2 punch. Brett Myers seems locked in as he returns to a starting role, posting a sparkling 1.13 ERA and holding the New York Yankees scoreless for five innings in his final spring start. Myers has always had dominant stuff and may finally be putting it all together. Cole Hamels didn’t dominate, but he stunk last year during the pre-season and did just fine. Phillies fans couldn’t ask for much more at the top of the rotation. As for the bottom of the rotation…
Eaton still stinks. Adam Eaton teased us with a couple decent outings, then tossed a clunker against the Yankees in the Spring Training finale. I’m praying that Charlie Manuel keeps Eaton on a short leash so the Phillies aren’t giving away games every fifth day.
Starting pitching insurance. Kris Benson accepted a minor league assignment instead of exercising his option to become a free agent and hopes to be ready in May. The San Francisco Giants did not want to take on the contract of Rule 5 draft pick Travis Blackley, and the lefthander chose to accept a Triple A assignment with the Phillies. Having these two starters on-call will prevent the Phillies from rushing prospects like Carlos Carrasco, Josh Outman, and Andrew Carpenter.
Historic Howard? I’ve said before that I think Ryan Howard will put up historic numbers this year. His preseason numbers did nothing to change my mind. .311 BA, 5 HR, 12 RBI. As for those 19 strikeouts…
Swingin’ and missin’. You can pretty much pencil in Ryan Howard for 175 strikeouts, Pat Burrell for 150 and Geoff Jenkins/Jayson Werth for 125… and there are others who will have quite a few K’s next to their names on the scorecard. The lineup is devastating, but a strikeout artist can shut them down. Guys like Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley will have to do everything they can while on the base paths to disrupt pitchers.
Production from the bottom of the order. Pedro Feliz, projected to hit sixth or seventh, slugged five home runs and drove in 13 runs. Batting eighth will be catcher Carlos Ruiz, who led Phils starters with a .372 batting average, eight doubles and 12 runs scored. Opposing pitchers won’t get a break against this Phillies lineup.
By the way, is anyone else psyched that baseball season is finally here? PLAY BALL!