Friday, April 09, 2004
3 down, 159 to go … The opening series of the season has been a mild disappointment: I had anticipated the Phils taking two of three. I think that the opening of the season really matter little, and given that players like Jim Thome don’t come on until May or later, this probably isn’t an accurate indicator of how the Phils season is going to go.
(I wonder if the weather played a factor – I can vouch for the fact that Monday was insanely cold here in the ‘Burgh. Far colder than usual.)
Well, Burrell and Wagner's perfomance these last few days have been good. Now if they can just keep it up...
The most disturbing fact about these first three games have been the way the Phillies bats have been silenced. We don't want to repeat last year.
The Pirates pitching staff is better than advertised, but... the Phillies should have done better than 3 for 32 with runners in scoring position.
The Florida series coming up will be important to the Phils for psychological reasons as well as baseball ones. Realistically, the Phillies competition for the NL East comes down to two teams: the perennially contending Braves and the upstart Marlins, both of whom seem much weaker in '04. The Phillies definately don't want either team to think that past glories are an opinion in '04, so putting them away early is crucial:
The Phillies want to beat both teams in head-to-head matchups to gain a little space in the standings. The Marlins were the team that owned the Phillies last year: they won 13 of 19 games. The Marlins strength in the head-to-head matchups in '03 just killed the Phillies by sapping their morale down the stretch. It wasn't just that they were losing ground, it was that the team that they were chasing was the very team that was hurting them. Taking two out of three from the fish in Miami will help the Phils by getting them to .500 as the home stretch for opening of Citizens Bank Ballpark is in the offing. It will also enable the Phillies to get ahead of the Marlins for the first time since last August.