Monday, March 31, 2008
Let's talk a little about Opening Day. Nationals vs. Phillies at 3:05 PM in Citizens Bank Ballpark. Somehow the timing doesn't feel right for me. Whenever I think of Opening Day I think of soft, warm breezes in the air, blooming flowers and a warm sun. It has been so cold this winter that it still feels like it is winter-time. Baseball somehow feels unnatural. I wonder if we'll have a repeat of last year, when cold weather in the Northeast United States resulted in havoc. (e.g., Snow in Cleveland.)
Well, if it feels like Opening Day or not, Brett Myers makes the start for the second consecutive Opening Day for the Phillies. I'm looking forward to seeing what Cole Hamels and Myers do together. They haven't played together since 2006 and in the only season where both started, Hamels was still a rookie. Teamed together, they both could win 20 games. They have that kind of talent.
Today we get our first look at the new-and-improved Washington Nationals. General Manager Jim Bowden has put together a team that reminds me a lot of his Cincinnati Reds teams: offensively inclined featuring great outfields. Well, the 2008 Nationals feature an outfield of Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns, three formitable players. Add them with Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman, and the fact that the Nats are moving from RFK to a more hitter friendly park, and perhaps the Nats will actually score a few runs.
They'll need to because their pitching staff is awful. The Nats were one of the worst teams in baseball last year on the mound and that was with RFK turning 375 foot home runs into outs. Let's see how they do in cozier confines.
I think the Phillies start the season in an excellent state of mind: confident, calm, poised. My prediction: the Phillies take it 6-4, Brett Myers getting the win and Ryan Howard smashes a three-run bomb. Spring is finally here.