Tuesday, April 04, 2006

For Openers

The best thing to do is just forget this one and move on.

But for those of us who are better at giving advice than taking it, the first game of the season was full of portents.

The good news is the youngsters came through again, just like they did so often in 2005. Chase Utley had three hits and knocked in a run; Ryan Howard homered; Pat Burrell homered and had two rbi’s; Aaron Rowand had two base hits; and JRoll hit the ball hard but out before doubling in his last at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 37 straight. Newcomer Abraham Nunez had a base hit and looked sharp at third base.

Then, there was the pitching. Jon Lieber didn’t have it today. Neither did the most of his “relief”. The Cardinals treated the first three Phillies hurlers like batting practice pitchers. It was ugly, pure and simple. The Cardinals are a great hitting team, but this debacle was more about lousy pitching than good hitting.

It would be tempting to say Lieber and the Phils almost escaped. After striking out the first two batters of the game, the quick-working right-hander had Albert Pujols 0-2 before walking him. And just that quickly it was “uh oh” time. Pujols would eventually come around to score the game’s first run before later going on to hit two of the Cards’ three home runs. Fan favorite Scott Rolen provided the other one, a grand slam. The Cards scored eight runs in the fourth inning providing many of the local patrons seated in soggy CBP their first excuse to make a quick get-away.

To the Phillies’ credit, they did not tuck their tails. The most wide-eyed optimist would even note they outscored the Cardinals after that fatal fourth inning. What they might have also done is give us a preview of coming attractions. These Phillies can and will hit, but as everyone is well aware, it isn’t at all certain they can stop the other guys from doing the same.


Oisín/Wizlah said...

Actually, one thing cheered me out of yesterday's relief - Geoff Geary. For a change he seemed composed and not the least bit nervous. Let the record show that he is still relying on flyballs as much as groundballs, mind . . .

gr said...

fairly well hit flyballs, to boot -- one or two almost got to me in LF. but, if they stay inside CBP, they'll stay inside pretty much anywhere.