OK, so the afterglow of the championship still burns albeit a bit less brightly. None other than the players themselves kept reminding us throughout the endless replays of last Fall's championship run that was last year, time to turn the page.
Slow starts are the norm in these parts. And lousy starts by Brett Myers are not uncommon either. Myers showed a national television audience that stuck around long enough just why he isn't exactly the thinking man's pitcher. With his fastball less than impressive, he went to the change far too often according to Steve Philips and Joe Morgan. And when he threw the fastball, it had nothing much on it. The Phillies never tire of telling us what great stuff Myers has; the problems heretofore have been how and when he uses it. Well, his stuff can be electric, but not consistently and not often enough. The only consolation is that when Myers doesn't have it, we know right out of the chute. The bad news? So do the opposing batters.
Meanwhile, the Phillies offense, and we use that word loosely here, remains missing in action. Charlie Manuel warned everyone too many batters go too few AB's in Spring Training and looked it and sure enough, the Phils couldn't muster anything against Derek Lowe and Mike Gonzalez. Leading up to Opening Night I wondered more than once how exactly a team has six weeks or more of Spring Training and can't manage to get its players enough AB's. The WBC certainly hindered Shane Victorino, who didn't play every day for the American Team. And Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz were brought along slowly as they recoverd from off-season surgery. Still, you have to wonder how professional baseball players can fail to get ready for their regular season. The fact that Myers surrendered three home runs and four runs overall in the first two innings certainly put his mates in a big hole, but when they cannot hit the ball, one or two runs suffice to chalk up a loss.
By the way, the game ended with the Phils' feeble rally cut short as Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, both lefties, struck out against the southpaw Gonzalez. Now that is one prediction that came true.