Its hard to believe that Opening Day is just 8 days away! . Unfortunately the 2015 Phillies go into the season with their lowest expectations in a decade but its still baseball! It hasn't been a great spring health wise for the Phillies, as they will have at least 3 players start the season on the DL. But every injury is just another opportunity to someone who is on the roster bubble. Today we learned the shocking news that Hamels will get the start on Opening Day. McClure also announced Harang will get the ball on "Opening Night", but he wouldn't commit on an order for the rest of the rotation. The roster is becoming clearer by the day, as just 36 players remain in the big league camp.
This has been the kind of off season that most phans have been clamoring for but it is also one that we all secretly feared. After of 3 seasons of band-aids, the Phillies, mainly led by new President Pat Gillick have admitted that it is time to rebuild. They flipped the franchises all time hits king for two young starters, traded away veterans Bastardo and Byrd and have put a big for sale sign on anything not named the Phanatic. It can be had to look at the roster and try to find any reason to be excited about a team many national protagonists have predicted could be the worst in baseball, but if you look close there are a few reasons to be excited about the 2015 Phillies!
Its that time of year again. As the snow begins to melt in the north east, the roster battles in Florida are heating up. This is the first year in a long time that the Phillies are in a clear rebuilding phase and that has the potential for them to structure their roster differently. Amaro and Gillick have find a way to blend current production with long term growth, both individual players and potentially flipping veterans at the deadline. Even though they are rebuilding, there are still a lot of veterans with a lot of money left on there contracts. Then you add in the few young pieces the Phillies have and there isn't an over abundance of open jobs but enough to make things interesting.
It feels weird writing a negative blog after the impressive 3 game sweep of the Braves. But don't let the Phillies recent hot streak cloud the fact they have been mismanaged over the last number of years. Amaro has taken the defending World Champs and turned them into a team that is struggling to compete in a bad division. If you didn't think the 1st 5 moves were bad, the next 5 will having you running to call David Montgomery and demand answers!
The opening match for the United States Mens National Team in the 2014 World Cup started at 6PM EST. By 6:01 the US had already put an emphatic stamp on the cup that sent shockwaves thundering throughout the states. Clint "Deuce" Dempsey dribbled his way through the left side of the Ghanaian defense and put the ball in the back right side of the net for the fastest World Cup goal ever for the United States. I BELIEVE!
It's a long season that seems to be getting longer with each game. After the Phillies 4-1 loss to the Reds on Sunday the Phils are now a season-low 11 games under .500 at 25-36. The worst record in the National League and the second worst record in all of baseball. The Phillies are on pace to lose 96 games. From an ultimate optimist point of view everything in me wants to sing High Hopes and pray for a hot streak but this stretch of bad baseball and any sign of life pushes me closer to the edge of the ultimate Negadelphian, as much as I hate to admit that.
We are 7 games past the 1/3 mark of the season so let's break down some numbers and see why this Phillies team is so bad.
Ruben Amaro took over as the Phillies GM, the day after the Parade in 2008. He was handed the reigning World Series Champions who were just 13th in payroll and were stocked full of young players in their prime. Now just 6 years later, he has assembled one of the oldest teams in baseball with the 3rd highest payroll and they are on their way to their 3rd consectitive season failing to finish above .500.
When Cole Hamels was scratched from Sunday's series finale it seemed as if any hope for a series win had been scratched as well. Instead the Phillies sent 33-year old righty Roberto (Bobby, Bob, Robert, or Fausto) Hernandez to the hill on a blustery day at the Bank. Opposing the Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez, it was Bobby who outshined for the win throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings. After a tough 1st Hernandez cruised, at one point retiring 10 straight Washington batters, and 15 of 17. It was an "as important as they can be in May" series win for the Phillies.