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Nervous after just 3 games? Don't be-Here's why.

By Ian Sontag

Rumor has it that the majority of the Philadelphia Phillies fans are nervous about the team's 1-2 start. Are you one of them?

Here's why you and everyone else in the Phillies Nation shouldn't be. Even though the Phils are 1-2 after three games-let's really breakdown the first three games.

Facing Derek Lowe on opening night (Sunday 8:05 pm ESPN-Banner Raising game), was an emotionally draining game from the get go. The stadium was packed, and as always, the Phils put a little extra pressure on themselves to perform in fron of the capacity crowds at the Bank.

Besides it being bitter cold, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann launched a 2-run homer into the frigid night sky in the first inning, an over adrenalized Bretty Myers stuggled to find his control. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur and rookie centerfielder Jordan Shafer hit soloshots in the second inning. Shafer was baseball's 99th player ever to hit a homerun in his very first big league plate appearence.

Myers then settled down and threw four straight scoreless innings, but left trailing 4-0. So, an average outing for Myers. The bullpen came in and shut down the Braves hitters for the next three innings. Recent acquisition Jack Taschner pitched a scorelss inning, follwed by left-handed specialist Scott Eyre getting out the two hitters he faced. Chad Durbin got out the only hitter he faced, and Brad Lidge picked up right where he left off last year pitching a scoreless inning.

Offensively, the Phightins saw catcher Carlos Ruiz smack a double as did utility man Eric Bruntlett. Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth also collected hits.

End result, a 4-1 loss.

Tuesday night was the first game I attended this season sitting in my awesome seats and getting my free t-shirt to boot. I had to see live what early season woes we were going to have. It didn't take long.

After chowing down on some of Bull's BBQ sandwhices, cole slaw, and baked beans, I sat down. No sooner did I get comfortable, Braves second baseman, Kelly Johnson tags a soloshot off starter Jamie Moyer on the game's very first pitch. Still in the Atlanta first, i saw Utley boot a ground ball in the field and consequently the Braves score another run. Two straight games we start the game down 2-0. Notice a pattern here?

Moyer gives up another run in the fourth and another homerun by Chipper Jones in the fifth. Moyer also seemed to settle down and find his control as his night went on like Myers' first night. Phillies relievers hold the Braves hitters scoreless for another four innings. Chan Ho Park threw a scoreless inning, Taschner pitched two scoreless innings, and Clay Condrey hurled one scoreless inning.

Offensively, the Phillies were starting to put it together Ryan Howard and Utley had two hits, Ibanez smacked a double and had an amazing outfield assist throwing out Casey Kotchman trying to score from second base.

End result, 4-0 defeat.

So again, some promise, but needing a desperate win-already? Desperate? Yes, for most fans, but not me.

A mid-afternoon Ring Ceremony showdown with the seemingly unbeatable Braves started off wonderful-at least the Ring Ceremony did. The Phillies management and players received their diamond studed rings. Even Pat Burrell (who had to be back in Boston by 5:30 for batting practice with the Rays), Geoff Jenkins, and Adam Eaton showed up to receive their prized posessions.

Not so wonderful was the start that Phils stater Joe Blanton gave on the hill as he gave up a 2-run shot to McCann in the second inning. So now the Phillies have been down 2-0 at the start of all three games this season. Ibanez hammered a 2-run blast of his own to tie the score in the bottom of the frame.

The Braves then tag Blanton for five more runs in the top of the third chasing him out of there after four. Grabbing a 9-3 lead and watching a lot of disappointed fans make way for the exits after five innings of play.

The lucky number seven-was an omen for the Phils on this day. After the Braves add one in the top of the sixth, which made the score a seemingly insurmountable lead of 10-3, lucky number seven made its appearance. The Phils and their never say die attitude decided to be patient after Utley singled and Howard was hit by a pitch, The Phils singled and walked their way around the bases. The Bravos bullpen gave up six walks sprinkled around some hits.

The seemingly unbeatable Braves now trailed 11-10. For the first time all season, in 25 innings, the Phillies actually had a lead, a lead they wouldn't give up. The Phils scored another in the eighth to go up 12-10. The ball was handed then to closer Brad Lidge and after giving up a soloshot, Lidge slammed the door to pick up his first save of the year as the Phightins went on to win 12-11.

While Atlanta was then able to put together four more runs over the next four innings after Blanton's exit, the Phillies never gave up and eventually won.

Offensively, the stroke for everyone on the defending World Champions is starting to come back. Ibanez had two hits and three runs batted in, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, and Utley all collected two hits each. Werth and Rollins will come around for sure.

In closing, like I said, there is nothing really to be nervous about Phils fans. They now board the plane today and saddle up against the Colorado Rockies in a three game set with World Series MVP Cole Hamels taking the hill Friday afternoon.

Talk to you after the game Friday night.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Ian, I'm not nervous, just pissed. Don't make excuses for these guys...they better pick it up.

    1 post and 3 comments...that's total philliesmix domination by me. hahahahaha

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree RyHOh-you are THE BEST PhilliesMix fan.

    ReplyDelete