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Can Strong Spring equal October Success?

By Anthony J. Machcinski

As we hit the beginning of March Madness, the Philadelphia Phillies are almost halfway through spring training. As the weather in the Philadelphia area has begun to heat up, so has the starting rotation.

Citing an article from Daily News writer Dave Murphy, he notes that Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton have all had great spring trainings. The unfortunate part for the Phillies: it’s only March.

But what is to make of this March success?

For Kyle Kendrick, it is the observation that he should clearly be the frontrunner for the 5th starters job under the tutelage of veteran Roy Halladay. For Cole Hamels, its worth noting that his demeanor on the mound has improved, and he looks like the 2008 Post Season MVP, not the average starter with subpar stuff in 2009.

For the Phillies, who Dave Murphy notes have not finished in the top 5 in ERA in the past few years, it’s a nice thought to watch as 5 of your six starters dominate. Jamie Moyer has yet to play in the grapefruit league and apparently still holds the #5 job over Kendrick.

It will be noted, however, that this team does not need huge pitching success in order to win. Simply Roy Halladay alone could get the Phillies to the Promised Land. He will be better than Cliff Lee along with the 5th starters that they had in the beginning of the 2009 season. The hitting is what needs to be there for the Phillies. If Howard, Utley, and Rollins fail to produce in the batters box, the Phillies will succumb to a rough first half. Last year is the perfect example, when Rollins hit sub .250 in the first half, the Phillies did little to get the job done.

Sure, right now the Phillies can get a “collective Cy Young” Dave Murphy, but until the calendar turns to April, nothing counts and nothing matters.


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