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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Phillies Vs. The Month of April

The Phillies cannot afford their typical April. Unlike last year, when they finished the first month of the season 15-13 as opposed to the 11-14, 10-14 they finished with in April of 2007 and 2006 respectively. Some believe that their first over .500 start in years and years helped propel them to a position to contend for the division title, and eventually overtake the Choke and Slide Mets. Going off on a quick tangent…They should call the Mets the New York Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches….My father used to call (and now I call) PB&Js, choke and slides because you would choke on the PB, and the jelly would help is slide down the throat. Here the Mets choke on the field, and slide down the standings. In any case, let’s stay focused.
It’s no secret that the past two seasons have yielded some exciting September baseball in Philadelphia, and this season may prove to be the same way. It is unknown just where the Phils will stand come playoff judgment day and even though we would like to think that they’ll be headed into postseason play, there are no guarantees. So despite the fact that this is a long season, April becomes August very quickly and it is absolutely vital that they get as many wins under their belts as possible, regardless of the month.

The Phillies could rely on the Mets being in it and then falling apart at the end and that would be safe bet. However, there is no need for all the drama, no matter how captivating it might be. In reality, it might hinge on the bullpens. Last year the Mets had to be rescued from the walking blown save, Billy Wagner, while the Phillies got the most consistent guy in the majors, Brad Lidge, (for two fringe players) and took full advantage of him all the way through the World Series. Can he be Light’s Out Lidge again? Maybe. The Mets pen certainly got better with an overrated K-Rod and the guy who should be closing, Putz.

Then again, it could be the rotation that defines the winner. Or, for arguments sake, another upstart Marlins team could play spoiler. There could be injuries too. If either Cole Hamels or Johan Santana go down for any real amount of time, their respective pitching staffs become iffy.

That is why the Phillies have to be as far above .500 as possible by the end of April. Another start with fourteen or fifteen in the loss column and not only will they need guys like Chase, J-Roll, and Ryan Howard clicking on all cylinders, but the pitching staff will need to be closer to perfect. Needing Jamie Moyer to haul in another 16 wins is not what Philadelphia fans want to see. So while I am not scared after three games and a 1-2 record, I am cautiously nervous because I have seen this Philadelphia Phillies team do some great things, but I have also seen them very flat. And I fear, that this year, the season will go as April goes.

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