Opening Day 2011

So it begins. This season has the potential to be a lot of fun. I’m looking for 20 wins from Hamels I think he is well positioned in the lineup. He will rarely be going against another teams ace since he is 4th in the rotation (Hamels #4, unbelievable). Also, I don’t think there is any way he gets the lack of run support he got last year. That was just freaky, and still he pitched great. 

It’s hard to imagine this rotation being a disappointment even if they don’t live up to all the hype. The offense is where things may get interesting. Hopefully, we get off to a quick start. 
Join me throughout the season and leave your comments about the goings on of the Phillies when you feel like it. I just set it up so we can discuss things and have a nice convenient record of our discussion without clogging up our email accounts. I’ll start it off with some predictions since that is appropriate for this time of year. 
95 wins — Should be 100 but I’m worried injuries will hold us back
Ryan Howard hits 50 home runs. Stays healthy and his closer stance to the plate pays off.
Utley back by the end of May or early June (early of course) but struggles to get his swing going and the lingering injury results in a down year. 
JRoll has a bounce back year from last year but nothing like his mvp year. He benefits from hitting in the three hole and his rbi increase to a more respectable number (90 or so)
Polanco hits well and plays a solid third base, but Charlie gives him more rest this year, using Martinez at second and moving Valdez to third on games when he wants to give Polly rest. The elbow thing never really goes completely away and he may even spend some time on the disabled list.
Raul Ibanez has a better year hitting the ball (barring any major injuries to his old ***). His fielding is okay until he has to go up against the wall to make a play and then he typically wind up looking bad. He also gets more rest with the help from the bench.
Shane is slow to adapt to his new role as lead off hitter but hopefully adapts quickly so that we don’t have to throw JRoll back up there. 
Ben Fransisco is a solid offensive player but a noticeable downgrade defensively from Jason. He gets a chance to play every day for a while but as soon as he goes into an offensive slump Charlie starts playing around with that position and he sees reduced playing time. This I think is a mistake since I thinks he could turn into a nice every day player.
The starting rotation gets into the 7th inning more often than not. Games will remain relatively close on most nights and on the nights where we need relief in the 7th we will struggle early in the year. At some point we need to bring someone else up to deal with the seventh inning. Kendrick is mostly used for long relief. Bastardo has no movement on his fastball. I’m worried about that slot.
Madson thrives in the eighth inning and I just don’t know what to expect if they need to use him to close. Hopefully Contreras will take well to the closer role and get some help from Lidge later but if not then closing will be a wild ride once again.
Jim and Brian (and on a much longer shot possibly Paul) manage to get to a few games somewhere along the 95 corridor. There is much drinking involved and definitely some good eats. 
Phils win the World Series thanks mainly to the fact that their starting pitching is really tough to beat in a short series.
Parade.    
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