Opening night came and went... and the Phillies are off to an 0-1 start to the 2009 season. The offense could never get on track against Derek Lowe, and the Phillies ended up losing the game 4-1. There was an exciting atmosphere leading up to the game, however the excitement quickly dissipated into the night sky in the form of 4 home run balls hit by the Braves off of Brett Myers.
Luckily, baseball is not football, and losing the first game of the season is essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of the entire baseball season. However, there are some things to look at in the opening day loss--
First, there is no reason that Derek Lowe should not have been the #1 target all off-season. I understand it is easy to say that not, but here at Kotite's Corner, we were claiming that at the start of the offseason. Lowe dominated the Phillies, and it was frustrating watching ground ball after ground ball against this guy. Lowe is built to pitch in the Phillies stadium, and there is no good reason he should not be a Phillie right now.
Second, Brett Myers being extremely inconsistent looks like it will continue, at least for the near future. We know Myers is very hit-or-miss, and he served up 4 home run balls in the first 3 innings of the opener. He settled down after that, and it is only one game, but we need Brett Myers to be a solid #2 pitcher behind Hamels all season, especially since we didn't get a pitcher in the offseason.
Third, having three lefties in a row in the heart of the order is concerning, especially when the other team gets to the bullpen. This showed last night in the ninth inning, when Braves closer Gonzalez (a lefty) faced Utley, Howard, and Ibanez in a row. Utley walked, and Howard and Ibanez struck out to the end the game. Ibanez hit the same average against lefties as righties last season, so we know he can hit lefties, but at some point, the Phillies may need to put Werth or Victorino in the 5-hole, and drop Ibanez to 6th if this gets to be a problem.
None of these issues are too serious, especially after one game, but these are just some areas to look at as the season goes on. It is great to have baseball back, the Phillies should provide for a lot of excitement this season.