Cole Hamels is the single most important piece of the puzzle to the Phillies season. He needs to get his head out of his ass and figure his stuff out to become the #2 starter on the team. I think we are past the point where we should expect to see the Hamels from 2008, but I think we all figured he would be better than 2009. Again, it is very early, but Hamels first two starts have been bad. He gets lazy to certain batters, he can’t punch batters out the way he used to be able to, and he still gives up a couple bombs each game, you just have to hope they are solo HR’s. The offense is really good, and Roy Halladay is really good, and the rest of the pitching is average. Since Cliff Lee is not on the team, Hamels needs to be a solid #2 starter if we want to complete to win a World Series.
Speaking of Cliff Lee, He should still be on the team. There is not a grammatical mistake in the previous sentence, Cliff Lee is so much the man and has earned the respect to be referred to as He. Yes, I am going to complain about this all season, but Cliff Lee looks a lot better as the #2 starter than Cole Hamels, and J.A. Happ looks a lot better as the #5 starter than Jaime Moyer/Kyle Kendrick. It was a terrible move by Amaro, and I’m not sure the Phillies can win it all without Lee and Hamels pitching like a chump. Again, we had Lee locked up for this season at $9 mil, which is an absolute steal, and we traded him. Stupid move, Amaro.
Speaking of Jaime Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, they both are not very good pitchers. They can go through stretches where they will get the job done, but I don’t have confidence in either in a big game. Moyer is a guy who everyone roots for, and is a local Philly guy, and definitely has a Philly attitude. The problem is more that Amaro gave Moyer a 2 year deal in the 2008 World Series, when he should have given him a 1 year deal, or let him walk. I will always like Moyer for being a big part of the 2008 season, and winning a World Series in Philly, but I’m sick of watching him throw his slow pitch softball pitches that get raked by right handed hitters. If an umpire isn’t giving him the calls on the corners, he is not effective. As much as I just ripped Moyer, I think Kyle Kendrick is worse. Kyle Kendrick is not a major league pitcher in my opinion; he could maybe be a long reliever type who comes out of the bullpen when the game isn’t very close. Bottom line, Joe Blanton can’t come back soon enough. Unfortunately, we have to rely a lot on Moyer or Kendrick as the 5th starter this season, and I’m not sure either can get the job done.
The offense has looked very good, which is a good sign in April, but they have really only faced 1 good pitcher (Roy Oswalt), who they struggled against. There really isn’t much to say about the offense. The above statement was not a criticism of the offense, just something to keep an eye on. The Phillies lead MLB in almost every offensive category so far this season, and will definitely live near the top all season. But this team will also go through offensive slumps throughout the year, especially when they start facing good pitchers, and pitchers from the division. Either way, it is still a good sign to be getting off to a hot start with the offense, because the Phillies usually start playing real well offensively in the middle of the season.
The bullpen wasn’t really tested this season until the past couple days, and has done a very good job overall when they have been in there, besides the game today. The only 2 losses for the Phillies have charged to Nelson Figueroa and Danys Baez, but neither was given much support by the starting pitcher in the particular game. Figueroa may as well warm up every time Kendrick takes the mound as he will probably be in the game at some point. Madson has looked good, again except for today, and should be even better when he settles into that 8th inning role he is so fond of. Contreras, Durbin, and Herndon have also looked good when they have taken the mound. I really hope that J.C. Romero comes back healthy, because he is the main lefty out of the bullpen, and can be dominant when he is healthy. Romero can also come in the game in the 6th inning if need be, or the 8th inning to get out tough leftys. Brad Lidge, however, I am concerned about. Lidge will have me nervous all season, as even if he starts out well when he comes back from injury, I think he might wear down by the end of the year. We really need to Lidge to be better than last year obviously, and I don’t think he will be. I just have a bad feeling that Lidge will be injury plagued all season, and be very inconsistent when he is healthy.