Opening Day Thoughts
A few thoughts on Opening Day:
- Roy Halladay dominated as usual. He allowed two hits and struck out five in eight scoreless innings. Much has been made about his 5.73 ERA this spring — he hadn’t had worse than a 4.00 ERA in his previous six springs — but I think a few things went into that. First, this team has enough concerns with its offense (i.e. injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley). An injury or slippage from one of the Big Three could be catastrophic and had fans wearing the worst. Second, there already was last month’s report that Halladay isn’t throwing as hard or looking as sharp. Third, Halladay acknowledged his right arm has a lot of miles on it. That is something everybody knows, but I think it hit some people that, “Hey, this guy isn’t going to pitch forever. Is he winding down earlier than we thought?” Halladay’s fastball averaged 90.16 mph yesterday, according to pitch f/x data. It topped out at 90.9. Last year his fastball averaged 91.3 mph. What do we make of this? He isn’t throwing as hard, but it’s just one start and it’s early in the season (obviously). But hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing. Halladay is a master on the mound because he changes speeds and has pinpoint control of his pitches. Losing a little on his fastball shouldn’t make him Adam Eaton. (God forbid). And I believe in a player’s track record. Until Halladay shows he isn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball — if not the best — I will continue to expect him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I’m sure the Pirates thought he was yesterday.
- The offense didn’t alleviate any of its concerns, but it’s one game.
- Charlie Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in left field, in part because he wanted the righty-lefty matchup against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard, but also because he wanted to show a little faith in Mayberry. Mayberry, who had a bad spring, rewarded him, going 2-for-4 with a double and making a couple nice catches in left field. Mayberry is this lineup’s wild card. If he can continue last season’s success it would be a huge boost to the offense while Howard and Utley are out.
- Freddy Galvis bounced into a couple double plays in his first two at-bats, but he looked good in the field. That’s why the Phillies have him. He can play defense, which is what you want with Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
- Jonathan Papelbon showed us Cinco Ocho for the first time.
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:
- April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
- May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.