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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 9:25 am ET 42 Comments

Well, maybe not ever. That was hyperbole.

But it’s not a reach to suggest that tonight’s game, Cole Hamels’ 2010 debut, could have a marked impact on the young campaign. The implications of his start will reach deep into the season and will go a long way in determining just how the Phillies follow up their 2009 campaign, where they emerged as the class of the National League.

While the Phillies are once again the favorites in the division, the National League, and according to some, the favorites to win the World Series, all of the predictions are for naught if Hamels doesn’t revert to his 2008 form, where he led the Phillies into October with a dominating playoff run that saw the lefty come within a near-hurricane of going 5-0.

He followed that up with a forgetful 2009, a losing record, a bloated ERA, a terrible playoff run and some choice comments that caused some to question his mentality and commitment to the team.

But that was an eternity ago, as far as Hamels and the Phillies are concerned.

It is only about 2010. And for the defending N.L. champs, a rejuvenated Hamels will give the Phils the twin aces atop the rotation that every team covets, but so few possess.

I wrote a few months ago that it wasn’t about if Hamels would return to form, but when, and just how bad it would be for the rest of the teams in the league if that were to happen. If Cole can clear his head and get over any hiccups and struggles that might befall him early on, then 2009 will prove to only be a faded memory.

With a new repertoire of pitches at his disposal and his emotions in check, which Cole Hamels do we see in 2010? Is it the shutdown starter who came into his own in 2008, or is it the temperamental, easily rattled pitcher of 2009?

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 12:03 pm ET 79 Comments

Join Dash at noon on Opening Day to talk Phillies baseball!

The fun begins after the jump…

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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 10:37 am ET 27 Comments

A few years ago, I posed the following question to a friend and fellow Phillies fan: If you could add one player to the Phillies, who would it be?”

“Well, that’s easy. Roy Halladay.”

At the time, it was merely a pipe dream. Halladay was the Ace for the Toronto Blue Jays, who were still in “this year is our year” mode. Meanwhile, the Phillies were marching out the Jon Liebers of the world while fielding a team that, if you squinted and it was foggy, appeared to possibly be a contender. It was a team that looked like a car that skipped a few steps in the assembly line. The wheels were there, but the lug nuts weren’t. The windshield was intact, but missing the wipers. For all intents and purposes, the car would move from point A to point B without much difficulty, but beyond that, it was an incomplete hunk of metal that didn’t do much good for anyone.

Flash forward to today, and look at how much things have changed. Philadelphia, once a barren wasteland for titles, free agents, or anything remotely resembling a winner, has done a 180. Three division titles, two National League titles, and a World Series title in the last three years. Two MVPs borne of a core of home-grown players that is among the most talented in the game. If you added up all the great moments from 2000 to 2006, how many would you have? That that number, multiple it by three, and you’re in the ballpark of how many great moments this city has seen from the Fightin Nine since 2007.

Yes, things have changed in Philadelphia. No longer is the city a pariah of the league. It is now a destination for free agents and superstars and for players who want wins instead of paychecks. The Roy Halladay trade was simply the exclamation point on the end of that statement.

And it is the Phillies who are making a statement in the National League; to become the first team since the 42-44 St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series in three straight seasons.

Yes, the boys of summer have returned to work. Their tools are ash and rawhide, sweat and rosin. Their office is a batter’s box and a pitching rubber.

And on Opening Day, the pipe dream has become a reality. Halladay will toe the slab for the Phillies, and for the first time in his career, he will play for a winner.

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 9:35 pm ET 59 Comments

I hope you’re all enjoying tonight’s premier of Major League Baseball. I know I am, especially the part where Al Leiter repeats, ad nauseum, that the human element is what makes the game great. Right. The human element, which made no less than like 40 officiating errors in the post season last year. Sigh.

The good news is that the actual baseball season starts tomorrow, when Roy Halladay leads our Hometown Nine against the Washington Nationals in our Nation’s Capitol. Meech, Chris and Tug will be on site, offering up-to-the-minute coverage, most likely on number of beers consumed.

However, for those who can’t make it to D.C., be sure to stop by tomorrow before the game, where I’ll be holding down the fort here at Fightins HQ, helping you all to kick off the 2010 season in style. Here’s what’s on tap…

2010 Phillies Preview – I’ll be wrapping up the division previews with an analysis of the Phillies. I’ll make a few predictions, wax a little poetic, the whole nine yards and stuff.

Live Q&A – Starting around noon, we will have a live chat right here at The Fightins Dot Com, where you can all stop by and talk Phillies baseball with yours truely. I’ll be here right up to the last pitch of the game, live-blogging all the while.

Giveaway! – Once again, we’re going to be giving away a FREE copy of Todd Zolecki’s book, The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Philadelphia Phillies History. To be eligible to win, send your predicted Roy Halladay line (Innings pitched, earned runs, strikeouts) to fightinsmailbag [at] gmail [dot] com. To make things easy, include your guess in the subject header. For example, if you think Doc will toss a complete game shutout, while striking out six, then it should look like this: 9, 0, 6. Got it? Good. The closest entrant wins the book. In the event of multiple correct guesses, a winner will be chosen at random from that group.

Oh, and this…


It’s going to be a great day. See you all tomorrow.

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 11:56 pm ET 85 Comments

As I wrote a few weeks ago, the competition for the fifth spot in the Phillies’ rotation was really less about who earned and more about the cost/benefit ratio and feasibility of having a 47-year-old man take the hill every fifth day and go up against players half his age.

And as of 7:00 EST on Friday, the rotation was still in a state of flux. Kyle Kendrick, from a performance standpoint, was the leading candidate for the spot. However, Jamie Moyer kept pace, leading many to believe that, barring a collapse of some sort, he was the likely winner of the competition – probably before it even started.

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Posted by Chamomiles Davis at 10:04 am ET 8 Comments

The Phillies were in danger of squandering a 5-2 lead they’d built in the eight inning, thanks to 4 runs scored off the Cardinals’ bullpen. Pujols was on deck. The bases were loaded, after a Brad Lidge inside pitch plunked Cesar Izturis on the arm.

Lidge had already surrendered three hits, including a shot off the foul pole courtesy of Troy Glaus to bring St. Louis within one run of tying the game. And I had just finished consuming a Wawa Italian hoagie with questionable lettuce content.

Add up all the factors, and you get this happening in Chamomiles Davis’ lower abdomen:


Then Lidge strikes out Stavrinoha and Mather (neither of whom had ever faced him) to end the game, so no need for panic. B-Lid remains perfect in save opportunities and the Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Cardinals in St. Louis. But still I had a brief flashback to that 2005 NLCS game, when this happened:


You know it better, thanks to the national media, as The Home Run That Is Supposed To Have Shattered Brad Lidge’s Confidence Forever And Ever And Ever Amen. By the way, Pujols went 0-10 in this series. Whose confidence is shattered now, I wonder?

Busy Lidge Hangs On For Save Against Cardinals [Paul Hagen, Philadelphia Daily News]

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