Per Scott Lauber, Charlie Manuel has named Brett Myers the Opening Day starter.
When the Phils take on Nationals March 31, it’ll be Myers â€” not Cole Hamels â€” taking the hill. Myers was last season’s Game One starter. Manuel said the idea was to set up the rotation for the first three series’ of the year (vs. Washington, at Cincinnati, at Mets).
Lauber pointed out Myers and Hamels would miss the Mets series, but that’s if Hamels starts Game Two. Of course, the Phils could start with a six-man rotation. Which means they’re probably giving Chad Durbin or Kris Benson one of the starts. And that means Hamels will be set to face the Mets at their home opener, which could be against Johan Santana.
UPDATE (11:45 p.m.): David Murphy of the Daily News theorizes the move was more a hat tip to Myers for being a reliable and solid team player and a nod to No. 39 that he’s not losing a starting job because of the Lidge injury. That also seems feasible, as the Opening Day starter role is sometimes more of a symbolic gesture than a strategic move. Charlie Manuel did say the left/right options favor a Myers-Hamels-Kendrick-Moyer-Eaton rotation, so that could also be reasoning.
I don’t really take much seriousness about Opening Day starter, since the rotation changes usually by the end of the second round because of the off days. As we know, Manuel loves alternating lefties and righties in both the batting order and in the pitching staff, so this is a move right up his alley. But Opening Day talk aside, I do hope Manuel has considered Hamels vs. the Mets at Shea.
Also, the exhibition game vs. Florida State was canceled due to a bad rainstorm. Joe Savery will now pitch Thursday against Pittsburgh along with Josh Outman, while Carlos Carrasco will take the mound Friday, also against Pittsburgh.