A week-and-a-half into the season and the Phillies stand five full games back of the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have the best record in baseball thanks to a sweep of the Phils in the opening series. Yet most of the talk this off-season had been about the Phillies jarring with the tonight’s opponent, the New York Mets. The Braves’ hot start adds a new dimension to this equation. I wonder if the Phils have the stamina to battle in a three team race for the division? Last year the Dodgers and Padres squeezed our boys out of a playoff spot. Of course they are currently 2.5 games back of the third-place Marlins , but let’s assume the Phils pick up the pace over the next couple of months and make this season interesting – can they overcome both the Braves and Mets?
One player that has been a little warmer than the rest of the Phillies has been everyone’s favorite drinking buddy, Pat Burrell. Pat the Bat has put up .357/.486/.536, 5 runs and 5 RBIs going into tonight’s game. The usual nine strikeouts still mar his line, but he has definitely started to live up to the high expectations we set for him in the off-season. Last night was the first time all season he failed to hit safely in a game – he drew two walks though. An interesting stat from the Spring Training guide in Clearwater mentioned that Pat was close to the league lead in pitches per plate appearance last year. Of course we all know his tendency to take the wrong pitch (inside fastball), but his patience at the plate will give the batters behind him opportunities to score runs. The only problem is that last night, the batters after Burrell left 18 men on base.
A few housekeeping notes. First off, my apologies to anyone who’s been experiencing trouble with the Fantasy Leagues. I hope the emails from the ESPN execs over the weekend calmed any frustration. If not, tough, we’re at their mercy until we make our own system (which is not out of the question).
Second and most importantly, go to tomorrow’s Phillies game. We will be hosting our first tailgate party of the season in honor of Rob’s birthday, College Night and Dollar Dogs. Now, I heard the last College Night got a little outta hand with the drinking and fighting. There were rumblings out of 1 Citizen’s Bank Way that future College nights would be cancelled or at least heavily policed, but nothing drastic has happened yet. College Nights are a cheap and exciting way to have a little fun, let’s not ruin it. Seriously, it’s the only fun Villanova kids have to look forward to. So, if you’re planning on coming to the park tomorrow, hang out with us, stay out of trouble, and Go Phils!