Turn back the clocks and party like it’s 1899.
The Phillies finished off the first weekend of the 2011 season with a series sweep of the Houston Astros. It’s the first season opening home series sweep since, yup, 1899.
Are you surprised? The Phillies sent ace after ace (after ace) to the hill this weekend to silence all those ‘on paper’ jockeys and to show everyone they mean business. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt have heard it all. Combined with Cole Hamels, who will pitch Tuesday against the Mets, the foursome has been called every boy band, rat pack, cult movie inspired nick name that the media could throw at them. Pun intended.
A line of 19 IP, 14 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 23 K equals three wins. None as dramatic as Opening Day. The Phillies went into the ninth inning down two runs and had struggled all night at the plate. Former Phillie Brett Meyers went seven innings and only allowed two runs, one earned.
On paper this team is scary, but nothing will come easy for the Phillies. The end of week one has the Phillies in first place, obviously, at 3-0. Atlanta and New York are a game back at 2-1 having played Washington (1-2) and Florida (1-2) respectively.
Three games is too small of a sample size to make any real assumptions on how this team will perform. Through the first two games the Phillies scored 14 runs, and none via the long ball. The Phillies have always been a team that relied heavily on home runs for their offensive superiority. Even with Jayson Werth gone and Chase Utley on the DL I still think this will ring true as the season goes on.
Ryan Howard and Francisco did each have a home run in the final game of the Astros series but they only accounted for four of the seven runs scored. This team will rake, but small ball is fun to watch too.
Up this week for the Phils is a three game series against the Mets and then three games in Atlanta. Hamels, Blanton and Halladay will throw against the Mets as the rotation turns over for Atlanta.
On a personal note, I was lucky enough to go to Opening Day and meet a lot of great writers, colleagues and loyal Phillies fans! What is your best memory from Opening Day?