The only winner–so far–for the Philadelphia Phillies in a fistful of aces is Roy Halladay. Can Cholley Manuel discover a productive lineup to back his starters? Can he push the right buttons to squeak out a few victories?
Penthouse Occupancy for the 6-2 outcome: 2
The Crystal Champagne Toast is a salute to Freddy Galvis.
He provided the total run support for the arms with his 1st knock in the 7th.
The Warehouse displayed the gloves of Galvis and Chooch Ruiz. Galvis prevented the 1st from getting out of hand on a no-out dribbler with runners in scoring position. Only 1 tally was recorded as a result before Cole Hamels punched out the final two. Chooch gunned down Jose Reyes twice. In the 3rd Reyes ran on the infield grass after bunting but it did him no good. 2 innings later he was nailed by a whisker on an attempted swipe of 3rd.
John Mayberry Jr. was found guilty in the Kangeroo Court House for failing to cover the bag on a 5th-frame bunt that Hamels fielded.
I will publish after every battle that is not washed out. The Phillies finished last summer 42 games over .500, which equaled a year of many positives. I will have many season-long highlights of puzzle pieces, especially important after drubbings and defeats.
The hecklers will be sniping at the manager this month and the entire 162. He will have to be a strategic genius with a beleaguered attack that’s missing 2 potent weapons. And his tormentors will return rather quickly after a poor start. Cholley loves the long ball, which will not be part of his diet until July. The biggest problem is that he has an abundance of certain roles but lacks others. The early going is especially difficult because their holes are more exposed beyond Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. For example, the bullpen in the 7th has to be covered, because studs have only 100 effective bullets during their first few performances.
If this was 2009, the boobirds would cut him only a little slack, but after 3 tours without a 2nd ring, there is no recent achievement. There were a chorus of boos that rained down onto the Opening Day diamond at the conclusion. The task ahead of the skipper during April, May and June would be almost impossible for the greatest baseball mind. If the club remains below .500, there will be calls for his head on a pike, but reality isn’t fair, is it? This is a forbidding crossroads, where winning is your job. There are no exceeding expectations for the most successful manager in franchise history.
There are many duplicate pieces. The team has leadoff bats: Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre. The 2 slot can be filled with Polly Polanco, Pierre or Vic. J-Roll, Vic and Polly can hit third. Chooch, Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton can occupy the 6 spot. That leaves Hunter Pence and Jim Thome for the 4 or 5. This is not a menacing picture for opposing hurlers.
The regulars are trying to adopt the small-ball philosophy, and that is a learning exercise for Cholley also. They’ve never played the sport professionally for a slap single, a stolen base, a 1-run triumph, and a must-execute at-bat on a daily basis. This may take 20 decisions before it becomes second nature, like it was for the Fish of Pierre and Luis Castillo. There has to be a growth period, an evolution. Also, 3 or 4 consecutive sticks have to get hot simultaneously, because Rollins with a 2-for-4 afternoon accomplished no scoring yesterday.
Me? I have to give this group the benefit of another 20 battles. They have Doc in 1 of 2 against Miami. That is followed by the Mets before the Giants and Pads on the west coast for 10 contests total. I feel they can go 6-6 for a 7-9 record before 3 in Arizona and 4 against the Cubs at the Bank. Let’s say that produces a 3-4 mark for a 10-13 tally. They are 1 game behind Washington for 2nd place with New York at the top. After 23 outcomes, they will still be in the mix and will have adapted with their survival mode.
He picked up where he left off in October with 1st-inning trouble and then allowed nothing. He’ll probably only need 2 runs from the lumber department, which has accumulated 8 in 4 battles.
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He has spent half of his last 5 years on the DL. He is not roaring out of the gate this April, which chaptered his abbreviated 2012. He is a certified number one, if he can toe the rubber competitively.
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Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.
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DISPLAY NOTE: Non-listed results can go up or down by
* 1 notch or ** 2 clicks (This note will only appear when it’s relevant.)
** UP 2 ticks
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The preview of the next Nitecap Insight (1st paragraph) will be at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook; it is Nitecap Insight: Second Helpings. Join for notification of future glimpses, which will be almost daily. You’ll also know immediately when my isportsweb post goes up. It might be worth your while because I have seen delays of 2 hours on feeds.
Check out my previous publication (Aces Loaded), and the 21 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo.
Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. I am alternating the 2012 ERA For The NL East and the 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page, because feeds are erratic at times.
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