The manager’s nod for the Philadelphia Phillies is predicated to be Cole Hamels on Opening Day. However, the reality is that Cliff Lee is the only number one without a health concern before camp officially begins.
My articles are designed to represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the club’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated offseason, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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The First Bullet:
In what order will Rich Dubee, the pitching coach, assemble the front five to kick off the new campaign against Atlanta?
If he is back to normal, Doc Halladay would be the natural and logical choice of the decision makers for April 1. But there are some opinions that he could be slotted 3rd this year. However, there are only a handful of remarkable athletes in the same category as Halladay. If he is not almost at his 2011 strength, I would be surprised.
Hamels, on the other hand (pun intended), disputed reports of overdoing his winter regimen by claiming otherwise. He wants to close the book on this, but the need for a story will not be stopped. One bad outing or noticeable absence will reignite most of the media machine, but you won’t find that here. There will be plenty of action in Clearwater to keep me busy besides Hamels’ every move.
Lee is the only horse who does not have questionable health before the players report for Florida baseball. For the final 3 months last season, he went 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA after suffering through a challenge to his confidence. He would only be on the bump for Opening Day if Halladay and Hamels have physical setbacks. That, however, will probably not be the case.
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The projection for Halladay is based on his 2011 stats, because he experienced an injury-plagued campaign. For Lee, it is a doubling of 2012‘s final 3 months, because the other 3 were colored by the threat to his sanity. Even though Hamels had an uncharacteristic first 4 games after Halladay was disabled, his numbers are for ‘12. The 9th inning or more indicates performances that would not require Jonathan Papelbon, and at least 8 frames predict no need for Mike Adams.
The battles against the Nationals and Braves will be the most determinative in the standings. Those 19 decisions each carry the most weight to avoid the wild-card scenario. The opening series is in Atlanta before the Royals and the Mets come to Philly. That stated, Kyle Kendrick has had success against the Braves and Lee is better at the Bank.
The big question is the rotational order for the first 3 contests of 2013 in Georgia, which is followed by two 3-game series at the friendly confines against Kansas City and New York (NL). I would not be surprised to see the red pinstripes go 1-2-3 with Hamels, Halladay and Lee. Then, they run out Kendrick and John Lannan against the Royals. However, using Kendrick in the home opener may not be the way the brain trust wants to proceed.
Should the southpaws be broken up?
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This is the 15th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Path to Papelbon) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs. The last one was Hammer and Nails.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)