Monday, May 25, 2015

The Run-Down: Can Phils avoid Phall to Oh-and-Phree?

It's going to be another chilly one here today. Right now its in the upper 40's, and it might tick a few degrees higher. Partly cloudy right now, and expected to remain that way.

The Run-Down: Can Phils avoid Phall to Oh-and-Phree?

The StopperIt's going to be another chilly one here today. Right now its in the upper 40's, and it might tick a few degrees higher. Partly cloudy right now, and expected to remain that way.

Didn't get a chance to blog after last night's game, which I apologize for.

Phils are staring 0-3 in the face. The Nationals, meanwhile, are 3-0 for the first time since 1951, when they were the Washington Senators. Jamie Moyer gets the start today against Jason Bergmann. There is no such thing as a must-win this early in the season, but the Phils would certainly like to wrap up this home series with a victory before hitting the road tonight for Cincinnati.

Here's this morning's run down:

1) PSYCHO-ANALYSIS: Last night's loss didn't appear to affect the team nearly as much as the season-opening 11-6 win. Cole Hamels pitched tremendous in seven of his eight innings. He got off to a rocky start in the first, but settled down and allowed just one run - on a sixth-inning solo shot by Ryan Zimmerman that proved to be the game's only run. Yes, the Phillies didn't hit. But no one expects that to be a problem all season. They struggled during the spring, and during last season's playoff series loss to Colorado, but hitting is the least of anybody's concerns. One thing to keep your eye on, however, are some of the guys who the team is counting on to step up this season: CF Shane Victorino doesn't have a hit yet, while Pedro Feliz, Jayson Werth and Geoff Jenkins have combined for just one. We largely know what to expect out of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Carlos Ruiz. But at least one of these positions -- third base (Pedro Feliz), right field (Werth/Jenkins), center field (Victorino) -- needs to help fill the offensive production that was lost when Aaron Rowand signed with San Francisco in the offseason.

2) NATIONALS' AUTHENTICITY: Is this team really as good as it is playing right now? I asked manager Charlie Manuel about it yesterday and responded by saying, "They've got a shot." Now, I'm not sure exactly what they have a shot at, and I'm sure Manuel was partly saying the right thing. But the fact is, players and coaches here have been impressed with the way the Nationals have handled themselves. Nick Johnson appears to be a huge upgrade at first base, Lastings Milledge is an excellent addition in center, and Paul Lo Duca isn't the worst catcher in the world (though don't tell that to the Phils fans who have booed him incessantly over the past two games). There's been some talk by some Phillies players about how they've struggled recently against Washington. I'm a little confused by that, because they were 12-6 against the Nats last year, tied for their best winning percentage against any NL team. Perhaps they are thinking back to 2006, when they went just 9-10 against a Washington team that finished just 71-91.

3) TOMORROW, TOMORROW: RHP Kyle Kendrick will square off against the Reds' Josh Fogg. Fogg, if you'll recall, is the pitcher who picked up the win for the Colorado Rockies in game two of the division playoffs last year, a game the Rockies won 10-5. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Phils, allowing one hit. He signed with the Reds in the offseason.

Daily News Staff Writer
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