The Phillies have talked quite a bit since Saturday about how different they feel this year compared to last year.
Last year: Yipee! We're just happy to be here!
This year: Yo, we're not happy unless we win.
They begin that journey this afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the National League division series at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is 3:07 p.m. It's Cole Hamels vs. Yovani Gallardo in a game the Phillies definitely want to win with CC Sabathia pitching tomorrow night in Game 2.
But the Phillies like their chances this year because they like their rotation, and a good rotation means everything in the postseason. Bob Ford thinks Hamels could elevate his status with a big showing this afternoon. Phil Sheridan tells us that Brett Myers is eager to prove himself after two terrible starts to finish the season. And Jim Salisbury talks with Jamie Moyer, who has made a tremendous impact on the franchise and city since his arrival in 2006.
Salisbury also gives up the matchups for the series.
Of course, we know Pat Burrell tweaked his bat during batting practice. We won't know more until we get to the ballpark. But at least Shane Victorino said he feels OK. He banged up his leg Saturday, but said he will play.
In the Phillies Notebook: J.A. Happ is on, while Rudy Seanez looks to be off the postseason roster. Charlie Manuel explains why Greg Golson is not ready for prime time, Brad Lidge wins NL comeback player of the year and more.
Jimmy Rollins remembers Kirk Gibson's home run vividly. It almost made him cry. He would like to create a Gibson moment this October, which means making some children cry somewhere. As long as they're not in Philly, Phillies fans won't mind.
Charlie Manuel is a popular man these days, although he's always popular in the Phillies clubhouse.
John Gonzalez gives us reasons to feel good and not feel good about the NLDS. Then he takes some shots at my hometown. Jerk. Doesn't he know that Milwaukee ranks up there with New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Rome ... ? Gonzo then joins pen pals Ford and Sheridan to talk about the series and the Cubs.
Sabathia is a stud, and there's no chance the Brewers are here without him. That's because the Brewers' bullpen isn't very reliable. In fact, as some of my friends back home might say, "It stinks." To make up for its shakiness, they'll need more from Prince Fielder. He's no Ryan Howard, but the man can hit.
Conestoga High's Dave Bush could pitch Game 3 or 4.
In the Brewers Notebook: Sabathia feels better this series than last year in the postseason with the Cleveland Indians.
Had a chance to talk with On the DL with Dan Levy on Monday night.
Holy crap, that's a lot of stuff to read. Good luck with it.
Oh, and good luck skipping out of work today to watch the game.