Phillies fans have expectations. After winning it all in 2008, every year since then has been a World Series win or bust. Phillies fans this year are definitely quieter about their chances this year. Some expressed that they were not as excited as they once were.The infield has so many question marks because of its health and age.
Opening Day is one of the best days of the year for Phillies fans. The season started off the right way. Roy Halladay out-dueled Pittsburgh's Erik Beddard, giving up only two hits.
It set up a near-perfect scenario for Jonathan Papelbon to come in and get his first save of the season. The Phillies lacked offense in last year's NLDS because they were too banged up. They lacked it again against the Pirates on Opening Day.
Papelbon came in and retired all three hitters he faced. He struck out one, and the other two grounded out. Out of 10 pitches, nine of them were strikes.
The Phillies very well may have offensive struggles early on in the season. If that is the case, Papelbon could wind up being the guy that gets the Phillies some key wins early on in the season. He looked like an All-Star closer on Opening Day. He will need to be that way for most of the season. The Phillies will need Papelbon if they are going to win pitchers' duels like the one on Opening Day.
After all, Brad Lidge's 2008 season performance won the Phillies the World Series. It may come to that for the Phillies in 2012, only this time it will be Papelbon.