Phillies Go Down 4-1 On Opening Day

C KSenior Analyst IApril 5, 2009

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The Phillies lost. On Opening Day.

But these guys are World Series Champions.

Maybe it was those gold linings around the letters and numbers. Maybe it was the pressure surrounding the team on their first game. Maybe it was the lights.

Yeah, that's it. The lights. Or the grass. It looked too green.

Breathe, Christian. Breathe.

In and out, in and out. Deep breaths. There we go.

In all seriousness, we should remember that Opening Day is only one game.

Would I have loved to see more fire out of the Phillies today? Absolutely. Yet, remember that this is a team who has lost eight out of their last nine openers.

More importantly, remember that this is one game out of 162. Do the math, and after a few hours of calculating, you come to realize that there are 161 left.

When the Phillies finally kicked it in to gear in the ninth, it was too late. Raul Ibanez couldn't be the hero in his first game, and the Phillies were left with the tying run at the plate.

All you can do is look ahead to the next game. We have been here before, it only feels worse because of our expectations being higher than they ever have been.

A few things we can take from this game is that maybe Ryan Howard's weight loss does not mean anything, considering he still struck out twice, that Brad Lidge is still lights out, and that Brett Myers still has troubles getting through the early innings.

Yet, I wouldn't be worried about anything I saw tonight, even Brett Myers' poor performance.

The entire lineup was out of it, giving Howard little help. Two strikeouts can happen to anyone when their team has a bad day, so this could have been the case for the big man tonight.

Plus, hitting is contagious, yet on the Phillies, silent bats are, too.

Myers settled down after the first two-innings. I would not call his other four innings "smooth," yet he began improving on locating his pitches and mixing them up with more confidence. He even appeared calmer a few times in the dugout than you would expect him to be in that type of situation.

One bad night does not spell doom for the Phillies. In all honesty, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is a wake-up call, saying, "Hey, being World Champions means nothing unless you can prove it time and time again."

So let's start over on Tuesday with a new Opening Day. We had two parts to our World Series clinching game, so why not have two parts to Opening Day?

Wednesday will be the ring ceremony, followed by an off-day before the Phillies travel to Colorado to take on the Rockies for a three-game series beginning on Friday.

There is no reason to be questioning this year's Phillies team.

Derek Lowe showed why the Braves were smart by signing him, and maybe, just maybe, the Braves are the team to beat in the National League East.

It is just one game, but one game can mean a lot of things.

Then again, the Nationals beat the Phillies on Opening Day last season, and the Nationals were certainly not the team to beat.

It just goes to show you that one game means nothing unless there's a reason to believe it in fact does mean something. And for now, I can't find any reason as to why this should mean anything.

For the Braves, this night does show that they can be a team to be reckoned with.

Yet for the World Champions, there should not be any crying or worrying to be done just yet.

For now, enjoy the rest of baseball tomorrow. For once, we will be the one's watching as the rest of baseball opens up, remember that.

So just take deep and slow breaths, Phillies fans.

We aren't World Champions for nothing.


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