I would have written this article earlier if I had not heard the sad news. Sad news everyone. The legendary, Hall of Fame broadcaster, Harry Kalas; THE voice of the Phillies has passed away.
Mr. Kalas was found unconscious in the broadcasting booth prior to the beginning of the Washington Nationals- Philadelphia Phillies game this afternoon, April 13. It seems fitting for some reason that Mr. Kalas would “go” in the booth. It just seems fitting.
At least he went out as a champion. Last year, in his second to last year in his current contract, Mr. Kalas got to call the Phillies final out of the 2008 World Series and watch the Phillies come out as champions for the first time in 28 years.
It also seems fitting that his very last game, yesterday, Sunday April 12, he would get to call a winning ball game.
Harry will be missed by all, not just Philadelphians. Harry is survived by his wife and three sons.
So onto a review of the Philadelphia Phillies first week return to regular season baseball.
You know that old Joe Walsh hit, Rocky Mountain Way? Of course you do, who doesn’t know that song, it's got one of the best talkbox solos ever made. Well the Phillies took a trip on the Rocky Mountain Way during the first week of baseball.
One of the lines from Walsh's song is:
"Rocky Mountain Way
Couldn't get much higher"
The Phillies have taken a trip to the "Rocky Mountain Way". One problem. Their starting pitching seems to have left itself back in Philadelphia. I am in no way bad mouthing my favorite team, but the offense is holding up its end of the "bargain".
So, I guess a week one recap is in order for the Defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. I hope your fantasy teams are doing well. Mine are...well let's just say..."BOOM!!!" would describe how my team is doing. "BOOM" is not good. Not good at all.
Where to begin? Ah, yes the pageantry that is Opening Day, okay Opening Night in this case. Prior to the game starting, there were all sorts of ceremonies and stuff. The raising of the 2008 World Series Banner, walking down the aisle out in the left-center seats etc., etc., etc.
Right, there was still a game. The matchup was between Atlanta's Derek Lowe and Philadelphia's Brett Myers. A battle of Division foes.
The Braves got off to a rip-roaring start. After securing the first two outs, Myers gave up a double to Chipper Jones. Then Myers gave up a monster two-run shot to Brian McCann.
The Phillies did nothing in the bottom half of the first, so the score after one was 2-0 Atlanta. Two runs, easy to overcome for the defending champs right? Ahem... yeah right. Myers later in the second gave up two more home runs.
One to rookie-just-out-of-AA ball centerfielder Jordan Schafer.
Another to revamped and rebuilt, Jeff Francoeur.
Myers lasted six full innings. Gave up four runs, all earned, all coming off the long ball, while striking out six in the process.
The Phillies where no-hit for I believe six innings by Lowe. The Phillies eventually manufactured a run in the ninth. But to no avail. Atlanta beat the Phillies 4-1.
The Phillies then faced off against Jair Jurrjens. Countering Jurrjens would be ageless, crafty veteran and slow junkball specialist, Jamie Moyer.
Moyer did not fare much better than Myers. Moyer gave up two home runs and four runs: all earned, on eight hits.
Moyer gave up a home run to Kelly Johnson on the second pitch of the game. Moyer later gave up one to Chipper Jones as well.
This time the Phillies could not manufacture any runs.
Now on the day where the Phillies players, coaches, upper management, management, Adam Eaton, Pat Burrell, and the rest of all full time Phillies staff received their rings you could tell something was different.
Not much different actually. Joe Blanton went up against Javier Vazquez in the rubber match of the series.
Big Boy Joe was pummeled by the Braves offense. Lasting only four full innings, giving up seven earned runs, Blanton left the game in the hands of the Phillies rock solid bullpen to keep the game close.
In a string of 10 batters, the Phillies manufactured runs off of 5 walks and a couple base hits. Brad Lidge came in, in the ninth and closed out the game for his 42nd consecutive regular season save (41 going back to last season).
It’s Lidge’s 49th if you include the seven from the playoffs.
The Phillies after winning there first of the season last Wednesday, traveled out to Mile High, Denver to face the Rockies.
Friday was ace lefthander, Cole Hamels’ first start of the regular season. If you remember he was lit up against Tampa Bay during his last preseason start. Well, it did not bode well.
Hamels was lit up by Colorado. The Phillies lost on Friday 10-3.
Saturday was slightly better. Not much. The Phillies starting pitchers have been lit up like a Thanksgiving Day Turkey. Brett Myers on Saturday gave up three home runs, but managed to earn his first victory of the year. As the Phillies held off the Rockies 8-4.
Easter Sunday was did not fare well for the Phillies despite them manufacturing a win. Fifth Starter, Chan Ho Park was torched. Only going 3.1 innings and giving up five runs.
Park struggled with command mightily, as he threw 48 pitches in the first inning. He finished with 96 pitches thrown overall.
But the Phillies came back and won the game off of Canadian slugger Matt Stairs' bat. Phillies won by a score of 7-5.
First week Grades:
Starting Pitching: F
Bullpen/ Relief Pitching: B+/A- (leaning towards A-)
Offense: C+/B- (leaning towards B-)
Stay tuned for next week's recap.
“Long drive, watch this baby, OUTTA HERE!!! HOME RUN!!!” ~Harry Kalas
“Chase Utley, you are the MAN!” ~Harry Kalas
Harry Kalas 1936-2009
Rest in piece Mr. Kalas. Say hi to Whitey up there for me.