Yesterday started out not as a good day, but as a great day. The Phillies were finally sending the man to the mound that should have made the starting rotation from day one. J. Happ, the 26 year old left-handed pitcher from Illinois, finally made his first start of the 2009 season, and a pretty impressive one at that.
Happ produced from Opening Night on, even though he wasn't sitting in the correct part of the ballpark. Instead of sitting next to Hamels, Moyer, and Blanton, he was sitting with Madson, Lidge, and Condrey. Happ hadn't lost his starting role, it had been taken from him, most Phillies fans knew it too.
The guy who had earned a spot over Kyle Kendrick on the Post-Season Roster, was not starting like he should have been. For whatever reason Charlie Manuel had gone with Park instead. I know I couldn't figure that one out.
Everything was finally corrected last Monday, the Park experiment was over, Happ would make his first start Saturday against the Yankees, and what a start it was.
He had six strong innings striking out four and only allowing two runs. He left the game with a 4-2 lead, throwing only one third of his pitches for balls.
Happ looked like he was going to get his third win of the 2009 season.
Unfortunately it was not in the cards for Happ to get his second win as a big league starter. So what should have been a great day for the Phillies team became a great day for just a few of them, two making their first starts in 2009.
Thank you, Manuel, for finally making the choice that you should have made after spring training. Thank you Happ for being everything we all knew that you could be.
Congratulations to John Mayberry Jr. too, for hitting your first Major League homerun across the street from where your dad had hit his last, that's pretty special.