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Phillies soldier on despite injuries to Rollins,Werth, and a shaky Hamels outing


For the first time in 26 years, the Phillies have won their season opener as well as their home opener. The last time that happened, I was in Unfortunately, Jimmy Rollins was not smiling moments later. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.kindergarten, The Dukes Of Hazzard was still on CBS, and Mary Lou Retton was about to go for the gold in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Now back to the present. I'd love to sit here and tell you that the Phils 7-4 victory over the Nationals  came without a price.

It didn't.

All seemed well as Charlie Manuel raised the 2009 National Champions banner in Ashburn Alley and the U.S. Navy Seals jumped out of the sky and onto the field at Citizens Bank Park. Things seemed even better when Dan Baker announced Jimmy Rollins as the starting shortstop for the afternoon. So needless to say, the sellout crowd of close to 45,000 was a little shell shocked when Juan Castro  was fielding ground balls when the Phillies finally took the field. Turns out that Rollins strained his right calf while in warmups and will have an MRI today. From the looks of it, Rollins  could be heading to the disabled list. A calf strain is bad enough for a pinch hitter like Greg Dobbs, who suffered a calf injury for the better part of last season. It is twice as bad for an everyday player like Rollins who relies on speed as part of his game. This is also a major disappointment due to the fact that Rollins was setting the table so well for this dynamic Phillies offense. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), Jayson Werth aggravated his left hip as well and is listed as day to day.


While Rollins and Werth will eventually return, the question still remains as to whether Cole Hamels  will ever return to his 2008 form. The Phillies If Hamels can return to his 2008 form, the Phillies will be even scarier. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.were banking on Hamels to rebound from a dreadful 2009 campaign. Hamels is now 2-0, but the fact that he can't last beyond six innings in either two of those starts against Washington is not encouraging. Hamels still seems to have that one big inning where he struggles to even retire the pitcher (Andy Pettitte, Jason Marquis), and most of the time this happens with two outs. The difference between Roy Halladay  and Hamels is that Halladay executes when it matters most (Sunday vs. Houston). If there is any light we can shed on this, it's that Hamels appears to be healthy and in shape compared to 2009. There is talk that he is still tinkering with some new pitches, and who better to do that against than the Nationals?

Don't panic JUST yet, but it won't be a good scenario if July comes and the Phillies MUST acquire a number two starter to compliment Halladay. They would most likely have to trade from their big league club, or chances are their minor league system will be wiped out for some time if they have to dig that deep. Werth is about the only expendable everyday player who you could even move due to his impending free agency. Do you replace him with an unproven like Domonic Brown  when you're trying to win a World Series? Not likely.

I know, I know, it's early, but you must look ahead.  We've been here before. To make my point, it just gets messy. And besides, wouldn't you like to see the team get a closer just in case Brad Lidge  is not effective upon his return?

At the end of the day, the Phils are still an undeniable force to be reckoned with. There will be setbacks along the way, but hopefully the Phillies are too determined of a squad to let injuries and inconsistencies completely derail their mission of bringing the World Series Trophy back to Philadelphia.

Joe Vallee can be contacted at jvallee@philly2philly.com