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Phillies' comeback win against the Astros might be a sign of good or bad things to come



There were lots of things you could observe from the Phillies thrilling Opening Day victory over the Astros Friday at Citizens Bank Park.

It just depends which way you want to spin them, really.

Let’s break it down as only P2P can, and you can put your own spin on it too. We’re good like that here.

The Good  

Roy Halladay

Halladay was for the most part his spectacular self Friday. He labored at times, but only surrendered one run over six innings. Halladay probably would have come back out for the seventh if this were a mid-season game, but Charlie Manuel most likely isn’t taking any chances on overworking his Cy Young Award winner in the first game of the season.Roy Halladay was for the most part his spectacular self Friday. He labored at times, but only surrendered one run over six innings. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.

The Phillies’ resilience   

They are an aging team, but aging teams find ways to win when they aren’t running on all eight cylinders. The comeback win was impressive, even after watching these guys after all these years.

It was great to see Wilson Valdez, Ben Francisco, and John Mayberry Jr. come up big in those spots. Something tells me that all three of these guys will be relied on this year with the new offensive makeup of this team. And if Friday was any indication, that is very encouraging.

And yes, I thought Valdez was going to hit into a double play as well in the ninth inning......

On the fence

The Phillies’ offense

I can’t help it. The entire game I felt like there was something missing with this Phillies team from an offensive standpoint. Duh Joe, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley are either long gone or out for a while, respectively.  

Anyways, I felt worse when this team only mustered two hits through six innings off of Brett Myers, who seems to have the Phillies’ number dating back to last year.

The Phillies are going to have to manufacture runs in 2011 even if Utley comes back. There isn’t really another home run hitter not named Ryan Howard in this lineup. The team knows this, but then you look at this stat from Friday’s game.

Halladay’s pitch count through six innings: Just over 100.

Myer’s pitch count through six innings: Just over 50.

Brutal. Although there was not one single strikeout in the lineup today, you’d think that this team would eventually learn to take a pitch or two with the way their lineup has changed. Sometimes you feel as though you are watching your friend play a game of MLB 2K11 when the Phillies bat. As indicated by the bottom of the ninth inning, they are capable of doing this, you just wonder why they wait until the last moment in the game to do so.  While watching the Fightins at the plate Friday, I had the same sinking feeling I had last summer watching the Phils’ offense, but it was worse.

On a side note, was anyone thinking what I was thinking when Shane Victorino got thrown out attempting to steal? Obviously, Victorino is the one trying to steal the base, but I really miss Davey Lopes already.....

And speaking of Myers, he got a pretty nasty reception from the Phillies faithful when his name was announced in the starting lineup, which is fine with me. In saying that, the fans better give that same ‘less than welcoming reception’ to Pat Burrell when San Francisco comes into town this summer. I know, they helped us win a championship, but it’s now time to win another one. Burrell now has more World Series rings than he has World Series hits for God’s sake.

Click HERE to see Joe Vallee Sr's Opening Day Gallery

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Ben Francisco

Francisco had a pretty challenging game in right field. And if the Phillies lost, that would one of the main things we would probably be discussing. However, he redeemed himself in the ninth inning with a huge hit. Nonetheless, Francisco will continue to be monitored by the Phils brass.

The two sides of the Phillies’ bullpen

I swore up and down that the loss of Chad Durbin would come back to haunt this team. Is anyone really surprised at J.C. Romero and David Herndon’s performances today? I’ll leave it at that.

As far as Ryan Madson goes, the Phils have a major decision to make after 2011 regarding the 6’6 towering righthander. Do you: 1. Give Madson closers money? Which is what he and Scott (Dr. Evil) Boras will want, and throw him to the wolves once and for all in the ninth inning? or 2. Run the risk of losing him completely and pick up Brad Lidge’s 2012 option (highly unlikely at this time)? Madson is most likely best used as a seventh or eighth inning guy. On Friday, he looked awesome. Just saying.....

I hate to be a downer, but a contending major league baseball team would have definitely capitalized off of the walk (although it was intentional) and hit that Danys Baez allowed in the top of the ninth inning.


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A final thought: Whether it’s the Houston Astros or Toledo Mudhens, a great comeback win is a great comeback win.  However, the Phillies have 161 games (and hopefully a lot more) to go before we go passing judgment (good or bad) on this team. These were just some early observations.

Now, who out there is pumped to see Cliff Lee pitch?!

In the meantime Keep on Phightin.'

 Obscure, personal, and useless Phillies fact of the day:

Back in my bartending days, Ryan Madson was a frequent visitor at the restaurant where I worked. Madson was always down to earth, talked with everybody, and always gave a very generous tip. 

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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