5 Q’s Heading Into the Braves Series

This is a little something I will be doing when I feel that there are a few things to be addressed heading into a big series. First off, I want to say I am pleased with how well the offense has played to start the season and how amazing it really is to watch Roy Halladay. Second off I want to express concern for the rest of the rotation (sorta) and the early injuries sustained. So here are five questions to be answered after 12 games:

Is Kyle Kendrick a big-league starter? The way he has pitched in the role the last few years, no. He turned into a very good bull pen arm late last season, which earned him a shot to start. And despite being lights-out in the spring, it was only the spring. This start today versus Atlanta is going to be huge for him. If he doesn’t pitch a quality start, he may be the automatic odd man out when Joe Blanton returns.

Is Cole Hamels back to form? His last start was fantastic, no doubt. But it was only one start. He looked really good though and appeared to have total control of his stuff. That confidence is exactly what Hamels needs if he wants to return to 2008 form and be the dominant lefty the Phillies would love to pair-up with Roy Halladay.

What will happen when guys get healthy and where will they pitch? The Phillies currently have Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, and J.C. Romero on the DL. When Blanton returns, he will most likely replace Kyle Kendrick in the rotation and Kendrick will fall back into the bull pen.

But when Lidge and Romero return, the Phillies will be in a bind. Drew Herndon is an obvious choice to drop to the minors. With Romero being a lefty, Antonio Bastardo could be replaced but that will leave the Phillies with only one lefty still. Jose Contreras has not been impressive at all so far and could be put on waivers. It will also be interesting with Nelson Figueroa seeing as he pitched well but he was signed as a replacement. I personally want to see Figueroa stay in the pen all season.

Is Raul Ibanez turning into a bust? Ibanez has been absolutely terrible this year. I don’t even know where to begin: batting .171 with no homers, and five RBIs. He has struck out ten times and has only three extra base hits, all doubles. The bigger problem with Ibanez is that he is signed through next season so the Phillies are stuck with him. Dom Brown better get to the bigs soon and the Phillies need to pray they can keep Jayson Werth because Ibanez is not getting the job done.

How serious could J.A. Happ’s injury really be? No one knows. The Phillies are banking on Happ being fine after taking an extra five days off. But it’s really hard to know at this point until he lets the Phillies brass know how he feels. If he isn’t okay to go, Figueroa’s name has been thrown around to make a spot start and the Pedro Martinez talks make pick up.

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