Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Opening Day

Phillies Home Opener Question Marks

Can you feel it? The excitement is back in the air on Broad and Pattison. The Phillies are home for the first time this season! Sure they are 1-2 after Opening Weekend in Pittsburgh, but there are 159 games left and the opportunity to play in front of 45,000+ screaming fans!

Today brings out a new start, an open door from the mistakes of the past to the unknown of the future. The Phillies look to make that future a bright one.

Ruben Amaro Jr. made moves to make the Phillies bench and offense stronger this offseason. This coming after the unknown future of Phillies stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. By making the Phillies bench player better, he added the depth needed in case Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, as well as other players, hit the injury bug for a long time.

After Opening Weekend versus the Pirates (take into consideration that it’s OPENING WEEKEND), Phillies fans do have a few worries that in our eyes need to be solved as quickly as possible in order to be competitive throughout the year; one being hitting and the other being the bullpen and how they are managed.

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Mayberry Shines in Back-to-Back Opening Days

Phillies LF John Mayberry makes a catch at the wall in the 5th inning off the bat of Pittsburgh's Clint Barmes. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Since 2009 when John Mayberry got his first taste as a Phillie he knew that he would do whatever it would take to get back on the big league roster.

A few seasons removed from that, Mayberry has found himself a lock for the Opening Day roster the last two seasons. And he’s starting to make a trend of coming big in those first games of the season.

In the 2011 opener at home, Mayberry completed a three-run 9th inning come back when he ripped a pinch-hit walk-off single over the head of Astros centerfielder Michael Bourn.

There were no late-game heroics yesterday but Mayberry made his presence in the line up known throughout the game.

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Doc Blanks Bucs on Opening Day

Phillies SP Roy Halladay allowed two hits and four base runners through eight scoreless innings as the Phillies won 1-0 on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Phillies couldn’t have asked for a more masterful outing from their Ace of Aces.

Roy Halladay gave up two singles in the first inning, the only two hits he would allow all game as his beautiful Opening Day outing allowed the Phillies offense to get away with scoring only one run all day.

The Phillies and Pirates took a scoreless tie into the 7th inning. After a one-0ut single by Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry followed up with a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third.

Carlos Ruiz skied one to shallow right field and Jose Tabata’s slightly high throw allowed Wigginton to score. It was the only run Pirates starter Erik Bedard would allow through seven innings.

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Savery, Orr Finalize Roster

The Phillies used their final game of the spring, a 7-2 win over the Pirates at home to finalize their opening day roster.

The final two spots wenttoo utility infielder Pete Orr and lefty reliever Joe Savery.

Here is the Phillies 25-man roster, which will be lacking Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Michael Martinez and Jose Contreras. All four will start the season on the DL.

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Phils Announce Rotation 2.0

The fans who got tickets for the home opener were given a real treat today.

The Phillies announced their starting rotation for the season. And in a move popular with many, the lefties will be split like last season.

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley will take the mound for the Phillies in their opening series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. That means Cole Hamels will pitch in the home opener on April 9 against the Miami Marlins, a real treat for the fans.

Joe Blanton’s first start could be skipped. He’s slated to pitch April 11 but with there being a day off on April 6, Halladay could make his second start on that date.

On March 14, I wrote about how it would be a good idea for the Phillies to split the lefties, keeping a balance in the rotation while maintaining a clear advantage against opposing teams in every series.

Predicting the 25-man roster for Opening Day

From left to right: IF Pete Orr, LHP Jake Diekman and 2B/SS Freddy Galvis.

It’s about that time of year again when Opening Day approaches and speculations about the roster arise.

In a perfect world, there are no injuries and this guessing game is easy. But for the Phillies, they don’t live in a perfect world.

Instead, their two best players are starting the season on the disabled list – combining for $35 million out of the line up in Pittsburgh. Their top middle infield utility player broke his foot during Spring Training and a couple of the relievers don’t appear to be in regular season form.

It leaves the door wide open for a handful of spots on the Opening Day roster, and here is a look at who will be dressing on April 5.

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Some pictures from today’s game

What an unbelievable experience for my first ever Opening Day. TTB staffers Dan MacNeal, Chris Bengel, Allison Stackhouse and I all partook in the festivities.

The day started in Lot K-7, our stomping grounds for Phils games and ended with joyous celebration as the Phillies scored five unanswered runs to beat the Houston Astros on Opening Day, 5-4.

I got some great shots from some pregame festivities, Roy Halladay’s first pitch (a called strike), and John Mayberry, Jr.’s game-winning RBI single.

The banner that hung from the batter's eye in centerfield before the game.

The giant flag, servive men and women and the Phillies line the field before the game.

Phillies starter Roy Halladay throws the first pitch of the 2011 season, a called strike to ex-Phillie Michael Bourn.

The Phillie Phanatic riles up the crowd in the seventh inning.

With everyone still in attendance on their feet, John Mayberry drives in the game-winning run with a single to score Ben Francisco.

"High Hopes" is still being sung by Harry Kalas after wins. Music to our ears.

Happy Opening Day, folks

The Phillies Opening Day may be tomorrow but tonight, the MLB season finally kicks off.

Today features the first real baseball of the season with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals at 1:05 PM. ESPN will also be airing the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers at 1:05. There are also four more games being played today.

So I leave you with this to get your mind set for baseball:

Phillies release 25-man roster

Michael Stutes, Delwyn Young and Luis Castillo out. David Herndon, Michael Martinez and Pete Orr in.

Stutes and Young were sent to the minors while Castillo was released earlier today. The final spot was between Young and Orr with Charle Manuel opting for speed and offense over defensive versatility.

Those were the three wrong spots I had for the Phillies 25-man roster, which was released about an hour ago.

Here is the 25-man roster and athletes put on DL courtesy of The Philly Phans.


Bullpen: Danys Baez, Antonio Bastardo, Jose Contrares, David Herndon, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge (DL), Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, and Brian Schlitter (DL)

Starters: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton


Catchers: Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schnieder

Infielders: Ryan Howard, Wilson Valdez, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Brian Bocock (DL), and Chase Utley (DL)

Outfielders: Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry Jr, Ross Gload, Domonic Brown (DL).

A stab at the 25-man roster

This has been every blogger’s favorite guessing game since the blogging world has begun: predicting the Phillies Opening Day roster.

There are definitely about 18-20 locks each year to make the squad. Then injuries and hot springs factor in and you have a few surprises.

The Phillies suffered key injuries to three players who were projected to be on the roster in January: closer Brad Lidge, second baseman Chase Utley and outfielder Domonic Brown.

To guarantee my first five picks, let’s start with the starting rotation aka Phat Joe and the Terror Squad. The Phillies added Cliff Lee in the off season, bringing the left-hander back home to complete a super rotation with the potential to be the history’s best. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels round out the Phour Aces and Joe Blanton, who is a #3 on most rosters, rounds out the five.

The starting line up is still a question mark due to the opening at second base and right field. Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco are the leading candidates to win those spots but are seeing heavy competition from the bench which I will get into in a bit.

The locks in the infield include Carlos Ruiz behind the plate, Ryan Howard at first, Jimmy Rollins at short stop (thank God) and Placido Polanco at third.

Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez round out the outfield in center and left field respectively. Ibanez started finding his swing towards the end of the Spring, hopefully quieting the talks to get John Mayberry a starting spot.

Mayberry, Ross Gload and Delwyn Young make the roster as outfielders. Young is valuable because he can also play in the infield, adding a depth to second base the Phillies will need even when Utley returns. Gload also adds a competent back-up first baseman.

Brian Schneider will be back behind the plate as Chooch’s back-up. But I’m confident the Phils will look to carry a larger bench to start the season.

I also believe Luis Castillo makes the team. Castillo works the count and gets on base. I know I ripped his signing but I would love for Castillo to shut me up.

The bull pen is the trickiest part of these predictions. Ryan Madson will appear to be setting up Jose Contreras in later innings in place of the injured Lidge. J.C. Romero and Antonio Bastardo will be the lefties in the pen. Bastardo will have a lot of eyes on him as he has the potential to be a great arm in the pen this season.

Kyle Kendrick, our good buddy from last year’s rotation, makes this team. The Phils need a long arm in the pen if Blanton gets blown up in the first or a rain delay wastes a starter’s outing. Kendrick is more than capable of holding his own.

That leaves me with two spots. I know he sucks but who knows, Danys Baez might be competent.

The last spot goes to Michael Stutes. He has impressed in the spring ball and I’d love to see him make this roster, at least until Lidge is back.

There you have it, folks. My 25-man roster for Opening Day is complete. I hope to see you there.

BONUS: Baez, Michael Martinez, Castillo and Young are fighting for the last two spots. If Baez makes it, it gives the Phillies 13 hitters, 12 pitchers. If not, the ratios will be 14-11, a ratio some beat writers think is possible.