Monday, March 14, 2011

Phillies to play Opening Day opponent today in Spring Training

Houston Astros pitcher J.A.Happ delivers a pitch during first inning Houston Astros-Philadelphia Phillies game action in Philadelphia August 25, 2010. Happ, who was just recently traded from Philadelphia to Houston, was credited with the win for Houston. UPI/John Anderson

Cole Hamels, even though he won't be the Opening Day pitcher, will be starting today against the Phillies Opening Day opponent. The Houston Astros will be the first official game on the schedule that begins on April 1st at 1:05PM in Philadelphia.

The Phillies open up against the Astros for a three game set starting April 1, that is sure to have ex-Phillies pitcher and ace Brett Myers on the mound facing his old team. In fact, Myers should be the Opening Day starter for the Astros as he will face Roy Halladay.

A look at what the Astros have done in the offseason can be summed up in a couple words, not much. Myers most recent start in Spring Training saw him get roughed up in a start against the Boston Red Sox on 3/11/11. Myers gave up 5 runs on 6 hits before he was lifted and the Astros went on to lose 9-3 against the Red Sox in that one.

The Phillies will probably also face ex-Phillies pitcher, JA Happ. Happ was a bright star in the Phillies rotation and was moved to the Astros for Roy Oswalt at the trade deadline last year. Phillies prospects, Anthony Gose, and shortstop Jonathan Villar also were dealt. The Phillies actually got Houston to pay almost half ($11M) of Roy Oswalt's $23 million that was still owed to him for the rest of 2010 and the 2011 season as well.

The mood was 'no guarantees' when the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt last year at the trade deadline. The Phillies were in second place, 3 1/2 games behind the Braves when the move happened. Even with the addition of Cliff Lee to the Phillies, you would have to continue the 'no guarantees' mood this season. Though with this firepower, the Phillies should do very well this season as long as the offense does its job.

Houston may be an ideal opponent for the Phillies to open up against this year. Wandy Rodriguez, who pitched a 5 hit, 5-1 win last year against the Phillies, will see his next Spring Training start scratched down in Florida and possibly miss his first start once the season starts.

Houston has two other ex-Phillies still on the team. Jason Michaels and Micheal Bourne. The Astros finished 2010 with a record of 76-86 in fourth place, and I don't expect them to do much better this year. If we see all of the power that the Phillies throw at them in the first opening weekend, we could see the Phillies start off 3-0.

Phillies ink Amaro to 4 year deal

The Phillies made it official over the weekend, Ruben Amaro Jr. is inked to a 4 year extension to his contract. Way to go, Mr. Amaro. Four aces and four more years! Gotta love it.

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