The whole soreness story never made a lot of sense. Chase Utley came into camp in great shape, and the 2nd week of workouts didn’t seem like a time when you’d suddenly get sore, but I’m sure the Phillies knew the words MRI and tendinitis would set off a wave of panic. So, I guess they waited a couple days and hoped for the best, but eventually stonewalling the media becomes a secondary concern to the starting 2nd baseman’s health. Utley had an MRI which revealed patellar tendinitis, and he’s labeled himself day-to-day. I don’t think anyone knows for sure when he’ll make his debut, though, and I think that has probably planted a seed of doubt in the minds of many fans. Utley is the tough, but recently fragile superstar, and there are better ways to start spring training than battling tendinitis.
It’s going to be a long year for this type of story, though. People are holding their breath with this team. It almost feels like the only way to go is down. There isn’t a lot that can go unexpectedly right for this team. Every time one of the aces pitches well, it comes with a nod of expectation. Most of the offensive starters have huge seasons in their past to live up to. So, considering all that, about the only thing to do is wait for things to go unexpectedly wrong or panic at everything that doesn’t go right. Injuries like the one Utley has now will be a concern, there are probably people lamenting Dom Brown’s 3 strikeouts on Sunday. It’s going to be that type of year, especially until the games start for real and people can start keeping score.
It was a pretty uneventful opening weekend against the Yankees. All the pitchers you need to worry about looked pretty sharp. I’ll admit that with all the hype surrounding Cole Hamels’ early form, I was expecting him to charge out of the dugout and start hitting Aroldis Chapman numbers on the gun. As it turned out, Cole threw pretty well and hit the low-90s. It’s more encouraging when you remember Cole has spent past springs trying to rally past 80 on his opening outing. Joe “The Thumb” Blanton threw well on Sunday making it business as usual so far for the starting staff. The mantra to repeat for the next week or so will always be, pitching is ahead of hitting. That’s one of those old baseball adages that you hear so often that there is no choice but to consider it gospel.
I guess Ben Francisco’s big weekend will get him a little respect in the race for right field. Francisco had a few extra base hits, has the Phillies’ only homer and if the season started tomorrow….maybe he’d be out there in right field. The thing with this battle for right field is, the fans would probably prefer Brown out there, because he’s the hot commodity, but if Francisco takes charge they will latch onto him immediately. If Francisco hits, there will be plenty of Phillies fans willing to pack Dom up for Lehigh Valley.
Nothing really else of note. Halladay gets the Jays for a couple of innings on Monday, and I guess we should touch on Jayson Werth ruining his initial Pat Burrell reception with his “I hate the Phillies,” quote. Sounds like the culprits are backpedaling off it, but I’d imagine they said it, and that’s all it will take for Phillies fans. They might bury Werth when he comes back now, especially since it looks like Jayson is going to be talking all spring. Expect a rash of Philly fans are a-holes stories come out during Washington’s first visit. The city that booed Santa Claus boos its former All-Star right-fielder. The horror.