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By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Let’s find things to overreact to in last night’s opener against the Braves, because well, that’s what we do in Philadelphia. We make knee-jerk overreactions about our sports team. We do it out of love.
Chase Utley is is back, baby.
3-5, a HR, 3B, and 3 RBI. The best thing I saw from Chase was his at-bat in the 5th. With the bases loaded, one out, down three runs, Utley came to plate. He knew he needed to work the count and get ahead of Hudson, and he did. Worked the count to 2-1, and laced a pitched into right. Two runs scored, Rollins got to the third, and on the throw to third, Utley took second as only Utley could do. That is what I missed. Smart, “Chase-Utley-you-are-the-man”, type baseball. And then he tripled, abolishing all questions about his knees. He also homered to center earlier in the game.
Charlie Manuel is hurting this team.
It’s a fact. Yes, he won a World Series here. Yes, the players love him. But, he’s a brutal in-game manager and his mistakes are going to haunt the Phillies all season. Last night in the bottom of 6th, after Chad Durbin gave up two runs allowing the Braves to extend the lead from 5-3 to 7-3, Manuel decided to go bring in a left-handed relief pitcher, Jeremy Horst, to get out of the inning. The Braves were ready to bring in left-handed pinch hitter Juan Francisco, and BEFORE he was announced Manuel made the change to Horst. Consequently, the Braves went with a right-handed pinch hitter, Reed Johnson, instead of Francisco, without having to actually use Francisco. It was a disaster. Amateur type stuff.
The defense on the left-side of the field is a problem.
This could be a lingering issue all season long. Michael Young is a below average third baseman, defensively. Early in the game, Young dove for a ball that went off his glove which resulted in a double, typically a routine-back handed play for most MLB third basemen. Later in the game, a routine double-play went off of Young’s glove, and he had to settle on going to first and getting one-out. In left-field, Dom Brown looked awful. He got turned around on a double early in the game, and miss-played two more balls late.
Ben Revere is going to be a superb lead-off hitter.
Did you see that 11-pitch at-bat Revere worked in the 5th to get a walk? Beautiful. Haven’t seen that in years. He stole a base last night too, something we should see a lot of. He will definitely wreak havoc out there on the bases. I like this kid, even if he does call cheesesteaks, cheeseCAKES. Revere should lead-off every game for this team.
Cole Hamels did not look good. After a brilliant spring, a mustache-less Hamels went 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, 5 ER, and 3 HRs. Not impressive. However, it’s really extreme overreaction theater to worry about Hamels. I’m not going that far…yet.
The Phillies loss puts them behind the Nationals, Braves, and METS in the NL East with only 161 games to go. Panic time?
Andrew Porter is the Audio Roadshow Coordinator for SportsRadio WIP, editor and writer for The School Philly, and a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @And_Porter.