There are high hopes for the Phils this year. Many fans (and players) are thinking playoffs. And a key to making the playoffs may be avoiding the typical horrible April that has plagued recent squads. To do so, I think the team needs to focus early in spring training on winning each and every game, so by the time April rolls around, the guys are used to pushing and fighting for each and every win. It's important that Grapefruit League wins come early and often, with a key game being the opener against Florida St today. You don't want to start the season with a loss, it could break their spirit. This important game deserves a WSBGM's Breakdown.
Opponent: Florida State University
Mascot: Racially-Insulting Stereotypical Native American Caricature
NCAA Rank: 8
Wow, what a way to start a playoff run, playing a hot, undefeated FSU squad. Already this year the 'Noles have swept powerhouse clubs UNC Asheville, Hofstra, and Appalachian St., putting up 44 runs in a 3 game series with Asheville and holding Hofstra to 5 runs in their 3 game set.
The FSU offense makes the '29 Yankees look like the '87 Phils. Tony Thomas Jr. leads with a .500 avearage and slugs .768. But he's not alone, all nine starters are hitting over .333, with 6 players hitting over .400. That is a lot of PING! Poor Ohmed Danesh (a 2006 NYY draft pick, pick 1244 overall) rides the pine as the 4th OF and he's hitting .583!
The Phils have the defending NL MVP, who may or may not play. But more importantly, they have Karim Garcia...who is better than Dellucci. Look for big games from Abe Nunez, Chris Roberson and Michael Bourn...if the Seminoles pitch a walk-on.
But it isn't just about hitting. FSU has 3 starters with ERA's all under 3.38 and a combined 52:15 K to BB. The bullpen only has 2 saves (because they kill people...) but has 3 guys who post sub-1.50 ERA's.
The Phils will run Kyle Drabek out to mound, but it may not matter, with a powerhouse offense like FSU, I doubt if Steve Carlton could make it past the 4th inning.
Florida State has Mike Martin, who is in his 28th year and has like thirty-billion wins. He also can read. The Phillies have Fuqua.
Good luck Phils, the season may be resting on this game...