Monday, April 03, 2017

Series Preview: Phillies Open the Season in Cincinnait

It's finally here. The 2017 starts with the Phillies in Cincinnati, the birthplace of professional baseball.
For the second time, Jeremy Hellickson gets the nod as Opening Day starter. The Phillies enter the season with a ton of question marks and some interesting plotlines.
The first quarter of this year's schedule is going to be brutal. This is one chance to start out on the right foot.


Monday, April 3, 4:05 p.m.: Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 0) vs.Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)
Wednesday, April 5, 7:10 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff (0-0, 0) vs. Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 0.00)
Thursday, April 6, 12:35 p.m.: Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00) vs. Rookie Davis (0-0, 0.00)

2016 and 2017 series

The Phillies went 2-4 against the Reds in 2016, which is somewhat surprising when you consider the Reds finished with three fewer wins than the Phillies last year. FiveThirtyEight has the Reds and Phillies expected to win 71 and 70 games this year. The Phillies and Reds will meet again on May 26-28 in Philly.

What to know about the Reds

Cincinnati doesn't have a lot to be excited about. Joey Votto is still amazing. Billy Hamilton is fun to watch. Brandon Finnegan has great stuff. After that, it's basically Scott Feldman, Zach Cosart and Drew Storen.

What to look for

You always want to win on Opening Day. Other than that, it would be nice to see the Phillies jump out of the gate fairly strongly because it's going to be a brutal month.
The next 12 straight games are against the Washington Nationals and New York Mets.
In fact, of the Phillies first 42 games, they play legitimate World Series contenders a vast majority of the time.
The Phillies play the reigning champ Chicago Cubs four times. They play the Nationals 12 times. They play the Los Angeles Dodgers three times. Oh, and they play the New York Mets six times. As if it wasn't brutal enough, this part of the schedule also includes three games against the Texas Rangers.

That's 27 of 42 games coming against the big boys. One of their easier matchups is two home games against the Seattle Mariners and three games against the Pirates, who are also considered favorites to reach the playoffs.
Thank God for the Cincinnati series and three games each against the Marlins and Braves.

That first stretch could be brutal for the team's outlook. It's not hard imagining them coming out of those 42 games with a 10-32 mark. Considering 25 of those 42 games are on the road, it wouldn't be a disaster to start the season 16-26, even though that would look like a disaster in the standings. However, if the Phillies start out somewhat hot, winning say 19 of those 43 games, the rest of the season starts to look more interesting.


GM-Carson said...

The Phils improved this offseason, but so did seemingly almost every team in baseball. Of course the Padres didn't improve...or did they? This is going to be an interesting year in baseball as I look at a team like the Phils that could win anywhere from 65-85 games. That's a big difference.

The Mariners might dominate the West or they could fall flat.

The only team that look like locks to be good are the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Astros, Mets, and Rangers.

Can't wait to see how it all pans out.

rslitman said...

I thought the Phillies were playing the ma-REEN-ers (incorrectly ptonounced as the MARE-inners by my 5th grade teacher and too many others) in Seattle.

Are the Rangers coming here? Homecoming for Hamels if they are. Blanton is now with the Nationals. I would love nothing more than for new Phillie Daniel Nava to hit a grand slam off him when the Phillies play the Nats.

GM-Carson said...

Hellickson playing with fire this game. Not burned badly yet, but eventually gotta think he'll get scorched if he keeps putting all these runners on.

ripjgarcia said...

Well.. in this weather I see an early bullpen anyway, so we'll see how that gets to pan out.

GM-Carson said...

Mackanin already proves why he's a shit manager. Pulls Hellickson after 5 innings, 67 pitches, and 1 run. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I know he just "hit" a triple, but really, c'mon, leave him in!

ripjgarcia said...

But he earned the right to be the closer.

GM-Carson said...

Jeanmar shouldn't be closer. I've read the opinions of people that have defended Mackanins decision and they are flat out wrong. Proof was 9th inning today. How long must we suffer through the shit show?

ripjgarcia said...

Here's the other problem. Mackanin lets him be a half-ass closer and his trade value at deadline is diminished. Obviously you want Neris to stick around and assume that position, but I see Jeanmar as expendable.

GM-Carson said...

Tyler Goeddel claimed by the Reds. Whatever...

ripjgarcia said...

Lol.. The Reds just became even worse.