Here We Go

In winning the division each of the last five seasons, the Phillies have improved their win total each year, a first in baseball according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.

Well, year six begins this afternoon in Pittsburgh.  It ends 180 days from now, October 3 in Washington, DC. 

When the five-year string began, the Phillies used an offense built around the long ball to pile up wins.  It all changed last year, when pitching and defense become the dominant phase of the team’s success (MLB’s best in ERA and fielding percentage).  76 of the 102 wins came from seven starting pitchers.  Except for Oswalt, Doc, Cliff, Cole, Vance, Joe-B and Kyle are back for another run.

So, here we go.

J-Roll
This starts J-Roll’s 13th season with the Phillies.  If he finishes his new contract (three seasons and an option), he’ll have worn the uniform for 17 years. Only Mike Schmidt has more (18).

And, this season continues J-Roll’s assault on numerous top-10 hitting categories in Phillies history.  He begins the season third in extra base hits, at-bats, doubles; fourth in runs, triples, hits, total bases and stolen bases and fifth in games played.

There’s little doubt we are watching one of the truly greats in Phillies history.

Minor League Openers Today
**Lehigh Valley hosts Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 p.m.; RHP Dave Bush is the starter.
**Reading Phillies open with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Portland; RHP Jonathan Pettibone and RHP Tyler Cloyd.
**Clearwater starts at nearby Dunedin, 7:05 p.m.; LHP Adam Morgan.
**Lakewood’s season opener is in Greenville, SC, also 7:05 p.m.; 19-year-old LHP Lino Martinez.

Opening Day Memories
Frank Lucchesi (MGR, 1970-72)
“Well, I have two great memories from opening day and both were with the Phillies.  1970 at Connie Mack Stadium, after 21 years in the minor leagues, I was finally in the major leagues as a manager.  Very emotional day.  Then, 1971, the first game ever played in Veterans Stadium. Both hold very special place in my heart.”

April Flashback
April 5, 1957—Phillies trade five players and $75,000 to acquire SS Chico Fernandez from Brooklyn Dodgers.  I was in a factory making shoes for children.  Honest.

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