It may be just one game into the season, but you can almost already see the smile developing on the face of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro.
That is because on the day that President Barack Obama threw the first pitch (in a White Sox hat) in front of the Phillies (and the overwhelming majority of Phillies fans) at Nationals Park to mark the start of the 2010 Baseball Season, all the pieces to puzzle that defined the Phillies offseason moves have already seemed to come into place.
Case and point.
Obviously, the Roy Halladay deal is first and foremost on the minds of those linked to the Phillies organization when it comes to this past off-season. 7 innings, 1 run, and 9 strikeouts later, you can say that Halladay passed his first test as ace of the Philadelphia Phillies. It may have been against the Nationals (so that makes it sort of like a third grade spelling test), but after seeing fellow aces C.C Sabathia and Josh Beckett struggle on Sunday Night Baseball the night before, there has to be a calm and soothing feeling among Phillies fans when looking the highlights of Halladay’s start against the Nationals, in addition to his stat line.
Not as obvious, the move to bring back Placido Polanco for his second stint in Philadelphia seems to be a brilliant one after one game. One game you say, but the fact of the matter is that Polanco’s 6 RBI’s in Monday’s contest puts him on pace for a mere 972 runs batted in this year. Ok, all joking aside, with 3 hits and grand slam to boot, you could not have asked for a return debut for Polanco, as it looks like he will fit in quite nicely in the second hole in the order right in front of the likes of Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, and Victorino, the five all-stars of the Phillies 2009 roster.
Take Polanco and Halladay out of the equation, and the Phillies still probably would have beaten the Nationals on Monday. Ryan Howard’s 2-run blast and Jimmy Rollins’s RBI triple off Nats starter John Lannan definitely showed that at least some of the Phillies veterans have their swinging stroke going early on, which is obviously also a good sign, especially against the Nationals.
Also, good to see David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo pitch a couple scoreless frames. With Brad Lidge, J.C Romero, and Joe Blanton on the D.L to start off the season, seeing guys like Bastardo and Herndon come in and show a certain amount of confidence must allow Charlie Manuel, Rich Dubee and company to take a deep breath of sorts, as that had to be the primary concern coming out of Spring Training.
If only the other 161 games could be against the Nationals..