Phillies Finally Have An Opening Day Ace
Say what you will about Brett Myers, but the Phillies haven’t had a true ace take the hill on Opening Day since 1999 with Curt Schilling. Ten years later, the Phillies have a new guy they will be handing the ball to on Opening Day at least through 2012. Yes, that would be Cole Hamels, who will take the bump on April 5 at home against the Atlanta Braves. Charlie Manuel saw no reason to beat around the bush as he did last year, when he ended up selecting Myers for the opener.
Yeah, you might as well go ahead and pencil him in,” Manuel said. “I don’t think there’s any sense in me playing games. Go ahead, pencil him in.”
It’s been an ugly, ugly last nine years for Phillies openers.
The Phils have a .333 winning percentage in those nine openers, and their average starter doesn’t reach the sixth inning while giving up four earned runs. Oddly enough, two of their three quality starts in openers have resulted in losses.
Cole Hamels will be bringing his 145 ERA+, 1.082 WHIP, and 3.7 K:BB ratio from the ’08 season to the hill in the ’09 opener. This has to be as confident as the Phils have felt in a long time, and they’re hoping Hamels will imitate Schilling in the 1998 opener in New York against the Mets: eight shutout innings, nine punch-outs.