Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

On a night when Brett Favre’s record for consecutive regular-season starts finally came to an end, Major League Baseball and pitcher Cliff Lee stole the spotlight.

As one of the hottest free agents on the market this offseason, much of the speculation about Lee’s new home pointed toward the New York Yankees. After all, the Yankees have seemingly had their way in free agency with the ability to throw money at any superstar they thought might help them add to their trophy case. And as expected, after making his way west as far as Seattle and then to Texas, Lee once again decided to head east agreeing to a contract worth over $100 million.

But Lee won’t be making his home in New York. This time, the Yankees lost out in the bidding war over one of MLB’s top hurlers. The kicker is that the Steinbrenners actually got undercut on the deal. Lee left an estimated $30 million on the table so he could return to Philadelphia to team up with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in what will arguably be pro baseball’s best starting rotation for the 2011 season.
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Spring training flew by and it’s hard to believe we are already one week into the 2009 Major League Baseball season. Before another moment passes, here are this season’s picks by division.

American League
national-league

Derek Lowe (AP Photo/Michael Perez)PHILADELPHIA – There’s not much more a baseball fan could ask for than the show the Braves and Phillies put on in Sunday’s season opener. An eight-inning, two-hit, no walk shutout from the newly acquired Derek Lowe was supported by three home runs in the first two innings as the Braves took a 4-0 lead.

Not only did Atlanta light up Brett Myers for three early bombs, Jordan Schafer’s came in his first major league at bat.

One of two things would have made the evening complete: a complete-game shutout or a bottom of the ninth comeback.

The latter almost came to fruition when Braves reliever Mike Gonzalez stepped to the mound. The Phillies finally got on the board on Jayson Werth’s one-out RBI single, and Chase Utley drew a walk setting the table for a potential game-tying three-run homer for Ryan Howard. But instead of showing why he is looked upon as one of the league’s best power hitters, he proved his downside when he watched a fastball go right by him for the Phillies’ second out of the inning.

No need to worry. Raul Ibanez stepped to the plate.

No dice.

Ibanez went down swinging and the defending World Series champs became the first team this season to boast a losing record.

Myers (0-1) was about as disappointing as one could hope to be. Through only six innings, he gave up eight hits, four runs, three homers, and his stuff was less than impressive. To his credit, he did look stronger as the game went on, but with the way Lowe was fooling the Phillies bats, Myers had virtually no support. Philadelphia managed only one hit while Myers was in the lineup.

There shouldn’t be much reason to worry this early. It’s only one game and Philadelphia (0-1) definitely has the stars to make another run.

But perhaps the most impressive part of Sunday’s season opener was Lowe’s performance.

Atlanta (1-0) has long been known for its powerful pitching staff and with good reason. Any incoming hurler has a lot to live up to with the names Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz staring down at them.

Lowe (1-0) was seemingly unaffected by the pressure. He was arguably the Dodgers’ most effective arm last season and proved the Braves management brilliant in his Atlanta debut.

Throughout the offseason, the Mets received all of the National League East glory from their winter-month acquisitions. If the Braves truly are as strong as Sunday’s performance, the East could be a tougher battle than initially expected.