Thanks to the bench as well as some depleted opponants, the Phils record looks really nice after the first weekend of Spring Training. Some interesting players are making something of a name for themselves in the early going, including career minor leaguer Chris Coste and Tim Worrell trade property Matt Kata, neither of whom seem destined to make the club nor have their last names pronounced correctly. Peter Bergeron is an intriguing player while Josh Kroeger hasn't made too much of an impression yet. After moving from first to third on a wild pitch yesterday, Michael Bourne might just be the living incarnation of Willie Mays Hayes.
If this is to be the year, the heart of the order -- Abreu, Burrell, Utley, and Howard must all deliver. The outlying areas of the lineup will go through their streaks. The Big 4 simply can't. Call it a premature preseason assessment, but it stands to reason, with the pitching the way it is and the bottom of the order essentially the same, this team will not be able to endure cold spells from the big boppers. They must hit good pitching better than they did last year.
So far, Utley and Howard appear to be in midseason form, while Burrell could be in for a surprise consistant year if his foot holds up. Reports are he slugged on one foot all season in '05.
In other news, Abreu seems to be his old steady self. A 14-year-old kid -- now a proud owner of a Biobby bat and autograph -- is thankful for that.