The 2007 season is getting close, Phillies fans. While I write this, the players are en route to Philadelphia to embark on a 162-game mission with one goal: to make the post-season and win a world title. Let's rock!
Up first, a two-game exhibition series with American League powerhouse Boston, one final challenge before balls and strikes count for real. Today in Bradenton, Fla. the Phillies wrapped up Grapefruit League play in a 5-5 draw with Pittsburgh. They say not to pay attention to spring training numbers. Gladly. The Phightins finished 11-16-3 with few individual pluses, aside from beating the Florida State Seminoles. However, over the last few games, there were encouraging signs, including a pair of homers from Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell today. Both sluggers have struggled in March. It's a good thing the calendar will shortly turn over to April.
Tomorrow, the Phils test the turf at Citizens Bank Park when they host the Red Sox for two games. Cole Hamels gets the ball for a fifth time this spring and faces Sox fifth starter Julian Tavarez. Then in the pre-season main event, the Phillies face Daisuke Matsuzaka!, who's already making teams that didn't bid on him look stupid.