"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Opening Night

Brett Myers, 2008 ToppsThe 2009 Major League Baseball season begins in Philadelphia tonight at 8:05 with the first pitch from the Phillies’ Brett Myers to the Braves’ Yunel Escobar. The Phillies are, of course, the defending World Champions and my pick to repeat as the National League pennant winners. The Braves are one of the most improved teams in baseball entering the 2009 season, but one that I still believe will fall short of the playoffs.

The Phillies’ season may hinge on the hinge in their ace’s left arm. Cole Hamels should be starting tonight, but he’s been pushed back to Friday by the elbow inflammation which reared its head in mid-March. If Hamels is unable to make 30 starts this year, that just might open the door for a lesser team such as the Braves to slip into the postseason. A strong season from Myers could help keep the Braves in their place, which provides a nice subtext to tonight’s game. The Braves counter Myers tonight with Derek Lowe, who signed a four-year, $60 million deal with the Braves this winter and will be as important to their season as Hamels is to the Phillies’.

Full rosters below the jump.

Play Ball!

Atlanta Braves

2008 Record: 72-90 (.444)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 79-83 (.488)

Manager: Bobby Cox
General Manager: Frank Wren

Home Ballpark: Turner Field (99/99)

Who’s Replacing Whom:

  • Casey Kotchman replaces Mark Teixeira
  • Jordan Schafer replaces Gregor Blanco (minors)
  • Garret Anderson replaces Mark Kotsay
  • Matt Diaz reclaims his playing time from Josh Anderson
  • Clint Sammons replaces Corky Miller
  • Derek Lowe replaces Tim Hudson and Mike Hampton
  • Javier Vazquez replaces Jo-Jo Reyes (minors) and Chuck James
  • Kenshin Kawakami replaces Jorge Campillo (bullpen)
  • Tom Glavine replaces Charlie Morton (DL)
  • Rafael Soriano replaces Manny Acosta (minors)
  • Peter Moylan replaces Julian Tavarez and Vladimir Nuñez
  • Eric O’Flaherty replaces Will Ohman

25-man Roster:

1B – Casey Kotchman (L)
2B – Kelly Johnson (L)
SS – Yunel Escobar (R)
3B – Chipper Jones (S)
C – Brian McCann (L)
RF – Jeff Francoeur (R)
CF – Jordan Schafer (L)
LF – Garret Anderson (L)


R – Matt Diaz (OF)
R – Martin Prado (2B/3B)
R – Omar Infante (UT)
S – Greg Norton (OF/1B)
R – Clint Sammons (C)


R – Derek Lowe
R – Jair Jurrjens
R – Javier Vazquez
R – Kenshin Kawakami


L – Mike Gonzalez
R – Rafael Soriano
R – Peter Moylan
R – Blaine Boyer
R – Buddy Carlyle
R – Jeff Bennett
L – Eric O’Flaherty
R – Jorge Campillo

60-day DL: RHP – Tim Hudson (TJ)
15-day DL: LHP – Tom Glavine (shoulder), RHP – Charlie Morton (oblique), C – David Ross (groin)

Projected lineup:

R – Yunel Escobar (SS)
L – Kelly Johnson (2B)
S – Chipper Jones (3B)
L – Brian McCann (C)
L – Garrett Anderson (LF)
R – Jeff Francoeur (RF)
L – Casey Kotchman (1B)
L – Jordan Schafer (CF)

Notes: Matt Diaz is expected to platoon with Garret Anderson in left field. The Braves won’t need a fifth starter until April 18 and should have Tom Glavine back by then; if not, Jorge Campillo will move back into the rotation.


Philadelphia Phillies

2008 Record: 92-70 (.568)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 93-69 (.574)

Manager: Charlie Manuel
General Manager: Ruben Amaro Jr.

Home Ballpark: Citizens Bank Park (103/102)

Who’s Replacing Whom:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. replaces Pat Gillick
  • Raul Ibañez replaces Pat Burrell
  • Matt Stairs replaces Geoff Jenkins
  • Miguel Cairo replaces So Taguchi
  • Joe Blanton replaces Adam Eaton
  • Chan Ho Park replaces Kyle Kendrick (minors)
  • Scott Eyre replaces Rudy Seanez
  • Jack Taschner is filling in for J.C. Romero (suspension)

25-man Roster:

1B – Ryan Howard (L)
2B – Chase Utley (L)
SS – Jimmy Rollins (S)
3B – Pedro Feliz (R)
C – Carlos Ruiz (R)
RF – Jayson Werth (R)
CF – Shane Victorino (S)
LF – Raul Ibañez (L)


L – Greg Dobbs (3B)
L – Matt Stairs (OF/1B)
R – Chris Coste (C/1B)
R – Eric Bruntlett (UT)
R – Miguel Cairo (UT)


L – Cole Hamels
R – Brett Myers
L – Jamie Moyer
R – Joe Blanton
R – Chan Ho Park


R – Brad Lidge
R – Ryan Madson
L – Scott Eyre
R – Clay Condrey
R – Chad Durbin
L – Jack Taschner
L – J.A. Happ

15-day DL: LHP – Mike Zagurski (TJ)
Restricted List: LHP – J.C. Romero (PEDs)

Projected lineup:

S – Jimmy Rollins (SS)
S – Shane Victorino (CF)
L – Chase Utley (2B)
L – Ryan Howard (1B)
R – Jayson Werth (RF)
L – Raul Ibañez (LF)
R – Pedro Feliz (3B)
R – Carlos Ruiz (C)

Notes: Greg Dobbs will continue to platoon with Pedro Feliz at third base. Jayson Werth, however, is now the everyday right fielder. J.C. Romero is serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Romero claims the positive result was triggered by a legal suplement he bought at GNC which was cleared by the Phillies’ traning staff, but dropped his appeal of the suspension in January.

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1 thelarmis   ~  Apr 5, 2009 8:27 pm

Cliff - i love your game previews and am glad to they're back around!

wife beating brett myers getting what he deserves!

chipper is a great great hitter. mccann hit a BOMB! his BFF Frenchy, followed suit!

[0] oh, first pitch wasn't to escobar. Kelly Johnson is in the leadoff spot...

i really like last years Topps design and collected a lot of the series. i bought a few packs of 2009 Topps. they're ok, i guess, but nothing special and not nearly as cool as last year...

2 thelarmis   ~  Apr 5, 2009 8:31 pm

go get him kid! Jordan Schafer - HR in 1st MLB A-B! 4-0, 3 homers.

John, Joe, Steve Phillips = ugh!

3 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 5, 2009 8:32 pm

[1] Hey man, how you doing? Home today but the game isn't on, will check it out this afternoon on mlb.tv (aka, shite-monopoly with awful service but I ain't got no other choice..)

You check out my site yet? i know we ain't supposed to self-promote here but.. www . tokyojazzsite . com

Do you know how to make that link to my name here on the Banter??

4 thelarmis   ~  Apr 5, 2009 8:48 pm

our old Baseball Toaster buddy Josh Wilker finally getting his due! Sunday NY Times article, NPR interview and a book deal! good for him!

[3] 'sup buddy! yeah man, i did check out your site a little while back. things have been kinda crazy lately and i've been going back and forth to NY a lot for the family.

i need to get in touch w/ you soon via email.

i'm still buying BN cd's like a madman!!!

nope, i haven't a clue how to link your name in red to your site. i'm a total dumbass when it comes to computer stuff!!! i do believe Cliff has a post here about that the HTML stuff. search for it, it's probably on one of the sides, or something. sorry i can't be more of a help...

5 randym77   ~  Apr 5, 2009 8:58 pm

It's baseball! The long, cold winter is over!

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 5, 2009 9:02 pm

[4] NIce, man! Glad you checked it out, still a work i progress though..

will look for that post on how to do the HTML. Hope all going ok in NYC with your people.

listening to Harold Land this morning..perfect!

7 thelarmis   ~  Apr 5, 2009 9:14 pm

[6] nice! yeah man, i saw your Hutch reference at the site. i picked up a nice pile of BN cd's at a store yesterday. Harold Land is on the Elmo Hope disc i got! went to a record convention in town today and picked up a few more BN's at great prices.

damn, Chipper is amazing! i hope he stays healthy and has another monster season.

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 5, 2009 9:23 pm

[7] Chipper Larry Jones..liked him once I heard he named his son Shea..
off to a few record shops today, will let you know what I pick up. Can't wait for tomorrow's game!

9 thelarmis   ~  Apr 5, 2009 10:12 pm

Lowe is en fuego. completely dominating.

10 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 6, 2009 12:20 am

Tokyo: you can make your name link to your URL by changing the settings in your profile.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 6, 2009 2:27 am

[10] Thanks Cliff, think I got it going now.

If I could only access the archived Braves-Phillies now..this is so infuriating. It says the games will be archived 45mins after they end, but still it won't open now..and waiting endlessly for some call center operator in the Philipines to "help" me isn't exactly pleasurable..oh well, patience is a virtue!

12 Raf   ~  Apr 6, 2009 7:40 am

[9] Yeah, Lowe had some ridiculous movement on his pitches.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver