Finally, Cole Hamels thought, after a long offseason of constant trade rumors with the Red Sox, I can just go out there and pitch some meaningful baseball that will pull us out of the mid-winter nothingness, from which spawns unending rumors, theories, and conjecture.
Who are we playing again?
The Phillies: Go Phillies!
The Red Sox: The Phillies can probably take advantage of the Red Sox being exhausted from pretending they don't want Cole Hamels.
Boston has an outfield full of guys who aren't in their natural positions, which sounds like something the Phillies would do, but those guys are Hanley Ramirez, whom MLB Networtk ranked the best in the game at a position he's never played, Mookie Betts, who scouts say can "actually levitate with magic" off the ground during fly ball routes for "4-5 seconds," and Shane Victorino, who is great. They may dangle him out there in a hideous Red Sox uniform to taunt us, but we can do the same thing with 2014 Red Sox player Grady Sizemore, neutralizing the mind game aspect of the match-up.
Boston is so confident coming into Philadelphia that they're only bringing 24 players. Some in the media are convinced the Sox may just go 6-0 to start the season.
First, the Red Sox should have no problem scoring runs against four of the six pitchers expected to be used by the Phillies and Yankees.
The joke's on them, though, because the National League-style baseball the Phillies will be forcing them to play makes David Ortiz play in the field and Clay Buchholz bat. Will opening day come down to Buchholz's offensive prowess? You better hope not - he's a .400 lifetime hitter with an .800 OPS.
Cole Hamels/Clay Buchholz
Rick Porcello/Aaron Harang
Buchhol'z narrative is that tomorrow he has to prove he can be the Red Sox ace against the pitcher they did not acquire from the Phillies to do the job. It's a tall order for a guy who was a little gun shy to unleash the full brunt of his arsenal following an injury a few years back. This has contributed to his "ace" label being frequently muddled, as if maintaining a high level of dominance as a 30-year-old starting pitcher is some kind of challenge.
"Good" Harang said of his feelings after his final start. This was after 4.2 innings, 104 pitches, and an amount of hits and runs allowed that many experts would refer to as "not good," but it was still technically the preseason so we can say those stats don't matter. He'll face Porcello, who has never pitched in Citizens Bank Park or against the Phillies, which means he'll be quite blindsided by the out-making rampage their offense provides.
And that's it, then the Phillies are out of pitchers. The Phillies are likely negotiating with the Red Sox as we speak to give Justin Masterson some sort of "all-time pitcher" role in the series finale. If they can't work it out, great season everybody.