The Phillies open the 2012 season on April 5 in Pittsburgh. There will be a lot of talk and predictions in the coming days, but here are 10 things we are getting a jump-start on — or some bold predictions sure to go wrong.
Cole Hamels gets his deal. Hamels will get a six-year deal worth $20 million a season. The Phillies will keep the three aces intact beyond 2012 and Hamels will be so rich that he won’t ever need to do another Xfinity commercial.
What a relief. Reliever Jake Diekman will be called up by May 1 and have a better rookie season than Michael Stutes had last year.
Old man Polly. Placido Polanco will suffer through another spate of injuries (again) and be ineffective (again) as the aging infielder tries to play through the bumps and bruises.
Who’s on first? Jim Thome, at 41, will hit double-digit homers and play twice a week at first until Ryan Howard returns from his Achilles tendon rehab.
Hunting season. Hunter Pence will be the offensive reason the Phillies win their sixth consecutive NL East crown. Pence will carry the team on his broad shoulders, hit more than 35 homers and push for the Triple Crown.
Steady Freddy. Freddy Galvis, who has a great glove, will provide enough offense batting out of the 8-hole and make his share of “Web Gems” each week.
Moyer Mania. Jamie Moyer will beat the Phillies when the Rockies come to Citizens Bank Park. The old man will somehow win 11 games for Colorado. Moyer will eventually be the first 300-game winner to not make the Hall of Fame.
Nationals treasure. The Phillies will continue to dominate the Nationals, especially in D.C. Can’t wait for Phillies fans “Occupy Nationals Park” movement in early May.
Everyone doesn’t hit. Cole Hamels will throw his first no-hitter. He’ll be perfect in a 1-0 win over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on June 4 (it’s Cliff Lee bobblehead night). Victorino will score on a throwing error in the ninth.
Leading off. Juan Pierre, not Jimmy Rollins, will lead off for the Phillies, with Rollins in the 3-hole. Pence will bat cleanup and Victorino fifth.