We got some insight into the Phillies 2013 rotation today. The news is a little different that we have expected the last few years. Here it is, thanks to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki:
Hamels starts Grapefruit League opener Sat vs. HOU. Halladay on Sun @ DET, Lee on Mon vs. DET, Kendrick on Tue vs. NYY, Lannan on Wed @ MIN.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) February 20, 2013
Could Roy Halladay NOT be the Opening Day starter for the first time in his Phillies career? Other signs point to yes. Yesterday, the Inquirer's Bob Brookover had some Rich Dubee comments about separating lefties Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee one way or the other. One way is to put Roy Halladay in between them.
“I think it’s how we line up best,” Dubee said. “Realistically, we could pitch anybody the first day as far as Doc, Cole and Cliff. On most staffs, they are No. 1 starters, so they all could pitch opening day. But part of what we’re thinking is trying to split those two lefties. Last year we started with two lefties (after Halladay) and I’d just like to split them up".
We also learned that Kyle Kendrick would be the fourth starter from the Inquirer's Matt Gelb yesterday. John Lannan is the leading candidate for the fifth starter's spot.
With the rotation lined up as it is for the preseason, we now know the Phillies are leaning towards Cole Hamels making his first Opening Day start in his Phillies career. Looking back on Hamels' career, it's hard to believe he never got an Opening Day start.
In 2007 Hamels was the stud that helped lead the Phillies to the playoffs. But the Opening Starter was closer Brett Myers who hit the bullpen shortly into the season. 2008 it was Myers again as he went back into the starting rotation. After being World Series MVP, surely it was Hamels' turn in 2009, right? Nope. Myers got the nod again because Hamels was off-schedule due to some soreness. Hamels ended up starting game four and got shelled. The Phillies were 0-3 in those three Brett Myers Opening Day Starts.
Once 2010 came and the Phillies had Roy Halladay, Hamels was relegated to second and then third when Cliff Lee arrived. Fresh off his new six-year, $144 deal, Hamels appears that he will finally get the keys Opening Day for the first time. After his 2012 season, he has earned it.