The Philadelphia Phillies wrapped up their first series of the season against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, May 6. The Phillies earned a big win to avoid being swept in this key battle against the suddenly surging Nationals. This series had a ton of energy to it, and it is safe to assume that that will be the case throughout the season when the teams meet.
As a Phillies fan, it would have been nice to win this series, but it is important to remember that there is still a lot of baseball left to be played.
Here are a few observations form the series against Washington:
Cole Hamels is dominant
What are the Phillies waiting for when it comes to a new contract for Hamels? He was dominant once again in the series finale, allowing just one run through eight innings. He has not allowed more than two runs in the five starts he made since the home opener. All of the talk will revolve around Hamels and the fact that he plunked Bryce Harper on purpose. However, the real story is that he has become the most consistent pitcher on the team. It is time for the Phillies to pay him.
The bullpen is far too shaky
Most fans think that the offense is the major problem. There is some truth to that as the Phillies are prone to long dry spells when it comes to scoring runs. However, the bullpen is a far bigger concern if you ask me. The bullpen wasted a strong outing from Kyle Kendrick in the series opener. A look at the numbers suggests that the Phillies don't have a truly reliable bullpen pitcher other than Jonathan Papelbon. The offense isn't the real problem. The real problem is the games that the relief pitchers have lost.
The Phillies still rule the park
The Washington Nationals made it a huge point to take back their ballpark. Phillies fans have long had the bigger presence when the teams play at Nationals Park. There was some concern that things might change in 2012 since the Nationals attempted to block Phillies fans from buying tickets. While there were certainly some more vocal Nationals fans, the Phillies fans were still there. There wasn't a lot to cheer about until the final game of the series, but it was clear that Philadelphia fans were able to find their way into the stadium.* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Phillies fan.
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- Washington Nationals
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