It is that time of year again. A time when the dreary gray skies and just above freezing temperatures seem a little brighter, a little warmer. Yes spring is in the air, spring training that is. A time when all baseball fans begin to warm up those gloves for foul balls and break out their clean white, grey, or colored jersey. It also tends to be a time when baseball fans begin to worry. Do not fret baseball fans. It’s only spring training.
The grass is just as green and the bases are the same distance apart. The pitchers mound is still 60 feet, but your team may not be what you think they could be. Such is with the Phillies. Since starting out spring training with two losses, a win, and one tie, fans have hit social media often and hard. These posts consist of complaints about line-up order, player performances, and manager moves. Relax. It is okay to breath, sit back, and watch.
Jonathan Papelbon simply got rocked in the game against the Tigers on Monday. He let up six runs, two home runs, walked two, and struck out two batters. His recorded Earned Run Average at the end of the day was 81.00. Ben Revere has played in 2 games and has only recorded one hit in six at bats. Michael Young has not gotten a hit in 8 at bats in 3 games and Ryan Howard is batting .500, but has not hit a home run yet. But again, do not panic.
In the game against the Yankees, the Phillies decided to scratch Chase Utley. The Twitter world blew up. People began to come up with their own theories about why. Most were thoughts that he was injured again and now the entire regular season is lost. The reality was the field was soaking wet and they decided to not risk it. So, one final time, do not panic.
This is spring training. Guys you would expect to play every game might not. The team needs to look at other players who are fighting for a spot on the big league roster. It happens every spring. The team is also going to move the line-up around. They just want to see how different players hit in different spots. As far as player’s performance, it doesn’t really matter. Sure you like to see Ryan Howard hitting a baseball thrown to a spot of the plate he usually struggles with, but that is the point.
Most of the players like Howard and Papelbon are going out there to work on the most problematic parts of their game. Papelbon may be struggling with his slider, so the pitching coach will send him into a game and say throw nothing but the slider. They could ask him to throw a specific combination of pitches or work on getting the ball to go to specific spot. Same thing works with hitters. They could be told they need to work on pulling the ball, so they go up to the plate trying to just do that.
The main point is your everyday starters like Utley or Jimmy Rollins are out there to make themselves better by working on problematic areas. This does not mean that they shouldn’t or can’t have a good spring, but if it is not going as well as you would like, don’t be alarmed. Save the panic for around the All-Star break, or if big names begin to fall to injury.Tags: baseball, Ben Revere, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Major League Baseball, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, Ryan Howard, spring training