Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
There were some jaw-droppers in March for the Philadelphia Phillies, and the possibility of Jimmy Rollins as a 2-hole hitter was among them. What was the most unexpected twist during spring training ?  Or the first week of April? TAL’S HANDY CAPS:  POLL WELCOME, NEWCOMERS: This is my 10th poll and I will hone them over time, like my other postings. If you’re interested in checking out something different, my storyline articles–by design–represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Please go to my author archives or the Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you. Check out the companion article:  Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The in-your-face surprise The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature:  These posts involve commentary, polls and stats for the upcoming 7 days. Post time is 6 to 9 pm for the days listed below. April 7 to April 15 Any schedule changes and holdups will be posted at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook. BASEBALL FIX SCHEDULEFORMATTIMEFRAMEPUBLISHING StorylineNitecap InsightWed., Fri. & Sun.3 Times a Week Story-pollComplimentary Piece Agree or Disagree Complimentary PieceTonight Thur. Mon.3 Times / 14 Days NL East at Game 6 MLB 5 at Game 10Tal's Handy Stats (ERA)Tomorrow Sat.3 Times / 14 Days   Rollins Backhands a Grounder during the 4th at the Bank on April 6 against the Royals.   COMPLIMENTARY PIECE         Lasting Impressions: There were high expectations, doubts, concerns and preconceptions before the competition for jobs heated up. Camp began with Darin Ruf and the young guns in the relief corps:  Phillippe Aumont, Mike Stutes, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman and B.J. Rosenberg. The health of certain stars was under the media microscope:  Ryan Howard and Chase Utley backed up their injury-free statements, but Roy Halladay for the most part did not convince the faithful. Dom Brown entered the crossroads of success or failure, and many anticipated a trade after his return to Triple-A Lehigh Valley as a foregone conclusion. Utley Cracks an RBI Single during the 4th on April 4 in Atlanta. The whispers have already started with the early disappointments from the bullpen. Well, Lehigh Valley is 3 games into the season, and there are no eye-popping stats from the fireballers. With 2 appearances each, Stutes and De Fratus have 1 good outing apiece, while Diekman has 2 poor showings. Rosenberg is the 5th starter and will be a possibility in case of an emergency on the parent club. Aumont has been the plum of that group and he has continued to shine for the red pinstripes so far. There were 5 open spots before the deals and the free-agent signings with only $24 million to spend. Rube Amaro needed either Brown or Ruf to plug one of those holes. All hopes were on Ruf to wow everybody with a display of power and bat fifth. However, he had difficulty concentrating on his hitting and learning left field simultaneously. Financial Tables @ Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Amaro’s offseason evolution   Howard Singles in a Run during the 3rd at the Bank on April 5 against the Royals. When March arrived, my thinking was that Utley and Howard would be okay, while Halladay would find a way to be valuable. I felt the bombshell would be Brown or Ruf from the position players, and there would be a fight for the 3 seats in the ‘pen by the youngsters. I also foresaw Ben Revere leading off and Rollins right behind him at the top of the order. That stated, the definition of a stunner could be based on performance, a major lineup change, or a solid physical status. Are you most amazed by Brown’s numbers, Rollins in the 2nd slot, or Howard and Utley on the field producing. Brown Heads Home after his Tape-measure Blast during the 7th in Clearwater on Feb. 26 against the Yankees. What was the biggest surprise in March for you?   Take Our Poll     Phillies e-mail notification: Email Notifications   LINK-UP BELOW: A link for Phillies e-mail notification is provided above and below. Any holdups that may occur will be posted at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook. Check out my last poll (The Other Comparison) and most recent storyline (Growing Pains) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo.  I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page. TAL’S HANDY LINKS Email Notifications TAL’S HANDY CAPS on Facebook  Philadelphia Phillies story-poll: On the radar (The Other Comparison) Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The in-your-face surprise (Growing Pains) Philadelphia Phillies: 2013 ERA for the MLB 5 at game 4 Phillies Tal Venada (Author Archives)
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