Immediate Impact: Francisco, Valdez, and Mayberry Help Phils to Opening Day Win

Immediate Impact: Francisco, Valdez, and Mayberry Help Phils to Opening Day Win
April 4, 2011, 11:18 am
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While their passion is undeniable, some
Philly fans' fickleness is both predictable and unbecoming. It's these
fans who wait an entire off-season for baseball to return to
Philadelphia on the first day of April, crossing off every day that
passes on their calendar, only to let their first boos rain down less
than two hours after the first pitch of the season. A little patience,
people.

Now, to be fair, the Phillies offense was not creating
much of anything at the plate, and they were certainly not making Brett
Myers and the Astros pitchers work, so maybe a little ribbing couldn't
hurt.

In fact, Jimmy Rollins said after the game that hearing it
from the fans before the bottom half of the ninth may have lit a fire
under their asses.

"We had a couple of fans jumping on us right on top of our dugout," said
Rollins. "It was kind of comical. He was talking about American Legion
ball, and how his team would have done better than that. I don't know,
but maybe it inspired us. The next inning we came out and only made one
out and found a way to win."

Jimmy led of the bottom half of that final inning with a single. That
was followed up with more singles than we've seen in some entire
homestands in recent memory from this club. A single by Ryan Howard, a
lone popout by Raul, and singles by Ben Francisco, Carlos Ruiz, and then
the walkoff winner from John Mayberry Jr.

The veterans like Jimmy and Howard stepped up, but they got assits
from the guys many list as question marks. Charlie must be pretty
excited with the transformation into today's exclamation marks.

So where does this opening day in Philadelphia rank in recent
Phillies history? According to Jimmy Rollins, the same spot he batted in
the order today, third, behind the opening of Citizens Bank Park and
the day they received their World Series Championship rings.

But
this one may have ranked a bit higher for John Mayberry Jr. who hit his
first career walkoff winner and received a lovely shaving cream pie to
the face from Ryan Madson.

As mentioned, John Mayberry Jr. wasn't
the only non-regular to come through late in this one. Ben Francisco
notched a key hit as did Wilson Valdez that kept this game alive.

"That's why we're here," Wilson Valdez said. "I learned from last
year. I'm the kind of player who likes to learn everyday. When I had a
chance to play, in that kind of situation, I just try to do my job. We
fight and make things happen."

The rest of the team appreciates the greener guys stepping up in the clutch.

"It's good to get it out of the way," Ryan Madson said of the
immediate contributions from guys like Benny, Wilson, and Mayberry. "If
you can do it once, you can do it 100 times."

And they'll try to do it again tomorrow with Cliff Lee on the mound.

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