Connect The Dots... Phillies Hope To Go "A Maying"

In the classic musical "Camelot" one of the heroes, Lancelot, is introduced to a wonderful, whimsical time of the year...a time of frolick, fun and merriment....called A Maying. Not coincidentally, this season of the year occured in the merry month of May. As the Phillies turn their calendars from a successful April and look upon a hoped for wonderful month of May, a maying, if you will, they need two things to happen...they need to win on the road, and their big hitters will have to hit.

A careful study of the May schedule indicates the Phils will have to face.....and beat the likes of Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine, Roy Oswalt and Javier Vasquez, no easy feat in itself. A list of the NL All-Star pitchers in July will undoubtedly include some of the above named hurlers....and in some cases the Phils will face some of these pitchers twice. The May schedule includes 27 games, 16 of which will be on the road. Gone is the opening month of April when home cooking and friendly fans were the feast of the day....satisfying the appettite for victory will be much tougher in May. The Phillies traveling road show will take the team to places like the great southwest of Arizona and Houston as well as Eastern rivals Montreal and New York. How the Phils hit this month will tell us much about how the Phils do this month....for without improved consistent hitting from the big three of Mssrs. Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell and Jim Thome the road may be a lonely place in May. Role players like David Bell, Mike Lieberthal, Placido Polanco and Rickey Ledee hit well in April but there is a well known axiom in sport..the role players will get you to the dance, but the star players will bring you home and if the Phils are to get where they want to go this year, the big three will be driving the car. Oh, make no mistake about it....they all had their moments in April. A steady stream of base hits and his usual number of walks kept Abreu's average respectable and his on base percentage high. And there was no more wonderful teammate or gentleman than Jim Thome and he did lead the team in runs batted in for April. Even Pat the Bat had an occasional big game, as his 10 doubles indicate. But the thunder was missing from the terrific three in April and the hope is that as the weather warms up, so will the power! There is much to like about this Phillies team.....they are deep, talented and versatile. They have the makings of a strong pitching staff and careful nurturing of their farm system has produced potential future help in Chase Utley, Bud Smith, Ryan Madson and Greg Kubes. They have a wonderful pitching coach in Joe Kerrigan and a seemingly cohesive and supportive adminstation. In short, the Phils have much to be proud of. But.....if the Big Three of Abreu, Burrell and Thome begin to hit like they always have, and expect to again this year...the Phils chances of going "A Maying" will be as great as Lancelots was when he entered the magical land of King Arthur...Camelot.

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