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Theme continues: Lyon latest to blow game

9/1/2011
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Sorry, Brandon Lyon, but that was absolutely brutal.

And Brad Mills: I don't care if he's your "closer," when you give up five consecutive line drives ... maybe you don't leave him in to give up a sixth.

Final suggestion: Maybe your closer shouldn't throw 89 mph.

(Joe Sheehan made a great point on Twitter before the fury was unleashed: Why not use a lefty to face Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard at the start of the inning? Instead, Mills let Howard hit against a righty, which should never happen in the late innings of a close game. The Astros have only one lefty in the bullpen, Fernando Abad, but he should have been used for Howard.

Anyway, terrific comeback by the Phillies. Nothing better than a rally like that on Opening Day.

And we certainly have a theme developing after seven games: Closer continues to be the most overrated position in the game. C'mon, managers, start using your pens in the most efficient way possible, as opposed to assigning predetermined roles that you'll stick to even if your guy is serving up batting practice.

  • Give the Astros credit for one thing: They managed to make Roy Halladay work a bit. Even though they didn't draw any walks, Halladay had thrown 101 pitches through six innings. Should Charlie Manuel have hit for Halladay with one out and nobody on base? He probably would have pitched just one more inning, as managers are going to be conservative with pitch counts on Opening Day, even with a horse like Doc. On the other hand, Halladay pitched six or fewer innings just four times in 2010 (his shortest stint was 5 2/3), so I'm bit surprised he got the hook. Let's put it this way: the odds of Pete Orr starting a one-out rally are probably less than David Herndon igniting an opponent's rally.

  • Speaking of ... Herndon? Danys Baez? Antonio Bastardo? Luckily for the Phillies, their bullpen threw the fewest innings in the NL last season.

  • That's a bad Astros lineup. They were 15th in the NL in runs scored last season and they're going to be down there again. Carlos Lee had a .291 OBP in 2010 and he's hitting cleanup.

  • David Price makes his first Opening Day start for the Rays. I would have guessed more pitchers would have achieved the following, but he becomes only the 13th pitcher to start an All-Star Game, a postseason game and a season opener before turning 25. The list (from ESPN Stats and Information):

    Tom Glavine

    Roger Clemens

    Bret Saberhagen

    Dwight Gooden

    Fernando Valenzuela

    Vida Blue

    Tom Seaver

    Don Drysdale

    Denny McLain

    Whitey Ford

    Robin Roberts

    Lefty Gomez

    Not bad company.

All for now. We'll check back in later.

Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.