Now here’s a little story, about a baseball team, who may just win the World Series, but only in their dreams. The team is from Philadelphia, the Phillies are their name, soon to be inducted in the Curling hall of fame. They said they’d beat the Cardinals, HA, now there’s a funny Joke, because every year at playoff time, THE PHILLIES ALWAYS CHOKE (not including 2008)!!!!! That was a small spin on the Ottawa song, I’m sorry Phillies fans, I don’t mean it, it just sort of fit. Let’s check out how the Phillies did in the 2011 campaign.
Finish: 1st in NL East
Playoffs: Eliminated in NLDS
Top Pitcher: Roy Halladay 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 220 SO
Top Hitter: Ryan Howard .253 AVG, 33 HR, 116 RBI
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jim Thome, Jonathan Paplebon, Ty Wigginton, Scott Podsednik, Brian Sanches, Laynce Nix, David Purcey, Dontrelle Willis, Dave Bush, Hector Luna, Juan Pierre, Chad Qualls, Jeremy Horst
Important Offseason Losses: Wilson Valdez CIN, Roy Oswalt FA, Ross Gload FA, Raul Ibanez NYY, Brad Lidge WAS, Ryan Madson CIN
For the second consecutive year, the Phillies finished with the best record in the league, yet their 3rd World Series title has eluded them. They’re like the Washington Capitals of the MLB. I know they won a World Series in 2008, but with the talent they’ve had in these last 2 seasons, they should have at least been able to make it to one World Series. They lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS last year, the Cardinals did end up winning the World Series, but the Phillies still should have been able to beat them. Despite choking in the postseason, yet again, the Phillies had a tremendous Regular Season, finishing with the best record in the league. Their offense was average, ending the year with a .253 AVG, 153 HR and scoring 713 Runs. Where they really shined was their pitching, finishing in the top 3 in almost every stat, including: ERA, WHIP, SO, BB issued, HR allowed, Opponents Average and much more. Doing this by putting together one of the most solid Starting Rotations of the decade, which everyone knows by now included Halladay (2.35 ERA), Lee (2.40 ERA), Hamels (2.79 ERA), Worley (3.01 ERA) and Oswalt (3.69 ERA), who together, finished the season with a combined 70-36 record. Their bullpen didn’t get much attention last year, being overshadowed by the Starting Pitching, but with good seasons from Bastardo, Madson, Lidge, Stutes, Herndon, Kendrick (who also started 15 games) and Lidge, the bullpen finished with a pretty solid season themselves last year. They got decent performances from Victorino and Howard in 2011, along with a great 54 games from Hunter Pence, but as mentioned earlier, their offense was only average last year. The Phillies lost a couple key pieces to their bullpen in Madson and Lidge, but countered that by adding Paplebon, Qualls, Sanches, Bush, Purcey, Horst and Willis, which will cause for some competition, all-in-all I see the bullpen being relatively just as good as last year, possibly a bit worse, but nothing serious. Their Starting Pitching will probably be worse this year, with the loss of Oswalt (who will most likely be replaced by Blanton), and a probable drop-off from the stas Hamels and Worley put up last year, to go along with a possible slight drop-off from Halladay and Lee’s stats (not much, if anything though), I don’t see the rotation being as strong as last year, however, it will still be easily the best in the game. It’s hard to say what to make of the Phillies offense this year, they added some great weapons like Thome, Wigginton, Nix, Podsednik and Pierre, not to mention the fact that they’ll have Pence for the whole year, but they lost some very important pieces in Gload and Ibanez, to go along with the fact that Ryan Howard will miss at least a month or two with that strange injury he sustained while hitting in to the final out of the NLDS, I have no clue what to make of their offense. I know a lot of people have the Braves, Marlins or Nationals catching the Phillies in the NL East this year, but that’s crazy, I do predict their record to be a bit worse than last year, but they should still have the division in the bag. Unfortunately I have them choking once again in the playoffs, only because I have a very strange feeling that the Braves are going to make a World Series run this year, I’m still not sure why.
Finish: 1st in NL East
Playoffs: Eliminated in NLCS in 7 games
Top Pitcher: Roy Halladay 20-8, 2.43 ERA, 16 SO
Top Hitter: Shane Victorino .290 AVG, 21 HR, 83 RBI
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