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Freddy GarciaYesterday the Phillies took a six run lead into the eighth inning and blew it. They were the first team to blow a lead that large that late this season.

[APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE]

But here’s the crazy thing: it wasn’t even the fault of the Phillies’ bullpen. At least, not entirely. The majority of the Braves’ hits were, in the words of the guy on Sports Center, “a collection of bleeders, bloops and choppers.”

In other words, the Phils were unlucky.

Now, I’m not trying to make excuses for the Phillies. They have terrible pitching. Everybody knows it.

But yesterday’s loss was much more disheartening than your typical blown save.

We know the Phillies are going to win despite their pitching, not because of it. And if they make the post season, it will be on the strength of Ryan Howard’s bat, not Adam Eaton’s arm.

We know the Phillies will have to overcome a bullpen that is the worst in baseball.

But yesterday it wasn’t just Jose Mesa’s arm that betrayed the Phils. It was fate. It was destiny. And if you’re Ryan Howard, you’ve got to be thinking to yourself, “How do I overcome that?”

Speaking of the Phils offense…wow. They’re just silly good right now. And that sheds some light on just how bad Philadelphia’s pitching has been.

Among the offensive highlights:

  • The Phillies have three candidates for NL MVP — Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.
  • Utley has a legit chance at the batting title. He’s hitting .341 with a .421 OBP.
  • Howard leads the league in RBI and is second in homers, despite a terrible start to the season and a DL stint.
  • Jimmy Rollins ranks first in the NL in runs (120). He’s raised his AVG nine points in the last 10 games (.296). And he’s got rediculous power for a leadoff hitter (25 HR).
  • After compiling the second lowest AVG in baseball during the first have of the season(.215), Pat Burrell has one of the highest in the second half (.329). Not to mention his .405 OBP.
  • Jayson Werth, who is filling in for the injured Shane Victorino, is hitting .323 with an OBP of .422. He’ll be starting for somebody next season.
  • Aaron Rowand, who everybody thought was a first-half fluke, continues to hit .313 with 23 HR and a .381 OBP. Two words: contract year.

All of this is to say that, no matter how awesome your offense is, it’s hard to overcome bad pitching. And after a game like yesterday’s, I’m starting to think that the Phillies, despite prolific hitting, won’t be able to do it. That’s why I’m stepping up and making the bold prediction that next year, finally, will be the Phillies’ year.

You heard it here first.

5 Responses to “2008: The Year of the Phils”

  1. Alejandro says:

    I like how Krukie looks like he lost some weight in those commercials, only to show up in the next segment of BBTN looking 50 pounds heavier!!

  2. Actually the 51\’s are the Dodgers Triple-A team. The Sidewinders are the D-Backs Triple-A.

  3. Coley, I appreciate your optimism, but just how the heck are they going to fill in the pitching next year? Moving Myers back into the rotation might help, but then you have practically an entire bullpen to replace (save maybe Romero and Madson). Either way another starting pitcher must be signed. JD Durbin or Kyle Lohse just aren’t going to cut it. The only reason the Phils are even in contention this late in the season is the surprising pitching of Kendrick. Can he repeat next year? As far as the bullpen’s performance, I think it speaks for itself. No MLB team should have Gordon, Alfonseca, or Mesa, let alone all three.

    Given the field that they play in, the Phils should be recruiting ground ball pitchers at every level. As you pointed out, the offense will take of itself. Perhaps a marginal pitching improvement will help, but Pat Gillick has had three years to do so. This year has exploded in his face. What next?

  4. Joe, I don’t think the Phils are that far away. It’s not like they need to find Smoltz/Maddux/Glavine in order to compete. The team’s offense is so good that they can win with just a competent pitching staff.

    I think Myers should be a starter again. Add him to Hamels and that’s a good top two. Moyer and Kendrick and good fourth and fifth options. It’s the third starter they’re missing. They need to find one of those. I’m sure there will be one on the market, though it will probably mean overpaying.

    As for the bullpen, I’m a firm believer that there is no way to predict what the majority of relievers will do from one season to the next. Bullpens are, in most cases, a crapshoot. That having been said, it’s probably a good idea to make sure the Phils don’t start next season w/ either Alfonseca or Mesa. Just for my own piece of mind.

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