Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Future Phillies

One of the major things that stood out for me during the World Series was the confidence that Charlie Manuel displayed in his players.  He ran the same group out game after game, and it paid off in a big way.  There was no single hitter that consistently showed up for the Phillies.  In fact you could say that from top to bottom everyone had good days but mostly bad days.  And yet they won.  It was the pitching.  Other than a couple of bad outings from Jamie Moyer versus the Brewers and the Dodgers, and one from Brett Myers, the pitching was awesome.  Cole Hamels elevated himself from number one to NUMBER ONE!  He just may be the second coming of Steve Carlton.  Myers and Joe Blanton pitched well enough to win, and six innings of good pitching is all it takes these days.  And don't forget Moyer.  He was terrible against the Brewers and worse against the Dodgers.  But Manuel stuck with Jamie and he came through in game three against the Rays. And the bullpen!  Romero, Madsen, and Lidge.  What a fantastic performance.  And hats off to Eyre and Durbin, too.

Now for the lineup.  Two players came through in the clutch before the final out, Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino.  Both had some terrific at bats and clutch hits.  And lets not forget that Manuel went with Pedro Feliz in the last game and Feliz came through big.  But more important was that Manuel never wavered when Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Jayson Werth were all terrible with men on base.  But each came through at important times, both offensively and defensively.  What a great play Utley made in the last game when he threw that Ray out trying to score from second on a ball hit in the hole.  Great play.

I look forward to more great things from this team.  The infield it set.  Ruiz will catch.  Victorino is set in center.  I don't think Burrell will be back, especially at $14 million a year.  Hoepfully the GM will bring in a big bat to replace Burrell.  And the pitching looks good.  Hopefully Moyer will again be back, Kyle Kendrick will return to his rookie form, and Myers will be consistent once again.  Add Blanton and that's five starters of quality.  

Last, had the Phillies not been in the series I would have rooted for the Rays.  They have a bright future ahead of them.  They played well throughout the playoffs, and Maddon is an excellent manager.  They, too, have much to keep them on top.

This off season should see the Mets, Yankees, and Red Sox spending lots of cash.  Each has some holes that need to be filled.  The Yankees need pitching, pitching, and more pitching.  The Mets need a bullpen.  The Red Sox, well they will spend money like they are printing it.  They need Lowell 100% and perhaps replace Veratek.  

Seed you next spring!

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