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Phils Aren’t As Good as Everyone Thinks

By Mike Silva ~ March 5th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, Outside the Apple.

Even before the news came out today regarding Chase Utley‘s knee, I wasn’t yet on board with the hype of the Philadelphia Phillies.

There starting rotation is top notch, but I have questions about Cole Hamels (consistency) and Roy Oswalt (age). In the case of Oswalt he was declining to a league average pitcher before the Astros traded him to the Phillies. It’s hard to imagine Oswalt will be as good in 2011 as he was in his 13 appearances in Philadelphia last year (7-1, 1.74). Hamels is just one year removed from a 10-11, 4.32 2010. Yes, you have Halladay and Lee, but Lee did have some back problems last year. Outside of Hamels, no one in this rotation is a spring chicken.

Even if the starters live up to the hype, what about the bullpen? Maybe the “bridge to Lidge” isn’t’ as important with the innings eating rotation, but Lidge himself is a combustible entity. Great 2008, lousy 2009, and a half season production in 2010. He is no given, and the fans of Philadelphia have been lucky that his inconsistency hasn’t been the main reason for losing to the Yankees in 2009, and Giants last year.

Ultimately, there is a good chance the pitching will still live up to expectations, but this isn’t the same Phillies offense the National League has come to fear. Jayson Werth is in DC, Chase Utley appears to be an “old” 32, Raul Ibanez is old and declining, and Ryan Howard can be pitched to in a big spot. The supporting cast is ok, but nothing special. Remember, this is a team that struggled to score runs at various points of last season.

This brings me to the bench. Charlie Manuel was a hair away from being fired in 2007. A Mets collapse saved his job, and has put him in a position for a new contract after this year. Personally, no one will confuse Manuel for Miller Huggins, and this year could expose how weak the man behind the bench really is.

The Phillies should still be the favorite to win the NL East, but the Braves, Mets, and Marlins should not pack their bags and go home. Despite the pitching potential, age, a suspect offense, combustible closer, and not the brightest manager in baseball makes me believe the NL East will be up for grabs in 2011.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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6 Responses to Phils Aren’t As Good as Everyone Thinks

  1. willie

    team won most games in baseball last year in spite of injuries,inconsistent bullpen cholly and no cliff lee?

  2. brad

    I appreciate the optimism, but the truth of the matter is that with that rotation they could have an offense in the bottom third of the league and they would still win over 90 games. And they don’t have an offense in the bottom third of the league. My only solace is that although the rotation is absolutely dominant and unfair, it is also very old outside of Hamels (who is the worst of the 4 IMO), so this won’t be a very long lived thing.

  3. AC Wayne

    To reinforce your title, “The Phils Aren’t As Good As Everyone Thinks,” Philadelphia’s outfield is without a doubt, suspect…no Werth, Ibanez’ best years are behind him, and Victorino, who has been criticized for being homer happy by the Philly faithful, will be an obvious weak spot for this team.

  4. Ryan

    What are you high or something? The Phillies are head and shoulders above the Mets, Braves, Marlins, and Nationals. They should easily win this division in convincing fashion. Who says this rotation won’t hold up? Sorry, but Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt are in the prime of their careers and are not considered old. As far as the lineup is concerned, they are still better than the other lineups in that division. The core group – Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Victorino all had down years last year, but I can’t envision them all having another sub-par year at the plate. WHere is the mention of Cliff Lee in this article? Did you forget that the Phillies acquired him after the season? This article is just trash from a sore Mets fan.

  5. Erik

    I can’t believe what I just saw!!

    Oswalt is 33 years old. That’s not really that old for a major league pitcher. Thats more prime career territory. This isn’t the NBA, players take longer to develop and play longer.

    Halladay will be 34, but do you really think he’s lost anything based on last year, his best year ever.

    Hamels posted his highest K total of his career, found his 90-94 fastball and was untouchable towards in the second half.

    Oswalt has always loved pitching in CBP and went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA.

    No anger. No vitriol. Just facts.

  6. Stu B

    I’m a Mets fan, but Victorino being “homer happy” as a weakness is laughable. The Mets once traded Lenny Dykstra to the Phillies for the same reason, and he was hardly a weakness for the Phillies in the early 90s…

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