The club the Philadelphia Phillies put on the field is better than most think, and Roy Halladay is a perfect example. Now is not the time to push the panic button or even look for it.
By design my articles represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the organization’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: These posts involve commentary, polls and stats for the upcoming 7 days.
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It is not a question of mediocrity but an answer on the horizon.
There have been growing murmurs to blow up this squad but finances play a large part in that situation. Halladay, Chase Utley and Michael Young are in the final tour of their contracts, but only Young is probably not returning. He is a stopgap third baseman holding that position for Cody Asche, who is averaging .263 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Meanwhile, Utley and Halladay are exhibiting signs of renewed life.
Even most of the faithful do not realize how good the red pinstripes are.
Starting with the first toss from the hill, the Phils have 3 of the top 8 studs in the majors. When you search for consistency over the last 3 to 5 seasons, the other 5 are Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain. In order for Halladay to remain an elite hurler, he must perform at Cliff Lee’s level, which is 89-92 mph with precision. Halladay’s velocity has to be in the 89-91 mph range, which it has been during his 2 victories–he touched 92 mph against St. Louis.
Using the above parameters for closers, Jonathan Papelbon is behind only Mariano Rivera and Craig Kimbrel with Aroldis Chapman on the radar after only 3 months in that role. Mike Adams is arguably the premier setup man in baseball with many successful campaigns under his belt. On the other hand, the 7th inning comes more into the picture at the back of the rotation when John Lannan again follows Kyle Kendrick. Both will pitch 7 frames with the frequency that Cole Hamels, Lee and Halladay last only 6 innings.
Soon, the lineup will be Jimmy Rollins, 3B Young, Utley, Ryan Howard, Delmon Young and Carlos Ruiz. Delmon blasted 9 of his 18 bombs in cavernous Comerica Park last year, and his arrival should be around May 3, which is after the next 10 games. Baring any rainouts, Ruiz should be behind the plate next Sunday. He won’t need any stimulants in the 6 hole, or feel the pressure to compensate with them for a diminished offense, like 2012. Meanwhile, the defense is in the top ten of the majors and, hopefully, Delmon will provide enough adequate fielding to allay most concerns.
The dugout inventory at the Bank reveals a top-5 rotation in the same league with the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals and Giants. The locals have the best 1-2 punch at the back end of the relief corps and 5 serviceable arms to fill in the blanks. They also have a solid 1-6 batting order with the wild cards of Ben Revere and Dom Brown, which could produce some surprising results. The gloves are more than satisfactory and should not give away wins like last summer.
2011 proved that the best team does not always advance beyond the NLDS, and 2008 provided another example of October’s unpredictable nature.
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This is the 28th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (The 7th Inning) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Story-poll. The last one was The Other Side of the Ball.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Phil the Phillie (The 7th Inning)
Philadelphia Phillies story-poll: On the black (The Other Side of the Ball)
Tal Venada (Author Archives)