Knowing How To Win Is Key To 2009 Phillies

July 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

As the Phillies (48-38) head to face the second-place Florida Marlins (46-44), my thoughts raced back to a time when the Phillies did not know how to win.

As the calls among media and fans demand the Phillies to trade away the farm (and maybe J.A. Happ) for Toronto stud pitcher Roy Halladay, it matters not, really if they get him or not.

Because there was a time, not so long ago, that the Phillies did not know how to win on a consistent basis. The ebb and flow will hit most teams, but as the season rolls into September the good teams will rip off seven wins in a row and win most series.

Let me go back to September 23, 2004.

The Phillies again were challenging the Marlins, this time for the wild card lead, and were looking up, not down.

This Phillies team, behind Kevin Millwood, shown above, took a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning before the wheels fell off. Millwood walked the first two batters in the inning, then Florida’s Jeff Conine deposited Millwood’s 1-0 pitch over the left center field fence to tie the game.

All I remember was a close-up of Millwood with just as much sweat as frustration on his face, as the Marlins would took a two-game lead in the wild card chase with a 5-4 victory.

The Marlins would go on to win the World Series that year.

Millwood left Philadelphia after the Phillies first year at Citizens Bank Park—the highlight of his career with the Phillies being a 1-0 no-hitter against San Francisco on April 27, 2003.

Billy Wagner and Jim Thome came into town, and still no winner for the Phillies.

Nope, the year 2007 started the transition. It started when Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies the “team to beat” in pre-season 2007.

It took all season, but when the Phillies topped the Florida Marlins on the last day of the 2007 season and the Mets lost, the transition was complete: The Phillies were winners of the National League East title.

In 2008, they won it all and were crowned World Series champions.

In 2009, the team had a decent April and May and in late May, took control of the National League East. They have not lost the lead since.

They took six out of seven games at home against the Reds and Pirates and climbed to 10 games over .500 and now have a four-game lead over the Marlins.

Jamie Moyer (8-6) faces Chris Volstad (6-8) tonight in Florida.

The other big Phillies news is that the Phils signed future Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal. He probably won’t pitch until early August.

In the short term, you don’t want to trade away Happ without Martinez ready.

However, if the Phillies wait out the Blue Jays and they drop the demand for both Kyle Drabek and Happ, General Manager Ruben Amaro could pull the trigger.

Funny, as I watched Amaro talk to the media about Pedro Martinez, this could be the one deal that he is judged on for his whole career as Phillies’ GM as either a grand success or an awful error in judgement.

The National League East is really not that good this year. With the Phillies offense, they could almost win this thing in their sleep.

Not to worry right now. The Phillies will win most of their games.

August and September will be the judge of this team.

What will the rotation be like then?

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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