Phillies Fans: Prepare For Second Consecutive October Celebration

July 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

In Major League Baseball, defending a World Series title is a tall order. Few teams are up to the task while many more fall short of defending their crown.

As the sun rose Wednesday, the Phillies were among the favorites to win the National League pennant…like they were for much of the first half of the 2009 season.

By sunset, though, they became the favorites to win it all this October.

The Phillies added reigning American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee Wednesday, bolstering a starting rotation that wasn’t exactly struggling. Lee and his 3.14 earned run average-which ranked sixth in the AL before the trade-join a starting rotation, led by young guns J.A. Happ and Cole Hamels.

Jamie Moyer is no slouch and two-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez will make one heck of a back-end starter once he makes his Philadelphia debut.

Lee will undoubtedly flourish over the next month or two. First, most National League batters will be seeing Lee for the first time. Second-and most importantly-Lee will shine now that he will finally receive run support.

In Cleveland, Lee’s lack of run support was instrumental in his 7-9 record, despite having a top-flight ERA. The only legit threats he had backing him up were Grady Sizemore (who is having a down year) and Victor Martinez.

In Philadelphia, Lee will have the support of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and Jayson Werth. Quite a contrast to the lack of firepower in Cleveland.

If Lee’s four interleague starts are any indication, Philly’s opponents are in for a lot of trouble. In 29 innings, Lee allowed only eight earned runs (a 2.48 ERA) while striking out 20 and walking nine. He was only 1-0 in those four starts, but he never allowed more than three earned runs in a single start and received more than three runs of support once.

Despite there being 16 teams in the NL, only two-St. Louis and Los Angeles-pose even the slightest threat to Philadelphia’s throne. Both teams have otherworldly hitters but lack depth in the rotation and the bottom of the batting order.

The defending champs are stacked from top to bottom, both on the mound and at the plate. They are, essentially, an American League team playing in the National League. Come October, when the Phils take on the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers or Angels, they will have the power to top the AL’s best once again.

Long-suffering Philadelphia will host back-to-back victory October victory parades. Hopefully the formerly pessimistic Philly sports fans will smile a bit more after their Phillies claim another world championship.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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