Cliff Lee Signs: Are the Phillies Now the Baseball Version of the Miami Heat?

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Throughout the entire hot stove season, all that people heard about Cliff Lee was the Yankees and Rangers.

Lee will go to New York because of the money; Lee will stay in Texas because of the familiarity with the organization and how close the state is to Little Rock, AR.

But what about returning to the Phillies?

It was in Philly where the whole Cliff Craze first occurred. When the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee in a trade with the Cleveland Indians for players nobody has ever heard of, no one could talk about him without including World Series and/or free agency.

When you’re a top free agent, you always have the New York Yankees as your de facto top choice. But what happens when you join a team with an already terrifying pitching rotation?

Now with the return of Cliff Lee, the pitching rotation of the Philadelphia Phillies goes from scary to just plain traumatizing.

Opposing teams best bet to beat Philly is to hope for the fifth starter, though even he would essentially be the third starter in 65 percent of the league or to just hope to face the bullpen before the ninth inning.

When faced with an elite closer, like the Phillies have, it becomes an eight-inning game for the other team. With a rotation like the Phillies, the only hope for opponents to score is by luck or shaky bullpen relief.

Just look at the top of the rotation: Roy Halladay pitched the most complete games in the majors last season and Cliff Lee has pitched the second most. Opposing teams are playing zero inning games with Lee and Halladay for sixteen games.

Unlike the Miami Heat of the NBA, Philly’s super-star starting pitchers do not need to learn how to play with each other; they just need to learn how to play with catcher Carlos Ruiz, something that isn’t really a problem.

The New York Mets look like a joke compared to Philly and the major moves of Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves, Jayson Werth to the Washington Nationals and Javier Vazquez to the Florida Marlins mean nothing now.

The Philadelphia Phillies will dominate the NL East.

But like the Miami Heat, the Phillies still have to beat the champs. Playing the role of the Boston Celtics of the National League, the San Francisco Giants still have their Fantastic Four of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner along with an improved lineup.

This will be great for baseball, as new powerhouse rivals are formed, diverting the attention of the media and fans away from the never-ending rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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