CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Painting the Black: A ... (02/24)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Could M... (02/24)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Did Wai... (02/24)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Purpose Pitches: NL NR... (02/24)

February 24, 2011

BP Unfiltered

Dealing With Great Expectations

by John Perrotto

CLEARWATER—The Phillies are considered prohibitive favorites to win the National League pennant this season and advance to their third World Series in four years. That doesn't bother Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in some ways, but in other ways it does.

"There should be high expectations," Howard said Thursday after the Phillies blanked Florida State 8-0 in an exhibition game at Bright House Networks Field. "We've got a pretty darn good team."

The Phillies, of course, have their "Four Aces" rotation with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. They also have a lineup in which six of the eight regulars have played in an at least one All-Star Game and a bullpen that includes closer Brad Lidge and hard-throwing set-up man Ryan Madson at the back end.

Seemingly, nobody in the NL can match the Phillies' talent. In fact, a case can be made that the Red Sox are the only team in the major leagues who have a better club than the Phillies. Some pundits are already predicting that a Phillies-Red Sox matchup in the World Series would be one of the greatest baseball heavyweight fights ever.

Yet the talk about playing deep into October seems a little premature to Howard considering we're still in February and the only team the Phillies haven't beaten so far play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"It's like everyone is just handing us the pennant," Howard said. "It's a compliment but it's also not as easy as people are making it out to be. We've got 162 games to play in the regular season. We're playing major-league teams with major-league players, the best talent in the world. And we've got a big target on our backs. Everybody is going to try extra hard to beat us because we're the favorites. We've got a good veteran group here that understands how the game works but I just hope people outside this clubhouse understand the challenge in front of us."

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

amazin_mess

Glad you're back, John.

Feb 24, 2011 16:35 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member perrotto
BP staff

Thanks! Had a few health concerns but it's all good now.

Feb 24, 2011 16:38 PM
 
McNulty

I'm glad you are back John, but I doubt Cliff Lee is. :D

Feb 24, 2011 18:31 PM
rating: 0
 
greendrummer

there's two Cliff Lee's and zero Cole Hamels?

Feb 24, 2011 18:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Karl Barth

Hey, you've seen one lefty ace wearing red pinstripes, you've seen 'em all.

Feb 25, 2011 06:02 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member perrotto
BP staff

Oops. Maybe I'm not recovered. I'm seeing to Cliff Lees. :)

Feb 25, 2011 08:11 AM
 
CRP13

Glad you're back John, I really like your writing.

I need to take exception with one statement: "In fact, a case can be made that the Red Sox are the only team in the major leagues who have a better club than the Phillies."

I just don't see that the case is there at all

C: PHI = BOS
1B: PHI = BOS (until proven otherwise)
2B: PHI > BOS
SS: PHI > BOS
3B: PHI < BOS
LF: PHI < BOS
CF: PHI > BOS
RF: PHI < BOS (unless Drew gets hurt and Brown is a whiz)
Rotation: PHI > BOS if you compare 1 to 1 and 2 to 2 and so on.
Bullpen: PHI = BOS

So counting the Bullpen as "one guy", that's 14 positions, and the Phillies have the superior player at 8-10 of them, including all 5 starters. I just don't think the comparison is even close.

Sure the Sox gained A-Gonz and Crawford. But they also lost V-Mart and Beltre. That's not a giant leap forward, it's a tiptoe.

Feb 25, 2011 09:55 AM
rating: -1
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Painting the Black: A ... (02/24)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Could M... (02/24)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Did Wai... (02/24)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Purpose Pitches: NL NR... (02/24)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Prospect Profile: Carlos Tocci
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, May 4,...
Fantasy Rounders: Tiger Shark
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Undefeated
Prospect Feature
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Worst Rule In Replay
Beating the Shift

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 24, 2011
Manufactured Runs: PS Odds, I Love You
Premium Article Overthinking It: The Worst of the Best
Fantasy Focus: Right Fielder Rankings
Premium Article Spitballing: Playing with Playing Time
Premium Article Purpose Pitches: NL NRIs of Note
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Value Picks in the Bullpen
Premium Article Painting the Black: A Measure of Success

MORE BY JOHN PERROTTO
2011-02-26 - BP Unfiltered: A Coke and a Start
2011-02-25 - Premium Article On the Beat: Seeking Starters in Yankees Cam...
2011-02-25 - BP Unfiltered: Bullish on Russell Martin
2011-02-24 - BP Unfiltered: Dealing With Great Expectatio...
2011-02-23 - BP Unfiltered: Prior Fights His Way Back
2011-01-28 - Premium Article On the Beat: Head Tiger's Tail on the Line
2011-01-25 - Premium Article On the Beat: Wedge Issues
More...

MORE BP UNFILTERED
2011-02-26 - BP Unfiltered: A Coke and a Start
2011-02-25 - BP Unfiltered: Bullish on Russell Martin
2011-02-24 - BP Unfiltered: Did Wainwright Drop His Arm A...
2011-02-24 - BP Unfiltered: Dealing With Great Expectatio...
2011-02-24 - BP Unfiltered: Could McClellan Start?
2011-02-23 - BP Unfiltered: Do Premier Pitchers Release W...
2011-02-23 - BP Unfiltered: Prior Fights His Way Back
More...