The Phillies are a model team for building and maintaining a strong core of players.
The Philadelphia Phillies clinched their fifth straight National League East division crown with a Saturday night victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. A playoff birth was not really in doubt given their odds in the Playoff Odds Report, but the mathematical certainty of the division title and the near assurance of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs should give the members of the Phillies a level of comfort heading into yet another postseason.
Speaking of comfort, there should also be a level of comfort for the players involved in the 2011 division-winning Phillies because of their familiarity with each other and with the playoff scene. One of the reasons for the Phillies' division success these last five years is that they boast a core of players that has been unparalleled in the NL East since their first title in 2007. The Phillies have eight players who have been with the major league club since 2007, with six of those players being regular, above-average or better contributors to the team.
With the Phillies' lineup finally intact, Charlie Manuel hopes his team will start scoring some runs in support of a strong pitching staff.
Charlie Manuel has four number-one starting pitchers at his disposal, along with two late-inning relievers whose contributions have more than offset the loss of incumbent closer Brad Lidge. Furthermore, he is managing the team with the best record in the major leagues
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
Is the Phillies' right-hander an undervalued commodity?
From the ashes of the Tweet-pocalypse of rumors that culminated in Cliff Lee’s surprise five-year deal with the Phillies, there arose another batch of rumors about how the Phillies would make room for Lee’s salary. The Phillies are now committed to spend about $163 million in 2011 based on their current roster, which is $21 million more than they spent in 2010. The Phillies have made it known that they are trying to move salary to make this work, and it is no secret that they are trying to move Joe Blanton.
With Cliff Lee now added to the staff, where does the 2011 Phillies rotation rank all-time?
As Kevin Goldsteinnoted, Monday, December 14, 2010 may go down as one of the 10 best baseball nights in the history of Twitter. The night had it all: accounts successfully replicating those of very reliable sources to pull a prank, subsequently sending everyone and their followers into a veritable frenzy, the cream of the free-agent crop signing a lucrative contract, the revelation of a mystery team akin to a turn in a wrestling story line, and practically anyone that cares about baseball emotionally invested in every twist and turn. When the dust settled, Cliff Lee had agreed in principle to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, a year to the day after Ruben Amaro Jr. acquired Roy Halladay and 363 days after Amaro traded Lee to the Mariners in a companion deal that drew the ire of every Phillies fan. The news was shocking, as it had seemed for weeks that Lee’s decision would boil down to the Yankees or Rangers. After all, both were contending teams making big offers.
Their roster is getting older but they still should be contenders for at least another year or two.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview of this season from Buster Olney, a take from Baseball Prospectus, a look toward a potential 2011 move courtesy of Rumor Central and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview. You can find all the teams on one page by going here.
PECOTA tells us how Thursday night's game will turn out.
The World Series is around the corner at this point, and with the ALCS taking an off day for travel purposes, the lone game on the docket could very well be the last the Phillies play this season. The Giants took a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLCS on Wednesday night in a game filled with questionable managerial decisions from Charlie Manuel and good ones from Giants skipper Bruce Bochy. Prior to the game, most thought it made more sense to send Roy Halladay to the hill than Joe Blanton given that, well, that is why the likely Cy Young Award winner was brought to Philadelphia.
The Giants outexecute and outmanage the Phillies in a nailbiter.
Well, that was fun. After a back-and-forth affair that took nearly four hours to christen a winner, the reputedly invincible Phillies find themselves one Giants win away from reserving tee times (or studying agriculture, or however players spend their off months these days) after a 6-5 loss in Game Four of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night. In the first game of the series that didn’t feature a standout pitching performance, the Phillies’ bats didn’t roll over and play dead as they had in their previous losses, but their owners were left holding the short ends of the lumber nonetheless. What’s more, the victorious manager had a better game than his counterpart, and received a resounding assist from his most talented position player. However, before we can recount out how it all unfolded, we should rewind a few hours.
A series that will feature spectacular pitching may come down to the tiniest advantages to decide the winner.
So, let's see, for an initial checklist for maximum LCS entertainment potential, is there anything missing? Record-wise, the two best teams in National League? Check, even if we allow for the fact that the Giants weren't one of the top two teams in Clay Davenport's adjusted standings. The two best rotations in baseball? Check. Heck, it even features two of the three best defensive units in the league (via PADE), with only the already-vanquished Reds separating the Giants and Phillies. And the offenses are... well, OK, this whole clash of the titans thing only goes so far, because they're not both among the best in the league. The Phillies are, tying for third in the league in team-level True Average, but the Giants finished back in ninth place, even with Brian Sabean's ticky-tack trades to accrue incremental improvements.
It's red-on-red violence between two founding franchises, but who'll wind up dead?
Back in the '70s, the Phillies and the Reds were half of a quartet of clubs that basically owned the National League. Dial up National League post-season action, and you'd get the Reds or the Dodgers from the old NL West, and the Pirates or the Phillies from the old NL East. That foursome won nine pennants and 18 of the 20 playoff slots from 1970-79; get picky and run from 1971-80, and it's still niine of 10 and 17 of 20. Yet for all that, this will be just the second time two of the league's founding franchises get to square off. You have to be a fan of a certain age or owe a bit to Joe Posnanski to have much memory of the 1976 NLCS, which was the Big Red Machine's stepping stone to its second (and last) pennant—they had to go through crushing the Phillies first, sweeping three in the best-of-five, with the third game decided in Cincinnati after an exchange of blown saves.