Major League Baseball

Inside The Wheelhouse: The Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in Baseball

Roy HalladayIt pains me as a diehard New York Yankees fan to write that but I need to keep my less-then-professional sports writing creditability to be fair and balanced, sorry Fox news but I enjoy that tagline.

My popularity level in Philadelphia as we speak has risen to a new all-time high with the latest title for my most recent blog. If Donovan McNabb and I were in the same room I could probably get more cheers then him. Hell I could get a better reception then Donovan McNabb, he in his Washington Redskins uniform and I in my Yankees jersey.

What the hell am I talking about? They are still Philadelphia fans; of course they’d still boo me. Hopefully they wouldn’t throw batteries at me though.

Like the title of my blog was saying, the Philadelphia Phillies are by far the best team in Baseball right now as we head into the 2010 Postseason. They do this thing the last four seasons were they play great in the month of September and clinch the NL East Divisional Championship. They especially have been pretty good at it the last two seasons as they have been the National League representative in the World Series.

The difference from the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies and the 2008 or 2009 Philadelphia Phillies is that this team is a better team then those two squads. That’s right I believe the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies are better then the team that won the World Series in ’08 & lost the World Series in ’09 (who won that again, I forget…there goes my popularity level in Philly).

How is it possible that a team that has only won an NL East Championship so far is better then an actual World Championship team from 2008 and a National League Championship team from 2009?

It’s because they have persevere in 2010. They have persevered more then any other time the last two seasons due to the laundry list of injuries they suffered this season. They and the Boston Red Sox should sit down at the end of 2010 to host some sort of “Staying competitive despite devastating injuries to your team” seminar.

Jimmy Rollins has been off and on the disabled list, Shane Victorino has spent time on the DL, Chase Utley spent considerable time on the DL (so much time it affected one of my Fantasy Baseball teams), Brad Lidge started the season on the DL and Ryan Howard (not the one from “The Office”) has spent time on the DL because “all the other Phillies superstars were doing it.” They dealt with Jayson Werth struggling for a portion of the season and so many other injuries/problems that I am forgetting in this paragraph. But I think you get the picture, the Phillies persevered in the 2010 season.

Some may argue that the Phillies persevered more in 2007 when they came back from 7 games to win the NL East from the collapsing New York Mets to win the Division. But the difference between that team and this Phillies team is that they were not playoff tested. They had never spent a considerable amount of time in the Postseason; they all basically tasted their first time in October baseball.

This Phillies team has won and lost a World Series. They have been on both sides of the coin. They have not only partied in front of millions in Philadelphia but watched the Yankees celebrate in front of thousands last season while they sat from their dugout. They are the senior statesmen for all potential playoff teams heading into the Playoffs, something I see them using to their full benefit this postseason.

What the Phillies have prided themselves on the last four seasons of playoff baseball was having one of the best and potent lineups in all of Baseball. From Shane Victorino on down you very rarely get that one or two hitters that a pitcher can find relief in. They are a top to bottom great Baseball lineup and have been a key to their great success over the four year span. But what they didn’t have is the pitching to match the strength of their lineup; it appears that this season they have finally answered that issue.

The Philadelphia Phillies front office have been able to quite possibly put together the best starting rotation in all of Baseball this season by making some big moves in the 2009 offseason and the 2010 trading deadline.

The Phillies added the best pitcher in all of Baseball, Roy Halladay to their pitching staff in the offseason to anchor it as their ace. When the Phillies saw midseason struggles this season they went out and traded for Astros ace Roy Oswalt. Giving them amazing depth in the starting rotation, a #1 starter that could serve as a #2 or #3 starter in Philadelphia. Match that with the resurgence of lefty Cole Hamels and you have a dangerous 1-3 pitching rotation come the postseason.

While the starting pitching is much stronger then any of the past four years it may also be its downfall come the 2010 Postseason.

Most people do not take in account that Roy Halladay is not battle tested, that he has never performed in the big lights of the October stage. Up until this season, Roy Halladay never had the opportunity to perform in any big games to be honest. To me that is a trait that can serve as a weakness for Roy Halladay in October.

The difference between Philadelphia Phillies aces from the last two seasons, Cliff Lee in 2009, Roy Halladay in 2010, is that Cliff Lee was playoff tested. He pitched in the 2007 Playoffs for the Cleveland Indians. He understood what it was like to play on the big stage in October. Roy Halladay does not own one single career start in October.

That is something to keep an eye on if you’re a Phillies fan. How will Roy Halladay perform in October? He has never pitched any farther then September baseball in his career.

As I look at his stats right now he has thrown 250 2/3 innings pitched as of September 28th, 2010. That is a considerable amount of innings pitched for a guy that could possible throw close to 25-30 more innings this season should the Phillies go far in the playoffs. You could be looking at a total of 275-280 innings pitched come seasons end. It may not be a problem and heck he is the best pitcher in Baseball hands down, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

You also don’t know what you’re going to get out of Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt either. Many Phillies fans I know blame the 2009 World Series on the inability of Cole Hamels playing well in October. If Hamels pitched as well as Phillies fans know he can then it could have been a completely different story. In October will we get the Cole Hamels from the 2009 Postseason or the Cole Hamels from the 2008 Postseason?

As for Roy Oswalt I feel like he is the deal breaker in the overall success of the Phillies pitching in the 2010 Postseason. Since coming over to Philadelphia Oswalt has been pretty good, giving them depth in their pitching and helping them make another run at the NL East Championship. He, unlike Roy Halladay, is playoff tested as he was instrumental in the pitching success of the 2005 Houston Astros.

I still think the Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in Baseball and the best team they have sent to the Postseason in the last four playoff runs. Of course you will have your positive and negative variables as you enter the playoffs but the positives of the Phillies most definitely out weight their negatives. If all goes as planned and they continue to play the type of Baseball they have played in the 2nd half of the season then there is no way they won’t be World Champions at the end of the year.

This team is good, this team is dangerous; they are, in my opinion, the best team in Baseball.

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”

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You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @ [email protected].
Read Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report by clicking here.

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Grab a Philadelphia Phillies Replica Home Jersey by clicking here.


Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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