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The Phillies continue to destroy potential playoff opponents

Sep 10, 2011, 8:41 AM EDT

Roy Halladay

I’ve said that making playoff predictions is a sucker’s game. Anything can happen and anyone who says that the best team from the regular season is a lock to win the World Series is ignorant of recent history. That said, I’m having a hard time seeing who is going to pose a serious challenge to the Phillies.

Roy Halladay dominated the Brewers last night, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings while striking out nine. I suppose it’s possible that he broke a sweat, but they could probably just hang his jersey up in his locker for his next start without laundering it.

Overall, the Phillies have won five straight, with those five coming against two of their three potential playoff opponents, the Braves and Brewers. They also took two of three from Arizona in mid-August. Their season record against all of those teams is a bit more balanced than that, but even if the concept of recency is not a controlling one for purposes of the playoffs, it sure makes a hell of an impression.

Who’s gonna beat ’em?  And how?

  1. vicksprman - Sep 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    They only beat themselves, if they play their game they win the World Series, it’s really that simple.

  2. derekjetersmansion - Sep 10, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    I’ve been saying all summer that they need another gear. All pitching in the playoffs is very good. In the first round, if Lee is only average (6 Inn., 3 runs) and Hamels gets shelled or close to it, they may lose.

    It’s easy in the regular season. Just ask this year’s Chicago Bulls.

    • mojosmagic - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM

      Spoken like a true warier who never played the game.

      • derekjetersmansion - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        Anything can happen is my point. Grienke can outpitch Halladay, Marcum can outpitch Hamels, Gallardo has the ability to outpitch Lee. It’s not unfathomable.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM

      Their offense is better than people think. It is entirely possible that they will end up leading the NL in runs scored. Take out the first 53 games when they were without Utley and it is even more impressive. They are a more balanced team then some in the media would have you believe.

    • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      The Bulls lost as soon as Derrick Rose won MVP.

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        Three thumbs down, huh? Because I mentioned that the MVP winner’s team didn’t win the title? And when was the last time that happened? 2002-03 Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

  3. summeroftony - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    If they play their game there is no team that can beat them. Lee is sick in the playoffs, Halladay is a beast. Cole was a world series MVP. The Pence addition transformed their lineup.

  4. transam7816 - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Go Rangers!

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Well, I’ll run the well beaten line I have been for the last month…yeah, the Tigers may be a tough out because they have Verlander. The Phillies have THREE Verlanders. And with the “not particularly good offense”(thanks Rany!!!) busting out the whooping sticks on quality pitching, they are just about unbeatable.

    Jayson Stark tweeted that the Red Sox have 1 quality start from someone NOT named Beckett/Lester in their last 22 games. In the last 22 games, the Phillies have 17 quality starts. and they would have a couple more if it weren’t for the weather shortening up the starter’s nights.

    The Phillies are unbeatable in a seven game series. They have lost 4 games in a row twice this year…besides those streaks, which both came when Oswalt was out, the Phillies have lost 4 of 7 games only TWICE this year. You can look it up. In 142 games played, they have lost 4 games of 7 only twice. How the hell are they going to lose 4 of 7 with Doc, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt???

  6. philsphan34 - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Great post CF! Not to mention they beat the brewers on thursday with their JV offense and again last night without Rollins or Utley

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Yeah, I didn’t even mention how Mr. Lucky completely DESTROYS right-handed pitching, as he did last night. How is Marcum supposed to get an 87 mile an hour fastball by him? He hit it into the second deck and it got out before Mr. Lucky could even get out of the box. But he has a bad ankle so his baserunning isn’t all that special…which of course lowers his WAR…which is why I don’t give an infinitesimal mouse poopie about WAR.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Question for the Phillies fans….do you think Pete Orr makes the playoff roster ahead of Michael Martinez? I think he might. Orr is a little better hitter but Martinez is a more versatile defender. However, the real difference for me is the speed of Pete Orr. One would think that Martinez is fast but he really isn’t whereas Pete Orr can fly.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      No dr…Martinez will definitely be on the roster and Orr will not. Orr is just too weak a hitter, his 3 for 4 night last night not withstanding. Plus, Martinez is more versatile & plays the outfield as well as 3B, SS and 2B. I don’t think Orr plays the outfield.

    • somekat - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      No, Martinez makes the post season roster. Simply because he can play 6 positions in a pinch (2b, ss, 3b, any of), where as Orr can only play 1 (maybe 2, I’m sure if they HAD to they could put him at first). Orr may be slightly the more consistent hitter (although I don’t agree) on a day to day basis, but Martinez has proven this year that he can and does get clutch hits on a regular basis

    • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM

      Is Orr even eligible? I ask, because I’m not all that well versed on the whole postseason eligibility thing, and he was just brought back up the other day.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        Shit, good point…I don’t know. The postseason roster rules are confusing. HBT should do a thread about them.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        Yes, anyone on the 40 man roster on September 1st is eligible for postseason roster.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      Orr played a reasonable amount of 3rd for the Iron Pigs this season and is capable of playing corner outfield. Here is the thing, it would be the last position player on the roster. That player isn’t gong to play. Valdez is the primary utility player hands down. So, what is more valuable to the Phillies: a player who can play multiple positions but won’t get the opportunity to do so or the guy who can pinch run? I think Martinez is far from a lock for the post season roster. Furthermore, if Martinez weren’t a rule 5, Orr would have been on the roster all season. He is simply better.

    • dbick - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      Like everyone else said Martinez will make it just for his defensive abilities at almost every position. But offensively he has no business being on anyone’s post season roster or regular season roster for that matter. I pray they upgrade in the off season with a more capable offensive player. Whenever I see his name in the 2-hole I just get enraged, always a good thing to have an automatic out batting second.

      • cur68 - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        Welcome back Hair. Missed ya round here. Hope you’ve been keeping well. Guess its hard for a Philly Phan to be in a bad mood with the sate of Phillies baseball being what it is, eh? Wasssupwitchoo?

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        Seisenta y ocho, Phightins notwithstanding, the last few weeks have been pretty rough, so I’ve been laying low. The immediate future looks pretty much the same, so there’s likely more of that coming, as well. I guess I need your boy Roy to win that ring so I have that coming. 😛

        I will say that HBT does have a history of making me laugh sometimes when I don’t quite feel like it, though. Sometimes snark is a pretty good mood elevator, ya know?

        How goes the syrup and beaver wrestling?

      • cur68 - Sep 10, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Hang in there bro. I’m fighting my way through my thesis, exploring new job opportunities and trying to keep sane. Since I’m recently separated, heading for divorce and not particularly happy about any of it, I can understand the need for a laugh. Looking for work, even when your prospects are pretty good, isn’t any fun either. I hope things get better for you; not the same comment board with all these pie consumers having it their way.

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Thanks, man. Sometimes it really sucks being a grownup, doesn’t it? Well, except for the perks, anyway. 😛

        Good luck with everything on your plate, too—especially the cake…and icing…mmmm…icing….

  8. Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Hey there, ladies and germs. The Phightins only need one more win in this series to have taken the season series from the Cheeseheads—which just goes to prove that steak makes everything better, right? (The series numbers do bring to mind a certain potato chicken’s comments from last month…will that chicken have to eat crow? We will see. :P)

    Anyhoo, Phils Phans, its coming down to the wire and looking good. But, while scoring in bunches is never a bad thing, I’d like to see some more multirun—or even picket fence—innings. Scoring a slew in an inning and then shutting down as much as they do worries me. It reminds me of Andy Reid’s propensity to run it up a bit and then turn all Santorum-conservative.

  9. pxeeks - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Vance, Madsen, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polonco, Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Ibanez, Chooch. Which team can match this roster of pitchers and hitters. We are watching the best team on paper in any of our lifetimes. But, if they do not win the world series, it would be one of the biggest upsets in all of sports history. I don’t see our pitchers losing focus on the prize. Lee is the difference above all others. He will not break. The Phillies will be the ’11 World Champions of Baseball – Harry Kalas revisited.

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Red Sox thought THEY had the best team on paper but it’s not turning out that way. The difference is pitching, and good pitching wins unless you are the 1975-76 Big Red Machine!

  10. mdpickles - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    “Who’s gonna beat ‘em? And how?”
    ^^Themselves…it’s that simple.

  11. Old Gator - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Well, Feelies fans, how do you like that? You finally got Craig running skeered.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      I doubt the fans had anything to do with it. More likely the team playing great Baseball. Fans cheer. Excuse me while I go find my pom-poms…

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 10, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        Speak for yourself. They wouldn’t have won last night if I hadn’t eaten that cheesesteak with a Yuengling chaser.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        OTOH I may have Craig cringing every time I write a short fiction piece on his bathrobe and bubble pipe.

  12. halladaysbiceps - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    No one is going to beat this team. This is a team for the ages. Destroy is the right word to use when talking about what the Phillies are doing to these so-called good teams in the NL. I told everyone that the Brewers were a joke the other day and that they were overrated. The Phillies are so deep it’s ridiculous. I really have nothing else to say about them at the moment. I eagerly await the first pitch of the World Series.

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 10, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      What happened last season?

  13. dailyrev - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Go to Tampa today and ask the Red Sox what it’s like to be “invincible.” OK, that said, there’s only one way to beat these Phils: get into their ‘pen. The Beers did it a little too late last night (but had the tying runs aboard in the 9th). Otherwise, they pitch, play defense, and hit with 2 out better than anybody in the cosmos. And they have the definitive solution to the Plush Problem: ain’t no ego in the world that can’t be cut down to size with cutters on the fists. I’m no Phillies fan by any stretch, but it was pretty cool to see those Plush towels go all limp by the thousands last night…

  14. joebuckiscreepy - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Seeing Blanton warming up last night made me nervous. What’s the point of bringing him back at this point?

  15. wlschneider09 - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    How to beat the Phillies:

    1. Get enough starting pitching to stay in the game

    2. Take pitches. Even if they are strikes. Foul things off, as much as possible. Run up the starter pitch counts as much as you can, because you need to

    3. Get to the bullpen.

    Bear in mind, I have no ill will towards the Phils or their fans. Trying to be objective here. If I have to win a playoff series against the Phils I do everything I can to attack the bullpen, cause that looks like the only weakness. Bastardo is the best reliever, and he’s been fading with a tired arm ( If I’m Charlie Bastardo goes on a spring training like regime for the rest of the year, 1 appearance per week with pitch limits. Lidge is no great shakes with a 1.5 WHIP. And Madson has a history of confidence issues. It looks like the weak link to me, even if Worley moves to the pen for the playoffs.

    Hitting will come and go, even the best teams have hot and cold stretches. If you want to beat the phils you need your starters to keep you in the game, you need your hitters to outlast the phils starters, and you need to get your runs off the relievers.

    Go ahead, flame away….

    • wlschneider09 - Sep 10, 2011 at 12:52 PM

      *Charlie, Bastardo

      Edit, Function

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 10, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      It’s not worth my time to flame away. A record of 93-48 speaks for itself.

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 10, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        He didn’t say anything flame-worthy, though. It was a pretty well-reasoned post.

        The chances of what he said working against the Phillies are slim as hell, but those are really the ONLY chances ANY team has.

      • wlschneider09 - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        Agreed, it’s a slim chance. But it’s your best chance.

    • firedude7160 - Sep 10, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      I would have to agree with your assessment

  16. kcq101 - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I agree. If the Phils starters can get through 6.2 – 7 innings with relative success and our bats remain just above average, it would be hard to think another team could take them in a 7-game series.

    But, not having read the full article, I think the Phils will be listening the the needs of their pitchers, staters and bullpen, and manage them, accordingly, down the stretch, to let them rest and recover.

    As for Madson, without opening the Pandora’s box of “mentality”, he looks better suited in the 9th than he has in the past. With the playoffs comes added pressure, but that goes for everyone else playing the game.

    I’m more concerned with the potential 6th and 7th relief guys we might need to use….Lidge, Herndon, Kendrick, *Worley, etc. If these guys need to pitch more than one full inning/situational out, I think that’s where we run into trouble. Look at Game 4 and 5 of last year’s NLCS. Look at the rainy weekend against the Feesh last weekend.

    If another team gets to their bullpen, not only in terms of the Game, but the Series, the better chance they have to really win a series. I recognize this sounds self-evident (i.e., the more runs you score, the more likely you are going to when). But relative to the strength of the Phillies team in all other facets, those in the bullpen, outside of Bastardo and Madson, present our greatest weakness when on the mound, IMO. The Phils are in the bottom of the NL when it comes to non-quality start wins, “cheap wins.”

    Fortunately, the Phils are second to none in quality starts and innings pitched. If they can maintain this, the manner in which a team could beat them in a series, otherwise, is what nightmares are made of….except you get to wake up from nightmares.

    • bleedgreen - Sep 10, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Blanton is back in the pen too. My guess is they’re going to start trying to get him some work to get him back into the flow just in case. He could be a decent long man, he just sucks after pitch 60.

  17. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Another interesting line-up for the Phillies this evening:
    Victorino, Polanco, Pence, Mayberry Jr., Francisco, Ruiz, Valdez, Martinez, Lee

  18. citifieldurinal - Sep 10, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    You know what the funny thing is? The other current playoff teams in the NL have been pretty lucky according to their Pythagorean W-L.

    Phillies – 93-48 (Pythg 92-49)
    Brewers – 85-61 (79-67)
    Braves – 84-61 (79-66)
    D’Backs – 84-61 (77-68)

    This could be a quick postseason.

  19. halladaysbiceps - Sep 10, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    If the Good Doctor is checking this thread, I have a question, drmonkeyarmy. Is this the best baseball team in the history of you watching baseball that you have ever seen?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      Ask me again at the end of October. That Mariner team that won 114 games and a Yankee team or two were exceptional, not to mention the ’98 Braves. The Phillies need to win the World Series to be in the conversation.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM

        The difference between this team and those is the starting pitching. Even the Yankees didn’t have anything close to this staff. This is the best starting staff on baseball history no doubt about it. But without a championship, they won’t be the greatest team ever. I do agree with that much.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 10, 2011 at 7:43 PM

        That is an interesting discussion actually…about best starting staff. I don’t know. Those Braves starters were something else. I guess where the advantage lies with the Phillies is the 4th and 5th starters. Will we call Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine a wash with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. Although, I must say Maddux is perhaps my favorite pitcher ever.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:02 PM

        Yeah the 98 Braves starting staff were pretty special themselves. But Millwood and his 4+ ERA didn’t really fit too well. If Roy Oswalt can get in three quality starts and bring his ERA down into the 3.40 range, and if Worley can stay as solid as he has been, I’ll take the Phillies over them.

        Of course, if the phillies choke the way those Braves did in the NLCS, they will become as forgotten as the 1998 Braves are.

  20. skippyx - Sep 11, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    I will never get the Jim Kelly, Peyton Manning, Greg Maddux, etc. worship where the “playoffs matter” mantra in sports is disabled.

    Maddux 11-14 in the playoffs.
    Glavine 14-16 in the playoffs.
    Smoltz 15-4 in the playoffs.
    Milwood 3-3 in the playoffs.
    40-37 combined

    Halladay 2-1 (with a no-hitter)
    Hamels 6-4
    Lee 7-2
    Oswalt 5-1
    20-8 combined (15-7 if Worley is the 4th man)

    • skippyx - Sep 11, 2011 at 3:27 AM

      make that 43-37 for the Braves legends.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 11, 2011 at 8:02 AM

      That isn’t fair…Maddux may be 11-14 but his ERA was 3.27 and that includes 11 ER in 7 IP in his first playoff series when he was with the Cubs. Also Glavine’s ERA was 3.30. Smoltz at 2.67.
      Lee at 2.13, Hamels 3.45, Oswalt 3.39….didn’t include Halladay because of the small sample size. It is pretty even.

  21. skippyx - Sep 11, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    I also agree with everyone else that if the Phillies win this year, Ryan Howard will be one of the luckiest players in baseball history to have a 4 year stretch of 160+ HRs, 500+ RBIs, 3 WS appearances and 2 titles.

    Imagine if they had Michael Morse for that stretch.

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