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The Stretch Run

Posted By Adrian Fedkiw On Aug 1 2010 @ 11:05 pm In Philadelphia Phillies | No Comments

During the summertime I usually spend most of my time down the Jersey Shore in Wildwood.  By the way, I just saw the MTV show the Jersey Shore for the 1st time, worst show ever, period.  Anyone who proclaims himself as “The Situation” should be stripped of all of his manhood.  Anyway, back to my story.  Approximately 2-3 weeks ago my Wildwood neighbor Frank and I had a friendly discussion about the Phillies.  At the time, the Phillies were a measely 5 games over .500.  Frank emphatically stated that the Phillies would not make the playoffs.  He’s a really nice guy, but he’s a Mets fan.  Those poor Mets have been in the doldrums over recent years.  It all started when St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina hit the game-winning homerun in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS  against the Mets.  So was Frank just being bitter, sick and tired of his beloved Mets not living up to expectations, or does he have a point?

In my opinion, the stretch run of a baseball season starts on August 1.  The trading deadline is over, and all of the playoff contenders have fixed their kinks through trades.  As most Phillies fans know, the Phightins take off in the 2nd half of the season, at least over the last 3 years.  As of today, August 1 (not including the Phillies win today), Philadelphia is 56-48, 2nd in the NL East and 3.5 games back of 1st place Atlanta.

So, for this entry I wanted to profile the Phillies since 2007, the 1st time during this current era in which the Phillies won the NL East and made the postseason.

2007

NL East Standings as of August 1 2007

  1. New York-              60-47     
  2. Atlanta-                  57-51
  3. Philadelphia-          56-51
  4. Florida-                  50-58
  5. Washington-           47-60 

End of Season Standings

  1. Philadelphia-           89-73    33-22  since Aug 1
  2. New York-                88-74     28-27 since Aug 1
  3. Atlanta-                    84-78     27-27 since Aug 1
  4. Washington-             73-89     26-29 since Aug 1
  5. Florida-                    71-91      21-33 since Aug 1

During Spring Training Jimmy Rollins  said the Phillies were “the team to beat.”  Mets fans constantly taunted Rollins every time the Phillies came to town.  Ultimately Jimmy’s prophecy came to fruition as the Phillies overtook the Mets on the last day of the regular season to take the NL East crown.  To put the whipped cream on the sundae, Rollins took home his 1st NL MVP award edging out Colorado’s Matt Holliday.

(Jimmy Rollins- 2007 NL MVP)

On September 12, with just 17 games remaining in the season, the Mets held a commanding 7 game edge over the Phillies.  Over the final 17 games, Philadelphia finished 13-4.  The Mets collapsed, concluding the season just 5-12.

In the 2007 NLDS, Philadelphia came in hot, but ran into a hotter Colorado Rockies team.  The Rockies finished that year winning 21 of their last 22 games.  The Rockies swept the Phillies in 3.

2008

NL East Standings as of August 1 2008

  1. Philadelphia-          59-50
  2. New York-              58-51
  3. Florida-                  58-52
  4. Atlanta-                  50-59
  5. Washington-           39-70      

End of Season Standings

  1. Philadelphia-          92-70    33-20 since Aug 1 
  2. New York-              89-73    31-22 since Aug 1
  3. Florida-                  84-77    26-25 since Aug 1
  4. Atlanta-                  72-90    20-31 since Aug 1
  5. Washington-           59-102  20-32 since Aug 1  

To qualify for the postseason, Philadelphia once again had to comeback against New York in the NL East.  Heading into September the Mets held a 2 game advantage over the Phillies.  When the regular season concluded, Philadelphia won the division by 3 games.  In the last 10 games, the Phillies closed at a 7-3 clip while the Mets once again struggled finishing the year 4-6.

For the 1st time since 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games. 

(2008 World Series Champions)

There were two key trades that propelled the Phils to their 1st World Title in 28 years.  Before the season, the Phillies acquired Brad Lidge in a trade from Houston.  During the season right before the trade deadline, Philadelphia traded for Joe Blanton.  Brad Lidge converted 48/48 save during the season including the playoffs.  The story of the postseason was Cole Hamels.  Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in October.

2009

NL East Standings as of August 1 2009

  1. Philadelphia-           59-43
  2. Florida-                   54-50
  3. Atlanta-                   53-51
  4. New York-               50-53
  5. Washington-            32-72

End of Season Standings

  1. Philadelphia-          93-69    33-26 since Aug 1
  2. Florida-                  87-75    33-25 since Aug 1
  3. Atlanta-                  86-76    33-25 since Aug 1
  4. New York-              70-92    20-29 since Aug 1
  5. Washington-           59-103  27-31 since Aug 1

For the 2nd consecutive season Philadelphia won the National League Pennant.  The Phillies cruised for most of the season as they didn’t really face any threat from any of the team’s in the NL East.  Two major acquisitions during the season helped Philadelphia mightily during the postseason.  The Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from Cleveland in a trade, and Pedro Martinez signed in July.

(Cliff Lee)

Although the Phillies lost the World Series in 6 games to the New York Yankees, I will never forget the performances by Cliff Lee in Game 1 and Chase Utley’s entire World Series performance.

2010

NL East Standings as of August 1 2010

  1. Atlanta-                   59-44
  2. Philadelphia-           56-48
  3. Florida-                   53-51
  4. New York-               53-51
  5. Washington-            46-58

Atlanta lost today and Philadelphia won so the Phillies are just 2.5 GB of Atlanta.  As you’ve just seen, the Phillies are more than capable of making another run at a World Series title.  There are 2 things that do concern me. 

(Utley just one of several Phillies injuries)

  1. Injuries- Jayson Werth is the only opening day starter that has not been injured so far this season, that’s all I need to say.
  2. Road Record- Philadelphia (including today’s game) is just 23-30 on the road.  Here’s the Phillies road record from the past 3 years.
  • 2007- 42-39
  • 2008- 44-37
  • 2009- 48-33

Back to my buddy Frank from Wildwood.  We did make a friendly wager about whether or not the Phillies will make the postseason.  Time will tell whether or not I will win the wager. 

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