Phillies' repeat bid comes to a stop in six

Thursday, November 05, 2009

What can you say? Sometimes it just is not your year.

The Phillies were attempting to become the first National League team to repeat as World Series champs since the Big Red Machine did so back in the 1970's. That Cincinnati Reds team even took out the best regular season Phillies team on the way, and they steamrolled the Yankees in their repeat bid but the 2009 Phillies were unable to do the same.

Last night the World Series ended with the New York Yankees celebrating their 27th championship in franchise history. The Phillies lost their fifth World Series in franchise history in six games.

Despite my Phillies losing I find myself to be holding my head high today, thinking about the wonderful memories that this club has brought me, my wife, and my friends. Naturally I am reflecting back on the great 2008 season in the process because losing this one reminds me how fortunate I was to witness a championship celebration. I also find myself confident in what could be next year. It is hard to reach the World Series two years in a row; it will be even tougher to reach a third straight. But the Phillies sure look to be the best team in the National League already so if they can make the right adjustments in the off-season then there is no reason the Phillies should not be the favorite to win the National League pennant in 2010.

Three keys to a return to the World Series in 2010

  1. Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge get on track - I believe I am at the point where I think that Hamels is over-rated despite his potential ability. I just do not think at his age that he has the character to be the bull-dog type pitcher Phillies fans want him to be. And can Lidge's 2010 be any worse than 2009? I don't think so.
  2. Depth on the bench - Greg Dobbs went from being one of the best pinch hitters to a player that didn't even see a World Series at-bat. Matt Stairs' legend was running on fumes from his mythical homerun in the NLCS in 2008 and his moment in Phillies history as the final home run call by Harry Kalas. Eric Bruntlett? Miguel Cairo? Aside from Ben Francisco, who had a terrible World Series at the plate, who instills any confidence in you? I am looking at the farm for some help but Ruben Amaro Jr. would be wise to check out his options in the Hot Stove.
  3. Solid starting rotation - Cliff Lee is clearly the ace of the staff and Hamels will hopefully have a better season next year. After that what will the rotation look like? Do you roll the dice with a full year of Pedro Martinez? I expect JA Happ will be a full time starter and Joe Blanton is a logical, and confident, choice for the third or fourth spot. I am not sure who is available in free agency or via trade yet, but I am sure Amaro will be investigating. Or does Kyle Drabek make a push for a fifth spot in the rotation. I will be anxious to see what he does in spring training, but I am just guessing he starts the year in triple A Lehigh Valley.
Certainly the Phillies are a great team. Reaching the World Series two years in a row is a testament to that and it is something that everybody should be proud of. Sure, the Yankees were the ones having a champagne shower, but the Phillies are a group of players that you can truly stand behind proudly. There are no players with a steroid or HGH history (on record at least). There are no players who act like ten year olds with fake tosses to the opposing fans. And most importantly, as Charlie Manuel always says, they love to play baseball and they take pride in performing the right way.

Maybe they did not win the World Series for Harry Kalas, but they have definitely won a place in my heart forever. And that is reason to celebrate in it's own right.

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