Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Looking Back And Making Predictions!


The playoffs are about to begin with the Phillies continuing their decline now residing in the doldrums of the major league dungeon. However it should be a fantastic postseason fans this year with a variety of teams returning to playoff baseball beginning tonight as the surprising Houston Astros take on the resurgent New York Yankees (minus CC Sabathia).

POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS: After doing so well last season, let’s see how many I can get wrong!

Round 1 (Wild Card)
Astros over Yankees
Cubs over Pirates

Round 2 (Division Series)
Royals over Astros
Blue Jays over Rangers
Cubs over Cardinals
Mets over Dodgers

Round 3 (Championship Series)
Blue Jays over Royals
Cubs over Mets

Round 4 (World Series)
Cubs over Blue Jays in 6 games

BONUS ROUND: (2016 World Series)
Mets over Astros


Looking Back At 2015 – If the Phillies resurrect themselves in the next couple years, 2015 will be remembered as the Season of Transition. Andy MacPhail joined the organization as the next team president, replacing Pat Gillick. John Middleton asserted himself as a vocal member of the team's ownership group, which had been silent for as long as many Phillies fans can remember. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was let go. Manager Ryne Sandberg resigned. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Ben Revere and Jake Diekman got traded for a combined 10 prospects. Cliff Lee's tenure came to an end as he spent the season injured at home in Arkansas. Of course, most of these things would not have happened had the Phillies played well. But they did not. They finished the season with the worst record in baseball. But there is reason to hope. Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, Odubel Herrera, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Altherr and others showed potential in their rookie seasons. The Phillies have the No. 7 farm system in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. They have five prospects listed among the top 100 in baseball: shortstop J.P. Crawford (fifth), right-hander Jake Thompson (53rd), outfielder Nick Williams (57th), catcher Jorge Alfaro (61st) and outfielder Cornelius Randolph (87th). If the those prospects and others continue to develop, in time, the Phillies could have a core similar to the one they had before they won one World Series, two National League pennants and five NL East championships from 2007-11. It could happen, but it will take time and nothing is guaranteed. But at the least the Phillies are moving forward, instead of gripping tightly to the memories of the 2008 World Series championship season. Record: 63-99, fifth place, National League East. Defining moment: It is difficult to pick one defining moment of the Phillies' season, but there is one defining theme: Changes at the top. MacPhail and Pete Mackanin are in. Gillick, Amaro and Sandberg are out. MacPhail said he could hire Amaro's replacement before the end of the month, but that remains to be seen. Regardless, this season has represented the greatest changes to the Phillies' leadership structure in a long time. What went right: By most accounts, Amaro did a very fine job before and after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. His efforts since last December, when he traded Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo, catapulted the farm system from one of the worst in baseball to one of the best. At the big league level, the Phillies showed they have some pieces that could contribute in the future: Nola, Eickhoff, Franco, Herrera, Altherr, Ken Giles, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, among others. That is not say each of those players will be part of the future, but that they at least have options. What went wrong: Lee got hurt in Spring Training, ending any chances the Phillies had to trade him for prospects. Aaron Harang stumbled after pitching incredibly well the first two months of the season. Chad Billingsley never got healthy. Ryan Howard struggled mightily against left-handers. Carlos Ruiz faded behind the plate. Cody Asche took a step back offensively, while transitioning from third base to left field. Domonic Brown's struggles continued. The Phillies knew they would struggle offensively, but they did not expect their pitching to struggle as much as it did. Biggest surprise: The Phillies selected Herrera in the Rule 5 Draft and he developed into one of the team's best hitters. It is easy to picture Herrera on this team in a few years, even if some of the organization's top outfield prospects end up panning out and producing in the big leagues. The guy can hit and hitters are hard to find these days. Hitter of the Year: Franco had this honor locked up until he broke his left wrist in August. He looks like a middle-of-the-order hitter for the foreseeable future, which should give the Phillies a little comfort. Howard led the team in most offensive categories, but Mackanin sat him against left-handers the second half of the season. Herrera might be the best pure hitter on the team, but if the Phillies wanted somebody at the plate to get a hit with the game on the line the Phillies probably would take Franco at this point. When he is healthy, he can be dangerous. Pitcher of the Year: Hamels was the team's best pitcher this season, but he got traded in July. That makes Giles the guy. He dominated as a setup man to Papelbon and made the transition to closer a smooth one. The Phillies desperately need pitching help, but they should feel pretty good about Giles being their closer. Rookie of the Year: Franco would have earned serious NL Rookie of the Year consideration had he remained healthy. Any other season and Herrera would probably get a handful of votes, considering the numbers he put up. He deserves it on the Phillies' side.

Happy Anniversary Doc! – Three days ago, Max Scherzer threw his second no-hitter of 2015, the sixth pitcher ever to do it twice in a season. That's pretty good. But compared to Roy Halladay, the last pitcher to pull off the feat, it could've been just a bit more impressive. Five years ago, on Oct. 6, 2010, the Phillies hosted the Reds for Game 1 of the NLDS. It was Halladay versus Edinson Volquez on the mound. Volquez didn't last long: The Phillies scored four runs across the first two innings, and he was out before the end of the second. Halladay had the exact opposite kind of night. He ripped through the Reds' order, doing things like this all night. And more important: For the second time that season, he didn't allow a hit. So, when catcher Carlos Ruiz retired Brandon Phillips at first for the final out of the game, Halladay joined Don Larsen as the only two pitchers to ever throw a no-hitter in the postseason. In fact, only a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce kept Halladay from repeating Larsen's postseason perfect-game performance. Halladay even added to his own cause, knocking an RBI single. That is one heck of a way to pitch yourself into no-hitter and postseason history. Scherzer won't be throwing a third no-no this year, but Mike Fiers, Cole Hamels and Jake Arrieta all have a shot at matching Halladay's feat this October. And if one of them throws a no-hitter, expect things to look very similar.

The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances this season, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! All time, the Phillies are 10-8-0 on this day.

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