Writers Roundtable: The Top Threat Is _______

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, July 25, 2011 07:00 PM | Comments: 20
Posts, Writer's Roundtable

Jair Jurrjens and the Braves will give the Phillies a run for their money...right? (PHOTO: KFFL.com)

The whole crew got together to discuss the Phillies’ top National League challenger. There were conflicting viewpoints as to who poses the biggest threat this Fall…

Michael Baumann: The biggest worry is the Braves, for two reasons: first, because the Braves, being in the same division, are in the most direct position to knock the Phillies out of playoff contention. The second reason is that they’re the next-best team in the National League. The Braves, like the Phillies, are constructed around a couple of great hitters and a phenomenal starting rotation, which also sets them up well for the playoffs, where a single great start by Tommy Hanson or Jair Jurrjens (never mind Roy Halladay or Cole Hamels) can swing a team’s fortunes.

It’s interesting to note that both leagues are shaping up the same way: two clear frontrunners in the East, a single good team pulling away in the West, and a cesspool of mediocrity in the Central, where three or four teams are vying for the privilege of being swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Simply put, the Phillies are clear frontrunners, and are setting themselves up for an exhilarating–if low-scoring–NLCS with Atlanta.

Jay Floyd: The Brewers. Milwaukee entered the season as a favorite in the NL Central division. While they’re currently battling in the standings with the upstart Pirates, that won’t last, as Pittsburgh doesn’t have the talent to stay hot through September. Milwaukee is primed to run away with the division, especially if the Reds can’t pull their season together.

With the trio of Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the team in virtually all offensive categories and the group of Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo leading the team on the pitching side, it’s clear where the majority of the talent lies on this club.

Additionally, with Corey Hart, Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan adding their solid contributions at the plate and with John Axford, LaTroy Hawkins and now Francisco Rodriguez solidifying the bullpen, the Brewers have a more balanced roster than years past and could meet the Phillies in the post-season once again. The Crew would stand a better chance at advancing than they did in 2008.

Pat Gallen: I think it comes down to the Braves. They have the most talented pitching staff from top to bottom in the NL, other than the Phillies. And while their offense is in need of work, it is still filled with talent. Jason Heyward and Brian McCann are two very capable offensive weapons and if Chipper Jones can get healthy for long enough, they’re a team that can go on some sort of run in the playoffs. The bullpen is filled with solid lefties — three to be exact — not unlike last years Giants team that was able to neutralize the Phillies in the playoffs.

It’s not so much the offense or the starting pitching that bothers me about the Atlanta Braves, it’s that damn bullpen. Kimbrel, Venters, O’Flaherty, and Sherrill can make life hell on the lefties, and I would hate to see the same thing happen this year that happened in 2010. I wouldn’t say the Braves are as talented as the Phillies, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. The Giants of 2010 are proof of that.

Don McGettigan: Milwaukee has a dangerous lineup with both power and speed, and a core of players (Weeks, Braun, Fielder, etc.) with enough experience that the bright lights of October shouldn’t scare them too much, having been there once before.  A rotation of: Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum, and Wolf, the Brewers possess one of the best overall starting staffs in baseball.  I think if the Phillies don’t make the World Series the Brew Crew will be the ones representing the National League.

Jon Nisula: The Braves. Those guys in Atlanta were the biggest threat to the Phillies before the season started, and continue to be as we approach the trade deadline. The reason being that they are so much like the Phillies. They are quite close in team OPS, and the temas are 1-2 in xFIP from the starters. Not only that, but they have a weapon that’s been kept a secret all year long: Dan Uggla. Sure, he’s been “Dan Struggla” so far this year, but it’s hard to imagine he will struggle like this for the remainder of the season. His last two weeks have been red hot. Another thing that is worrisome is any moves they make at the trade deadline. If they acquire the right piece – an outfielder or even a righthanded reliever to supplant the Scotts (Linebrink and Proctor) – they will be very scary going forward.

Corey Seidman: Interesting that nobody mentioned the Phillies’ next opponent … the same team that eliminated them in 2010. The Giants are set up very similar to the Braves, with only the offense being worse. But in dispensing of Atlanta and the Phillies in last year’s postseason, San Francisco showed that all it takes is bloopy BABIP luck, a key home run here or there, and typically dominant starting pitching to advance through even the most talented teams. Keep in mind also that few expected the Giants to beat the Rangers in last year’s World Series, and that was one of the most lopsided Fall Classics in recent memory.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 bart shart

    Great debate. I believe the threat is the Braves. Although the Brewers are formidable, as well. We really need to get more potent offensively with a decent right handed bat. I do not know if we will see that bat and if we don’t, our potential to get to the World Series is reduced. Anyway, it is great being a Phils fan. Our bullpen is decent, but another reliever would certainly add some muscle to this pitching staff.

  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I wanted to say the Pirates, but I just couldn’t do it. But I wanted to.

  • Posts: 64 bacardi

    Avatar of bacardi

    Yep the Braves are a number one threat. They are itching for a changing of the guard sort of speak an knock our Phillies out. That series will probably be a low scoring games. Well some lucky breaks an some timely hits an defense will make the difference.

  • Posts: 5153 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    A friend told me this and he is absolutely right.
    If the other team can hit, we can shut them down. If the other team can pitch we can beat them too. We are that good.
    If the other team can throw left-hander after left-hander at us, we will lose to them in a short series.

    Add it up, it means Giants and Braves stand a better chance to beat us than anyone else, including the Yankees or Red Sox. I don’t know which of them is better, but both can beat us.

    I was against the idea of a trade all year, but now I’ve come around. We can’t win it as presently constructed. The regular season is a marathon, we’re very good at that, we can outlast them until they are all worn down. The postseason a sprint and that’s a whole new ball game. If the Phillies are to win this thing, they really need to make a move or two.

    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      You have smart friends. Agree all the way around.
      Now if we can just get Howard to go to an island somewhere for a week with Tony Gwynn.
      Where all they do is talk hitting and taking pitches and letting a pitcher walk you.
      You dont always have to be the hero.

      If he was even 80% of the old Howard would a huge help.

      • Posts: 5153 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Tony Gwynn? I’d rather unfreeze cryogenic Ted Williams and have him work with Howard. I mean, surely they’re keeping him on ice for a reason, maybe this is it. And screw the island, hard work takes place at workout facilities- batting cages and video rooms.

        I’d love 80% of the old Howard. RIght now he’s tracking for 30 HR’s, 120 RBI. We all know he is capable of much more.

        And yes, 100 walks per season is not unreasonable for a cleanup hitter. They should be walking him intentionally half that, without Werth behind him anymore. But he keeps hacking at all those pitches outside the zone. Maybe he needs Lasik surgery?

        We can only hope. If he or Utley worked a walk before Vic’s triple in the bottom of the eighth yesterday, tie game.

        But I digress, we can’t wait, we need to make a move!

        And lucky for us, maybe the Twins learned last night that they are sellers. Michael Cuddyer playing the Valdez role with a perfect ERA to stop the bleeding against the Rangers. Cuddyer could help us, and I don’t mean on the mound!

  • Posts: 0 Colin

    Yeah if we don’t make a move were screwed. Althought I’m not scared of the giants at all. The only ones I’m remotely scared of are the red soxs and braves. We can out pitch the braves. I know that but ill it really takes is some lucky long ball knocks to drop a couple games in the postseason. Look at the nlcs for that one. I don’t think we need to trade to get bell. We need to trade to get one or two hitters and we will literally win the world series. I know this.

  • Posts: 64 bacardi

    Avatar of bacardi

    Oh god dont start im not scared of the Giants heard that tune last year.

    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      I was telling people a month before. You dont want them.
      And as usual I was a moron for thnking the Giants could possibly beat the mighty Phillies.
      Its about a match up. Game 1 Lincecum beats Halladay. Very possible. Then Cain the lefty in game 2. You get my idea.
      You dont want them this year either.
      And this year throw the Braves in as equal to the Giants now.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Brewers are absolutely no threat. Pirates more of a threat they have more pitching.

    The phillies will also hit the Red sox and Yankees. And their pitching will handle anyones hitting.

    What happens with 2 teams. The Braves and Giants. The phillies impotent line up brings those teams into play. They may not score any runs literaly. They will hit any other team in the playoffs. They are the only 2 teams Id not favor the phils over. Id call a series vs either of those teams is a 50/50 toss up.
    Now if the phils acuire a good bat or if Ryan Howard got a clue at the plate the Phillies become a much better team and almost unbeatable by anyone.

  • Posts: 64 bacardi

    Avatar of bacardi

    I hear you Andrew but some people think they wont hit our pitchers as well. That is some people philosophy. As evident in today’s game an Coles game against the Met’s stuff happens. I guess the thinking is we will beat every game 2-1 or 3-2 etc etc. Howard will get some hits but he will also strike out a whole bunch. Halladay is great but he gives up a bunch of hits an well maybe luck will run out at one point. If either of those two teams(braves an giants) has a lead going into the 7 we in some deep sh** without a paddle.

  • Posts: 5153 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Pirates are unbelievable, they might be for real. They just beat Braves. We’re 6 up again.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    You don’t win 64 -of-100 games to start the season unless you really are that good… the other Phillies teams with similar win % included 1976 Phillies, and the 1993 Phillies

    the ’76 team lost the Reds (who then swept the Yankees in the WS, and we all know about the ’93 Phillies

    Point is… to say that the Phillies “aren’t good enough to win the World Series” right now… with all the injuries we’ve had… Missing Utley for that long.. our intended Closer Lidge… his replacement Contreras… his replacement Madson .. .. Blanton goes down, Polanco, Victorino, Ruiz for a while, etc. . . . and because we’ve a good “TEAM” we managed to overcome any perceived shortcomings. I would LOVE to see how teams plan to matchup against Hallady, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt in the playoffs…. I can’t see how we’re not the clear cut NL favorite. and the Yanks and Red Sox don’t scare me right now, neither has anything close to a consistent, healthy rotation

  • Posts: 971 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    The Brewers are the least threat to the Phillies, but any team can win a short series even for the pitching this teams has. Like the Braves and the Giants fo scare me in a series too. But I do not think any thing move them make, will not give them that m;uch more of a chance to win. Why the Brewers are the least threatining is because good pitching beats good hitting. That is why the other two teams will be tougher because those games will all be at the high end 4-3. The Phillies do tend to handle the Braves so the Giants would be a team we do not match up with very well with. I could see a NLCS rematch

  • Posts: 64 bacardi

    Avatar of bacardi

    I also think an this is a possibility any tie games that go beyond 10 favors the Giants an Braves at least currently. We have a very young inexperienced Stutes to go with a slightly inexperienced young Bastardo an Ummm Heart Attack Lidge after Madson. Three of these four pitchers have slight control issues an can walk a few batters. Some of these games can very well go into extra innings an I dont think you want Valdez up there pitching again.

  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Yeah, a .640 winning percentage after 100 games is a pretty good barometer of how good a team is. Especially…..like was said….with all the injuries and inconsistencies with the roster up to this point. We are entering the final phase of the season….August and September….when this team traditionally really gels as a unit and plays it’s best.

    I do think that if we can acquire an IMPACT RH bat without comprmising our future that we should go for it. And, it seems as if the Phillies are STRONGLY pursuing Bell and Adams for the pen which tells me that 1) a bat might not be possible and 2) that they see something that indicates to them that the pen really needs some bolstering. Stutes, Bastardo, Madson and a healthy and effective Lidge are great….but maybe not quite enough?? I trust that Ruben will make the right decision(s).

    And I think Ryan Howard will be fine. He’s proven it before in big spots and I have no reason to think he won’t again. The fact that he had 0 RBI against the Giants last year in the playoffs was a fluke.

    • Posts: 5153 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      It was a fluke, he still had the highest BA for the series I think.
      But his wild swings at balls out of the zone this year, (with the exception of Sunday when he hit a couple balls to the left side nicely) are not a fluke. 30, and 120 is great, but he can do better. I’m seriously wondering if he doesn’t need Lasik, he used to walk 100 times a year. Look at the stats, his best years he walked at least 80 times. The last two in the 50′s. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. He’s either not seeing the ball, or maybe Andrew is right, he’s trying to hard to be the hero.


  • Posts: 5153 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Bell and Adams proved their mettle to me yesterday. I believed they were a product of that big ballpark they play in. If 69 year old Jose Contreras can’t get back, we do need help. Although I’d prefer a lefty.

  • Posts: 64 bacardi

    Avatar of bacardi

    I think we will find out later this week if Conteras comes back. Seems to be that they think he might make it by the end of the season. However how effective will he be if he returns. Do we want a rusty Conteras getting his feet wet in September. Blanton is looking to be a bust they know think he may have some sort of nerve/bone damage.

  • Posts: 0 Panama corporation

    Doubly as frustrating is the fact that the Marlins swindled their way to a new stadium by deceiving city and state politicians about their profits. As of the Sun-Sentinel records show that the team made over 50 million in profit in 2008 and 2009 and actually skimped on player payrolls while creating the illusion that they were the leagues poor millionaires. Just breaking even they lied..That money could have gone to acquiring more talent like the Phildelphia Phillies Boston Red Rox and have done.

Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:

Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.