Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, September 16, 2011 11:05 AM Comments: 15
Now that the Phillies are officially in the playoffs, we can start discussing what might happen when they get there. I’m a big fan of typologies, particularly ones with arbitrary boundaries, so let’s have one here. There are four types of teams, broadly speaking, that win the World Series:
- Teams with great offenses and enough pitching to get by. The 2008 Phillies were one of those teams, but the exemplar of this philosophy, for me, is the 1993 Blue Jays. Jack Morris and Dave Stewart were just hanging on by then, and no one would confuse Juan Guzman, Duane Ward, Todd Stottlemyre and Pat Hentgen with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Mark Wohlers. However, they had three Hall of Fame position players, plus John Olerud (.363/.473/.599), Tony Fernandez, Devon White, Joe Carter…lots of good hitters.
- Teams with great pitching and enough offense to get by. Consider, for instance, the Hank Bauer/Earl Weaver Orioles that ran roughshod over the American League in the late 1960s and early 1970s, or the National League teams they ran into, the Koufax/Drysdale Dodgers and the Seaver/Koosman Mets.
- Teams with both great pitching and great pitching. The 1998 Yankees and a few others. These teams just sort of sleepwalk to the title (the 2004 Red Sox excepted), because it’s really hard to score more runs off Cone, Wells, Pettitte, and Rivera than their lineup of Derek Jeter and a million other guys who always get on base will score off you.
- The 2010 San Francisco Giants, who had great pitching and the combined karmic magnetism of a million plucky underdogs. The 2010 Giants had four very good starting pitchers, Buster Posey, and a bunch of guys who either hadn’t been any good in five years or had never really been good to begin with. To quote Ryan Sommers of Crashburn Alley, “But hey, sometimes the batless fleck of roster garbage stumbles upon success. That’s baseball. Charlie Manuel can’t defend against that.” Batless fleck of roster garbage, indeed. And yes, I’m still bitter. Lucky bastards.
I think you’ve figured out where this is going by now. We’ve seen a Phillies team with a great offense and decent pitching win a title, and we’re about to see a Phillies team with great pitching and a decent offense try to do the same. I like the chances of La Furia Roja, insofar as it’s possible to like a team’s playoff chances, what with the postseason being a total crapshoot and all. But let’s say the Phillies make a run–how would 2011 be different than 2008 from a fan’s perspective? Here’s a hint: it’s going to be awesome, but we’ll all be lucky to live through it.