For the first time since 2006 the Phillies will not be contenders in the postseason.
When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 against the Tampa Bay Rays many fans thought it this was the start of something big. However the team has since regressed and finished with a record this year of 81-81. The Phillies would return to the World Series in 2009 only to lose to the New York Yankees in six games. In 2010 and 2011 they managed to take the National League East title but failed to bring home the World Series Hardware.
The additions of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt to a team that already had a World Series MVP in Cole Hamels helped the Phillies attain the best record in the majors last season. They would go on to loose in the first round of the postseason to the St.Louis Cardinals who would eventually win the World Series.
The idea of the “Four Aces” sounded great until the Phillies were in the position they are now. Roy Oswalt pitched well at times but the Phillies never got a healthy full year from him and reoccurring back problems will most likely force him into retirement next year.
Halladay who is an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Cy Young award winner was at his worst in 2012. He only managed to win 11 games and posted a 4.49 ERA in the process. That’s over one run more than his career ERA of 3.31 and that isn’t a good sign.
Lee who returned to Philadelphia after signing a five-year contract worth $120 million is coming off one of his worst years as well. Lee won only six games and failed to register his first win of the season until July 4. His streak of 13 winless starts was the longest of any former Cy Young winner since Greg Maddux in 2008.
Hamels went on to be the Phillies most reliable pitcher this season winning 17 games and posting an ERA of 3.05. Hamels also made his 3rd All-Star Game appearance in 2012. Hamels became a rich man after signing a six-year $144 million contract that includes an option for a seventh year worth $24 million.
Some of this year’s struggles had to do with the lack of offensive production. Being that the two biggest run producers for the Phillies in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were out for the first half of the season and other players had to step up in their absence. Outfielder Juan Pierre and catcher Carlos Ruiz were really the only players that stepped up in their absence. Ruiz batted .325 and managed to make his first All-Star game and Pierre batted .307 and stole 37 bases.
Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were both fan favorites in Philly before they were shipped across the country before the trade deadline in order to revamp a depleted farm system. Acquiring players like Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt not only left the Phillies pockets empty they also wiped out pretty much all of their big name prospects.
Now that the Phillies finished the season 81-81 their fans and front office are left with many questions. The main one being “Will the Phillies ever be able to return to their 2008 World Series form?’
Being that the fighting Phillies have made the postseason in each of the past five years they have definitely lived up to their nickname. However, with a team this old and a payroll this high fans can only hope they have some ‘fight” left.
Follow Justin Miles Twitter/Instagram: @therager26