The Philadelphia Phillies have skyrocketed in success on the field this season, posting a solid 42-36 winning record, putting them in the #1 spot atop the National League East division and in prime seats going into the playoffs if they continue this early success and hold off the Florida Marlins, who are behind by only a game. In the race for the pennant and World Series title, the team's offense is led by the batting talents of first-baseman Ryan Howard and second-baseman Chase Utley, who both have 291 at bats thus far this season. Howard has provided 19 home runs and 65 RBIs in addition to Utley's 22 home runs and 63 RBIs. On defense, pitchers Cole Hamels and Brett Myers lead the way for the team at the mound. Hamels has pitched 95 strikeouts in 113 innings, added to Myers' 86 strikouts in 99 innings pitched. Phillies fans are excited as their team gets closer and closer to clinching a playoff spot, and ticket sales are accordingly high with the level of excitement.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a buzz around
them that they haven’t had in quite a while. After a couple
of off-season moves fans feel this might be the year
that the Phillies make it back the World Series and bring home
another championship trophy. All time the Phillies have won five
pennants and one World Series championship. The last time the
Phills were in the World Series was in 1993 and they faced off
against the Toronto Blue Jays and fell to them in six games.
The moment that will be most remembered about that series is
when Joe Carter hit a home run off of closer Mitch Williams in
the bottom of the 9th to win the game and finish the series.
That was also the last time the Phillies qualified for postseason
play. Last season the Phillies finished in third the NL East
behind the Atlanta Braves and the eventual World Series champion
Florida Marlins. The Phillies were leading the Wild Card race
coming down the last week and a half but lost seven of their
last eight games and finished five games back of the Marlins.
During the off-season the Phillies made a few big
moves as they looked to knock the Atlanta Braves off their
12 year run of winning the NL East. They filled their biggest
need, a closer, with one of the blockbuster trades of the off-season.
The Phills traded pitcher Brandon Duckworth and two minor league pitchers to
Houston for All-star closer Billy Wagner. They also traded pitcher Carlos Silva
infielder Nick Punto and a player to be named later to Minnesota for south paw
pitcher Eric Milton. The team also picked up the option to keep fiery manager
Larry Bowa with the club.
When opposing managers look at the Philadelphia lineup
they see a lineup that has a lot of pop in the 3-4-5 spots.
They are Bobby Abreu, first baseman Jim Thome, and left fielder
Pat “the bat” Burrell. The three combined
to hit 88 home runs and drive in 296 runs last year. Thome has averaged 40 home
runs 111 RBI and 104 runs per season from 1996-2003.
The starting pitching is one of the Phillies strengths
that will help them win a good number of games. In 2003, the
team had a respectable 4.04 staff ERA which ranked them 8th
in the National League. The ace of the staff is right hander
Kevin Millwood. He is joined by Eric Milton, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, and
Brett Myers. In the bullpen, Billy Wagner is the guy the Phills will trust to
close out the 9th.
The Philles welcome all visiting teams to Citizens
Bank Park. The doors opened to the new ballpark this year.
The biggest change is that the Phillies will be playing on
natural grass for the first time since before they moved into
Stadium in 1971. This 43,500 seat stadium is a welcome change from the Vet which
was ranked 28th out of 30 of all the Major League Baseball stadiums by espn.com’s “Page
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