I know alot of you don't want to acknowledge Atlanta as a seriuos threat to overtake the Phils, but the Braves can win this division.
If this kid Heyward is as good as the media is making him out to be, he might have a rookie season like Albert Pujols had for the Cardinals. This kid may end up putting up pretty darn good numbers for a rookie and all of a sudden the Braves might have that power bat that they needed.
The lineup will most likely be:
Thats not a bad lineup especially if Glaus stays healthy and Chipper can give them anything. We all know about the rotation and how deep it is. I think the Phils are the favorites but I also think some people on here are really discounting the Braves.
I think the Braves pen is their biggest question mark but so is ours. I just think alot of Phillies fans are just dicounting the Braves. If Lowe returns to form of 2007 and 2008 and if Hanson continues to develop, you're looking at a very good rotation and a lineup that is not featuring Kelly Johnson and Jordan Schafer anymore.
I think its the Phils division to lose but if that Braves rotation pitch the way it is capable of, that last series of the season vs the Braves may be for the division.
"I know alot of you don't want to acknowledge Atlanta as a seriuos threat to overtake the Phils..."
Stop right there. I think it's pretty much assured by the heavy majority that the Braves are the threat to the Phils in the NL East, despite the high confidence levels that they can win their 4th straight division crown. In fact, an NLCS matchup isn't far-fetched considering the way the NL looks right now.
"I don't believe they have a very good pen. I think they will have trouble getting the ball to Wagner. "
Let me start by saying I think the Phils still have a sizable advantage. But, while middle relief is usually a year-to-year, sketchy area, hard to predict, Peter Moylan, Kris Medlen, and Scott Proctor look incredibly strong. Especially Peter and Kris (good grief, Peter Kris! Nevermind...). Both are logging awesome springs and have track records to match it.
I worry about Wags more than I worry about getting to him. Though I don't worry too much about either.
Lead off spot and clean up spot are major concerns. Chipper, too.
"I think the Braves pen is their biggest question mark but so is ours"
Exactly--I am concerned about our pen. As I've said many times, I think we are gonna miss CHP a lot more than many of us think. He was an absolute saviour when all those injuries hit the pen last year.Baez is the key--he has to do the job, idf not we are in trouble.
"Lowe returns to form of 2007 and 2008 and if Hanson continues to develop, you're looking at a very good rotation"
Agree--This kid Hanson is a stud. Honestly, I think Lowe has seen his best days. I think their pen may be even more suspect than ours. They might have trouble getting the ball to Billy Blowsave, but they have a good young lineup. If Glaus returns to form and hits 25-30 HR's, we are gonna be in for a dog fight.
"Peter Moylan, Kris Medlen, and Scott Proctor look incredibly strong. Especially Peter and Kris"
I can tell you this much--I am 60 years old and if there is one thing I've learned over the years it's that ST is highly over-rated. ST performance not only means nothing, it is an indicator of nothing.You see it happen a thousand times--Some guys come to ST and are in mid-season form,and once the bell rings, they can't buy a hit or get anybody out. Others it just takes the a while to get into their rythm, but once the bell rings they find their groove. I could give you many examples just on the Phillies alone. Chan Ho Park last year was Cy Young in ST--and once the bell rang, he proved what I said all along--he was no longer a srarting pitcher. he was beyond horrible until they sent him to the pen.I think the Braves have a very good young team and will give the Phils a real run for the division title. I see both teams in the post-season, but putting any stock in ST is IMO---a mistake.
Respectfully, that's why I added that they have the track records to back it up.
2nd half of last year (significant because Medlen was a rookie and Moylan recovering from surgery):
Medlen: 2.80 ERA 1.21 WHIPMoylan: 1.00 ERA 1.16 WHIP
Like I said, middle relief is so hard to predict, but if there is any trend to be seen, it isn't downward.
I agree that experience and swagger will give the Phils an advantage even added to their offensive advantage. But it's not so reliable that you can rest on it. It's just one more part of the equation. Sometimes experience becomes apathy and inexperience becomes energy. You couldn't have a better example of this than the Rays' run; the ultimate inexperienced, no-tradition team outlasting two powerhouses through both the season and the playoffs. (Before running into you guys, of course).
If momentum swings, you never know. Not saying it's all that likely, but it's baseball and funny stuff does happen every year.
It's a tough year for non division leaders when the Wild card winner has 92 wins.
But I to look forward to this year especially against the Phils. Lets see if we learned valuable lessons from the HR's Howard hit off our guys regularly like, If you are wearing a Braves uniform don't pitch to Ryan Howard unless absolutely necessary.
These are the only times I would ever pitch to Ryan Howard:
1. With a LHP2. Up by 5 past the 7th3. Down by 5 past the 7th4. Bases loaded with the winning run on 3rd in the bottom of the 9th. No choice.
Other than that, for pete's sake, just walk him. Maddux wasn't too good to walk Bonds. I can't count the times when I've been sitting there like, "Bobby just walk him... why are we pitching to this guy with a righty?... please just walk him... walk him... CRACK!"