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Old 04-02-2019, 02:34 PM   #1
Hurkman
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The 2012 Phillies: Can We Prevent The Collapse?

The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies were the best regular season team in franchise history. They won a team record 102 games with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels all finishing in the top 5 of the National League in Cy Young voting. In July, Hunter Pence was added to the team and seemed to cement the Phillies as not just the top team in the National League, but in all of baseball. Everything was primed for a third World Series trip in four years.

Then, the playoffs started.

After starting the NLDS off against the 90-72 St. Louis Cardinals with a 11-6 win, the Phillies found themselves up 4-0 after two innings in Game 2. With Cliff Lee on the mound, things looked great, that is, until Lee allowed five runs in the next four innings. The Cardinals won Game 2, 5-4. A one run victory in Game 3 put the Phils just one win away from another NLCS, but Roy Oswalt couldn't hold an early 2-0 lead in Game 4. The Cardinals won 5-3, setting up a winner take all Game 5 back in Philadelphia.

Here's what happened in that game.

When Ryan Howard grounded out to end the NLDS, not only did the 2011 season end for the Phillies, but their window at the top of the National League slammed shut as well. Howard and second baseman Chase Utley were never the same, and while the Phils returned Halladay, Lee and Hamels in 2012, only Hamels really looked close to his 2011 form. Roy Halladay would never reach his 2011 level again, and while Cliff Lee returned to form in 2013, the Phillies were well and truly cooked by then.

What did the Phillies in? GM Ruben Amaro Jr stripped the farm system down to the foundations in order to build the 2011 team, and when those players started to age, there was little left to replace them. On top of that, those players had all signed hefty contracts, and it left little room to add new pieces. The Phillies would have to build through the draft, and unfortunately, their picks missed much more than they hit for years. In 2018, the Phillies finally looked like they were back on the right track, and were even in first place in September, but still managed to finish with an 80-82 record. As mediocre as that mark is, it was their best record since the 2012 season, when they finished 81-81.

My question is, what if that 2012 season were different? What if, despite the aging core, bloated contracts and injuries, the Phillies were able to make another run? Could it happen, or are the Phillies of the 2010s doomed to the same fate as their real life counterparts?

Let's find out together.

Up Next: Meeting the Pitchers
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Last edited by Hurkman; 04-02-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:39 PM   #2
Hurkman
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Meet the 2012 Phillies Pitchers

With Spring Training wrapped up, the Phillies have packed up and moved their gear from Clearwater back to Philadelphia. The season starts on April 5 with a three game series at Pittsburgh, and here's a look at the 25 man roster going into that game.

Starting Pitchers

#1-Roy Halladay
There's not much that needs to be said. Roy Halladay joined the Phillies prior to the 2010 season and has been amazing, going 40-16 while winning the Cy Young Award in 2010. He still has three years left on his current deal, with the third year being a team option. I'm hoping that he can perform through the 2014 season, but if he starts to struggle, picking up that option is going to be a tough one.

#2-Cliff Lee
The big free agent signing in 2011, Cliff Lee was everything he was supposed to be, and then some last season. He went 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA, and we're expecting more of the same this year. He's signed through the 2016 season, and he'll be 37 that year. It'll be interesting to see if his arm can hold up to that point. He's thrown a lot of innings lately.

#3-Cole Hamels
Cole is the youngest of the Three Aces in Philadelphia, and wouldn't you know it? His contract is up after this year. I've already started talking to him about an extension. I'd like him to stay in Philadelphia for his entire career, but with two big money contracts already tied to starting pitchers, I need to tread carefully.

#4-Vance Worley
Vance was a surprise last year. He went 11-3 and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. More of the same is expected this year, though it's going to be tougher for him to repeat now that teams have a book on him.

#5-Kyle Kendrick
The definition of a fifth starter. Kyle is going to pitch 5-6 innings a start with an ERA between 4 and 4.5. Not much more to say about that.

Bullpen

Long/Middle Relief-Tyler Cloyd

Long/Middle Relief-Joe Blanton

Middle Relief-Raul Valdes

Middle Relief-Jose Contreras

Middle Relief-Michael Schwimer

Setup-Chad Qualls

Setup-Antonio Bastardo

Closer-Jonathan Papelbon
Papelbon is the big addition from this past offseason. He was an outstanding closer with Boston for seven years, saving 219 games and closing out the 2007 World Series. He's going to be making a good amount of cash during his contract ($50 million over 4 years), so I'm hoping that he can keep his attitude in check in be the closer that the Phillies need him to be.

The rest of the bullpen is what it is. Antonio Bastardo is a solid eighth inning setup man, and Joe Blanton and Tyler Cloyd are decent long relief/emergency starter options. Blanton may not be long for this team though. He's making over $10 million this season and is a free agent after the year, so if things start going south, he's one of the first contracts I'll be looking to offload.

Up Next: Meeting the Batters
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:29 PM   #3
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Meet the 2012 Phillies Batters

Here are our starters and bench to start the season. You'll notice that two major players are missing. I'll get to them at the end of this.

Starters

Catcher-Carlos Ruiz

First Base-Jim Thome

Second Base-Mike Fontenot

Third Base-Placido Polanco

Shortstop-Jimmy Rollins

Left Field-Domonic Brown

Center Field-Shane Victorino

Right Field-Hunter Pence

With both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley set to miss portions of the season with injuries, the focus of the offense has shifted. Jimmy Rollins was brought back after testing the free agent waters, and it's likely that his three year contract will be the last long term deal in his career. Shane Victorino has been a key contributor throughout our run, but his contract is up at the end of the year, and he's looking for a big deal. That might be out of the realm of possibility for us at this time.

Hunter Pence arrived via trade in July of last year and was terrific down the stretch. It remains to be seen how he'll do with more of the spotlight on him, but he's going to have to step up his game even more. The same goes for Carlos Ruiz, who is always solid behind the plate, but he's going to need to improve his offensive performance this season. The other positions are a patchwork. Placido Polanco is 36 and in the last year of his contract, so he's as good as gone after this season. Mike Fontenot appears to just be keeping Chase Utley's spot warm until Utley returns, or Freddy Galvis is ready to play in the majors. Jim Thome was brought back on a one year contract, and is the starter at first base at 41 years of age. To say he's a defensive liability is being nice. Domonic Brown is our best prospect, and the hope is he will improve on a partial season in the majors last year as our new starting left fielder.

Bench

Catcher-Erik Kratz

First Base-Ty Wigginton

Second/Third Base-Pete Orr

Outfield-John Mayberry Jr.

The bench depth isn't very deep at the moment. Erik Kratz is serviceable as a reserve catcher and has some pop in his bat, but he shouldn't be taking too much playing time from Carlos Ruiz. Ty Wigginton and Pete Orr are both cheap veteran backups who can play multiple positions. I expect that Wigginton will see most of his time at first base, considering Jim Thome's lack of defensive skills in his advanced age. In the outfield, John Mayberry Jr is a decent option and can play all three outfield positions, so he gets the nod there.

Now, you might have noticed the two missing pieces to this team. Where are they? Oh, yeah...

Disabled List

Ryan Howard

The 2011 season came to an end when Ryan Howard grounded out to end Game 5 of the NLDS. Ryan Howard's Achilles tendon also happened to rupture on the play, knocking him out for at least half of this season. Howard hit 33 home runs last year, but his batting average declined to .253, and he struck out 172 times. That's not the worst part about all of this though.

The worst part is his contract. More importantly, his contract extension that just started. It's for the next five seasons, and is paying him $20-25 million per season. There is a sixth year to the contract, but that's a team option year, and I will likely gladly pay the $10 million buyout to get out from under this deal.

Chase Utley

Chase reported to Spring Training this year, but left to have his nagging knee soreness checked out. At this time, he's out indefinitely, but we're hoping to have him back before the All Star break. Will that happen? No one knows right now, but he is going to be missed both on and off the field until he gets back. Utley is also locked up with a long term contract through the 2016 season. If he can come back healthy, then that may still be a good deal. If he doesn't though, that's yet another bad contract that might need to be offloaded, despite Utley's popularity.

Up Next: The Season Begins!
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:00 PM   #4
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April 2012 In Review

Recap:

The Phillies started the 2012 season much like they started the 2011 campaign. On Opening Day, Roy Halladay pitched eight scoreless innings and the Phillies beat Pittsburgh 3-0. That win was the start of an excellent first half of the month. The offense was hitting well and each starting pitcher was contributing solid outings, with Halladay getting a second early start due to back to back rain outs against the Pirates and Marlins.

Then came the first West Coast trip of the season. The trip started off very well, with the Phillies taking the first two games of a three game series against San Francisco. Those two wins were followed up by losses in six of the next eight games, including two against the Padres and a three game sweep in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. The bats went cold and stayed that way even when the team returned home. The Phils closed the month of April out by losing three of four games to the Chicago Cubs to drop their record to 12-10.

While the team is happy with a winning record over the first month of the season, the Phillies know that there is still work to be done. The Atlanta Braves had an excellent April and currently sit a game and a half ahead of the Phillies in the National League East.





The Good:

Though most of the offense has cooled down significantly, Jimmy Rollins had a hot bat for the entire month of April. Rollins celebrated his new contract by hitting .425 in the first month of the season with eight RBI, 11 runs scored and five stolen bases. The closest Phillie to him in regards to batting average is Shane Victorino, who is batting .280 after 22 games.

Cole Hamels is pitching like he's in a contract year. The 28 year old lefty went 3-1 in April with a 1.50 ERA and 28 strikeouts. In 30 innings of work, Hamels has only walked three batters and allowed just a single home run. He was even impressive in his one defeat, which was a 1-0 loss to Arizona in which he struck out eight Diamondbacks in eight innings.

Vance Worley's impressive 2011 season was a surprise to most, but he's come out in 2012 and looks like the sophomore slump won't be hitting him too hard. Worley went 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in April, and that record includes a complete game, two hit shutout against San Francisco in his second start of the year.





The Bad:

It can't be overstated how poorly the Phillies played on offense during the second half of the month. Hunter Pence started out the season with a 10 game hitting streak and has completely fallen apart since then. His average at the end of the month is sitting at just .212, and the rest of the team looks just as bad, if not worse. Carlos Ruiz is batting .237, Jim Thome has struck out 29 times and is hitting just .241. Placido Polanco has a .202 average and Domonic Brown is hitting just .173 with 20 strikeouts. The platoon of Mike Fontenot and Pete Orr at second base is impressing basically no one, and the cries to promote Freddy Galvis to the Phillies are growing louder by the day. If Fontenot and Orr continue to struggle, those cries are likely going to be too loud to ignore for much longer.

The lack of offense is contributing to below average results for some of the pitching staff as well. Roy Halladay has a 2.18 ERA, but a 2-2 record. In those two losses, the Phillies have scored a total of two runs. Cliff Lee has three games with 10 or more strikeouts, but only has a 1-3 record, with the Phillies scoring just three runs in his defeats. In some cases, the offensive struggles have carried over into the bullpen too. Jonathon Papelbon has eight saves, but an ERA of 4.00 in 10 appearances. He's also allowed runs in two of his last three appearances, and has begun showing a bit of an attitude on the mound when things aren't going his way. Antonio Bastardo has struggled mightily this year, having allowed six runs in just six innings of work, while Jose Contreras has walked six batters in four innings. Out of all the pitchers in the bullpen, he is likely the first to be replaced by a minor league player.

On the plus side, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are getting closer to returning, with Utley looking like he will be ready for a rehab assignment close to the start of June. As long as the offense can right itself, the team should be in a competitive spot when he makes his return back to Philadelphia.
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:35 PM   #5
Hurkman
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May 2012 In Review

Recap

The Phillies appeared to rebound from their poor end to April by starting the month of May on a tear. We won seven of our first ten games, and everything was starting to click. The pitching was doing well, and the struggling offense was even starting to look better.

Then the second half of the month began. Injuries to Vance Worley and Mike Fontenot put them both on the disabled list, and while those aren't the most important members of the team, it seemed to send us on a downward spiral. Over the last 13 games of the month, we went 3-10. That poor effort has our record at 25-26, which is good enough for fourth place in the National League East. The Phillies are currently three and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the tightly contested division.





Current Injuries:

Chase Utley-Nagging Knee Soreness-Est. Return-3 Days
Ryan Howard-Ruptured Achilles Tendon-Est. Return-3 Weeks
Vance Worley-Herniated Disk-Est. Return-4-5 Weeks
Mike Fontenot-Strained Back-Est. Return-Unknown

The Good:

Despite everything going against him, Cole Hamels is still having a solid season so far. He's 5-3 on the year with a 2.79 ERA, and has been the most consistent part of the pitching staff so far. Depending on how June goes, I'll either start talking to him about a contract extension, or look at the trade offers we have for him. It will hurt to trade him, but if we can restock the minor leagues, he's the piece to do that.

Cliff Lee had a great May. He allowed just six total runs in six starts and went 4-1 this month. He lowered his ERA to 1.98 and has looked much more like the pitcher we wanted when we brought him back. He and Cole have been keeping this team afloat as starting pitchers.

Carlos Ruiz took his poor month of April personally, and he raised his batting average from .237 at the end of April to .299 at the end of May. He hit .347 for the month, with 4 home runs and 17 RBI. That's what we want to see out of him while Utley and Howard are both out, especially with the struggles that the rest of the lineup is having.





The Bad:

Aside from Carlos Ruiz, the rest of the offense went into the tank in May. After hitting over .400 in April, Jimmy Rollins batted .189 with 21 strikeouts this past month. Kevin Frandsen was called up when Mike Fontenot got hurt, but he's only hitting .253 in 22 games, and hasn't been much of a spark at all. He's still doing better than Pete Orr though, who saw his batting average fall to .159 for the season.

It certainly looks like age has finally caught up to Placido Polanco as well. Despite collecting his 2,000th career his this past month, he is hitting only .229 for the season, and his .274 on base percentage is even more troubling. We don't have many other options at third base at the moment though, so he's going to be the starter until the end of the year, unless something drastic happens.

After a good start to his month, Roy Halladay has been struggling lately. His last two starts have seen him only go a combined ten innings, and he's picked up losses in both of them. His ERA went from 2.18 at the end of April to 2.77 by the end of May. While that's still not terrible, he's really starting to show signs of age, and it's making me question how much he still has left in the tank.

On the plus side, Chase Utley is going to come off the DL this week, and Ryan Howard should be back by the end of the month too! After their rehab stints, they'll be ready to help this team out. Hopefully, what we have can keep us afloat until they get back.
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