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Category Archives: Johan Santana

Series Preview: New York Mets

PHI: 3-0; NYM: 2-1
When: April 5-7
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: Cole Hamels (0-0, 0.00) vs. Chris Young (0-0, 0.00)

Wednesday: Joe Blanton (0-0, 0.00) vs. Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 10.38)
Thursday: Roy Halladay (0-0, 1.50) vs. Jon Niese (0-0, 2.57)

Broadcast Info
Tuesday, 7:05, MyPHL 17

Wednesday, 7:05, TCN
Thursday, 3:05, CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

The Mets may have a special player in catcher Josh Thole. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Player to Watch – C Josh Thole: There is something about Thole that I really like with New York. He’s only 24 and is filled with an incredible amount of potential – maybe not a Joe Mauer or Buster Posey-like potential but more on the line of Baltimore’s Matt Weiters.

Thole had a nice start to the season, batting .444 (4-for-9) with a double and RBI. Batting in the eight-hole for New York, the Mets are hoping for a Chooch-like spark out of the left-hander who hit .277 last season in 73 games.

Overview: The most heated rivalry in the division is still alive despite the Mets being such a terrible baseball team.

But the Mets are 2-1, the closest to above .500 they will probably see all season. They are also throwing two of their best pitchers out at the Phillies.

Jon Niese has the ability to keep New York in the game against Roy Halladay on Thursday. He’s the best pitcher the Mets have this season and has been strong against the Phillies so far in his career. In three starts, he’s 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA whiles striking out 20 in 21 innings. His WHIP is a very nice 1.14, but he averages 2.5 walks per nine innings, meaning he can have control problems if the Phils are patient.

The Phillies are very fortunate to not be seeing knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey this series. He’s one of the young, promising pitchers in the bigs who won’t be a staff ace but will be a very reliable #2/3 to keep opponents off-balanced during a series.

On the offensive side of the ball, New York has some young weapons such as catcher Thole and first baseman Ike Davis along with veteran short stop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright. Reyes, like the Phils Jimmy Rollins, is incredibly dangerous – as a fielder, hitter and base runner -  when healthy and in a zone. Left fielder Jason Bay still hasn’t lived up to his contract.

The Mets are not looking at a promising season as their bull pen is terrible, the offense is filled with holes with the exception of three, maybe four hitters and their starting pitching is really lacking without Johan Santana.

The New York Mess

Let’s take a minute to sit back, relax, and laugh hysterically at the New York Mets.

In case you haven’t heard, the Mets are in deep doo-doo financially. Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, the owners of the Mets, guarded Bernie Madolf’s investment pipeline which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. To translate, Madolf and the Mets ripped off a lot of people.

Now a trustee for Madolf’s victims is suing the Mets for up to a billion dollars, so the Mets are now trying everything and anything to make up all of the debt they will have. The Mets have even borrowed $25 million dollars from Major League Baseball to help cover their debts.

But today, things seem to be much worse for the Mets. Channel One New York reported this morning that the Mets are trying to make a pitch to a group of banks for even more money.

“According to the New York Post, the Mets are looking to secure a loan worth tens of millions of dollars to cover basic operating costs”

Basic operating costs? Like what? Electricity? Are the Mets too poor to turn on the lights and play night games? Maybe they can save electricity by turning off that ugly apple that pops up after the Mets hit a home run.

I am not even too sure they can even afford to feed their team at this point. Good thing today was free Pancake Day at IHOP.

“JP Morgan Chase, which lent the team $430 million last year, is trying to recruit a team of banks to put together a loan that would keep the Mets afloat until they’re able to sell a minority stake in the team.”

Wait, he lent the team $430 million LAST YEAR? And this guy still wants to give them more money? Talk about a hardcore Mets fan. If any of you find loose change on the ground, don’t put it in your piggy bank. I think the Mets may need it more.

“Any new loans would go toward operating expenses, including paying players.”

If they cannot afford their players, it looks like it won’t be much longer until the Mets will have to lay off workers. I think it is going to be hard for Mr. Met to find a new job.

Oh and to make everything even more hilarious, Johan Santana is going to be out of the line up till mid season. Making their starting rotation:
1. Mike Pelfrey
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Jon Niese
4. Chris Capuano
5. Chris Young

Somebody pinch me.

The Channel One NY article can be seen in its entirety here.

Christmas Buying Guide for MLB Players

Oh I am in a Christmassy mood. It must be because feeling kinda Christmassy or it must be that time of year again. If you could buy your favorite Major League Baseball players something for Christmas, what would you buy? After a lot of careful scientifical research and some loose thoughts running wild, here is a list as to what I would buy selected MLB players for the holidays.

Roy Halladay (Philadelphia Phillies Ace 1): A small nation in the South Pacific, Eastern Bloc, or South Atlantic

I would buy Roy Halladay a country. That’s right, a country. Why a country? Halladay already owns everything except a World Series ring. And you can’t buy a World Series ring…. wait never mind, the Yankees proved you could. But I digress. So I would buy the reigning NL Cy Young winner a country. He already leads a team, in the Phillies, and commands a nation (the Phillies Nation). So what better gift than a small country. I’m thinking something in the Eastern Bloc, like Crimea or maybe Latvia or Estonia. Hell, maybe not even a small country, I might just go for broke and buy him Russia; seeing as his eyesight is so good he can see Russia from his house….in FLORIDA.

Kyle Kendrick (bag of baseballs the Phillies run out every fifth day): Pitching for Dummies and MLB 10: The Show for PS3

For those of you don’t know one of my favorite players is Kyle Kendrick. Don’t ask, long story that I am saving for another time. Since he has some “issues” with pitching “consistently” I would buy him Pitching for Dummies (if they actually make that book). He could learn a thing from it: consistency. Consistency of the paper, that is. As a stocking stuffer, I’d buy him MLB 10: The Show for PlayStation 3. Why? That way he can see how much virtual KK is better than real life KK.

Joe Blanton (Pitcher for the Phillies) and CC Sabathia (Ace for the Yankees): A restaurant/fast food chain/IHOP and maybe weight watchers

“Oh wow Bmac, fat jokes, really? Come on you’re better than that!” Yeah but I only speak the truth! That is what I get both Blanton and Sabathia; some form of food empire to manage/eat at. Both are big guys, so both have mighty appetites. So why not buy them both a food empire to eat at/manage. And as a stocking stuff I’d give CC a five-year membership to Weight Watchers. 310 pounds at 6’7” CC? Damn son. Blanton not so much, I think he is more just a big guy. But CC? Oh definitely the Weight Watchers.

Danys Baez (Overpaid reliever for the Phillies): One way ticket back to Cuba.

He can take his almost 5+ Career ERA and almost 2+ Career WHIP with him. He can go back and dominate Cuban ball, but his days of dominating MLB hitters (if he even did that) has past him. I mean come on Danys, you can’t win when you get two outs and then allow 4 runs to cross before you get lifted or get the third out! That may* work in Cuba, but not here in the States.

*Sidenote: yes… okay that MAY work when your leading by six. But I’m just saying.

Jayson Werth (Outfielder for the Nationals): A box of tissues for his issues

I buy Jayson Werth, the newest National, a box of tissues. No not because I’m cheap, well okay yes I am, but because of all the crying he will be doing when Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and maybe Kendrick strike his ass out. Not only that, the tissues will come in handy for when he is also crying his eyes out at home; which is where his butt will be come every October of his seven year, eleventh billion dollar contract. There’s no crying in baseball, unless Roy Halladay is pitching and you’re a Met or Yankee… or Jayson Werth.

Brian Wilson (Closer for the San Fran Giants): An electric or straight razor

I don’t fear that beard. Hell, I’m more afraid of him blowing a bomb up than him dropping a slider on 3-2 with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 of the NLCS. That beard is hideous and it makes him look like terrorist. Rumor has it that he has been through the new TSA pat down several times because of the beard and suspiciousness of it. Rumor also has it that he liked it, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I’d buy him a razor. Dude, you have to shave the beard, if you do, I may buy you a beer (probably not). I’m sorry, Brian Wilson… but Roy Halladay’s beard is better than yours. Also, Roy Halladay doesn’t fear Brian Wilson’s beard. Brian Wilson’s Beard fears Roy Halladay.

Logan Morrison (Marlins OF and somehow a Philly fan favorite): A “Facebroke” shirt from the ZooWithRoy T-Shirt shop

Logan Morrison, the Malrins left fielder and somehow a Philly fan favorite. How that is, I don’t know. But I do know that I would buy him a “Facebroke” shirt. Why? Because he will face broken by the end of the season from facing Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels (maybe Kendrick too, doubt though). It is said that for a person to be canonized for sainthood by the Catholic church, proof of at least one miracle needs to be established. Of all the miracles recognized, it can be said that no saint has ever gotten as much as a foul-tip off of a Roy Halladay pitch – and it may never be achieved. Now imagine trying to do that against the other three (and Kendrick). Yeah… thought so. LoMo will be using Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as his walk up music because it is actually a song to give hope to all those who face Roy Halladay. Needless to say, the song is lying.

David Wright (New York Mets Third Baseman): shorter fences and some legal “Testosterone”

Since no one can hit a homer in Bailout Bank… I mean CITI Field. I would buy David Wright some shorter fences or some legal Testosterone because he can’t hit a homer in this park. I mean, if I can hit one [A home run] in MLB 10: The Show, what makes you think it’s possible to it in real life. Unless you’re Chase Utley and hit it into his corner out in right center. Either that or I’d buy him some legal “stuff” to help him hit something, cause he hits like a pu…. I mean woman.

Johan Santana (Mets Ace and resident sad-sack): A better offense/better team

And finally we come to our final MLB player on my list: Mets Ace and resident sad-sack, Johan Santana. I’d buy Johan some offense…. CORRECTION a BETTER offense than what he has now. I kind of feel sorry for the guy. He has a lousy offense and plays for a lousy New York team (not the Bronx team either). I mean I thought if Pittsburgh was baseball Hell then Washington and the New York (Mets) must be baseball Purgatory. With a better team he could pitch like the ace he is without worrying about run support. Then again… I do like to laugh at the Mets.

10 Things Wrong With the New York Mets

It’s all your fault, Andy Martino. The once Phillies beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer has turned into Benedict Arnold as a New York Post writer covering the Mets. One of his more recent columns hates on the Phightins for their, “swagger, arrogance, and condescension toward opponents.” What’s wrong with knowing your team has the confidence to know they can win despite the obstacles that have greeted them all season?

Well there honestly is nothing wrong with being the best team in the NL when healthy. But there is certainly something wrong with the Mets, who are, “too nice” according to Mr. Martino. So I have done you Mets fans a favor and will let you know the 10 things wrong with your team. No, “My Entire Team Sucks” joke will be made so you intelligent people can breathe a sigh of relief.

10. Andy Martino – Okay he doesn’t exactly have anything directly to do with the franchise but he is covering your team. This man wrote about the Phils and he turns around and says awful things about their confidence and even trashes our fans. But the Mets were so classy! Yea and K-Rod assaulting a family member is classy. Looks like someone is desperate to be read by the NY fans.

9. Utley’s corner – This has become my favorite clips that involves two teams I can not stand. What amazes me is that even a Mets announcer refers to the short porch in right field as Chase Utley’s corner. It’s amazing that a portion of your field is named after a rival player. I don’t see, “Reyes’ hole” or, “Beltran’s wall,” at the Bank (though it was hysterical to see that washed-up bum go face first into the fence chasing Jayson Werth’s home run).

8. Playing at “Shitty Field” – It most likely was the TV announcer catching himself from saying “Shea Stadium” instead of “Citi Field” but the fact he mixed the two together makes the clip ten times funnier. A shitty team must play in a shitty field.

7. Pat Burrell still owns you – Even with Billy Wagner not hanging sliders over the plate for Pat the Bat and him now donning a Giants uni, Burrell is still the Met killer. In 157 games, he has hit 42 homers and 105 RBIs. A Phillie at heart and still a true Met-killer.

6. Having the same colors as the New York Knicks – The epitome of the NBA and the epitome of the MLB both share the same colors! Orange and blue is not a winning color combination these days and neither is relying on old, washed-up players. At least Omar Minaya isn’t as bad as Isaiah Thomas was but he is pretty damn close. Hey, the Knicks got rid of their annoying midget Nate Robinson. Maybe they should do the same with the cocky, over rated closer on the hill in K-Rod.

5. Where’s Bobby Valentine? – The last time the Mets were relevant in baseball as the NL Pennant winners, Bobby V was at the reigns. But he isn’t wearing any fake mustaches these days so it’s easy to know where he is… as far away from this dismal team as possible. He’s now an ESPN analyst and kissing the Yankees’ ass like the rest of them. But on your knees behind A-Rod’s rear is always better than being a manager of the New York Mess. Will we be seeing Jerry Manuel along side him?

4. You’re just not going to be the “team to beat” – Jimmy Rollins made it his catchphrase (and inspired the site’s name) and the Mets’ Beltran and Reyes tried turning the tables with their rendition of, “I know you are but what am I?” Well I can tell you what you’re not and that is a the team to beat. You are just a team that is beat.

3. No one has heard of your best players – I’ll take a minute to compliment your team. Ike Davis, Jon Niese, and R.A. Dickey have been your best players (well I mean David Wright and Johan Santana have been great if you want to get technical but it would kill my post!). This team has a few really good players to build a foundation around. Dropping has-beens like Beltran, K-Rod, and maybe Reyes would help this team change the chemistry and look forward to being a serious team.

2. The failpen – It all started in 2007. It got better in 2008 when Billy Wagner and the rest of the pen blew saves at a worse pace than Brad Lidge. And 2009 wasn’t any better with the injures and fourth-place finish. And with their recent coughing-up of games to the Phils and their “star” closer being arrested, the team and their pen have hit a new low.

1. Omar Minaya – He is the #1 reason (seriously) why the Mets have gone from a great team in 2006 to a group of washed-up rejects. His ridiculous signings of bums like Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Rodriguez prove that he has no clue on how to seek real talent. And the signing of Jason Bay just proves how again desperate he was to compete with the Phils. There was a reason the Red Sox didn’t see a reason to pursue him. Minaya should have as well.

Phils Lose Pitcher’s Duel

Advertised was a pitcher’s duel of mammoth proportions.  Both Cole Hamels and Johan Santana delivered stellar performances that didn’t disappoint.  Both had hitters off balance and were dazzling throughout.  But unfortunately, only one pitcher had to win. That pitcher was Santana, who was just a tad better than Hamels, shutting out the Phillies lineup in over seven innings of work for a 1-0 win.

Hamels was spectacular in tonight’s contest allowing one run on six hits with eleven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings.  As usual Hamels no run support and was credited with a loss in a game where he pitched some of his best baseball of the season.  Additionally he located his pitches and his balls to strikes ratio was impressive, landing 78 of his 99 pitches for strikes.  The only blemish on his record was a seventh inning solo home run  by Jeff Francoeur.

The offense was very spotty tonight to say the least.  Santana completely shut down the lineup and the Phillies didn’t record a hit until the fifth inning.  They only recorded five hits throughout the entire game.  There were plenty of chances tonight to score runs.  Jayson Werth led off the seventh inning with a double.  Werth was then thrown out on a fielder’s choice at thirf.  It was a ball hit right to Jose Reyes and he easily threw out Werth who was running on contact.  The Phillies also loaded the bases in the eighth inning but super showboat closer Francisco Rodriguez got Ross Gload to ground out to the end the inning.

The Phillies and Mets have split the first two games of this series.  Starting pitching for the Phillies has been great so far in this series and the same can be expected tomorrow.  Roy Halladay will take to the mound tomorrow against knuckle-baller RA Dickey.  The Phillies struggled against Dickey earlier in the season, so they must be patient if they want to solve him.  They also move back to two games out of first place due to the Braves victory over the San Francisco Giants.  A series win would be great heading into a showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2B: Werth (37).

WP: Santana (9-6). LP: Hamels (7-8). S: Rodriguez (24)

Boxscore

Series Preview: Mets

Phillies (60-48, 2nd in NL East) vs. New York Mets (54-54, 3rd in NL East)

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Fri: Jon Niese (7-5, 3.78) at Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.86)
Sat: Johan Santana (8-6, 3.20) at Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.56)
Sun: R.A. Dickey (7-4, 2.36) at Roy Halladay (13-8, 2.17)

Broadcast
Fri: 7:35, CSN
Sat: 7:05, MyPHL 17
Sun: 1:35, MyPHL 17

Hot (last 7) – Carlos Ruiz: .382 (13-for-34), 4 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI.
Also hot (last 7) – Raul Ibanez: .462 (12-for-26), 7 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI.

Player to Watch – David Wright: Wright has been an RBI machine for the Mets. With 77 RBIs, Wright is third in the NL. He is also batting .297 with 17 homers on the year for the lowly Mets. But once again, the Phillies are going into a series where the opposing team’s best player is in a bit of a slump. In his last 10 games, Wright is only batting .250 and eight of his nine RBIs in that span all came in two games. In 99 games against the Phillies in his career, he’s batting .265 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs, all very good totals that indicate that he can do some damage against the Phightins.

Series Overview: The Mets lead the season series 4-2… This series will be huge for the Phils because if they can either distance themselves greatly from New York and Florida or they can allow another team into the divisional race… The Phillies have won 11 straight at home, compiling a 34-18 home record. New York is awful on the road with a 21-35 record… Raul Ibanez is riding a 13-game hitting streak… This will be a great pitching series as well. Hamels v. Santana will be the marquee match-up between two of the best lefties in the NL. Halladay v. Dickey on Sunday will also be very interesting as the Phillies struggled greatly against Dickey last time.

Phils Retake First with Monster Fourth

Johan Santana is one of the more dominant pitchers in the National League. But against the Phillies, he is nothing more than a batting practice pitcher. The Phillies teed off on Santana in their nine-run fourth inning as they went on and won 11-5 Sunday night on ESPN.

Jamie Moyer was decent but unimpressive. He allowed a three-run homer in the first to David Wright and a two-run blast to Rod Barajas in the fourth. His grand total was five runs allowed in six innings off six hits, no walks, and two strike outs.

Santana wishes he had a day like Moyer. He got yanked with two outs in the fourth, allowing 10 runs on eight hits and two walks. He also allowed four home runs.

Shane Victorino capped off his nice series with his single and grand slam. Ryan Howard was also a force at the plate with three hits and a homer. Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth all had multi-hit games.

The fourth inning was a special one indeed. With the Phillies trailing 5-2, Utley led off with a double but Santana quickly got the next two outs. That’s when it got interesting. Raul Ibanez hit an RBI single to make it 5-3 and Juan Castro followed up with a single of his own. After Carlos Ruiz walked, Charlie Manuel stuck with Moyer and let him bat. Moyer walked with a full count to make it a 5-4 game.

The bases were still loaded for Victorino, who drilled Santana’s offering to deep left field for the grand slam, blowing the game open for an 8-5 Phillies lead. Polanco followed-up with a single and Utley hit a two-run homer to make it 10-5. Santana got yanked but the Phillies tacked on one more run to take an 11-5 lead.

Not only was it huge winning this series and getting back into first but it was also satisfying seeing the Mets brutally embarrassed on national TV. The Phillies offense looks like it has finally awaken and what great timing with a four game series against the Cardinals coming up.

Doubles: Utley (7), Werth (12), Howard (7). HR: Polanco (3), Utley (7), Howard (5), Victorino (5).

WP: Moyer (3-2). LP: Santana (3-2)

Boxscore.

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Joe Blanton will be making his season debut tomorrow against the Cardinals. Hopefully Big Joe can shake off the rust early and pitch well against one of the better offenses in the NL.

Hey Mets, That’s A Real Pitcher On the Mound

  Roy Halladay #34 Of The Philadelphia Phillies Delivers

Roy Halladay shows his greatness vs. the Mets. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I wonder if Roy Halladay understands the importance every start against the Mets is. He sure pitched like he had a little something special for the Mets as he pitched his second shut out and third complete game of the season in the Phillies 10-0 win over New York Saturday afternoon. The win snapped the Mets’ eight-game winning streak and brought the Phillies to a half game behind the Mets in the division.

In Halladay’s (5-1, 1.47) nine innings, he only allowed three hits and a walk while fanning six. Yes New York, that’s what a real pitcher looks like. Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 2.40)? Not so much. He last four innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk.

The good news with shelling Pelfrey is that the Phillies offense woke up, hopefully for a sustained period of time and not just three innings. They exploded in the fourth for six runs off of a few singles, a few doubles, and then capped off with a three-run homer by Shane Victorino.

I couldn’t watch this game because I was working. I saw Juan Castro’s two-run double in the fourth and I saw a few pitches by Doc. I can’t give a fair assessment from watching this game but I can say it was nice seeing the offense hit around a pitcher that was on fire to start the season and see Halladay bounce back against an offense that was rolling.

Sunday’s game is going to be the rubber match for the Phillies. Jamie Moyer v. Johan Santana should make for an entertaining one. Santana has had a poor track record against the Phillies in recent history and Moyer has had a poor track record against everyone else. We’ll see whose offense shows up tomorrow.

Doubles: Utley 2 (6), Victorino (3), Castro (3). Triples: Ibanez (1). HR: Victorino (4).

WP: Halladay (5-1). LP: Pelfrey (4-1). 

Boxscore.

The Respect We Deserve

If I were to tell you ten years ago that the Phillies were going to be the best team in baseball starting in 2008, you would think I was joking while wearing your Scott Rolen t-shirt and pissed-off Curt Schilling was a Diamondback. Oh how the times have changed.

The Phillies won the division in 2007, their first playoff berth in 14 years. Proving it wasn’t a fluke, they won the World Series in 2008 and went back to the fall classic in 2009, losing to the Yankees. Now it’s 2010 and the team is much improved – infact this team would sweep the 2008 club in a seven-game series – and are primed and ready to go to a third straight World Series and win it.

Sports Illustrated, who I’m still mad at for their ranking of Ruben Amaro, Jr., has Roy Halladay gracing their cover this week with the titles “This Might Hurt: Roy (Doc) Halladay operates in Philadelphia (sorry, National League).” Sports Illustrated picked the Phillies to beat the Cardinals in the Divisional round, the Rockies in the NLCS, and the Rays in the World Series. 

Halladay is prepared for Opening Day. As the most highly anticipated player heading into April 5, Doc will look to impress the Phillies, the entire NL, and even their counterparts in the AL, the New York Yankees. Halladay has had career success in the AL, especially against the Yankees.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said last week. “I feel prepared. I think that it’s something you look forward to for a long time. I’m extremely anxious. … I feel good. Obviously, physically is most important at this point, and I feel great. I’m pretty excited about a couple of things that we’ve accomplished this spring. I feel like we’ve covered quite a bit. I feel good moving forward. The stuff was there. There are a few things that I’ve been working on for a few years that I felt like came together pretty well this spring.”

Like what, Roy?

“They’re secrets,” he said with a smile.

Like all good pitchers making the move to the NL from the AL like Johan Santana and for a short time, Cliff Lee, Halladay’s expectations are high. And by high I mean he can easily win 20-23 games and have close to 10 complete games. Heck I even think a no-hitter on Monday is very possible.

But it’s not just Halladay that has high expectations. The addition of Placido Polanco, Danys Baez, and a revamped bench are what’s giving the fans in Philadelphia a sense of belief that this team is the best in baseball. Fans around the league are starting to respect that. Though the loyalists from South Jersey, Philly, and South PA call them “bandwagon fans,” the buzz for Phillies baseball has reached a national level. The Phillies have already sold out almost all 81 home games and many other big teams that host the Phillies this season have sold out their series’.

The Phillies are respected. It took them 14 years to get back into the playoff picture and they are set for a long run of being a top team. In fact, if things go the way they should, this may be the greatest era of Phillies baseball, surpassing the 1977-83 era which boasted five division titles, two pennants, and a championship.

The 2010 season is only days away. Time to make history and some serious noise. Go Phillies.

NL East Preview

Philadelphia Phillies

Last year’s record/place: 93-69, 1st
Key acquisitions: C  Brian Schneider, 3B Placido Polanco, IF Juan Castro, OF Ross Gload, SP Roy Halladay, RP Danys Baez, RP Jose Contreras.
Key losses: 3B Pedro Feliz, OF Matt Stairs, IF Eric Bruntlett, SP Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, SP Brett Myers.
Player to watch: Roy Halladay - When you trade top-tier prospects and let a pitcher like Lee go, all eyes will be on this prize of a pitcher the Phillies acquired. Halladay has dominated the NL his entire career while pitching in the AL. Imagine what a year will do for him in the weak NL East.
Season outlook: It’s very simple for the Phillies: defend their division and NL pennant. The reigning three-time East and two-time NL champions are poised to do so after a lucrative offseason in which they got Halladay, Polanco, and Baez to lead the way of a ton of moves that improved the rotation, already stellar line up, and struggling bull pen and bench. The Phillies should improve upon their excellent 2009 season and find themselves as the heavy favorites to win the World Series.

Atlanta Braves

Last year’s record/place: 86-76, 3rd
Key acquisitions: 1B Troy Glaus, IF Eric Hinske, RP Billy Wagner, RP Takashi Saito.
Key losses: 1B Adam LaRoche, SP Javier Vazquez, RP Rafael Soriano, RP Mike Gonzalez.
Player to watch: Chipper Jones – He’s been the Braves best position player for the past 15 years. He had a down year last year, finally showing signs of aging. But Jones wants to prove there is still plenty left in the tank and will look to bounce back this year. The Braves still rely on him and will need a good year from him to contend for a playoff spot.
Season outlook: The Braves want to send Bobby Cox off with a bang. Winning the division and making a playoff push would certainly do that. They can compete with the Phillies but a Wild Card berth seems to be more plausible. They do have a secret weapon that has frustrated the Phillies in the past: Derek Lowe. Offensively they have some legit weapons in Jones and Brian McCann. One of the players I’m excited to see is rookie Jason Heyward. He’ll start in RF and should give the Braves a new player to be excited about since Jones in 1995.

Florida Marlins

Last year’s record/place: 87-75, 2nd
Key acquisitions: none.
Key losses: 1B Nick Johnson, OF Ross Gload, P Scott Proctor.
Player to watch: Hanley Ramirez – Ramirez is one of the most exciting young players in the game and it’s shocking Fish fans don’t come out to the park to see him play. He can field, hit for average and with a little power, and can swipe bases with the best of them. If you had to start a franchise with a short stop, it would be Ramirez.
Season outlook: They are that team who always seems to surprise. Like mosquitos, they never go away and are always hungry to win. With a very solid young corps of Ramirez, Cody Ross, and Dan Uggla, the Fish have the ability to give the Phils and Braves some problems. But their inability to make any big moves is what dropped them to third. They were also able to resign Josh Johnson, the team’s ace and one of the best pitchers in the NL. If they can surround him with more pitching talent, the Marlins will be even more dangerous in a couple years.

New York Mets

Last year’s record/place: 70-92, 4th
Key acquisitions: C Rod Barajas, C Chris Coster, LF Jason Bay, , CF Gary Matthews, Jr., RP Josh Fogg, RP Kelvim Escobar.
Key losses: C Brian Schneider, 1B Carlos Delgado, OF Gary Sheffield, SP Oliver Hernandez, RP J.J. Putz.
Player to watch: Jose Reyes – After being injured for over half a season last year, Reyes will look to be healthy and take his spot back among the best short stops in baseball. With an early set-back with a thyroid problem this spring, Mets fans are praying for Reyes to be fine and their team to not be as humiliating as last year’s team.
Season outlook: When healthy the Mets have good players but they aren’t healthy. Reyes is already battling injuries and Carlos Beltran will need to have a bounce-back year. Adding Bay was great offensively for the Mets if he’s healthy. He’s aging, has knee problems, and not that great of a fielder. Johan Santana is still one of the greatest pitchers of our time.

Washington Nationals

Last year’s record/place: 59-103, 5th
Key acquisitions: C Ivan Rodriguez, IF Eric Bruntlett, SP Chien-Ming Wang, SP Jason Marquis, RP Matt Capps, RP Scott Olsen, RP Tyler Walker.
Key losses: C Josh Bard, IF Dimitri Young, OF Austin Kearns, SP Livan Hernandez.
Player to watch: Stephen Strasburg – Not often you see a pitching prospect as good as Strasburg. Though starting in the minors is a much wiser choice, the last-place Nationals may put him on the opening day roster to put fans in the seats… or will that be because they open the season against the Phillies?
Season outlook: They don’t have much to really look forward to. We know the Nats are a bad team and there’s no need to rub that in. They did that for us by signing Bruntlett. But all kidding aside. Strasburg gives them something to look forward to and build off of in the future. Hopefully he pans out for their sake.

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