Blog Entry

"People are understanding how good we are"

Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:41 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 12:54 pm
LOS ANGELES -- Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino declined Monday to address his three-game suspension for his role in Friday night's brawl in San Francisco.

But he was happy to discuss the latest test the Phillies passed with phlying colors, winning three of four games over the weekend and beating the Giants at their own game, pitching.

Statement series?

Naw, let's not go there Victorino said. But as the weeks roll by and the Phillies blaze on toward what is shaping up to be another very special season, let's just say that leaving the Giants in ruins over the weekend just reinforced what some folks have been believing for a long time.

"Best team in baseball," one scout says.

"I don't want to use the word 'statement'," Victorino said. "But it shows we can do it. Not that we ever doubted that we can, but they're the champs. To be the champs, you have to beat the champs.

"In October, it's all about 5-7-7 [the round-by-round best-of series']. We tip our caps to the Giants for beating us last year. But I think this was a test for us, and we're good.

"I think people are understanding how good we are. We won in San Francisco because of our pitching. And they didn't even face our No. 1."

Instead, Roy Halladay was slotted to pitch the series opener against the Dodgers here Monday night, and the Phillies are making Jimmy Rollins look conservative. It was Rollins who predicted in February the Phillies would win 100 games.

It made headlines at the time because, well, in February, any sort of bold statement makes headlines.

But all you can say as the Phils maintain a pace to win 103 games is, the season is playing out just as many thought it could for them.

Winners of nine of their past 10 heading into this Dodgers series, they owned the game's best record at 74-40. Last time they had played at least 113 games and suffered only 40 losses, it was 1976.

Charlie Manuel's club is an equal opportunity outfit, shredding left-handed starters (against whom they're 21-9) and right-handers (53-31) alike.

Though they're only seventh in the NL in runs scored, their pitching is so dominant that their run differential (+127) is third-best in the game, trailing only the Yankees (+167) and Boston (+144).

Phillies starters lead all major-league rotations in wins (55), ERA (2.96), strikesouts (640), complete games (14, six from Halladay), quality starts (76) and fewest runs allowed (261).

Are the Phillies reaching their potential that, as far back as spring training, was set in the stratosphere?

"It's hard for us to say because we're striving to get to the World Series and win it," starter Cole Hamels said. "It's definitely a good question for when we're in the World Series.

"We definitely like our chances. We're confident. Guys are at their peaks. In '08 when we ended up winning, we were trying to find it and we ended up finding it."

As for the San Francisco series, Hamels said, "We're playing the right type of baseball. That's what you have to do in August. It's very tough for teams. It's 100 degrees, you've been pitching for 22, 24 starts [Hamels is 13-6 with a 2.53 ERA in 24 starts], your body's fighting it, and you have to keep pushing.

"It's the countdown."

He meant for stretch-run baseball in September, and playoff ball in October.

But for the Phillies, there's a lot of counting going on right now.

And the numbers are adding up impressively.

Likes: GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland extended in Detroit. They've earned their keep by keeping the Tigers relevant. ... A few days off in early August right after the trade deadline, summer sun still warm, the days long and free. ... Sandy Point in Ferndale, Wash., quarterback Jake Locker's land, right down there on Puget Sound. Beautiful. ... The oh-so-fresh halibut and salmon at Barlean's fishery down the road. Few things finer on the grill with the sun dropping behind the ocean water. ... The burritos at Chihuahua's in town. ... Jimmy Buffett's Encores disc. ... The new disc from John Hiatt, Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns. Not as good as Slow Turning or Perfectly Good Guitar, but that's setting the bar awfully high. Check out I Love That Girl, Detroit Made and Adios to California.

Dislikes: All the best to Colorado right-hander Juan Nicasio. One minute, you're pitching in the majors. The next, you've got a broken bone in your neck after being hit by a line drive, and you don't know if you'll ever pitch again. Tough summer for the Rockies. Hope we see Nicasio back soon.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Wrote a note, said 'Be back in a minute'
"Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
"Don't think anybody's gonna miss me anyway
"Mind on a permanent vacation
"The ocean is my only medication
"Wishin' my condition ain't ever gonna go away
"Now I'm knee deep in the water somewhere
"Got the blue sky breeze blowin' wind thru my hair
"Only worry in the world
"Is the tide gonna reach my chair
"Sunrise, there's a fire in the sky
"Never been so happy
"Never felt so high
"And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise"

-- Zac Brown Band, Knee Deep


Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: August 10, 2011 11:13 am

"People are understanding how good we are"

Let's not get cocky. The Phils are good in the regular season. they blew last year's playoffs. They're trying to get to the World Series. Besides, Boston's and New York's AL lineups don't look shabby. They're having a really good REGULAR season.

Since: Dec 30, 2007
Posted on: August 9, 2011 7:09 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

Coming from a Red Sox Fan, I think the Phillies are the best team in baseball and the team to beat right now..

Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: August 9, 2011 7:06 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

The Phillies are good. We knew coming into the season they were and we know it now. The Pence acquisition will likely turn out to be a huge boost. He doesn't put up video game numbers but he is an awesome contributor in every regard offensively and above average defensively. I think the only tough thing standing in the way of the Phils is just the playoffs themselves. You can bark all you want about 16 team guantlets in other leagues but when it comes down to it Baseball has the most difficult playoffs of all major team sports. Because if I tell you Houston beats Philly 2 of 3 games in a series everyone will reply to me "that is baseball". When the worst football team takes out the best team in the league its an out of breathe shocker. Luckily for the Phils they have a bigtime rotation because that is usually the most vulnerable attribute in that 1st 5 game series. Also people don't talk about fan loyalty. Every teams fans are capable of jumping ship. Look at that Texas/Yankees series last season. When Texas started to pile on the stadium looked like Montreals old Oylmpic stadium in about 10min. Yankee fans always talk to me about how loyal and amazing their fans are. I now just send them that video. It was an ALCS for S sake. Yes Phillies fans seem like this loyal bunch of die hards..while they are Winning now. I remember when the Braves were winning division titles left and right and playing against the Phils with some skeletal attendance.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:51 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

Hey Blitz...thanks for the corrections. I agree that the Giants present the worst matchup for the Phillies because their starting pitching is really good like Philly's but October is weird. Momentum can change things quickly. I have said all year from the beginning that the Phillies without question are the best team in MLB. But that doens't mean they can't lose three in a row in the first round to the Brewers or the D-Backs or the Giants or whoever. Do I think that will happen...hell no. Can it...seems to every year. I would be absolutely shocked if there is no parade on Broad Street in October. In any event good luck and congrats on Dubrow finally ranking you guys where you belong...

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:49 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

From a non-Phillies fan perspective: this team is unbeatable in a five or seven game series.  They are loaded with talent up and down their lineup and have the best starting pitching in baseball.  There is no "band of misfits" waiting to knock them off this year.  I do think that the Giants series was a statement series. When you go out and dominate the defending champs on their home turf as the Phillies did, you crush the spirit of all contenders.  Just look at what the beating did to the Giants, they lost to a Pirates team that had lost 10 in a row. 

The Phillies are like a heavy-weight boxer fighting in the fly-weight class. 

Since: Jul 6, 2007
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:38 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

Who are these people? 

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:31 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

And how about the 2000 Mariners...they won 114 games didn't they? Where are they dispalying their World Series trophy??? In the Bronx I think.
That's another team in a totally different season.  A few corrections though.

It was the 2001 Mariners, they won 116 games, and their World Series trophy is on display in Arizona, not NY.

Having said that everyone seems to think it is the Giants who are the only team capable of taking them down in a short series.
That's pretty much the truth.  It was true last year and it happened, and they're going to play them the toughest this year.  The NL rivalry between the Phillies and a California team went from L.A. to SanFran.  Interesting turnaround it has been.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:26 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

You bought a pitching rotation and don't have the fear of losing players like other teams do.
The product of a good farm system developing players, and other teams wanting those players.  When you BUILD a good core group of players and start winning, you have the ability to trade away prospects for other proven players and give other teams the chance to build a team in the future.  Phillies didn't buy anything, they earned everything they're paying for. 

Remember: The Phillies Built A Team, Won As That Team, and Reaped The Rewards of doing so, and that is what you see today.  The rewards of BUILDING a quality team. 

Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: August 9, 2011 5:58 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

Phils aren't even the best baseball team in their own state.  Got owned again in Pittsburgh and swept the Bucs in Philly because they needed Pence to do it and the Pirates were starting 5 backups.  The Phils haven't beaten a Pirates team at full strength in at least a year and a half.

Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: August 9, 2011 5:35 pm

"People are understanding how good we are"

Yea, just like we did after 09 and last year!

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