The Phillies' starting pitching rotation has drawn many comparisons to the 1996 pitching staff of the Atlanta Braves. The Braves pitchers had a very strong season from their pitchers, but they lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees, four games to two.
So how will the Phillies finish this season?
The Braves had three very good starters in their rotation during that year. Their "big three" included John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. All three of the starters won at least 15 games during the season and each posted a sub-3.00 ERA.
The Phillies powerhouse has had a very good start to the 2011 season. The top four have posted 83 strikeouts, and seven wins in 13 starts.
Halladay and Lee have both been very dominant late in the season in their respective times with the team. Cole Hamels won the World Series MVP in 2008. Roy Oswalt made a huge impact for the team after being acquired late last season. And Big Joe can surprise people at times. He will most likely be in the bullpen during the postseason as the team will most likely use a four-man rotation, so he may or may not have an impact.
The big question is, can they perform when it is needed?
The answer to that is yes. There is very little doubt that the Phillies will make the playoffs. They have the experience, talent and depth to go deep into the playoffs with their pitching.
Their offense is also very deep and has a lot of talent. With guys like John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload as fill-ins in the outfield as well as players like Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr and Delwyn Young who bring experience.
The Braves offense collapsed late in the series in the '96 Series and the Phillies have a very versatile lineup who can score runs and produce. The Phillies have a very strong, deep lineup who give them a very good chance to win another World Series title.