Philadelphia Phillies: 7 Ways the Team Can Thrive Without Roy Oswalt
Players continue to get injured but the Philadelphia Phillies continue to win. The team is on pace for 102 victories at this point and has shown that they are the team to beat in the National League once again.
Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have all been dominating in 2011 and they were each rewarded with All-star selections. Roy Oswalt was the final piece of the "Four Aces" puzzle, but injuries are threatening to derail his season and possibly his career.
The Phillies have shown that they can win in the short-term without a guy that is fifth among active pitchers in career winning percentage, but can they survive the second-half of the season?
Here are seven ways the Philadelphia Phillies can not only survive, but thrive without Roy Oswalt.
1. The "Vanimal" Vance Worley
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Is it the hair, glasses or terrific pitching of Vance Worley that has Philadelphia Phillies fan's so enamored with the young right-hander? My guess is all of the above.
Worley has started six games for the Phillies and is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA. He has been a pleasant surprise from the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs who aren't exactly deep in starting pitching depth.
The 23-year-old right-hander looks to be the real deal, as his fastball is regularly around 93 mph with movement, and he has two solid secondary pitches in his arsenal.
In 49.0 IP thus far, Worley has only allowed 12 earned runs and is averaging over 93 pitches per start.
Maybe most impressive, the opposition is only hitting .221 against the "Vanimal." At 6'2" and 230 lbs. he has the type of major-league frame that can survive the grueling 162 game season.
Don't be surprised if Worley is the fourth starter when the postseason rolls around and Fat Joe is coming out of the bullpen.
Injuries to Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton have allowed the Phillies to find a potentially solid starting pitcher who will provide youth and depth to this team for years to come.
2. The Brilliance of the Doctor
How incredible is it that the Phillies may potentially have the top three vote-getters for the NL Cy Young award this season? Roy Halladay has shown that he doesn't plan on relinquishing his Cy Young without a fight after compiling a remarkable first half of the season.
He is 11-3 with a 2.44 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. He has already thrown a ridiculous 136.1 innings thus far and racked up 131 K's along the way.
Roy Halladay really means it when he says he "pitches to contact", as he has only walked 17 batters this season.
Halladay has pitched nine complete games four times in his career, and he already has six in 2011. We may be witnessing the best pitcher in baseball having his finest season ever.
Man it's great to be a Phillies fan.
3. No One Is Better Than Clifton
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You have to love that Cliff Lee has quieted all of his "haters" and pundits that claimed that he is an average pitcher and the Philadelphia Phillies overpaid. Phillies Nation witnessed first-hand that Lee is the premier left-hander in the game (along with Hamels and Price) in 2009 and he is showing it again.
It seems almost unfair to the opposition when the Phillies get a lead with Lee on the mound.
When you saw the Phillies score four runs in the second inning against the Blue Jays on Sunday you knew the game was over. A lot of credit must be given to Toronto for battling back against one of the game's best pitchers. Still, it's pretty special being able to watch Cliff Lee every five days considering it wasn't very long ago that we had to endure Robert Person, Omar Daal and all of the other gems that took the mound for this franchise.
Lee will join Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels at the All-star game after having one of the most dominating months for any starting pitcher in the history of MLB.
Adding Cliff Lee in the offseason can make the loss of Roy Oswalt (and Jayson Werth's .223 BA) pretty easy to forget.
4. Something Up Your Sleeve Ruben?
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Ruben Amaro has stated numerous times this season that the Philadelphia Phillies are "maxed out" and they will not be making any significant moves. How many people in Philadelphia completely believe the young GM who has acquired the top player at the trade deadline the past two seasons?
The Phillies pitching has shown that if the offense can score four runs they will be almost unbeatable. The Phillies are a ridiculous 36-4 when the team scores at least four runs.
Look for Ruben to add a corner outfielder that can hit left-handed pitching at the deadline. A potent offense will make the loss of Roy Oswalt feel like an afterthought.
5. Can't Keep the Phanatic Down
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To the lighter side of sports folk's.
It's been a few weeks since the Philly Phanatic was hit in the neck by a line-drive (youtube the video, it's hilarious) but you can still find the green-monster from the Galapagos dancing on the Phillies dugout each game.
You may be asking, how can the Phillie Phanatic make the Phillies thrive without Roy Oswalt? The best mascot in the game will continue to help Phillies pitchers sit-down the opposition by throwing out his patented spirit fingers when the game matters most.
The Phanatic and the best fans in baseball make each game at Citizens Bank Park feel like a playoff game.
The intensity at home-games and the amount of Phillies red at away-games will not allow this team to take any games off no matter who is pitching.
Phillies Nation and the Phanatic will continue to show up at every game and will this team to victory with or without Roy Oswalt.
6. A Little Hitting Goes a Long Way
Imagine what the Philadelphia Phillies record would be if they weren't held to three runs or less in over 30 games this season. We're just asking for a little offense, not a lot.
The Phillies are 20th in MLB in team batting average at a dreadful .245 clip. They do not have a single player hitting over .300.
Things are so bad that you almost wish Charlie Manuel would let some of his pitchers hit as DH in interleague games. Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have Jayson Werth drooling over their batting average's.
The Phillies are 17th in MLB in runs scored with 341, which is more than 100 runs less than the league-leading Boston Red Sox.
Four runs is the magic number. If the Phillies offense can score four runs, there is a great chance that they will win.
7. The Back End of the 'Pen Is Your Friend
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The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen has suffered a plethora of injuries to some of their most trusted arms. Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson are all on the DL, but the Phillies young gun's have proven that there is nothing to fear.
Antonio Bastardo should be an All-Star as he has been outstanding all season long.
Bastardo has been dazzling as he's posted a ridiculous 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has a 3-0 record.
Both RH-hitters and LH-hitters are finding almost no-success against Bastardo.
His fastball seems to explode out of his hands and can consistently reach the mid-90s. He has finally seemed to control his devastating slider, and hopefully he can remain healthy and keep his dominance rolling.
Michael Stutes has proven to be another reliable option of the bullpen and his numbers are also All-star worthy.
If you told me before the season that the Phillies bullpen would look something like this: Bastardo, Stutes, Mathieson, Herndon, Carpenter, Baez and Kendrick, I would have been very worried.
Good thing our starting pitching is a threat to throw a complete game almost every start. Bastardo and Stutes have shown that they are certainly capable of closing the door if needed.
The Phillies pitching as a whole has been spectacular all season long. If they can continue to dominate, the Phillies will continue to thrive even without Roy Oswalt.