Which one is more important in the postseason?
Which team has more useful strengths?
Philadelphia does. I'll give you five reasons why.
Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee. Three giant names in baseball. And all playing for the same team. The Philadelphia Phillies, of course.
These three put together can out pitch any other team—especially Boston. The Phillies starting rotation is awesome—Boston's is, no offense to them, excluding Josh Beckett, a little under-performing, to say the least.
Josh Beckett and John Lester are their only two pitchers who can match up against even Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick—the latter may be false—and Lester is out. Tim Wakefield and Kyle Weiland in no way reflect the skill of Philadelphia's aces.
Sorry, Boston, but that's one you've got to give to the Phils.
Boston's bullpen isn't that much better than their starting pitching. They have their closer, Jonathan Papelbon, who has an ERA 3.93—which isn't nearly as good as Antonio Bastardo's 0.82 ERA.
Piled high with pitchers who can get the job done like Michael Stutes and Scott Mathieson, the Phillies bullpen compiles an ERA of 3.28—compared to Boston's 3.54.
Another one goes to the Phightin' Phillies.
Now, I know the Phillies have some edge on pitching, but the title on this slide looks completely crazy. Who am I to challenge Boston's hitting, ranking first in runs, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage?
Saying that the Phillies hitting is better than the Red Sox would be absurd.
So that's exactly what I'm doing.
Maybe so far this season, the Phillies hitting has been behind the Rod Sox. Maybe. But the first half of the season doesn't show everything. There is something that matters more than that. And the Phillies have an advantage in that category.
How about the postseason?
Boston's hitting may look good in the regular season. But besides 2007, they really haven't had much success in the postseason. In 2009, the last year they made the playoffs, they were last with a .158 team batting average. The Phillies hit .257—and that year they mostly got to the World Series because of pitching.
In 2008, the Phillies were second with a .260 batting average, while Boston had a .240.
The past years have shown that you need great hitting in the postseason to win. Last year's San Francisco Giants had a .235 batting average—but they were an exception, because they had a 2.47 team ERA. Boston's 3.92 on the 2011 season is nowhere close.
History shows that Boston's hitting hasn't shown it's skill in the postseason. Even in 2009, when during the regular season they were sixth highest in batting average and third in runs over the whole MLB, they were last in batting average in the playoffs.
If this is any example to go by, I don't think that Boston will continue to hit as well in the postseason. Past years have shown that.
The Phillies pitchers are great. That is unquestionable. But their hitters? Said to be incompetent by some, but adequate by my standards. They've been up and down before, but they often come through in the postseason.
The combination of hitting and pitching in the postseason puts together an amazing playoff team. Even is Boston outhits Philly, the Phillies have pitching to back it up.
I'd be starting to lose confidence if I were you, Boston.
The heart of the Phillies success in the past few years was this: clutch hitting.
In the postseason last year, Carlos Ruiz was awesome in the clutch. In the regular season, he didn't heat up until near the end.
Raul Ibanez has been a great clutch hitter for the Phillies.
Chase Utley can be good when needed.
The Phillies hitters are awesome in the clutch.
We're getting closer, Boston...
Last, but definitely not least.
The one thing that every young team strives for—why we see teams dominate in the regular season, and then crumble under pressure in the playoffs.
One word: experience.
Something the Phillies have. They've got much more than Boston—than almost anyone, for a matter of fact.
They've been in the postseason for four years in a row. They've had amazing comebacks, division races that come down to the final games of the season.
They had a last minute comeback in 2007, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Why? Because they hadn't been there before.
Hadn't felt the sensation of being in the spotlight.
Having fans screaming at them every stadium they're in.
Having their whole season hinge on one pitch.
Now they have.
And if they make this postseason, their four past years are going to be an advantage above none else. They've lost in the first, second, and third rounds. They've won it all.
And they're going to use all of that to their advantage—against Boston, against any team that they face.
Watch out, Boston. Watch out, MLB.
Because those Phillies are coming into this year with a lot more than they had before. A lot more than the other teams have now.
Best apologies, Boston, but I think this is one argument you're going to have to give to the Phightins.