After allowing the fact to sink in for a day that the Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Series Champions, I decided to take a look at the 25-man playoff roster and see how each contributed to the achievement.
Pitching was the key to the Phils success all season long, sporting a MLB 6th ranked 3.88 era; and the postseason was no different as the staff posted a 3.07 era. Hamels and Lidge were the highlights of the season, but many pitchers were needed to obtain the the prized World Series trophy.
1. Cole Hamels- the staff ace had an amazing season (14-10, 3.09 era, 1.08 whip) and was both the NLCS and WS MVP. The 24 year old lefty proved he is a big game pitcher (postseason- 4-0, 1.80 era, 0.81 whip) and can stay healthy an entire season (leading the NL with 227.1 innings pitched). Thank you Cole Hamels.
2. Brett Myers- from Opening Day starter to minor league flunky to resurgent hero, he had it all this season. He began the year as a reluctant starter, because he much preferred the "rock star" image that he portrayed while being closer, and this lead to improper training and a horrific first half (3-9/5.84) of the season. Following the All-Star break he returned from exile and bounced back to help pitch the Phils into the playoffs (7-4/3.06).
3. Jamie Moyer- lovingly called "Grand Pappy", he once again won the clinching game for the NL East crown and lead the staff with 16 wins this season...not bad for a 45 year old man. Moyer loves Philadelphia and Philadelphia love Moyer. I truly do hope he pitches until he's 50, with the Phightins of course.
4. Joe Blanton- not a popular deadline pick-up, but has since become one. Hit a homerun in the World Series and has never lost a game as a Phillie (6-0); that's damn good in my book.
Brad Lidge- 100% perfection in save situations. 41-41 in the regular season and 7-7 in the playoffs, and none of his 105 strikeouts were bigger than the punchout of Eric Hinske for the final out of Game 5.
Ryan Madson- made fun of by many and constantly doubted, he finally turned into a top-notch reliever during the final couple months of the season. Mad Dog is the 8th inning set up man, and the Phils wouldn't have won the World Series without his solid postseason performance (5 holds, 2.13 era, 0.87 whip, and 1 win).
JC Romero- the hyperactive lefty that can be a bit wild at times secured his reputation as a quality reliever (24 holds, 2.75 era) this season and proved that last year's 2nd half was no fluke. He went unscored upon in the postseason and notched 2 victories.
Chad Durbin- came out of nowhere (okay, actually came from Detroit) to have a breakout season (17 holds, 2.87 era) and despite his arm nearly falling off gave the Phils a few good appearances in the playoffs.
Scott Eyre- Lou Pinella doghouse resident and Cubs castoff (7.15 era with Cubs) turned Phils 2nd lefty jackpot (1.88 era with Phils). Eyre has already expressed his desire to return to Philly next year, and with that goatee and lefthandedness I'll gladly welcome him back.
Clay Condrey- the bullpen's last man did a respectable job this season (3.26 era in mostly mop-up duty) considering his role; after all not every member of the 'pen can be a stud. I'll never forget the double he hit to begin the huge comeback victory over the Mets.
JA Happ- late season miracle worker (September- 1 win and 2.41 era over 18.2 innings). He was a miscast reliever during the playoffs, but he was out there as the longman. Look for Happ to step into the rotation sometime soon or be dangled as trade bait.
The offense was inconsistent, but consistent enough to score enough runs (tied for 8th in MLB with 799) to get into the playoffs and win three straight series and secure the first World Series Championship in Philly since 1980. It was largely the Utley & Howard Show, but there were key contributions from all members of the offense...yes, even So Taguchi.
SS Jimmy Rollins- reigning MVP turned loudmouth, he ran the gamut of highs and lows this season. J-Roll sprained his ankle early in the season and made a visit to the DL, ran his mouth in LA calling Phans "frontrunners", was the driving force of Campaign Cheer, and yet still managed to earn back the fans' adoration...winning World Series has that effect.
RF Jayson Werth- became a member of the 20-20 club (24 hr/20 sb) and a full-time player this season. Werth supplied many memories this season, winning NL player of the week and going Yahtzee! for 3 homeruns in the same game. He may have one ugly-ass swing and look like the Wolfman, but he's a reliable starter now and had himself a helluva postseason (.309 average, 2 hr, 4 sb, .969 OPS).
2B Chase Utley- 1st half MVP (68 r, 68 rbi, 25 hr, .954 OPS) went cold after the Homerun Derby and All-Star game (45 r, 35 rbi, 8 hr, .855 OPS), but came back strong in the postseason (10 r, 9 rbi, 3 hr in 14 games). He's an all-around talent that's hard to come by in today's game, and he's now my favorite Phillie of all-time (sorry Michael Jack Schmidt). After a long season of getting beaned at the plate (27 plunks) and upturned turning double plays (102 DP's...and that's not double penetration), Chase can go back to saving kittens.
1B Ryan Howard- started the season Kelvin Scale cold (April- .168 average, 5 hr, 12 rbi, .645 OPS) and finished it MVP hot (September- .352 average, 11 hr, 32 rbi, 1.274 OPS). Was king of the mountain in MLB in homeruns (48) and rbi (146) and missed striking out 200 times by one measly whiff. He even will have a stat named after him next season, The Howard, which is when a player strikes out, makes an error, and hits a homerun all in the same game.
LF Pat Burrell- the man, the pimp, the machine. Pat Burrell should have been an All-Star this season as he hit many of his 33 homeruns in clutch spots. He had a rough time in the World Series (1-14), but he got a game-changing double in his final at bat of the series and possibly his Phillies career. You're my boy Burrell, you're my boy!
CF Shane Victorino- the Flyin' Hawaiian is a sparkplug, as his rowdy spirit is infectious (sort of like syphilis). Vic filled the void of Fence-Face Rowand admirably, leading the Phils during the regular season with a .293 batting average and spectacular defense (likely earning himself a Gold Glove). In the postseason he hit his first career grand slam off of CC Sabathia and collected 13 rbi in all.
3B Pedro Feliz- Corey and I had mixed reactions to this signing, but in the end he came just as advertised; an out-making machine with occasional pop and great defense. No matter how many double plays he grounds into next season, I'll never forget his game-winning rbi single in Game 5. Pete Happy!
C Carlos Ruiz- Chooch, or as TBS wants him to be known "Cooch", had a great World Series (.375 average/1.188 OPS). He handled the pitching staff with poise and assertiveness which lead to great results (11-3 record and 3.07 era in the postseason). His bat left much to be desired during the regular season, but he did have a small 2nd half return to form (1st half- .202 average/.573 OPS, 2nd half- .244 average/.691 OPS).
Greg Dobbs- pinch hitting extraordinaire (MLB leading and Phillies club record 22 pinch hits) and spot starter at 3rd base against righties (.296 average/.836 OPS when playing 3rd). The owner of a killer set of sideburns, Dobbs did well in the postseason with a .500 average and 1.134 OPS. He'll likely never be a full-time player, but he's a great asset off the bench and to plug into the linup sparingly. He'll go down as one of GM Pat Gillick's best dumpster diving treasures.
Matt Stairs- lovable because he's chubby and Canadian, he only spent a short time with the Phils, but managed to make magic happen with majestic moon shoot off of Jonathan Broxton and the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS.
Eric Bruntlett- this bearded bastard was a playoff hero, scoring the winning run of both games 3 and 5. During the season he hit like Bud Light, but his versatility earned him a lot of playing time and he did come through with some nice plays and timely hits.
Geoff Jenkins- Brett Favre and Jenkins both switched towns this past offseason. Favre went to New Jersey and Jenkins went to nearby Philly, both coming from way of Wisconsin. Connection? I'm not sure, but really I don't have much positives to write about Geoff other than the fact that he came up big with that pinch hit double in Game 5.5 of the World Series. Hopefully he can produce more next season.
Chris Coste- for a backup catcher he's good, and guess what, he's a backup catcher, so according to that reasoning he's good. He may have slumped horribly at the end of the season (September: 3-28 for a .107 average) losing significant playing time to the defensively superior Ruiz, but there was a time during the season where Coste was the starter and carrying the offense (April/May: 31-93 for a .333 average with 8 doubles, 5 hr, 12 r, and 16 rbi).
So Taguchi- isn't liked by WSBGM's, and being brutally honest shouldn't be. However, Gooch, the other one, did come up with a clutch pinch hit against St. Louis; but other than that he was more worthless than TJ Bohn.
Pitchers- Rudy Seanez, Adam Eaton, Kyle Kendrick, Les Walrond, Tom Gordon, Andrew Carpenter, and RJ Swindle.
Bats- TJ Bohn, Chris Snelling, Lou Marson, Tadahito Iguchi, Brad Harmon, Mike Cervenak, Andy Tracy, and Greg Golson.