Jimmy Rollins and the core of the Philadelphia Phillies will fire up their engines anew on Thursday afternoon. Will the October magic of 2008 return after postseason setbacks to the last 3 World Champions? Is this the next logical step in their evolution as a cohesive unit? Is there another team with a dominate hub, who is a worthy opponent?
I will publish after every game that is not washed out. The updated format is in 4 sections. Cap-Size Hindsight features highlighted elements, good and bad, from the last battle through a variety of mostly house-themed devices. They are: Penthouse Occupancy with the Crystal Champagne Toast, Cholley’s Doghouse, the Outhouse, the Glass House, Miniature Mansion, the Kangaroo Court House, Fun House Of Mirrors, Rally Tal & Cap, Full House Warming, the Big House Key for The Rising Son, Animal House, the Frat House and others. Nitecap Insight, Precap Pitch, and The Apocalyptic Horsemen are the 3 other parts.
The Red Nucleus:
It began with J-Roll’s full-time arrival in 2001, and his desire revealed the first beats of life heard throughout the clubhouse. Four spring camps later, Chase Utley set the bar for work ethic, which the other players could use as a yardstick. The following summer Ryan Howard dropped anchor at first base permanently, and delivered the inspiration of a champion. In 2007, Cole Hamels toed the rubber for April contests and he flourished with his invincible mindset. The absolute center of Goliath was born and captured NL East flag one with a mammoth comeback. After the sweep, the Big Piece went to each man and announced: Never forget the sickening feeling of this NLDS elimination. They did not experience that heart-wrenching emptiness in 2008 after racking up the requisite 11 triumphs out of just 14 October attempts.
The dynamic of the central characters with their annual contending drive is the unique component for greatness that appears over an extended timeframe. The Big Red Machine had Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. The late-90’s Yankees were comprised of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Steve Carlton and Larry Bowa stormed through the late 70’s. There were 2 other mega winners in the 1970’s era. The A’s showcased Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers and Vida Blue. The Dodgers were piloted by Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey and Don Sutton.
Since the 2008 banner was raised, the victorious gladiators in the gold-trimmed uniforms found a way to the ’09 Fall Classic. They have gone from the slug-it-out offense to the ace-heavy rotation. They survived the injury bug in the last 2 campaigns. For 2 consecutive summers, we have entered a new 162 without the meat of an attack. We needed to towel off the worry after Opening Day without a 3 and a 5 around the Rynosaur. On Thursday, there will be no 3 or 4 in front of Hunter Pence at Pittsburgh.
Rose, Bob Boone and Tug McGraw were significant cogs in the ‘80 title run, because they strengthened that core. Doc Halladay, Cliff Lee, Pence, and Jonathan Papelbon are this squad’s version of major bolstering pieces. When a franchise wins 102 games and has a .649 percentage over 1.5 years, that group has a strong chance of wearing another ring. On July 22 of the 2010 season, Polly Polanco blasted a battle-deciding missile in the 11th inning at St. Louis. This band of brothers went 47-19 to finish that campaign, and continued on with a 102-60 record: That equals 70 games over .500 (149-79). Is this the year that Goliath triumphs over Gotham for the final out in October?
Tip Of The Cap Communiques:
Hello, here is a warm welcome to all Facebook friends, including everybody in these groups: Phillies Fans of Spring Training, Phillies Inphielder, and Tal’s Handy Caps. Many Phillies faithful frequent these sites, and I encourage my readers to visit all 3 groups listed in the link section below.
He only had 2 bad results last summer. One came within 1 strike of 7 total and 3 all-earned runs, but his replacement allowed a 3-run bomb with 2 inherited runners. Doc, however, couldn’t finish off Prince Fielder before exiting. The other was the heat-stroke debacle in Chicago on the hottest day of ‘11.
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He has a history over the last 4 years with season-eating injuries, and came within 2 outs of only 130 frames in 2011. He was a highly sought after top-of-the-staff arm, but has not been the same since leaving Baltimore.
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Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 for the less adventurous.
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The preview of the next Nitecap Insight (1st paragraph) will be Wednesday night at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook; it is Nitecap Insight: The Rematch. Join for notification of future glimpses, which will be frequent. You’ll also know immediately when my isportsweb post goes up. It might be worth your while because I have seen delays of 2 hours on feeds.
Check out my previous publication (Competitive Balance), and the 17 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo.
Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. The 2012 MLB 5 will also include the Giants, Halos, Brewers and the Yankees or Cardinals, depending on their health. I will alternate the 2012 ERA For The NL East and the 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. A site format change slightly distorted the original ERA postings (#161 is less so), but the new table–like the ones featured above–will be used for the ERA publications. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page, because feeds are erratic at times.