Keith Hernandez says it all the time. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team, and in this case the other team is the Philadelphia Phillies.
They made a brilliant off season move by replacing longtime Phillie and Mets nemesis Pat Burrell, with free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez who has been nothing short of spectacular. Ibanez has put together an MVP type season and leads the team in almost every offensive category despite missing time to the 15 day disabled list.
Their rookie starting pitcher, J.A. Happ, is the real deal and he has looked and played the part of a future ace. At 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA, it’s no wonder why every major league team wanted him in the off season. He has a killer arsenal of pitches at his disposal.
Their trade deadline deal for starting pitcher Cliff Lee may have just sewn up the division and another trip to the World Series too. MLB.com gives the scoop on his Phillies debut last night.
Cliff Lee, the 2008 American League Cy Young winner, made his eagerly anticipated Phillies debut after the Phillies acquired him and Francisco from the Indians in a trade Wednesday for prospects Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp.
Lee lived up to the hype. He threw a complete game, allowing four hits, one run and two walks and striking out six. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He went 2-for-4 with a double, which would have been a home run at Citizens Bank Park.
“I’m kind of glad I didn’t throw a no-hitter,” Lee said. “If I do that on the first try, I would have to be living up to some high expectations.”
I’m really glad he didn’t throw a no-hitter too, because it would have surely struck Mets fans right where it hurts.
Cliff Lee now forms a lethal 1-2 punch along with current ace Cole Hamels, and together they might help the Phillies win a second consecutive World Series.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has done an incredible job of building a championship caliber team with a farm system that has given them two MVP’s in Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, plus other solid players in Chase Utley and Ryan Madson.
He has made great acquisitions for gritty players like Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz and Shane Victorino, who most considered marginal players at best.
You gotta give their whole organization credit from the hot dog vendors all the way to the man signing the checks. And while Phillies fans leave a lot to be desired, the Phillies organization is without question, a first class operation.