To the joy of many Mets fans, The Phillies lost a heartbreaking, 1-0 game 5 on Friday night after being heavily speculated as the favorite to win it all in 2011. Despite adding payroll every year since their World Series title in 2008, the Phillies have actually continuosly had less and less success in the postseason.
After coming out of nowhere to acquire Cliff Lee this winter, the Philadelphia Phillies rotation was so stacked it would make any batter queasy. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt: The feared quartet of arms that was supposed to carry them to another championship, or so they thought. Despite creating one of the best rotations in the history of the game, they failed to make it past the NLDS, falling to the Cardinals in five games.
Since winning it all back in ’08, the Phillies have gone from losing in the Fall Classic to the Yankees back in 2009, to falling in the NLCS last season to their stumble into the playoffs and elimination in the NLDS last week. Throughout this timespan, the Phillies have added $15-30 million in payroll every single year, and have have been knocked out of the playoffs sooner and sooner. Just look at these figures:
As you can see, the extra money has not done anything to help the Phillies, if anything it has consistently hurt them. Despite adding three aces, three all-star bats and several relievers since their World Series title in 2008, Philadelphia continues to go home earlier and earlier in October.
Moneyball gets so much heat because they did not have postseason success, but once the Phillies started to become a big-market franchise, they haven’t exactly been dominant in the playoffs either. The 2002 A’s won 103 games, the second most wins in their history since moving to Oakland, yet lost in the ALDS in five games to the Twins on a budget of $41 million. The Phillies won 102 games, the most in franchise history, and lost in five games to the Cardinals in the NLDS on a budget of $173 million.
The A’s had for the most part a bunch of cast-offs and had the same result as the 2011 Phillies, who had one of the best rotations ever and a star-studded lineup. Is this evidence that the playoffs are won by chance and momentum rather than talent? Or is it just a fluke? What do you think?