Phillies look for repeat success in 2008

The Philadelphia Phillies hope their scorching streak at the end of last year’s regular season will carry over to the 2008 season. After finishing out the year strong and capturing the division title, the Phillies have high hopes for the 2008 season. However, the thumping they received at the hands of the eventual 2007 National Champion, the Colorado Rockies, showed that they have some work to do.

To make the playoffs this year, the Phillies have to make it past some tough competition within their division. The New York Mets are widely regarded as a powerhouse favorite to win it all. The Phillies are hoping that beyond the acquisition of All-Star pitcher Johan Santana, the Mets won’t have what it takes to win the title. Not to be overlooked, the Atlanta Braves, while losing Edgar Renteria and Andruw Jones, are hoping the purchase of pitcher Tom Glavine from the Mets will boost their chances. The Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins, while not considered playoff favorites, are always stumbling blocks for the Phillies.

However, the Phillies knew they couldn’t rest their 2008 season hopes on a Mets or Braves downfall. While the losses of players such as Freddy Garcia, Tadahito Iguchi, Jon Lieber, Abraham Nunez and Aaron Rowand appear to be harmful, acquisitions such as Geoff Jenkins, Brad Lidge and So Taguchi will hopefully balance out the losses.

The key to the Phillies 2008 success will not only rely upon the big bats of 2006 N.L. MVP Ryan Howard and 2007 N.L. MVP Jimmy Rollins, but on the starting pitching of Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, both vital pieces of the Phillies 2007 N.L. East Division Championship. The acquisition of closer Brad Lidge has given the Phillies the flexibility to move pitcher Brett Myers back into the starting rotation.

Avid Phillies fan, senior Scott Lederer expressed his concern: “I have high expectations for the season, but I’d be lying if I said there are parts of their game that don’t make me nervous.”

“The Mets will win it all,” first-year Jarrod Wiggins confidently predicted. Wiggins can join the bandwagon that appears to acknowledge the Mets as the pre-season favorites. However, no one is expecting the Phillies to roll over and die. Lederer believes that flying under the radar could be good for the Phillies.

“I wouldn’t count on the Mets collapsing like they did last year, but I wouldn’t count the Phillies out,” Lederer said.

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