It’s opening day today for the Phillies. The buzz around the team is ridiculously high right now and for good reason. The addition of Cliff Lee to the rotation was slightly unexpected but absolutely amazing. With all of the positive energy around the team I thought I’d be a big old jerk and write about the Phillies biggest loss this offseason.
No, I’m not talking about that prick Jayson Werth. I’ll be the first to say that I loved him the last couple years but I have absolutely no respect for a player who gives up any chance of winning just for money. The Phillies got Cliff Lee not because they gave him the most money, but because he wanted to be here and he knew he has a great chance to win here. That’s not the point of this article though.
Let me take you back to a moment completely unrelated to the Phillies. 2004 ALCS Red Sox down in the series 3-0 and in the game 4-3 in the 9th to the Yankees. Kevin Millar draws a walk from Mariano Rivera. Dave Roberts comes in to pinch run. Rivera throws over 3 times and then Roberts steals the first pitch Rivera throws. Bill Mueller knocks him in, Bo Sox end up winning in 12 innings, come back win the ALCS and then the World Series. That one stolen base was enormous. It took the 2004 Boston Red Sox team from being the team who got swept by the Yankees in the playoffs to the team who ended the 2nd longest World Series drought at the time. This is where I bring it back to the Phillies…
People tend to think 1st base coaches could just be any old Joe Schmo, and sometimes they are right. It is hard to be a 1st base coach who has a serious impact on the team, but if its negative it’s a killer and if it’s a positive impact it can change games, series, and really whole seasons. The last 4 seasons, the Phillies led the league in stolen base percentage every single year, including the 2007 season where they were successful on a major league record 87.9%(138-157) of their stolen base attempts.
Losing Davey Lopes as a 1st base coach is going to be the biggest loss of the offseason for the Phillies. Who is going to replace Lopes? Sam Perlozzo. Last years 3rd base coach is making the move over to 1st. It is going to be interesting to see how he does. If the Phillies can still steal bases extremely effectively, then it will prove to be a really unimportant loss, but if say out of 157 attempts (just like the 2007 season), the Phillies are only successful say 120 times, that is 18 less outs available to get hits and the Phillies just wont have runners in scoring position quite as much, which could be really bad.
Phillies prediction: 162-0