We're not ones to blast folks for making predictions.  No one, not you nor I, can accurately predict sports.  If we could, we would all be rich.  But when someone's prediction is so deeply seeded in moronic logic, well, then we're going to tear them a new one.  

Joe Sheehan, an experienced baseball writer for, gave his top ten predictions for 2011 and said the Phillies will win less than 96 games.  We dissect.

The Phillies will win fewer than 96 games. 

Oh goodie, do tell us how, Mr. Joe.

That figure is the current line for the Phillies' 2011 win total set by your finer, ahem, establishments.

A gambling man, you say.  Go on.

It's easy to win December: make the biggest trade, sign the biggest free agent, lose the least talent, and no one is shredding their elbows or having trouble locating their fastball or just plain feeling old. It's harder to win September, when stat lines give way to baseball games, bad bounces, human frailty.

Right.  That same human frailty suffered by this current group of core players that has led them to a record of 72-38 in September (.654 winning percentage) since 2007?  

It was three years ago that pundits — myself included — were raving about the Tigers' 1,000-run offense in the wake of their trades for Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera. That team won 74 games, finished last and fell just 179 tallies shy of a grand.

So let's just throw out that four-consecutive division title track record, shall we?

This isn't to say that the Phillies aren't the best team in the NL or won't win the NL East for the fifth year in a row.

Woop, I'll remove it from the trash.

It's merely an acknowledgement that despite adding Cliff Lee, they're an aging team that had some injury and performance issues last year… 

That "aging team" won 97 games last year – the most in baseball- despite suffering from injury and performance issues (which were tied to said injuries).  Imagine if they were even remotely healthy. Off the top of my head, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz (that's the entire infield), Shane Victorino, Ryan Madson, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, and others all spent time on the disabled list last year.  Other than Rollins and perhaps Lidge, none of those injuries can even remotely be attributed to their age.  Ankle sprains, torn tendons, bone fragments, concussions- none of those arise from normal wear and tear.

and whose bullpen is always an adventure.


Brad Lidge: 27 saves, 2.99 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Ryan Madson: 64/13 K/BB ratio, 2.55 ERA, 1.03 WHIP


It's a lot to ask these four starters — three of whom will be at least 32 years old next year — to carry the roster. Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels have combined for more than 60 wins in any season just once, in 2008.

They also played for the Blue Jays, Indians, and Astros those years.  In fact, no one is asking anything of them.  Just go be yourselves- and by default they will be the best pitching staff of all-time.

The 1993 Braves had four starters younger than all four of the Phillies' hurlers, and they made 142 starts and racked up 75 wins for a 104-win team. That's the gold standard in the free-agent era, and it will remain so a year from now.

And they lost to the Phillies, all because of the human frailty you described in the first paragraph.

The Red Sox will win the World Series. Paralleling the Yankees' path in 2009, the Red Sox add the top free agent and top trade target in the game, making themselves significantly better after an injury-plagued off-year. The additions help spur them to the best record in baseball and a romp through the playoffs, yielding a third World Series championship in eight seasons.

But… but you just said December acquisitions didn't matter?  And why is their injury plagued year not indicative of a larger problem, like you said it was with the Phillies?  That best record in baseball?  The injury plagued Phillies had it last year.

What a dumb piece from a supposedly knowledgable writer.