Tom Verducci’s Outlook on the Phillies: A Dose of Reality?

Ladies and gentlemen, from the author of "The Verducci Effect" comes "The Philadelphia Fallacy!"

Tom Verducci is a well respected writer for Sports Illustrated and does some work for the MLB network as an analyst. In his "11 Storylines to Watch in 2011" piece for SI, Verducci only lists Derek Jeter's quest for 3,000 hits ahead of his foreshadowing words about the Phillies 2011 words. Here is his explanation behind "The Philadelphia Fallacy".

Despite the rush to frame the Phillies' rotation in historical context, the rest of the National League has not conceded to Philadelphia quite yet. For starters, what are the odds that Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels all win even 15 games and throw 200 innings? It's been done just once in the Wild Card Era (2003 Yankees: Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and David Wells).

The NL East figures to be much tighter than last year, when the Phillies were six games better than Atlanta and 17 better than Florida. The Phillies are an older team with no Jayson Werth and, for what could be a few months or more, no Chase Utley. Philadelphia's window could be closing faster than people think.


First, no one is pretending that there aren't other contenders to represent the National League in the World Series. In fact, one argument I feel is always misinterpreted is… "The moves that the Phillies made this offseason punched their ticket to the World Series nine months early." Some people did feel that way, but certainly not everyone.

I think the argument that just as many people were making was… "With the moves the Phillies made this offseason, headlined by the acquistion of Cliff Lee, it would be a disappointment for the team and its fans if the Phillies didn't win the World Series." There is a difference between those two statements. The front office unexpectedly broke the bank this offseason with a "win now" attitude, so the backlash will be there if the team doesn't… well… win now. That, combined with the injuries the team has experienced over the course of the past month, have brought Phillies fans and local and national pundits back down to Earth.

Would Verducci's words have had more of an impact if they were written a month ago? You bet your ass they would have. There were too many people still on cloud nine, probably myself included. But in this specific piece, his delivery is backed by a historical stat and a feel for how competitive the NL East will be this season.  Both points he makes are fair… and we all know the Phillies are an older team; whether the window is closing or not right now, it's certainly not going to open any more than it currently is.

So, Verducci's comments do raise an eyebrow and the words come off as an attempt to give a dose of reality for those high on the Phillies this season. But at this point, it's safe to say that the reality check came far earlier than this… for the Phillies, their fans, and others.


8 Responses

  1. Huh… is it just me or did everyone love the Giants when they had basically no bats and just 4 good pitchers and now villianize the phillies for having 4 great pitchers and 2 MVPs in the lineup? Pitching wins championships… and we have good good pitching…

  2. It’s the cool thing to pick against the Phillies. I guess we should get used to Phillies haters just like the Yankee haters and the Red Sox haters.

  3. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s March 30th. A lot is going to take place during a 162-game season.

  4. we have an older team, we have injuries. Does everyone forget that we also had 2/3 of our team injured last year, didn’t have Cliff Lee, and Oswalt wasn’t on the team until the 2nd half? We still won 97 games. These “experts” all picked the Phillies to win the NLCS last year and we see how that worked out. Before the season began the “experts” all picked the Phillies to go the World Series and we see how that worked out. I could care less about what that guy from sports illustarated says.

  5. Whatever Verdouchey. Last year was a rough year and we won 97 games. Our offense underperformed and our pitching carried us. This year we have better pitching and IMO a healthier lineup with the exception of Utley. I don’t believe that we’ll miss Werth much either. If anything, we’ll miss his defense, but his offense is replaceable.

  6. Ian J made a damn good point. The weak hitting Giants rode their pitching to their win in the World Series last season. No reason the Phillies can’t do the same, and we have more proven hitters in our lineup than San Francisco does. I guess it’s now in vogue to dump on the Phillies, cool! Go right ahead! Despite everything that’s happened this spring, I’m still confident the Phightins WILL be a force to be reckoned with in 2011. And that’s no fallacy!

  7. It’s sure as hell is the trendy thing to do to put down the Phillies right now, who are predicted by many of Verducci’s peers to go to the World Series for the 3rd time in 4 years. What an assclown, I can’t wait until we click and shut assholes like him up.

  8. Lets face reality
    1) The Phillies as well as any other team will NOT ride only 5 starters with 33 starts each over the season. The Big difference is the Phillies have more “depth” to survive one of the 4 Aces missing a few starts or 15 day DL stint.
    2) Ruben will make a Trade deadline deal to get a piece they need, whether it is a BAT or Pitcher.
    3) This pitching staff is built for the playoffs! Just get us to the playoffs is all we should be asking for.

Comments are closed.