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March 1 2007

All of the Phillies seem to agree that the team has the post-season in it's sights in 2007.  The question is how many wins it might take to get there.

It's pretty close to impossible to predict at this point, but here's how many games it took to win the NL East and the NL Wild Card over the past ten years:

 

Year NL East NL WC
2006 97 88
2005 90 89
2004 96 92
2003 101 91
2002 101 95
2001 88 93
2000 95 94
1999 103 97
1998 106 90
1997 101 92
     
Average 97.8 92.1

Looking at the number of games it's taken to win the NL East over the past ten seasons the answer proves to be a lot, reflecting the dominance of the World-Series-challenged Braves dynasty.  Atlanta has taken the division nine of the last ten years, winning at least a hundred games five times.  New York finally broke through last year but did it by posting an NL-best 97 wins.  Assuming that the Phils,  Mets and Braves do a good job of beating up on each other in '07, it seems unlikely that any of the three will get to 97 this year.

NL East teams have been the Wild Card winner four times in the past ten seasons.  The Marlins won it 1997 and 2003 while the Mets took it in 1999 and 2000.

Ninety wins seems like a nice number.  Five more than the Phillies posted last season.  Ninety should get them in, shouldn't it?  Probably.  Most of the time, but not all of it.  Over the last ten years, four NL teams have won 90 or more games but failed to make the post-season.

In 2004, the Giants won 91 games and saw the Astros take the Wild Card.  In '02 the Dodgers won 92 but finished two games behind the Wild Card winning Giants and six back of the NL West winning Diamondbacks.  The Giants won 90 in '01 but lost out to the Cards.  In 1999, 96 wins wasn't good enough for the Reds.  The Mets won 97, including a one-game playoff with the Reds in which Al Lieter threw a two-hit shutout to lead New York to a 5-0 win, to go to the post-season despite finishing 6 1/2 games behind the Braves.

This article talks about how Shane Victorino benefited from winter ball.

Article about Jim Ed Warden here.

Converting Brett Myers to a closer seems like a really poor idea.

There are a lot of reasons to keep Rowand.  The reasons you would have to consider not keeping him include that the bullpen is really bad and you have a cheap center fielder starting in right field.

Eude Brito is still having problems related to his car accident.  The linked article also mentions something about whether the Phillies do or don't have interest in Alex Rios or Reed Johnson, but I'm not sure I understand what the conclusion is.

This article mentions that both Rios and Johnson are a little banged up.

Josh Johnson may have a problem with his elbow that would cause him to miss significant time this season.

The Phillies topped Florida State 12-4 last night.  Utley and Dobbs homered.  Burrell was 2-for-2.  Victorino stole a base.

Kyle Drabeck allowed a home run to the first batter of the game on his way to giving up two runs in two innings.  Alfredo Simon allowed a run on two hits and a walk in his two innings.  Joe Bisenius and Jim Ed Warden both pitched a scoreless inning.  Warden struck out two and Bisenius one.  31-year-old NRI Jeff Farnsworth struck out three in his inning.

The Phils started most of their regulars, going with a lineup that went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Rowand (8) Simon (9) Ruiz.  Simon was the DH.  That may be close to what we see on opening day, with Barajas in the lineup hitting eighth.

The Phillies play the Tigers this afternoon in their first official spring training game.

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