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Philadelphia Phillies Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

Hard to believe, as many of us watch the snow fall outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams will report soon to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Phillies Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

Major League Baseball has its answer to the Miami Heat’s Big Three. This year, the retooled Philadelphia Phillies will field one of the most formidable rotations baseball has ever seen, featuring Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Will there be any stopping the Big Four in 2011?

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
World Series odds: +200

As the San Francisco Giants showed last season, pitching is so important that you can win a championship with a below-average offense if your rotation is strong enough. By that logic, it’s no wonder the Phillies are favored to win the 2011 World Series at virtually every major book.

In Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels, the Phillies have four pitchers who posted an ERA of 3.18 or lower and struck out at least 185 batters last season. They have three Cy Young Awards between Halladay and Lee. They have a World Series MVP in Cole Hamels. It’s entirely possible that this is the greatest rotation ever assembled on one team. Except for maybe Oswalt, all four hurlers are still in their primes.

The crown jewel is Halladay, who won 21 games in his first season with the Phillies, threw a perfect game during the regular season and opened his playoff career with a no-hitter. The guy is off-the-charts good. He was under the radar as a Toronto Blue Jay but, if you asked anyone from Toronto, they knew how talented Halladay was. A friend of mine who lives in Toronto said last year before Game 1 of the NLDS: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Doc went out and tossed a no-hitter in his first playoff start. He’s that good.”

So we know the Phillies have a massive head start on the competition thanks to their rotation alone. All four guys could be “busts” this season and they’d still combine for 60 wins. But what about the rest of the Phillies’ squad?

It’s solid – but not so solid that we can just hand them the World Series trophy now. Obviously, the Phillies have power to spare with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley pacing the offense. But, for the first time in years, this lineup has lots of question marks. Howard and Utley had off years in 2010. Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins are aging.

The Phillies also lost crucial offensive contributor Jayson Werth to free agency. Domonic Brown is slated to replace him. He’s among the very best offensive prospects in all of baseball but, as a rookie, he’s hardly a sure thing yet.

Philadelphia’s bullpen isn’t as solid as it once was. Ryan Madson has been the most reliable guy overall but struggles whenever he gets closer duty. We never know what we’re getting with Brad Lidge year to year. Jose Contreras, Danys Baez and J.C. Romero are all long in the tooth.

2011 OUTLOOOK

The Phillies undoubtedly look like a powerhouse in 2011 and are deserving favorites to win the National League pennant. The Giants won it with pitching and, since the Phillies’ rotation is just as good if not better and they have a better lineup, we have to assume the Phillies will dominate this year.

However, this roster also epitomizes the old adage, “That’s why we play the games.” Looking at the lineup and bullpen, there’s still potential for plenty to go wrong. I like the Phillies to win the National League East but I’m not ready to crown them world champs before the season starts.

Prediction: 1st, National League East

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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