Phillies 8, Nats 4
Phillies 4, Nats 3
Phillies 8, Nats 3
Final regular season record: 92 wins, 70 losses - National League East Division Champions
Take your pick - The Kinks or Steely Dan? I suppose the W&M boys will choose the latter given the mention of their Alma mater in "My Old School." I have long been a Kinks fan so it's their song that I am referencing in my title.
Either way, I think even Whit will agree that the NL East final standings are probably where they should be given the makeup of these two squads who after 46 years of co-existence have managed to develop quite an interesting rivalry. Heading into the Grapefruit League, there were two big questions for most of the pundits. For the Phillies, it revolved around the loss of Aaron Rowand. For the Mets, it was the impact of Johann Santana.
I wondered about the loss of Rowand not so much because of the loss of his production but the leadership. However, Shane Victorino seems to have stepped up as a team leader and along with Werth, has performed well enough offensively to mitigate the loss of Rowand's bat. With the Mets acquisition of Santana, I wasn't sure he was the final piece of the puzzle. To me the weaknesses in the pen, at 2nd base, right field and left field seemed to be formidable obstacles to the Mets' chances of returning to the postseason. Satana was heroic - especially in the 2nd half. He will probably pay dividends (in terms of making the playoffs) in the next few years but the Mets will have to address the aforementioned deficiencies this offseason for that to happen.
For the Phils, I think we are witnessing the longest journey from the basement to the penthouse in recent memory. We are now in year 11 of a rebuilding program. Many of the stars who were with us back a the beginning of the project have been gone for years - Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen - while some departed more recently - Mike Lieberthal and Bobby Abreu. Of course, 11 year rebuilding projects will see some turnover. The team is where it should be and capable of making some noise in October. I don't think the NL field is all that daunting. A World Series is probably not attainable but either way, the club has probably peaked now. There are aging players and arbitration battles to face this offseason so this may be the best Phillies team for a while. Go get 'em Phightins!