After a thrilling playoff run, the Phillies fell just short, losing in the World Series. Like many in Philadelphia, I am still struggling with the loss. I have more feelings of what-ifs and sadness than disappointment. This team gave it everything they had, and unfortunately, they ran into a talented baseball club. There is no reason to be upset with this team. At the end of the day, the better team won. The Phillies had their opportunities to steal the series but weren’t able to capitalize.
Falling Back in Love
After more reflection, I find myself beyond happy with this season. Although it started on a rough note, the Phillies were a great team once Rob Thomson was named manager. That continued in the playoffs and what a playoffs it ended up being. The most important thing from this season is that it brought a love of baseball back to Philadelphia. This city was itching for a good baseball team again. Even in the past few seasons this team had potential but was never able to get into the playoffs. This year was different. They got in and showed how good of a team they can be.
The fans also showed how much of an impact they can have on the game and the team. During the Phillies streak of five straight division titles, Citizens Bank Park was a tough place to play in the playoffs. However, the Bank was at a whole new level this postseason. It was as if eleven years of happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, and hope all came out at once and it came out loud. That stadium was a fortress during the postseason. Hopefully, the fans will ride the momentum for next season and we will get back to selling out games.
The goal every season is to win the World Series. Even though this is the goal, it is unrealistic to expect a World Series run every year. That’s what makes losing so painful. With that being said, I still believe the Phillies have the weapons to get back to the World Series.
The lineup still needs some tweaking. Whether you like it or not, Hoskins will likely be back next season. Having Schwarber and Hoskins 1-2 needs to be changed. That is too many strikeouts and not enough speed to start a game. For starters, I would move Harper back to the three spot. He needs to get an at-bat in the first inning. It also makes the pitcher worry about facing him when the first two batters are up. Rhys should bat between the fifth and sixth spots.
Speed is needed at the top of the lineup. If they sign a shortstop that can be an option for this spot, but they haven’t signed anyone at the moment. Stott is another option to move up in the lineup. He showed potential batting leadoff this year and grew throughout the year. He showed he could grind out at-bats in the playoffs and get on base. This gets speed on the base and has Harper hitting with a man on. Regardless of what the Phillies do with their offseason, they will have a dangerous lineup.
The bullpen is another reason I believe in this team’s future. Despite the struggles in the past the bullpen had potential. Both Alvarado and Dominguez showed they could be relied upon. They proved that further in the postseason and established themselves in the Phillies bullpen. One of the Achilles heels of the past teams was the bullpen. In 2021 they led the league with 34 blown saves. After the all-star break the bullpen showed out. Alvarado showed he can be one of the most dominant relievers in the game. Dominguez also proved to be unhittable at times. Dave Dombrowski will most likely add to this bullpen in the off-season. If the bullpen can show what it did in the playoffs this is a different team.
This city will never forget the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies. There were countless moments this postseason that will live on forever. This team brought the city together during an 8-0 Eagles season and the start of the Sixers. No one even cared the Sixers were on. The Phillies were on and gave us a great month of baseball. In the end, they couldn’t secure a victory. The dream almost came true. When you remember this team remember them for the moments at Citizens Bank Park. Remember them for bringing Phillies baseball back to where it belongs and where Philadelphia belongs – in the playoffs.
Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times