The Philadelphia Phillies are a solid baseball team.
Hitting is there, pitching is coming along and the defense holds its own.
The players in Philly are enjoying winning ways in that the squad has one of the best records in the National league and is coming off a World Series triumph in 2008.
Now those positives are multiplied ten fold as the squad made one of the biggest moves in baseball this season.
The team acquired Cleveland left-hander Cliff Lee last week and gave up mediocre prospects to bring him into the fold.
Lee’s marketability is clear. The former Indians ace is 7-9 with an outstanding 3.14 ERA (which was in the top ten in the AL) this season in 22 games.
In addition Lee is an innings-eater as he consistently pitches into the sixth and seventh innings of ball games and throws in excess of 100 pitches.
That success is not out of nowhere as Lee had a break-out year in 2008 winning the Cy Young award with a 22-3 record and a 2.54 ERA.
With Lee the Phillies are amazingly potent with their starting rotation. The squad can put Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Lee, Jamie Moyer and a healthy Brett Myers in the top five starting spots.
Those pitchers can give any team fits and put the club in prime position to win. All but the injured Myers have seven wins or more to their name.
Moyer, in spite of his advanced age, leads the team in wins with 10.
What Lee can do in the interim is improve Philly’s below-average pitching numbers.
The squad is in the middle of the pack in runs allowed (458), opponent’s batting average (.265), home runs allowed (134) and ERA (4.41).
In the long run Lee makes the team extremely deep in the rotation and lessens the load on the bullpen which has had its bad moments this season.
Brad Lidge, in spite of his 20 saves, has fallen way off last season’s numbers. This year he has a 0-4 mark and a 7.12 ERA. He’s given up 44 hits, 32 runs and nine home runs in 38 innings of work.
In addition he makes any move for Toronto ace Roy Halladay null and void. Halladay may be the class of the AL right now with an 11-4 record and a robust 2.68 ERA.
With Lee onboard Philly has more than enough pitching to get past the Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves and New York Mets in the NL East.
In addition the offense continues to boom with Ryan Howard slugging away with 26 home runs and 77 RBIs and the club in the top three in the majors in runs (537) and home runs (140).