Thursday, February 26, 2009

2009 Philadelphia Phillies Odds & Predictions

After winning the NL East for a second straight season and riding the left arm of Cole Hamels to a World Series title, the question we have to ask is if they can do it again. In short, the answer is yes. It’s tough to go back-to-back, as Boston found out last year, but the Phillies appear to have the best team in the NL heading into the season, and they will not easily be taken out. The biggest obstacle standing in their way will be motivation. Jimmy Boyd breaks down the defending World Series champs in this MLB betting preview. The Philadelphia Phillies are listed at +1200 to win the 2009 World Series.

This was the only foreseeable weakness for the Phillies heading into the 2008 and it passed every test with flying colors. Not only did Cole Hamels finally stay healthy, but he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the playoffs and was named MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series. Not bad for a 25 year old. Brett Myers answered any questions about him by putting together a rock solid second half in which he posted a 3.06 ERA after the All-Star break. I’m starting to believe that Jamie Moyer will be pitching until he is 60. It would have been a perfect stage for the 46 year old to leave the game on, but why wouldn’t he come back. He led the Phillies with 16 wins in 2008 and has now posted double digits wins in 12 of the last 13 seasons. The Phillies also landed one of the Oakland’s former aces in Joe Blanton. Few can gobble up innings like this guy. He has pitched at least 194 innings in each of the last four seasons. After starting the season 5-12 at Oakland, he was a perfect 4-0 with the Phillies. Kyle Kendrick will likely be the fifth starter. He is now 21-13 in 50 big league starts.

The pen is in good hands with closer Brad Lidge, who has converted 51 straight save chances, including the postseason, dating back to 2007. The Phillies posted a 3.22 bullpen ERA in 2008, which was the best in the NL. Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre will be big for the pen as well.

The Phillies have one of the best, if not the best, batting orders in all of baseball. It starts with their big three: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard. J-Roll and Utley make up the best middle infield in the game. Rollins won the NL MVP award in 2007 and followed that up by hitting .277 with 11 homeruns, 59 RBIs, and 47 stolen bases despite missing time with injuries. Utley is a machine and is destined for a fifth straight 100-RBI season. He hit .292 with 33 homeruns and 104 RBIs despite playing with a hip injury that required offseason surgery. Ryan Howard is probably the closest thing in today’s game resembling Babe Ruth. He overcame a slow start to slug 48 homers and added 146 RBIs. Shane Victorino had a breakout season for the Phillies and was one of the major keys to them bringing home the title. He hit .293 with 14 homeruns, 58 RBIs, and 36 stolen bases. The Phillies lose Pat Burrell after nine seasons, but they replace him with Raul Ibanez, who has recorded three straight 100-RBI seasons. Ibanez hit 23 bombs and drove in 110 for a Seattle team that was pathetic in 2008. With him being protected in a stacked lineup, there’s no telling what he is capable of. Rightfielder Jayson Werth, third baseman Pedro Feliz, and catcher Carlos Ruiz round out the starting lineup.

Prediction: 1st NL East
The Mets are going to give it the old college try once again, but at the end of the day I think the Phillies will be too tough. This team has few, if any, noticeable weaknesses and I have them representing the NL in the World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies are listed at +175 to win the NL East.

Jimmy Boyd’s baseball picks profited dime bettors over $50,000 in 2007 as he recorded a MLB World Handicapping title. Beat the MLB odds with a World Champ this season.

Written by: Jimmy Boyd

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