2009 Philadelphia Phillies
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2009 Philadelphia Phillies / Franchise: Philadelphia Phillies / BR Team Page
Managed by Charlie Manuel
The Phillies became the 12th major league team to have four players hit 30 home runs in a season and the second to have three left-handed batters in their quartet, with Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Only the 1929 Phillies had accomplished that.
Coming off their second World Series championship, the Phillies entered the off-season determined to retool for the 2009 campaign. As promised, General Manager Pat Gillick stepped down from his position shortly after the World Series, but remained in the organization as an advisor to Ruben Amaro Jr.. Amaro, a former Phillie who had been an assistant GM since the Ed Wade days, received the promotion to General Manager, which did not surprise many in the local media or fan base. Amaro, not afraid to make an unpopular move, decided not to re-sign long-time left fielder Pat Burrell. Burrell, who was much maligned for the majority of his stay in Philadelphia, towards the end became a fan favorite. Many fans were upset with his departure, which became apparent when Amaro signed free agent left fielder Raul Ibanez in mid-December. The Ibanez signing marked the lone change to the everyday lineup compard to the previous season's team. Though many Phillies fans would greet the move with skepticism (not only because of the loss of Burrell but also the fact that Ibanez was another left-handed bat), Ibanez quickly won the fans over with his hot play during the season's first few months. Other notable off-season moves were the re-signing of ageless starting pitcher Jamie Moyer, and importing free agent pitcher Chan Ho Park from the Dodgers. Park was promised to have the opportunity to compete for the 5th spot in nthe starting rotation with young J.A. Happ and former mainstray Kyle Kendrick. Notable departures from the previous year's team were backup outfielder So Taguchi, starting pitcher Adam Eaton, and veteran reliever Rudy Seanez. Eaton, who will be remembered as one of Gillick's few mistakes as G.M., was released at the start of Spring Training. Also, the team learned that veteran lefty specialist J.C. Romero, the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the World Series, would be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season for violating Major League Baseball's policy against performance-enhancing drugs. When Spring Training arrived, Phillies fans buzzed with anticipation at the franchise's chances at repeating as World Champions for the first time in team history.
To the surprise of some, Park won the battle for the 5th starter, which sent Happ to the bullpen and Kendrick to Lehigh Valley. When the regular season began, the Phillies faced their usual first-week doldrums, and lost 3 of their first 4 games. After a Matt Stairs tie-breaking 9th inning home run on Easter Sunday at Colorado evened the Phillies' record at 3-3, the team lost long-time broadcaster Harry Kalas the next day at Washington. Kalas collapsed in the press box just hours before the Phillies were scheduled to play the Washington Nationals. The game was played that day (a 9-8 Phillies win) but the loss of Kalas forced the Phillies to postpone their visit to the White House. A memorial was held for Kalas at Citizens Bank Park when the team returned that Friday to face the San Diego Padres. The team wore a patch commemorating Kalas for the rest of the season, and played with heavy hearts for their suddenly-lost broadcaster. On the field, the Phillies trailed the Florida Marlins in the standings for much of April. A 5-game spurt at the end of the month helped to bring their record to 11-9, respectable when compared to past Phillies April performances. Raul Ibanez's hot April helped keep the team afloat, which also aided him in quickly winning over the Phillies fans. The team's explosive offense attack was led by Ibanez, Chase Utley, and Shane Victorino in the early months. Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth would soon heat up as the summer wore on. The team took first place from the Marlins on May 5, before falling back briefly behind the Mets. In mid-May, when it became apparent that Park was more suited as a long reliever, the Phillies moved Happ to the rotation. Happ pitched extremely well in the starting rotation and would finish second to outfielder Chris Coghlan of the Marlins in the Rookie of the Year voting. Then, a torn labrum in the right hip of Brett Myers on May 27 placed Myers on the Disabled List until late August. Moreover, it effectively removed him from the rotation. The team then tried fill the loss of Myers with farmhand Antonio Bastardo and veteran Rodrigo Lopez. In addition, Moyer began to falter, posting an ERA north of 5.50 through much of the campaign. Closer Brad Lidge, coming off his perfect 48 for 48 season in 2008, began to struggle. Lidge also saw his ERA skyrocket, and blew 11 saves by season's end.
Despite having the pitching issues, when the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 9-6 on May 30 to obtain first place from the Mets, they would remain in first for every day save for July 2. Amazingly, the Phillies maintained first place during their annual June swoon, which saw them endure a 5-13 stretch to enter the 4th of July Weekend. Entering July 3, the Phillies, Marlins, Mets, and Braves all were separated by 2 games, with the Phillies and Marlins tied for 1st. The Phillies would then sweep the Mets that weekend and shortly thereafter run off a 10-game winning streak, their longest since 1991. As poorly as the Phillies played in June (11-15), they more than compensated for it in July. The Phillies finished the month with 20 wins and in the process stretched their lead over the Marlins to 6.5 games. The Mets, ravaged by injuries and coupled with poor play, never threatened again after being swept in Philadelphia during the 4th of July weekend. Amaro then addressed the pitching needs, signing future Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez to an incentive-laden contract in mid-July. Martinez, who was thought to be insurance if the club did not bring in a big name pitcher (like Roy Halladay) at the July 31 trading deadline. Instead, Amaro held onto his top prospects and traded for Cleveland Indians starting pitcher and former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee on July 29. Lee would pitch great down the stretch, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.39 ERA, including 3 complete games and 1 shutout. The deal saw the Phillies ship shortstop prospect Jason Donald, starting pitcher prospect Carlos Carrasco, catching prospect Lou Marson (who briefly came North with the club when the season began), and relief pitcher prospect Jason Knapp for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. Francisco would provide the Phillies with a much needed right-handed bat off the bench, which became instrumental with the mid-season departure of Chris Coste and poor play of Eric Bruntlett. Martinez, whose debut in mid-August pushed Jamie Moyer into long relief, also surprised the Phillies by pitching very effectively. Martinez would go 5-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 9 starts.
With the Mets being an after-thought by the end of July, and the Marlins and Braves kept at arms-length, the Phillies and their fans were in an unfamiliar position of having a comfortable September lead in the NL East. A hot spurt by the Braves in the penultimate week had some older Phillies fans flashing back to the horrors of 1964. The Braves narrowed the Phillies' lead from 8 games on September 20 to 4 on September 28. Up by 4 with 6 games remaining, the Phillies would win the next two games against the Houston Astros. Meanwhile, the Braves lost consecutive games to the Marlins, which clinched the Phillies' third straight NL East title. During the clinching game (which would become moot when the Marlins beat the Braves, 5-4, minutes before the Phillies' final out) Charlie Manuel brought in struggling 2008 hero Brad Lidge to record the final out of the Phillies' 10-3 win over the Astros. Lidge would retire Lance Berkman on one pitch, and thus began another division title celebration in Philadelphia. When the regular season ended, the Phillies finished with 93 wins, the most since the 1993 Phillies won 97 games.
As mentioned earlier, the 2009 Phillies were the first NL team to have three All-Star outfielders since the 1972 Pirates. Ibanez, Werth and Victorino all had stellar years in Phillies uniforms. Ibanez made Philadelphia fans quickly forget Burrell, hitting 34 home runs and 93 RBI, along with sporting a .272 batting average. Werth had 36 home runs and 99 RBI, and also swiped 20 bases. Victorino played great defense all year long, and hit .292 with 62 RBI. Utley and Howard also once again had stellar years; the two combining for 76 home runs. The Phillies would lead the National League with 224 home runs and 820 runs scored. Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz helped steady the team defensively. The pitching, aided by the in-season additions of Martinez and Lee, improved towards seasons' end. In addition to the stellar season of rookie Happ, Joe Blanton also had a solid season. Blanton posted a respectable 12-8 record and 4.05 ERA. Cole Hamels, meanwhile, battled inconsistency all season long, finished with a slightly below average ERA of 4.32. The bullpen struggled throughout much of the campaign, with Lidge finishing with an 0-8 record and an eye-popping 7.21 ERA. Romero returned to the team after his suspension in June, but an injury essentially shelved him for good after a July 19 appearance. Park and Ryan Madson greatly helped the back of the bullpen, though Madson struggled in save situations when used in lieu of Lidge. Moyer also pitched well in long relief, and Clay Condrey improved noticeably.
In the postseason, the Phillies would avenge their 2007 NLDS loss to the Colorado Rockies, and then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS once again. The Phillies became the first Phillies team ever to win consecutive pennants. However, the club's bid to repeat as World Champions was denied by the powerful New York Yankees in 6 games in the World Series. Still, it was season to remember for Phillies fans, who saw their team once again advance deep into October.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth
- NL Gold Glove Award: Jimmy Rollins (SS) and Shane Victorino (OF)
- NL Silver Slugger Award: Chase Utley (2B)
- 2009 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: J.A. Happ (LhP)
NLDS vs. Colorado Rockies
|1||Philadelphia Phillies 5 Colorado Rockies 1||October 7||Cliff Lee (1-0) Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1)|
|2||Philadelphia Phillies 4 Colorado Rockies 5||October 8||Cole Hamels (0-1) Aaron Cook (1-0)||2:37 p.m.|
|3||Colorado Rockies 5 Philadelphia Phillies 6||October 11||Jason Hammel (0-0) J.A. Happ (0-0)||10:07 p.m.|
|4||Colorado Rockies 4 Philadelphia Phillies 5||October 12||Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) Cliff Lee (1-0)||6:07 p.m.|
NLCS vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
|1||Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Philadelphia Phillies 8||October 15||Clayton Kershaw (0-1) Cole Hamels (1-0)||8:07 p.m.|
|2||Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Philadelphia Phillies 1||October 16||Vicente Padilla (0-0) Pedro Martinez (0-0)||4:07 p.m.|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies 11 Los Angeles Dodgers 0||October 18||Cliff Lee (1-0) Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)||8:07 p.m.|
|4||Philadelphia Phillies 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 4||October 19||Joe Blanton (0-0) Randy Wolf (0-0)||8:07 p.m.|
|5||Philadelphia Phillies 10 Los Angeles Dodgers 4||October 21||Cole Hamels (1-0) Vicente Padilla (0-1)||8:07 p.m.|
World Series vs. New York Yankees
|1||New York Yankees 1 Philadelphia Phillies 6||October 28||CC Sabathia (0-1) Cliff Lee (1-0)||7:57 p.m.|
|2||New York Yankees 3 Philadelphia Phillies 1||October 29||A.J. Burnett (1-0) Pedro Martinez (0-1)||7:57 p.m.|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies 5 New York Yankees 8||October 31||Cole Hamels (0-1) Andy Pettitte (1-0)||8:20 p.m.|
|4||Philadelphia Phillies 4 New York Yankees 7||November 1||Joe Blanton (0-0) CC Sabathia (0-1)||8:20 p.m.|
|5||Philadelphia Phillies 8 New York Yankees 6||November 2||Cliff Lee (2-0) A.J. Burnett (1-1)||7:57 p.m.|
|6||New York Yankees 7 Philadelphia Phillies 3||November 4||Andy Pettitte (2-0) Pedro Martinez (0-2)||7:57 p.m.|