What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
After being written off by bloggers, mainstream writers, and most of the fanbase heading into 2013, the Philadelphia Phillies have reached the peak of the mountain once again, and are World Champions for the second time in six seasons. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee finally have their rings.
Everyone thought the Phillies were too old and too injury-prone coming into 2013. Sure enough, neither was true. Halladay, Lee, and Hamels all made at least 30 starts each. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both played 140+ games. The only player who was really "too old and too injury-prone" was Delmon Young, who started the season on the DL, underperformed for a month after coming back, and was released so Domonic Brown could play right field every day for Philadelphia.
Speaking of Brown, he came into his own after being scorned by Phillies fans for most of his professional career. He finally got some steady playing time in 2013, and put together a season consisting of an .834 OPS and 22 homers, supplanting himself as the every day right fielder for the Phillies for the next few seasons. Brown got some help on offense from the aforementioned Utley and Howard, who showed glimpses of their old selves in 2013. Utley hit 21 homers and stole 24 bases to boost his stock heading into free agency, while Howard mashed 41 homers, his most in a season since 2009.
The pitching staff is where the Phillies shined, as has been typical for the team in recent years. Halladay turned in a typical Halladay performance, throwing 237 innings with a 2.96 ERA and a 5.89 strikeout to walk ratio. Lee threw 217 innings, posted a 2.53 ERA, and had a 6.21 strikeout to walk ratio. Then there's Hamels, who posted a career-best 2.69 ERA in 204 innings. That trio more than made up for the largely mediocre performances by John Lannan and Kyle Kendrick at the back-end of the Phillies rotation. In the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams formed a vicious late game pairing, with Papelbon saving a career-high 43 games and Adams dropping his ERA to 1.77 after a down year in 2012 with the Rangers.
The Phillies won 99 games in the regular season, bringing back the NL East crown to where they feel it belongs. In the playoffs, Philadelphia shut down Atlanta's offense in the NLDS, sweeping the Braves in three games. In the NLCS, the Phillies were matched up with the NL West champion and defending World Series champion San Francsico Giants. The Fightins won the series in five games, only losing game four started by Lannan in San Francisco. Finally in the World Series, the Phillies took on the Oakland Athletics, and beat their former inter-city rival in six games to win the World Series and send manager Charlie Manuel out a champion.