The funny thing about that was only Moyer came back the next season. The rest were long gone by the time spring training rolled around.
This time around playoff experience might be one of those intangibles the Phillies have that could separate them from the back. Of the sure-thing players that will be on the 25-man playoff roster come next Wednesday, only two players have no experience heading into the postseason.
Strangely enough one of those guys will probably be the starting pitcher in Game 1.
Cliff Lee was a member of the 2007 Cleveland Indians that went to the 2007 ALCS, but he did not appear in any of the games for the Tribe because he had been optioned to Triple-A at midseason.
The next year he went 22-3 and won the AL Cy Young Award and now he is in the playoffs for the first time with the Phillies.
Needless to say he’s pretty excited.
“Charlie hasn’t told me if I’m going to be the guy out there in Game 1, but if I am I’ll be ready,” Lee said while teammates came by to pour beer over his head and down his back. “This is what you train for during the offseason—it’s to be ready for the playoffs, and I’m excited about it.”
Ben Francisco came to Philadelphia with Lee in the deadline deal that fans raved about because it solidified the top of the Phillies’ rotation. However, with Francisco as part of the trade the outfield became rock solid, too.
Serving as the team’s fourth outfielder, Francisco slugged five homers with 12 RBIs and a .259 average in 33 games. Combined with Cleveland, Francisco belted 15 homers with 45 RBIs and a .252 average in 122 games. Those aren’t bad numbers for the top right-handed hitting option off the bench.
But the addition of Lee and his possible role as the lead man in the rotation will be one of the major themes in the next week as Game 1 approaches.
Of course there are some concerns, too. Lee will make his final regular-season appearance on Thursday night while looking to regain the form he displayed in his first handful of outings he had when he joined the Phillies.
He went 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his first five starts with the Phillies, but is 2-3 with a 6.35 ERA in his last six. It’s possible, says manager Charlie Manuel, that Lee could be a little tired. After al, the lefty has thrown 226 innings this season. Only five pitchers—and one National Leaguer—have tossed more.
“I feel strong, if that's what you're getting at,” Lee said. “I feel as strong as I have all year. That's what you work all offseason for, is to prepare for a long season and hopefully something extra there at the end. I feel like I've done everything I need to do to be in a position where I'm at right now.”
The Phillies will soon find out as their prized acquisition gets into the playoffs for the first time ever.