The fifth series that we're looking at is the one chance Astros fans have to see the World Champions at Minute Maid Park. The Phillies steamrolled their September opponents, en route to finishing the month 17-8 and winning the NL East. A city known for post season heartache captured their first crown since Dr. J and the Sixers won the NBA Championship in 1983.
This is a club that has everything a..well...World Series winner needs. An offense that can crush the ball, led by spark plug and defensive whiz, Jimmy Rollins. Down the line there are very few weaknesses- Utley, Howard, and the young Jayson Werth should provide all the run support a good pitching staff could ask for. Gone from left field is former mainstay Pat Burrell, and in his place slides Raul Ibanez. If nothing else, the 38 year old Ibanez will appreciate being on a winner, after spending his entire career in either Kansas City or Seattle.
Their closer is extremely familiar to Astros fans. Brad Lidge is a solid individual who went through baseball hell in his time with the Astros, but emerged a Champion after last season. In close game situations, it will be exciting to see Mr. Lidge enter to closer out games against his former mates. The rest of the bullpen, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madon, JC Romero and others make up a backend as strong as any in baseball, as their 2008 seasons indicate:
This is a key series for the Astros, in that it leads off a ten game homestand at the beginning of a brutal September. Hopefully Houston can learn something from this series...because they'll be seeing the Phils again to close out the season in Philadelphia.