The Braves in 2009: Is a wild card such a wild notion?

Here’s where I say something and you tell me how smart I am. (Or, as is more often the case, how smart I’m not.) I’m saying the Braves will win 89 games and claim the National League’s wild card. I’m saying they’ll finish second to the Mets. In sum, I’m saying better days are at hand.

I know, I know. I thought the same last spring and was in egregious error. But last spring I’d bought into the Braves’ message of hope. This time I’m operating on something closer to faith.

I’m not banking on 40-year-old pitchers to call back the years. I’m banking on Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez to do what they always do. I’m banking on Jordan Schafer and Tommy Hanson to provide the sort of lift that went missing in 2008. I’m banking on Jeff Francoeur to hit .285.

I’m banking on the bullpen to be quite good. I’m banking on Kelly Johnson’s second-half surge to have been more than a mirage. I’m banking on Yunel Escobar showing he can keep his head and play to his gifts. I’m banking on Casey Kotchman to be better than we Atlantans have yet seen.

I’m banking on Kenshin Kawakami to win a dozen games. I’m banking on Chipper Jones to get hurt no more than twice, neither time seriously. I’m banking on Brian McCann to win the MVP.

I know, I know. These haven’t been the best of times for anybody doing any sort of banking, but I like what Frank Wren did over the winter and I like the way his team has performed in the spring. I sense a new spirit around these Braves, a keener edge.

Almost all the old faces are gone. Tom Glavine isn’t seen as anything more than a seat-warmer for Hanson, whereas last season he was regarded as a heart-of-the-rotation guy. And if you have to build your batting order around an older guy, it helps to know that guy just won a batting title. And the best news of all: Mike Hampton is someone else’s concern. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

I like the Braves to win 89 and the wild card — yes, it took 90 victories to do the deed each of the past two seasons, but 89 was the required number in 2005 and 2006 — because I see the Phillies as primed for a plunge. I don’t see that rotation holding up. The Mets are another matter. The Mets are going to be really good. (K-Rod and Putz in the ‘pen, no more Willie Randolph in the dugout, no more icky Shea Stadium).

But the belief here is that the Braves will themselves be stout enough to play into October. Stout enough to win the Series? Probably not. But once you get there … it’s a crapshoot, right?

I’m guessing y’all have some beliefs of your own, and I’d be obliged if you’d share them. And come October I’ll look back on this little post and see who knew what way back when. Deal?

169 comments Add your comment

Grant Crowe

April 2nd, 2009
8:15 am

I really like this squad breaking camp. They may not have the flashy names on paper but thats why the games are played on the turf. IF Frenchy hits above 280 and IF Schafer and Hanson are more than hype this team WILL win the East. I’m 22 years old so I’m used to these guys winning most of my life. But this team has that swagger they used to have and i truthfully feel like the team and the city is HUNGRY for some fall baseball. GO BRAVES

P.S. Can you get me a job @ the AJC?? lol I’m a journalism major at Georgia State University and I will work for free just to get that on my resume one day. Come on bloggers give me a chance! ; )

Grant Crowe

April 2nd, 2009
8:16 am

Enter your comments here


April 2nd, 2009
8:18 am

Sorry Mark you are way off base here.These Braves are a .500 team at best.The bullpen will break down.The offense will be anemic enough to put pressure on the starters.Jeff won’t break .250.

This team is mediocre until decent ownership takes over.


April 2nd, 2009
8:22 am

I think you’ve got them pegged pretty well. Hanson looks like at the very least a good insurance policy for the rotation and hopefully much more. I like to think Francouer will be closer to 2005-6 form than 2007. The bullpen may be pretty strong, especially if they can stay on the bench until the seventh inning. There’s reason behind what you foresee and I share your conclusion.


April 2nd, 2009
8:29 am

I don’t think it’s a pipe dream. I think this is a real baseball team, not the geriatric feel good story of last spring. I’m more amped for Braves baseball than I’ve been since the turn of the century. But McCann to win the MVP? That’s a pretty strong statement for April, given the competition. All-Star? Yes. MVP? We’ll see. Bring back The Chief!


April 2nd, 2009
8:35 am

Dear Mr. MB–forget last year, Mr. MB. Nobody’s perfect. This year you’re right on the money banking on all them there guys. Your pal, Leland.

some sense

April 2nd, 2009
8:43 am


This is good and all, BUT (VOLTA) when are you going to weigh in w/ commentary re. college basketball hires (Kentucky) and searches (UGA).


April 2nd, 2009
8:43 am

Outside of Santana, I don’t think that the Mets have that great of a starting rotation. I think if Utley isn’t healthy the Phillies will have issues. The Braves have some question marks as well. My point is the division is wide open. The West is shadey and I don’t know what the Central will be like this year outside of the Cubs. I think a wild card is definitely a reachable goal.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
8:44 am

Grant, the job market is, shall we say, challenging. Good luck nonetheless.

“Geriatric feel-good story of last spring” — Matty B., you should be a journalist. That’s a nice line.

matt r

April 2nd, 2009
8:47 am

Francoeur is the most important story to watch this season… the rookie contributions will be gravy.


April 2nd, 2009
8:48 am

I think this team has a lot potential. The rotation is solid and deep and the hitting – while it doesn’t have the power or star-power of the Phillies or Mets – will be good. I just have a feeling that McCann will have a monster season and call me crazy, but I think Francouer is going to turn the corner and have a productive season (I’m thinking .278 BA, 106 RBI’s, 28 HR’s).

I reall don’t think the Mets are going to be as good as people always seem to think they are going to be. They have good hitting, but aside from Santana their pitching staff is weak and they have no depth. Everyone is high on the BP, but Putz is not the guy he once was and K-Rod isn’t as good as people think he is.

I agree with you Mark about the Phillies – they are going to have a down year. The Marlins on the other hand are going to be tough. They will put up a good fight all year and while they may still finish 4th they are going to make it tough on Braves all year.

Now if we can just take care of business against those pesky Nats. If we can’t beat up on the Nats this year we will be in trouble.

My prediction – Braves win NL East and win 91 games. Braves face the Twins in the World Series and win in 6.

Oh Smoltzie where art thou???

April 2nd, 2009
8:52 am

I agree with most of what you said and you really do have to look at this Braves season with some optimism. It is really easy to pick out the negative stuff. But hey, lets face it, you have to look at your teams optimistically starting the season or you would drive yourself crazy way to early.

I agree with McCann being MVP eligible. He should have a great season. Tom Glavine is just keeping Hanson’s seat warm. Time for a new Tommy in the rotation. Hanson will be up before the All Star break. Chipper will have a solid season batting above .300 but he won’t win another batting title this season. KJ will have a great year…his second half last season was no fluke. Frenchy should bounce back nicely…not saying he is going to be an all star this season but I think he will surprise people. Those Gwinnett county boys are resilient.

Prediction – Braves win a Wild Card spot and lose in the NLCS.


Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
8:53 am

Nobody’s perfect, Leland, but I’m as imperfect as it gets. Thanks again.


April 2nd, 2009
8:57 am


If my fact checking is correct – McCann would be the first Catcher to win the National League MVP since Johnny Bench.

From your pen to god’s ears Mr. Bradley.


April 2nd, 2009
8:58 am

Let me get this out of the way, and then I’ll tell you what I think of the article. I love Tom Glavine. I supported and defended him when he left for the hated Mets, cringed when he got so many boos on his first appearance back in Atlanta, and even watched his 300th victory in that horrible uniform with pride and tears. I’m glad he’s going to finish his career with the Braves. HOWEVER, I’d feel much better with John Smoltz in that fifth slot when he comes back in June (With Glavine holding the position down until then, and a spot starter, long-relief type afterwards).

About the article… my personal belief is that the Braves are slightly better than last year, but are still in the same position too. Meaning, they need an awful lot to go right. Sure, the starting rotation is more durable, but it’s still built on a lot of hope, much like last year. The Braves hope that Javier Vasquez will somehow turn into more than what he’s been his whole career, which is a .500 pitcher at best. They hope that Kamakazi has simply flown under the radar overseas for a decade, and really is capable of being a good major league pitcher. They hope Tom Glavine can still be crafty enough to win 11-13 games. Again, it’s better than last year durability-wise, but other than that, the starting rotation is in the same “hope” situation it was last year. And speaking of all this talk of Lowe and Vasquez being so durable… well, I hope there has been a lot of knocking on wood going on.

The lineup is also littered with question marks. Who knows what kind of season French will have. Who knows if Schafer is ready to lead-off and play center. Who knows if Chipper will play more than 120 games. I could go on and on.

To sum up, yes, I think the Braves will be better. And, if most of the question marks fall into place, they will contend not only for the wildcard spot, but the division. If most of them don’t? This year will be quite similar to last year. A more likely scenario is that some things pan out, but not all, and the Braves finish with 83-85 wins, well out of the playoffs.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
8:59 am

I grew up 64 miles from Cincinnati, Ryno. That Johnny Bench was pretty darn good. But B-Mac ain’t bad himself.

Pretty darn good? OK, I understated. Bench was the best ever to play the position.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
9:01 am

A basketball note to Some Sense: I thought Calipari was a pretty good hire for UK. People up there are excited. But it must be noted the same people were excited when Billy G. rolled in two years ago.

As for Georgia: Let’s wait and see if Damon Evans brings someone back from Detroit.

Ron Roberts

April 2nd, 2009
9:03 am

When your AAA team has a rotation that could compete with the Royals or Mariners’ starting five, you’re in good shape. When your manager and GM agree you’re well-enough to trade off your incoming starting CF to make room for the kid from AA to play, something tells me the guy they’ll play there is pretty special (he is). The addition of Garrett Anderson, coupled with the rejuvination of Matt Diaz, the expectation that Casey Kotchman is now comfortable with the Braves and not distracted by family matters (as he was shortly after he arrived with Atlanta last year) – things look well for this squad. Jeff Francoeur – by ALL accounts – has re-tooled his swing and listened to guys like Chipper, TP and McCann (three names that seem to be synonymous with quality ABs); that can only mean he’s going to rebound.

Yeah, there are “ifs” with this team, but many of those “ifs” have good contingency plans. Find me (m)any other teams that can tout that. I think this team is built for the long haul, and see a “challenge” for the division, and a near-certain lock for the wild card, if nothing else.


April 2nd, 2009
9:12 am

Mark, your predictions are near spot-on but with this reliable pitching staff, strong bench, and up and coming lineup, I see the Bravos winning as many as 94 games. While I believe the Phillies rotation below average, I don’t think the Mets Five-Man is all that strong either. A bullpen is only as good as the starters. K-Rod and Putz will have average seasons as a result of immense wear and tear from extra innings left to them by the starters. Here’s to the Braves return to NL prominence! GO BRAVES!

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
9:14 am

Josh, you must be new here. My predictions are never “near spot-on.” Near-crazy is more like it.

But thanks all the same.


April 2nd, 2009
9:15 am

Welcome to this years feel-good-story.The Braves will return to their winning ways.With all this young talent I’m really excited.Going to be a fun season!

Keeping It Real

April 2nd, 2009
9:17 am

The Gwinnett Braves will be more exciting than the Atlanta edition if and when Heyward, Hanson and Freeman are playing there. Despite the Braves success in spring trainning, they do not have the overall talent,speed and power to sustain themselves against the Mets,Phillies,Cards,Cubs,Brewers,Diamondbacks,Dodgers(Marlins???) over 162 games and the dog days of summer. I do like the spunk and fire in Schafer. Anderson was to laid back. Assuming that they make no stupid trades, the Braves will be contenders next year when the youngsters mature.

Darrin "The Vent King"

April 2nd, 2009
9:18 am

You say playoffs and I say- WHO’S BATTING CLEANUP? Where’s the beef? If this offense couldn’t put enough numbers WITH Tex to keep up with the Phillies, how will they do it without him? Until I see the answer to that AND a bullpen that doesn’t break down, I find it hard to see the Braves making the playoffs. I really hope they are better this season, but seeing will be believing for me…



April 2nd, 2009
9:22 am

Mark, Geithner has nothing on you when it comes to banking and betting on the come but I can see your predictions coming to the fore if the individuals and teams plays up to its potential in the areas you outlined.

Staying injury free, or being kept at a minimum will, of course, be another key factor if the Braves are to prevail in 2009. I like the fact that you, Mark, put it out there for all to see and comment on. Good job.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
9:25 am

Thanks, OutsideRobber. What can I say? I love predictions. If I didn’t, I’d have given up making them after being wrong for the thousandth time.


April 2nd, 2009
9:38 am

…wildcard,playoffs,forget about it. They better find a new pitching coach,are by the all-star break they will be way back.


April 2nd, 2009
9:39 am

Mark, your predictions would be great, but they represent a “best case scenario” for this 2009 team as currently constructed.

Just think, if one or two things on your “list” doesn’t happen, they’ll be a .500 team or there about.

I’ve been saying, expect a competitive .500 team and anything else in “year 1″ of the reloading plan is gravy.

Still think it’ll be 2010 and beyond, when the Braves will return to the top of the NL East.


April 2nd, 2009
9:44 am

Luck is always a factor in a good season, the Braves have had their share of bad luck lately, so they are due some good luck. If they are lucky and everyone stays healthy (healthy for Chipper is a very relative term these days, it does not mean 162 games for him) I too agree that they have a good shot at making the play offs this year. Some of the young guys really need to have good seasons offensively as well.
Antoher thing, sure the Mets look good, but you know they always choke during the stretch to the playoffs, haven’t they been put out of the playoffs the last day of the regular season the past two seasons?


April 2nd, 2009
9:48 am

Thanks for the optimistic outlook Mark!!!

I agree that the Braves will win the wild card but I don’t think the Phillies fall on their face. I see the Muts taking the division and we will be in a dogfight with the Phils into the last week of the season.

The one guy I’m looking for to really show up this season is Kelly Johnson. He has always been a guy with great potential if he could get over his streaky nature. He’s finally fealing settled into his position and that should allow him to be more comfortable on defense, thus on offense. By the end of the year I would be surprised if he isn’t one of the most productive, and most valuable guys on the team.

I disagree slightly on Yunel. I see him dropping off a touch this season but still having a decent year. Once he learns to control that fire and use it to his advantage he will be one of the best shortstops in the NL. But I feel that we are still a year or so away from that.


April 2nd, 2009
9:49 am

I like to be optimistic, but a dose of reality is due. Start with Brian McCann. Catchers don’t win a MVP playing in four of five games. They can’t get the power numbers they need. Add mediocre defense, and McCann has no shot. He’s a good player, not a great one.

Thinking the Braves bullpen will be good requires as much faith as thinking last year’s starting rotation would be good. That’s blind faith. Gonzalez isn’t ready to be consistent, Soriano never has been, and Moylan is an early return from surgery. At least one of the three won’t be able to go to the post regularly and be effective. If two of the three can’t, all bets are off. Who would be shocked if all three struggle?

Move past that and there are question marks at almost every position:

1. Can Kotchman produce the number of runs this team has to have from 1B?

2. After two good months hitting in two years, can Kelly Johnson hit well enough for a season to offset his defensive liabilities? .280, 20, 90 seems about break even.

3. Can Chipper play four days in five?

4. Can Diaz and Anderson in left produce the number of runs this team has to have from LF?

5. Will Schafer contribute or will be have a typical rookie season, with stretches of inconsistency in the field and at bat?

6. Does Francouer have the mental toughness to match his physical gifts?

7. How often can Lowe, Vazquez, Kawakami, Jurrjens, and Glavine leave the game after six having allowed three runs or less? How often will the Braves have a lead unless it’s two runs or less?

8. How long will it take for Hanson’s herky-jerky motion to explode his elbow? Great movement comes at a cost.

The Braves are solid at shortstop and catcher. They have a good blue-collar starting staff, that will keep them competitive, but watch for lots more one run losses.

The Braves haven’t rebuilt this team, they’ve put on band aids and crossed their fingers. The team isn’t built for long-term dominance, it’s built to challenge .500. That will keep butts in seats and eyes on screens most of the year. This will be four in a row. That’s a trend.

J Dub

April 2nd, 2009
9:54 am

Good article Mark! I agree on almost all points. I think that McCann will distance himself from the other catchers in the league this year. Francoeur will rebound and contribute the way we expect him to. Jordan Shaffer will need a little time to get his feet wet but will finally give us the production that we need in CF since Andruw went AWOL. Chipper is Chipper. Garret and Diaz should make for a pretty nice platoon in left. Kelly will be in the top 4 NL 2B. We have a deep bench with Ross, Norton, Blanco, and Prado (who I think is very underrated). I am really excited about the youth movement that we have decided to make. We have lots of talent on the roster and in the minors i.e. Hanson, Shaffer, Freeman, Heyward.

I love the rotation. Will love it even more when Hanson gets there. The question mark for me is Kenshin. I worry about his durability because of the difference in the length of the season. He might have been averaging about 24 or 25 starts in Japan where here, a good starter can average 34-35. The last time he pitched over 200 innings I beleive was 7 years ago. Lowe and Vazquez were nice additions and surely took some pressure off of Glavine. The pitcher I am most excited about is Jair. I think he is a stud in the making. He could give us the much needed 200+ innings, 15+ wins, and rival Lowe for K’s. If the bullpen can stay healthy, they will be very good. The biggest concern on the roster I have right now is Kotchman. I know that is defense is there but we need some offense from first base. I miss McGriff and Gallaraga. Kotch is no Tex. I think as a whole, we will be in the top 3 in NL defense this year.

As for further predictions, I believe the Mets and Braves will fight for the East and Wildcard. I am not ready to concede the East crown but the Mets will be tough. As for the rest of the playoffs, I am going to give the Dodgers the nod in the West again. The Cards and Cubbies will battle it out in the central with the Cards taking that division. The American league will be the Sox and Yanks in a battle for the east (surprise surprise) with the Sox upsetting the expensive Yanks for the division. Yanks will get the wild card. I might regret that prognostication. The West will be the Angels and the Tigers will live up to their 2008 billing and come from the Central.

Your AL MVP will be Miggy Cabrera and your NL MVP will be Albert Pujols. Not much risk in that NL pick but he is a stud! Hanson will make it to Turner field in enough time to compete for NL rookie of the year but Jordan Zimmerman and Shaffer will be the front runners with Zimmerman probably getting the nod. AL rookie of the year will be David Price. (Maybe Matt Wieters). I’ll give you a name to remember for the upcoming 2010 season for rookie of the year. Buster Posey!! Gonna be a stud. Your comeback players of the year will be Mr. Frenchy and Victor Martinez in their respective leagues. Cy will go to Cy Cy Sabathia and Mike Hampton (KIDDING), really Johan Santana.

I believe I have put my foot in my mouth quite enough.

Lash La Rue

April 2nd, 2009
9:55 am

Mark, I hope you are right but the bullpen is still a problem (two stoppers still hurting?). Gwinnett Braves will pack’um in…thats great. Keep up the great job Mark.


April 2nd, 2009
10:03 am

Enter your comments here


April 2nd, 2009
10:04 am

Is this the same Mark Bradley that gave us reason after reason to why UGA will win the National Championship and after Bradley “threw Georgia under the bus” because they did not win it all? PLEASE DO NOT PICK THE BRAVES! Don’t jinx us AGAIN!!!


April 2nd, 2009
10:06 am

This might be the best team they had for a years. Many question marks. Still. I agree. I do feel good about these guys. Mark. I hope your right.

Jack G.

April 2nd, 2009
10:10 am


You are looking at the glass and see that its half full—-but it is half empty.
The weakest part of the Braves is Bobby Cox. Unless he has changed his way of thinking (3 run homer) this year will be a repeat of last year.
I predict that by July, everyone will be screaming for Bobby’s scalp.


April 2nd, 2009
10:12 am

“The Braves haven’t rebuilt this team, they’ve put on band aids and crossed their fingers.”

I don’t see how you can have fish in your screen name and make this little sense. Their rotation has added two guys that consistantly pitch 200+ innings (a stat that no starting pitcher even sniffed last season). They added a guy that has been one of the top pitchers the last few years in Japan (remember Japan, the country that has won the two only WBC’s?) They have the best pitching prospect that the orginization has had in about 2 decades chomping at the bit. Their young “baby Braves” come into the season with another year under their belt and ready to progress into proven veterans.

Your pessimism is warranted after 3 years of no playoffs. But your reasoning is FLAWED at best.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
10:13 am

Thanks, Lash. Thanks, FischerKing.

And J-Dub, the good thing about foot-in-mouth disease is that it isn’t fatal. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Richard Nieh

April 2nd, 2009
10:20 am

I actually think the team winning the wildcard will be the one very close to win the division. Basically, if you are saying Braves can win the wildcard is equal to assume they can win the division.

In fact, I think if Mets and Phillies’ rotation cannot perform, Braves has a chance to beat them both.

Go Braves!!!


April 2nd, 2009
10:20 am

I think the Braves for sure can win the West!… I mean the North!… I mean the East!
Wild Card??!!??
95 wins and they squeak by the Mets for the division. Sad thing is we are hoping a player like Francoeur can some how get his average up around the late, great Rufino Linaras. Then again, I think Rafino, in limited games, hit about .300 one season which might be more than anyone can ask from the Parkview Prince.

I too think Calipari is a nice fit at UK. They go together like cold cash in a paper bag.


April 2nd, 2009
10:24 am

“Pretty darn good? OK, I understated. Bench was the best ever to play the position.” -MB

How does Joe torre compare to Bench? (What sticks in my mind about Bench is the called 3rd strike on an intentional walk deception by the Red Sox. How smart was he?)


April 2nd, 2009
10:25 am

B-Mac = MVP
Chipper = Batting Champ
Shafer = ROY
Frenchy = Comeback Player of the Year
Lowe = CY Young
Bobby = Mgr of the Year
Frank = Exec of the Year

No joking, every one of the above mentioned items has a STRONG possibility of happening…it is Atlanta’s year. Falcons, Hawks, and Braves (do we still have a hockey team??). GO BRAVOS!!


April 2nd, 2009
10:30 am

The difference between a .500 team and your prediction is only 8 games so I believe it could happen. The problem with winning only 89 games is that it might only get you 3rd place behind the Mets and Phils.

My concern is Gonzalez. Is he good enough and healthy enough to close games with a 89 MPH fastball? One run games last year were a night mare for our Bravos. If that bad trend can be reversed by 40%, the Braves will win the division.

Either way, I’ll be pulling for ‘em.

Hey Mark, You excited about Coach Cal??????????

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
10:32 am

Actually, the strikeout-on-the-fake-intentional-walk was against Oakland in Game 3 of the 1972 World Series. And it was an embarrassing moment. But the same Johnny Bench had hit a ninth-inning home run to tie Game 5 of the NLCS — the playoffs were best-of-five then — against Pittsburgh. And he won his second Most Valuable Player award in 1972.

Torre was a good hitter, but not nearly the catcher Bench was.

Mark Bradley

April 2nd, 2009
10:33 am

I’m too old to get excited, DawginLex. But he’s a better choice than the guy who was greeted with such hysteria in 2007.

Jim B.

April 2nd, 2009
10:39 am

Jack G.- Put down the razor blades and get out of the tub…

People should be excited about this team.

Although its hard to tell how a baseball team will come together with this many new parts, on paper I think we have a shot. We have alot of young guys entering their prime i.e. KJ, jj, Yunel, McCann, Kotchman, even Frenchy. If our bullpen will stay healthy, we can make this interesting.


April 2nd, 2009
10:39 am

Actually the Braves now have an excellent chance of not only getting the Wildcard but winning the Division. You see Sports Illustrated has picked ‘em third behind the Mets and the Phillies and well all know how good SI is with their predictions…did you see that joke they called their NCAA Bracket?

Hurry up April 5th!

April 2nd, 2009
10:41 am

I think you are right on Mark! 89 wins sounds attainable and I hope it is enough to get into the postseason.

I am going to say “McCann for MVP” every year because he is my favorite player in baseball. Aside from the bias though, he really does have a shot, especially if he bats cleanup and is as clutch as he has been. He seems like a true leader at a young age and I think if it’s not this year he will have one by the time he retires. Let’s say .315 25HR 105RBI. On a winning team with timely hitting that may do it. Can’t wait to wear my jersey Sunday night!

Butch Reese

April 2nd, 2009
10:45 am


Are you not aware anything you predict doesn’t come true? Thanks a lot for cursing Brian McCann’s season.

As a longtime reader of the AJC , I also have a request…

Quit writing positively about the two teams I care about the most:

UGA football and the Braves

If you must write about them, write bad stuff so good things will happen.

Thank You


April 2nd, 2009
10:49 am

Just curious Mark..Why do you see a plunge for the phils? They have an outstanding lineup, play in a sandbox and have one of the best young pitchers in baseball who is clearly healthy after the MRI. You could put me at 3B and they would still have the best infield in all of baseball with Howard, Utley and Jimmy.