Could this year's Phillies starting 8 be better than the 2008 Phillies lineup?

Could this year's Phillies starting 8 be better than the 2008 Phillies lineup?

The 2008 Phillies will forever have a place in the heart of every Phillies fan, for one obvious reason: they won it all. A big reason they were able to win the World Series is the strength of their offense. Led by Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, the 2008 Phillies led the National League with 214 home runs, and finished second in the NL with a .438 team slugging percentage.

But the Phillies' offseason shopping spree netted them three starting position players who all made the All-Star Game last season, the first time that has happened in MLB history. It also gave them perhaps the most dangerous lineup in the game today.

With Bryce Harper now in the fold, I raise the question: how does the 2019 starting 8 stack up offensively with that of the 2008 World Series champs? Let's take it position-by-position.

Catcher: Carlos Ruiz vs. J.T. Realmuto
Make no mistake: we all love Chooch. But as much as we value him and his place in the Phillies' golden run, he was not strong offensively, especially in 2008, when he hit just .219 in 117 games. Ruiz managed four homers and 31 RBI on the season, numbers I expect Realmuto to eclipse by about May 15. Verdict: 2019

First Base: Ryan Howard vs. Rhys Hoskins
Hoskins has a lot of potential, especially with the protection that will be around him in this lineup, but Ryan Howard in his prime was a force of nature. Fourty-eight homers, 146 RBI. Just an absolute monster out of the cleanup spot. Verdict: 2008

Second Base: Chase Utley vs. Cesar Hernandez
This one is also not close. Utley hit 33 homers and had his fourth straight 100-RBI season in 2008. Hernandez is a good player, and a nice on-base guy at the top of the lineup, but you can't argue this one. Verdict: 2008

Third base: Pedro Feliz vs. Maikel Franco
The only reason Feliz didn't hit eighth in the 2008 Phillies lineup is because Carlos Ruiz was also playing that day. Meanwhile, Franco quietly has been productive. Three straight seasons with at least 22 homers, and he also led the Phillies in batting average last season (not a huge feat, but .270 is a good average) Verdict: 2019 

Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins vs. Jean Segura
Fairly even matchup here. Both Rollins and Segura have pop, and a lot of speed. I'll give the nod to J-Roll here, because he has more of both. And Jimmy could always bring it when the red light was on. Verdict: 2008 

Left field: Pat Burrell vs. Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen is a former NL MVP and a five-time All-Star, but I'm giving the edge to The Bat here. Thirty-three homers, 86 RBI, 102 walks, and an OPS that was just a few ticks behind Howard's for the season (.875, compared to .881 for Howard). This was Burrell's last good season, and he was an underrated force in the middle of the lineup. Verdict: 2008 

Center field: Shane Victorino vs. Odubel Herrera
The image of Victorino leaping on top of the pile following the final out in the World Series is indelible. But this one is closer to me than you may think. I feel like these two players are similar. Streaky hitters, good speed-power combo, even down to the occasional mental errors on the field. I'm hopeful Herrera shakes off last year's second half and gives the team more of what we saw in early 2018. Verdict: Push

Right field: Jayson Werth vs. Bryce Harper 
We are through the looking glass here. A player who left the Phillies to head south to D.C. against the new addition, who did the opposite this week. I don't think this is a close race. While Werth was a significant cog in the 2008 machine, Harper gives you so much more offensively that it's not a fair fight. Verdict: 2019 

Based on the individual matchups, I'm giving a slight edge to the 2008 team. I will say that the fac it's close enough to argue will make for a fun spring and summer, with the hopes for many more to come.

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What is a Philadelphia Phillie? Where did the name come from?

What is a Philadelphia Phillie? Where did the name come from?

Did you know that the Philadelphia Phillies are the longest, continuous, one name, one city franchise in all of sports? It's true.

But you're probably wondering what exactly a Phillie is anyway? And where did it come from?

You see, way back in 1883 when the Phillies were founded, it was common to call other teams by where they were from. Teams didn't have names or mascots as they do today.

Teams were referred to as "the Boston's" or "the New York's," etc. But "the Philadelphia's" didn't really roll off the tongue. Newspapers began shortening the name to "the Phillies" to save space in the headlines.

The Phillies name first appeared in the Inquirer in 1883. The team quickly adopted the new, shorter nickname and the rest is history.

You can watch a fun little video that's part of our "Ever Wonder?" series above.

What was it like facing Roy Halladay the night he was perfect? An opponent’s perspective

What was it like facing Roy Halladay the night he was perfect? An opponent’s perspective

This story, condensed from its original form, first appeared in February 2017. At the time, Chris Coghlan was in Phillies spring training camp as a non-roster player. He offered a glimpse at Roy Halladay’s May 2010 perfect game from an opponent’s perspective.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Chris Coghlan still gets his Irish up when he thinks about the game.
It was May 29, 2010.
The night Roy Halladay pitched his perfect game against the Marlins in Miami.
Phillies fans remember it well. In the 11th start of his first season with the club, Halladay sliced through the Marlins' lineup on 115 pitches in 2 hours and 13 minutes. He struck out 11. It was thrilling.
But not for Coghlan.
He had a slightly different perspective. He was the Marlins' leadoff batter that night and in six pitches became Halladay's first strikeout victim.
The moment still burns.
"Big strike zone that night," Coghlan said, his eyes widening. "Go back and look at it. I was leading off, 3-2, ball off the plate, strike three. I still get chapped about it. Go look at it. It could have been totally different."

Editor's note: See for yourself. That called strike three comes at the 10-second mark of this clip. In the seventh inning, at the 3:25 mark, Coghlan clearly shows frustration after being rung up again by home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

Coghlan was 24 and in his second season in the majors the night Halladay threw his perfect game in a 1-0 Phillies win. He had been the National League Rookie of the Year the previous season.

"Those teams were awesome," he said. "I loved hitting against them because it was the best of the best. You had Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels. You had Brad Lidge closing it out.
"Chooch Ruiz, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard. Those guys were great and then Utley was my favorite player coming up. Second baseman. Left-handed hitter. Great swing. I loved his intensity.
"I loved playing against those guys. And we played them tough. That happens with a young team — you get up for the big boys but don't always carry that focus through to the other teams."

Coghlan and his Marlins teammates were totally up for Halladay on that memorable night of May 29, 2010. They were focused, ready for the big boys. But there was no beating the Phillies ace that night.
No runs. No hits. No errors.
It still burns Coghlan.

"Oh, everybody loves it except for the guys it's happening against," Coghlan said. "I had some buddies at the game and afterward they were like, 'Bro, that was awesome. I can't believe I saw that. I'm saving this ticket.' And I'm like, 'You're in the family room, bro, and you're ticking me off. We just got embarrassed. You can find your own ride home. I'm not giving you a ride.'"
Standing in the Phillies' clubhouse in Clearwater, Coghlan began to laugh as he talked about his buddies' reaction to witnessing Halladay's perfect game.
And then he completely softened and tipped his cap to Halladay.
"I joke about the zone that night," Coghlan said. "But I would never diminish anything that man did. To pitch a perfect game, everything has to go perfect and it did for him that night.
"I saw him throw his last pitch in Miami before he hung it up in 2013. He had that one inning. He came out throwing 80 miles an hour and it was sad. He was a legend."

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