Philadelphia Phillies: A look back at a decade of honeymoons, nostalgia and reconstruction
A brief glimpse into the decade that was for the Phillies
Roy Halladay had put the entire league on notice in 2010 and shut down any notions that he was a fringe Hall of Famer. The Cy Young winner threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history, and followed that up with the second ever postseason no-hitter ever, in his first postseason appearance for Game 1 of the NLDS. I can still remember the chill down my spine watching that performance, Yet, the Phillies ran into the buzz saw that was the “even-year” Giants, who would go on to win the World Series.
The 2011 season saw the end of the Phillies 5-year playoff run. Cliff Lee came back to the staff for a final hurrah, and the “Four Aces” were absolutely dominant, leading to a franchise record in wins. Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Vance “The Vanimal” Worley combined for 70 wins, and a 2.89 ERA. Yet, the Phillies ran into fate again, losing to the future World Series champion Cardinals in the NLDS.
In the final game of the season, as a sort of omen for the years to come, Ryan Howard tore his Achilles tendon running to first on the final play of the game.
The dismantling of the dynasty began in the up-and-down 2012 season, shipping off Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton to the Dodgers, and Hunter Pence to the Giants. Most of the pitching staff dealt with lingering injuries, while Jonathan Papelbon dominated at the back-end of the bullpen with 38 saves and a 2.44 ERA.
The ultimate shift to rebuilding the franchise should have come in 2013, which saw a multitude of one-year veteran contracts, the dismissal of Charlie Manuel (the winningest manager in franchise history), and the retirement of Roy Halladay, whose dominance buoyed the back-end of the team’s postseason streak. In the June draft, Phillies drafted J.P. Crawford and Andrew Knapp in the first and second rounds.