2011 Phillies v. 2012 (Hypothetical) Phillies - A Thought Experiment

What if? (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

On the heels of the team's three game win streak (each in very excited fashion) and today's re-signing of Cole Hamels, I'm giddy. The Phillies are on a roll. And, in a season of major disappointments, it's a sorely needed roll.

But that got me thinking - what if this roll continues? What if the team, as improbable as it might be, pulls a 2011 St. Louis Cardinals out of their hats? What if the team comes back from a 10 game Wild Card 2 deficit? What if the team plays .700 ball from here on out? And the other 73 teams in front of them in the standings blow up? Throw in a little luck, and what if the team makes the playoffs?

Let's take it even further - what if, once in the playoffs, the Three-Not-So-Aces become the Three-Once-Again-Aces? What if they win the elimination Wild Card game and then in three consecutive short series, what if the team takes it all? In other words, what if the team wins the World Series?

Yeah, I know, I'm about as far ahead of myself as possible here. But, what I want to think about on this exciting day is this - how would that team compare in your mind to the 2011 team?

We all know the story of the 2011 Phillies. They won 102 games, the most in baseball and a franchise record. They had three real aces, steady and above average offensive performance, and a very strong bullpen. They were consistent as could be during the regular season, never winning less than 16 or more than 18 games in a month. They were in first place for all but one day and finished the season 13 games ahead of the second-place Braves. However, they lost in the Wild Card round, despite outscoring the Cardinals 21-19.

The 2012 Phillies have been, until the past several days, the exact opposite of the 2011 Phillies. The offense has been downright miserable at times. The three aces have not produced results. The bullpen has been worse than anything in Ed Wade's darkest nightmares. However, in this hypothetical, the team capitalized on the returns of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay and surged following the All-Star break. They played exciting .700+ baseball and just barely took the second Wild Card spot. They rode their momentum into the playoffs, winning the shootout Wild Card game, then each of the next three series, including the World Series.

How would you think of these two in comparison? In particular, how would you answer these two questions:

1) Which team is the better team?

2) Which season was the more successful season?

How would you see it? Vote here and explain in the comments.

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