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Phillies 3, Nationals 2:Well Whaddaya Know

Even with one of the worst lineups in recent memories, the Phillies pulled one out tonight. Of course, it was the major leaguers on the team who were responsible for the win, not the rest of the AAA players Ruben Amaro has saddled this team with.

I'll never get enough of this picture.
I'll never get enough of this picture.

If you want to know the difference between the Phillies playoff-run teams and this and last year's teams, look no further than the starting lineups for the 138th game in each season:

Position 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
1B Ryan Howard Ryan Howard Ryan Howard Ryan Howard Ryan Howard Ty Wigginton Kevin Frandsen
2B Chase Utley Chase Utley Chase Utley Chase Utley Chase Utley Chase Utley Chase Utley
SS Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins Wilson Valdez Michael Martinez Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins
3B Greg Dobbs Greg Dobbs Pedro Feliz Placido Polanco Placido Polanco Michael Martinez Pete Orr
RF Jayson Werth Matt Stairs Jayson Werth Jayson Werth Hunter Pence Domonic Brown Roger Bernadina
CF Aaron Rowand Shane Victorino Shane Victorino Shane Victorino Shane Victorino John Mayberry Carlos Hernandez
LF Pat Burrell Jayson Werth Raul Ibanez Raul Ibanez Raul Ibanez Juan Pierre John Mayberry
C Carlos Ruiz Chris Coste Carlos Ruiz Brian Schneider Brian Schneider Erik Kratz Carlos Ruiz
Place 2 2 1 2 1 3 4
GB 5 1 +6 1 +8.5 18.5 21.5

The bottom two rows flow from the top 8.  If they aren't self-explanatory, they show what place the Phillies were in going into the 138th game each year and how many games back they were from first place (or how many games up they were if they were in first place, as they were in 2009 and 2011).

Just look at those lineups from 2007 to 2011.  Then look at the lineups in 2012 and 2013.  I'll give you a moment to go to the basement, get out your hammer, bang it against your head multiple times, find the first aid kit, patch yourself up, and then come back to the computer.....

I hope you're ok and can keep reading.

The difference between the first five lineups and the last two is incredible.  They are proof positive of what dajafi wrote about earlier today - this team over the past two years is the worst MLB team that money can buy.  If Ruben Amaro Jr. still has a job after this season, it's quite clear ownership knows nothing about baseball AND cares nothing about winning.

Nonetheless, games have to be played, and the Phillies sent that lineup onto the field tonight.  And guess what?  They won the game.  How in the world did they do that with that lineup you ask?

By having their true major league players perform, while the rest of the team gave them jack shit.  Cole Hamels matched Stephen Strasburg through 7 innings of great pitching, each giving up 1 run and pretty much nothing else.  In other words, the major league starting pitcher for the Phils came through.

In the 8th inning, Justin De Fratus, Cesar Jiminez, and BJ Rosenberg coughed up a run to the Nats.  The not-so-major-league pitchers did not come through (though Rosenberg helped prevent more bleeding, so there's that).

But then, after Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz combined to score 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th (after Rolilns and Chooch combined for the only run off Strasburg in the bottom of the 4th) thanks to a Rollins double, Utley intentional walk, and Chooch single (in other words, the major league hitters came through), Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scary top of the ninth but sealed the deal nonetheless.  Yes, the major league relief pitcher came through.

Everyone else besides the major leaguers?  Well, Roger Bernadina got a hit.  And Cesar Hernandez walked.  And that's about it.

Just imagine if this team had more major leaguers....

Fangraph of wow, look at those lineups from 2007 to 2011:

Source: FanGraphs