After acquiring Cliff Lee in the offseason, the Phillies were touted as the favorite to win the World Series from opening day.
With a starting rotation containing two former Cy Young Award winners, a World Series MVP, and four all-stars, how could they lose?
Unfortunately, baseball consists of pitching AND hitting. With the loss of Jayson Werth, the Phillies were left with a hole in right field. Even though the Phillies were winning games, the offense was streaky.
Some games they would show up, but most games were left on the shoulders of the pitching staff.
To solve this ongoing problem the Phillies went to a familiar face, Ed Wade, to trade for all-star right fielder Hunter Pence. Not only does Pence add power to the lineup hitting .324 with four HR and 12 RBI in 19 games, but most importantly he adds balance.
The Phillies for years have had a majority left-handed hitting team. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez are all lefties, and Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins hit both ways.
When Pence was added to the lineup, he was inserted in the five-hole to protect Ryan Howard and to balance the lineup with a right-handed hitter in the middle of the lineup.
Lastly, what Charlie Manuel likes most about Pence is the energy he brings to the Phillies clubhouse. The Phillies lineup has been re-energized, and Pence has already fit in with the rest of the Phillies players and media.
Gary Matthews, a Phillies announcer, asked Pence what he was thinking as he rounded third to score in a 10 inning game against the Pirates. Pence replied with, "Good game, let's go eat."
With the energy, balance, and power Hunter Pence brings to the Phillies they are certainty now the favorite to win the World Series, if they were not already.