The post-season schedule enters just its second day, but Phillies fans can already see some potential story lines to carry them through the playoffs. It’s already started with Scott Rolen’s return to Philadelphia, and his 0-for-3 performance with three strikeouts was music to Philadelphia’s collective ears.
The Rolen story will continue to be one to watch as the series continues, since Rolen is one of the, shall we say, less liked former Phillies. Of course, the Phillies could still wind up seeing San Francisco in the playoffs, which would set up the return of both Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand. Both are pretty well received by the fans in Philadelphia, who credit Burrell with helping to bring the 2008 World Championship to Philly and remember Rowand sacrificing his face to make a catch against Citizens Bank Park’s outfield fence. Still, having two prominent former Phillies return would make the NLCS one to remember.
If both the Phillies and Braves reach the NLCS, the two rivals would surely put on a show and give the Phillies the opportunity to see their former closer, Billy Wagner, come in late in a game for Atlanta.
Should the Phillies advance to the Fall Classic, rematches with either the Tampa Bay Rays or the New York Yankees could in fact be classic. The Rays would be looking for revenge against the Phillies for their loss in the 2008 series and the Phillies would be the ones seeking revenge for 2009. Again, either match-up would be fun, although there is no doubt that both the Phillies players and their fans want the rematch with the Yankees to look to even that score.
With all of those possibilities, possibly the one that would provide the most interest, at least for a couple of games, would be a meeting with the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Why Texas? Easy. Look at the first day’s boxscores and you’ll see a truly interesting collision course. With the Cliff Lee deal still smarting just a little for Phillies fans, and assuredly a little more with Lee himself, having Lee – who struck out 10 in the Rangers 5-1 win over Tampa Bay – face the Phillies for a couple of turns would be huge.
While he would most likely face Roy Halladay, it might be slightly more poetic for Lee to face Roy Oswalt, the guy who was brought in as a band-aid to cover up the Cliff Lee to Seattle debacle. Plus, as a former Astro, Oswalt pitching against the Rangers would be a story line all in itself.
For all of the success that the Phillies have had this season, dealing Lee to Seattle still brings a bad taste to fans of the Phillies. Yes, there is the fear that he could potentially beat the Phillies in the World Series, which would only make that taste much worse than it is now, but there is also the chance that the Phillies could beat him, which would do wonders to help rinse that taste away forever.
No matter how things pan out from here, there are several potential collision courses that the Phillies could be on after their set with Scott Rolen and the Cincinnati Reds.