Did we say pitching was going to be the problem this season? Gee, I don't remember. Are you sure it was the royal "us"?
The Phillies served notice on the pitching-rich National League that they play second fiddle to no one. In the sweep over Atlanta Cole Hamels set the tone; Roy Halladay maintained the lead around the second turn; Roy Oswalt cleanly took the hand-off on the third leg; and Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge closed the deal crossing the finish line way out in front.
True, the Phils were facing a befuddled and foundering Atlanta Braves team that has lost more than it has won lately, but, then, apart from Cincinnati and Colorado, the rest of the potential opponents in the National League aren't likely to make anyone forget the '27 Yankees and, frankly, neither are the Reds or Rockies. There is a lot of good pitching out there but none stack up better than the Phillies' staff at this juncture.
Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee deserve a lot of credit for setting the rotation up to have the three Aces face the Braves; and, conversely, Bobby Cox deserves some of the blame for failing to have his two veteran aces make a single appearance in the series. Cox may have been assuming the Phils would take two of three and thus only gain a full game on the Braves. He may also have been thinking he'd rather set them up for the final weekend of the season. But the Phils took all three games to open a 6-game lead and no matter what anyone thinks, these are not your '64 Phillies by a long stretch.