The 2008 Phillies won 92 games and made their first playoffs since 1993's World Series appearance. A team on a mission, they absolutely demolished their opposition in the postseason en route to an 11-3 playoff record. The team is very interesting in its construction, featuring only one OB 9 and an average rotation for a World Series winner, but has A LOT of pop if you make mistakes to their star's charts and a bullpen that'll hold up almost any lead. Personally, I'm excited to see how this unique Showdown team plays against other WS winners.
Lineup: The Phillies lineup was not strong in On-Base on their way to the 2008 World Series, although they brought some HR pop to make low Control pitchers pay. Chase Utley is the standout hitter with his OB 9, absolutely amazing chart card. Doubling at 12 and HR at 17 is phenomenal! Adding to the power barrage are OB 7s Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Rollins is coming off a crazy MVP season card in 07 and puts up another "card that starts doubling in the single digits" effort with A(23) speed and +5 fielding. Howard's your classic HR at 14 guy that's a really fun cleanup hitter. This core trio of stars is supported by the stellar outfield -- Shane, Werth, and Burrell. Shane's the #2 hitter, Burrell brings another heaping of power to make sure they pitch to Howard, and Werth is the solid #6 hitter. Unfortunately, the lineup kind of falls off a cliff at that point, as 7-9 are weak hitting spots (though it warms my heart to see Geoff Jenkins winning a World Series).
Rotation: The '08 World Series team unfortunately has a weaker rotation than the 10-11 Phillies amazing group of four aces. However, they've still got one in Cole Hamels, who brings a solid Tier 3, Control 4 card to the top of the rotation. He's supported by savvy veteran Jamie Moyer (who I honestly forgot won a WS) in a David Cone-like card. Tier 4 guys Myers and Blanton round it out, and they are just hoping to give you six strong innings every 2/3 times out there. Definitely not the strongest rotation we've seen, in the 09 Yankees/07 Red Sox vein of rotations.
Bullpen: Brad Lidge is one of the stars of the team with a Tier 2, Control 6 card with a helluva lot of strikeouts! Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero are great set up men at their Control 4 cards, making this a bullpen without weakness. That's a huge benefit considering the weaker back-half of the rotation, letting this team go 4-5 innings out of the pen without breaking much of a sweat in back to back games (and then relying on Hamels to be the ace that he is).
Overall: At first glance, this appeared to me to be the weakest World Series we've done because of my bias for high on-base cards. However, there is value in low on-base hitters that have insanely nasty charts and the 2008 Phillies won a World Series with them! They may struggle against squads featuring high control pitching, but they've got enough starting "oomf" and a very complete, deep bullpen that should let them win some games by virtue of getting two or three charts in an inning. I actually think they match up very well against teams like the 2009 Yankees, 2007 Red Sox, 2015 Royals, with the sneaky potential to steal some games against better pitching teams. Honestly for a season of World Series champs -- just like the 2003 Marlins or 2015 Royals -- this would be a fun team to include just based on how unique its construction is.