Philadelphia poised for success

The pressure is on the Phillies, who are being ranked as the team to beat in the National League East.

Updated: February 19, 2004, 9:53 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
  • Now that it appears the Phillies are being ranked as the team to beat in the National League East, the pressure is on. Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News singles out Phillie individuals -- including manager Larry Bowa, pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, leftfielder Pat Burrell, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, pitcher Kevin Millwood and third baseman David Bell -- and addresses their battles and goals for 2004.

  • Speaking at the press conference that introduced Alex Rodriguez to New York, Reggie Jackson of the Yankees told the Newark Star-Ledger's Colin Stephenson that all that matters in the end is what happens in October. ""It doesn't matter (how many we win in the regular season). It only matters if you win the next 11 -- after October 1 (during the playoffs and World Series). Last year, we missed by two. We really needed to win two more games." Known as "Mr. October," a nickname that may well have been of his own choosing, Jackson came up big in the 1977 World Series with five home runs. Overall, however, his postseason OPS was only slightly better than that of his regular season.

  • It's going to take a man with great resolve to hold up under the pressure of managing the Red Sox in the cauldron that is going to be the 2004 season. With the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry escalated to new heights, Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald suggests that the pressure on new manager Terry Francona is going to be unbelievable. He points out that the team has not had a losing season since 1997 but has still managed to run through three managers in that time.

    Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at