by Jeff on March 20 at 2:07PM
Almost every baseball fan who payed attention to what happened in the off-season knows that the Phillies picked up pitcher Freddy Garcia, who will most likely be their number one or number two starter. What no one is talking about is an addition to the team that has the knowledge to impart on the players that may end up helping the team get more wins than Freddy alone.

The Phil's have netted themselves a new first base coach, a guy that knows all about getting around on the base paths - Davey Lopes.  Lopes is no stranger to running the bases effectively, he stole more than 40 bases seven times in his career, and swiped more than 60 bags twice - topping out with an amazing 77 steals with the Dodgers in 1975.

In recent years, sound base running has been somewhat of a struggle at times with the Phillies and good base running can mean the difference between a win and a loss.  Players need to know how to get themselves into scoring position and there are few that can teach that the way Lopes can.

Davey's been working with the guys in spring training, developing sound base running strategies and trying to develop keen base stealing senses in some of the players who are more fleet of foot.

Jimmy Rollins is working on his patience at the plate, with Lopes coaching and direction a Rollins lead off walk could turn into a double, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs and eliminating the possibility of a double play.  The same goes for speedster Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and even Aaron Rowand.  Stolen bases turn into great opportunities for runs, and those runs can mean the difference between taking the "w" in a close game and just barely missing the playoffs for the fifteenth year in a row.

I'm not suggesting that Davey Lopes is the ultimate answer in the Phillies quest for a World Championship, but they have been pretty pathetic in the area of leaving runners on base.  A guy who has the ability of advancing himself a bit on the base paths will certainly lead to more runs which in turn will lead to more wins, Davey Lopes is certainly a guy who can dispense that knowledge.  Think about it, how many games did the Phil's miss the playoffs by the last couple years, and how many of those losses were by just one run?  

Do the math, better pitching plus more runners in scoring position equals playoff contention.

Try to remember you'll not always win. A lot of days, the most resourceful individual will taste defeat. However , there is, usually, always tomorrow - after you have done the best to achieve success today.

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