Are the Phillies a World Series lock?

Examining possible weaknesses in the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies team

Originally Published: August 17, 2011
By Matt Meyers | ESPN Insider
PhilliesAP Photo/Matt SlocumThe Phillies have beaten up on bad teams this year. Does this hurt their postseason chances?

Thanks to a pitching staff that is even better than expected -- and expectations were high -- the Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of an all-time great season. The Phils are currently on pace for 105 wins, which would tie them for ninth on the National League single-season wins list.

With a 7½-game lead in the NL East, the Phillies are in cruise control and can start looking ahead to the playoffs. While the Phils' offense is merely average (seventh in the NL in runs), their starting pitching, led by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, makes them clear favorites to reach the World Series.

However, when examining the Phils' 2011 résumé, there is one aspect of their performance that raises questions about their postseason chances. To succeed in October, it would stand to reason that you need to be able to beat the best. However, much of the Phillies' gaudy record is based upon the fact that they have beaten up on the worst teams.