Chris DeMarco, Staff Writer

The New York Yankees accomplished a back-to-back World Series title in grand fashion: winning it three consecutive times from 1998 through 2000. Since then, no team has accomplished such a feat. The Philadelphia Phillies will have their shot this year.

Last year, not even the die-hard Phillies’ fans expected to win the World Series. When they did, it was extremely bittersweet for all fans of Philadelphia sports teams. I would know, since I have been living and dying with Philly sports for 22 years, and I was ecstatic when they won.

What really epitomizes the Phillies’ remarkable run is the support they receive from their fans. For example, my father jumped through the roof when Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to win the World Series. My father has been a Phillies’ fan forever. After all the years of heartbreak, his reaction said it all. It had been too long, and now we expect it again.

In order to keep Phillies’ fans happy, the Phillies have to do a couple things and hope that some things fall in their favor again. The biggest key to winning another title will ultimately hinge on the pitching of the erratic Lidge. He was perfect in 48 save opportunities last season, but this year he has been pathetic, blowing an 10 saves in 40 opportunities. His earned run average is hovering around a ridiculous 7.00. To repeat, the Phillies do not need the Lidge of last year. They just need a closer that will not implode on them when the game is on the line. Even if Lidge is half the closer he was last year, the Phillies have a shot.

One big problem that could have cost the Phillies the championship is the Phillies’ lineup’s inability to score runs with runners in scoring position. They struggled with that in last year’s postseason. If it happens again, they might not be so lucky since this year’s contenders are all much better teams than those of last year. The Phillies are going to need to rely on the big bats of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth to provide a ton of run support for their pitchers.

Phillies’ starting pitchers were a huge problem going into the All-Star break this season. As a result, the Phillies picked up two former Cy Young winners in Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. Their impact was felt immediately, with both pitching solidly to start their Philly careers. With these additions, pitchers Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ stepped up and have been very reliable down the stretch. Then, there is their ace, Cole Hamels. He’s had an up-and-down season, but over the last month and a half, Hamels has reverted back to his dominant form from last year’s postseason run, and the Phillies are going to need him to keep it up to help guide them to another victory.

Do the Phillies have enough to repeat? Most definitely. They have the lineup needed to go up against other potent lineups like the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and even the New York Yankees. They also have a revamped rotation that is by far one of the best in the National League, let alone those heading into the postseason, but in order to repeat, they need to be consistent throughout.

The lineup has to continuously produce, their pitchers need to pitch well and Lidge needs to be halfway decent and poised to make up for this year’s disappointment. If the Phillies continue to be consistent and play up to their abilities, there is no reason they cannot make it to the World Series again and ultimately beat the Yankees for their second straight World Series title. You bet that the Philly faithful are looking forward to another victory parade down Main Street.