2012 Philadelphia Phillies Preview
It has been a pretty good time to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan (or phan as some might say) over the past few seasons. Last season ended badly for the Phils with a Game 5 NLDS 1-0 loss to the (then) future World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. This year though, the Phillies are yet again in World Series-or-bust mode, but this season (or preseason) is already presenting some challenges.
- Ryan Howard - 1B
- Chase Utley - 2B
- Placido Polanco - 3B
- Jimmy Rollins - SS
- Hunter Pence - RF
- Shane Victorino - CF
- Roy Halladay - SP
- Cliff Lee - SP
- Cole Hamels - SP
- Jonathan Papelbon - CP
Key Injuries (* denotes minor injuries/problems)
- Ryan Howard
- Chase Utley
- Michael Martinez
- Placido Polanco*
Average: .278 (7th NL)
ERA: 3.80 (5th NL)
Leading Hitter: Hunter Pence (.324 with Phillies)
Home-Run Leader: Ryan Howard (33)
Stolen Base Leader: Jimmy Rollins (30)
ERA Leader: Roy Halladay (2.35)
Strikeout Leader: Cliff Lee (238)
Spring Training Summary
With Ryan Howard currently out with his achilles injury, Chase Utley's chronic knee problems, and utility infielder Michael Martinez's newly broken foot, the Phillies are being spread very, very thin in their aging infield. Shortstop Freddy Galvis is expected to be the Opening Day second baseman, and Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome, and John Mayberry Jr. should get most of the time at first base until Howard is back.
The pitching staff is aging as well. With an average starting pitcher age of 30 (including 24-year-old Vance Worley), the Phillies are certainly sporting one of the older staffs in the league, but (according to last season's stats) are also sporting the best pitching staff as well (even with the loss of co-ace Roy Oswalt).
If the Phillies are to win the World Series this season, they must continue to do just what they've been doing the past couple of seasons. The only problem with doing that is the many injuries plaguing them right now, and all of their ever-aging veterens.
Will they win 100+ games like last season? I doubt it, but they definately have the talent to do so. The difference this year is the fact that the NL East was suddently become (arguably) the best in baseball. The Nationals, Marlins, and Braves have all improved enough to be within throwing distance of the Phillies throne at the top of the division.
If I could bet on any team to win the World Series, I'd bet on the Phillies this year. Now next year is a whole 'nother story. But for this one final year, bet on the Phillies.