According to Angelo Cataldi of 94 WIP: "The Phillies will not win the World Series in 2012. They will not win 100 games. The five-year run of division titles will end. And, despite the new expanded format, they will not even make the playoffs."
Cataldi titled his article: It Was Fun While It Lasted. Cataldi brings up some good points namely about the status of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. He also says that the only bright spots on the Phillies are Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Papelbon, and Pence.
I personally feel that Cataldi is extremely flawed in his prediction because he is remembering only the pain of game 5 last year against the Cardinals and completely negating the whole 2011 regular season campaign. Phillies fans and experts are quick to forget that the Phillies won a franchise record 102 games last year. While game 5 was certainly painful, it doesn't take away from what the Phillies did in the regular season. They were the best team in baseball and unfortunately got caught off guard by a very hot Cardinals team.
I have to admit that I'm somewhat worried about the Phillies. I don't expect both Utley and Howard to be back fully healthy until late July, but ultimately I still think they have what it takes to win the division. The starting rotation is in tact, the bullpen is improved with the addition of Papelbon, and the bench is much much deeper.
I know that last year's early playoff exit was extremely painful. But we can't let last year's playoff defeat affect our hopes for this year. The starting rotation is still the best in baseball, and the Phillies' bench is now arguably one of the deepest and best in the game.
What's more is I think the Phillies now realize that they have to play small ball in order to be successful. The Phillies have been stressing the fact of taking pitches and getting on base all through out spring training. And the addition of Juan Pierre who is a contact hitter who can steal bases, tells me that the Phillies are committed to manufacturing runs in the upcoming season.
When the Phillies and Pirates play tomorrow, the pain of last year will be forgotten and the excitement of a brand new season will give hope to all Phillies fans.