Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Optimistic For Phillies Opening Day

There is a lot of speculation going on right now about what to expect of the Phillies in the upcoming 2012 season.  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.    

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you, the pessimism towards this season is stupid and the Phillies are being extremely underrated. People forget that Howard and Utley played bad all last year, and even without them we won 102 games. The outfield trio of Mayberry Victorino and Pence is one of the best in baseball and it seems like Victorino is being completely forgotten. Mayberry is a guy who is going to hit around .270 and between 20 and 30 homeruns, so with those 3 alone our offense will not be horrific. If we can get any production at all from J-Roll Utley and Howard we will be one of the best teams if not the best team in the league.

    Even if we don't get good production from them we will still win 85+ games and at least be one of the Wild Card teams, barring a season ending injury to Lee Halladay or Hamels.

    I think there are two keys to the season, the back end of our rotation (Worley and Blanton) and the older stars(ex stars at this point). Worley is going to have a down year, that is certain but if he can post something like a 3.6-4.0 FIP I will take it. Along with that if Blanton can eat innings and keep the game close like he did two years ago then I dont think we need very much production from the offense to win games.

    With that being said, while those expectations from the two of them are reasonable there is a possibility that Worley has a season similar to Happs last year, and that Blanton does not come back from his injury 100%. If that happens then the only way we can compete is if the older guys step back into form. Howard is never going to be same guy he was when he first came into the league, but if he can rejuvenate his power numbers(hopefully around 30 HRs depending when he returns) and hit above .260 then that will be huge right now I dont have those expectations for him though. Utley is an even bigger question mark, his defensive range is definitely going to drop, his speed is going to drop and I dont think he will ever be able to be an every day player again. We will need him to abuse the gaps like he used to and he can hopefully hit .280 at worst. If he cant do that, then he is going to be hurting the team and it might be time to platoon him with Galvis giving Utleys knees a rest and giving us a +defender in the field as well as a guy who I think is going to be a surprisingly better hitter than most believe. Rollins is the one we have to worry about least, he will hit at least .270 have some power and is still a guy that teams are scared to have on base, he is getting up there so a decline is expected but I think he will be the most consistent of the three.

    With all of this said, the Phillies have a great team still. They have good bench depth and a few ready to come up players (galvis, brown, and aumont are all close to being major league ready) Their bullpen will hopefully be a strength as well as the rotation. Whether or not the Phillies offense steps up doesnt matter, with the other pieces on the field they will be in contention at the end of the season and it will be a fun one.

    Angelo Cataldi is a moron anyway.

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  2. Well said! Thanks for the comment

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