Well here we are again… spring training. With it comes a sense of optimism and hope for all teams, no matter how the year before played out. For this Philadelphia Phillie team, it isnt a stretch to expect good things for the upcoming season. This team is coming off of three straight NL East first place finishes and back-to-back World Series appearances. They are for the most part, an identical roster of the 2009 team but will it be enough to lead the division in 2010?
Their pitching rotation says good-bye to Cliff Lee who was great in the second half for the Phillies last year. He was downright dominant in the post-season in 2009 as well. But they did bring in arguably the best pitcher in the game in one, Roy” Doc” Halladay. If the Phillies had decided to keep Lee this team would have easily won 100-plus games this year. The rest of the rotation rounds out with apparently a now very hittable Cole Hammels, a young and consistent J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and 47 year-old Jaimie Moyer. The rotation is not strong unless Hammels rediscovers himself. But with the offense this team brings to the plate once again they should get by with mediocre starting pitching.
This team can flat out rake! At home or on the road it doesnt matter. And clutch? Well, everytime i watch, they play the game intense and smart for 27 outs. This group is relentless and whatever they dont have in starting pitching aside from Halladay, they’ll make up for with their killer instinct and desire to win. No need to mention stats here. The lineup speaks for itself. Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco and Ruiz. Bringing in Polanco was a great move and fits the Phillie mold. The defense is very solid all the way around, except maybe for Ibanez in left field.
The relief pitching is ok, but will be upgraded if both J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge can return to full strength from their injuries.
This team made minimal upgrades in the offseason, but may have done just enough to clinch a fourth straight division title. The Braves will definitely give them a run for their money and make for an exciting finale to the regular season when the teams meet in Atlanta October 1-3.
Predicted Finish: First in the NL East (89-73)