The 2012 season didn’t really go as planned for the Philadelphia Phillies. Most of the starting lineup wound up missing time due to injury at one point or another during the season. Even when healthy a number of them just didn’t produce. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee both struggled. The Phillies, the team that was always in contention, suddenly were being lapped by a pair of teams all at once. They couldn’t overcome and finished the season 81-81, 3rd in the suddenly competitive NL East.
With the start of the 2013 Regular Season upon us, it seemed like the ideal time to check in with each of our team sites here at FanSided MLB and check out what our experts have to say on the upcoming season. From That Ball’s Outta Here, here’s what Senior Editor Justin Klugh had to say about the team’s best and worst case scenarios, as well as what’s most likely to happen.
Best Case Scenario
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley play in a combined 300+ games; Howard and Domonic Brown maintain their rampant spring offense; Brown emerges as a young leader; Ben Revere injects bubbly enthusiasm into some complacent veterans; Roy Halladay’s stomach virus turns out to be a smaller, even more skilled Roy Halladay trying to claw its way out of his guts and makes the starting rotation in Double-A before its first birthday; Michael Young handles the grounders he can get to and mashes the ball far enough away that his lack of speed in a nonfactor; Jimmy Rollins‘ mediocre offense is supported by above average output from his teammates and he can concentrate on making verbal threats to division rivals; Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee follow the standard quietly brilliant script with Hamels taking the NL Cy Young; the Nationals, terrified of their own success, bubble wrap Strasburg and Harper for the last two months of the season and it costs them a playoff spot; Darin Ruf wraps his head around left field by the All-Star break and gives the team no reason to keep Delmon Young around; Freddy Galvis figures out hitting enough to be effective but not enough that people stop underestimating him and stealthily becomes the middle finger of the lineup; Chooch (i.e. Carlos Ruiz) comes out guns blazing from suspension; John Lannan makes Kyle Kendrick look good; a young bullpen anchored by veteran All-Stars at the back end uses its year of experience to turn raw talent into proven results.
Davey Johnson stubs his bare toe on the corner of a metal locker every morning for six months.
Worst Case Scenario
Ryan Howard uses all his mojo up in the spring; rather than face an inevitable collapse on the field, Chase Utley disappears to Florence, Italy with Anne Hathaway; Dom Brown gets sent back down to Triple-A for walking too much; the witch doctor who granted Roy Halladay his powers begins collecting his debt in the form of a slow drain of Doc’s life force; Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee receive no run support and their stellar numbers are labeled “a down year” by the widespread ignorant elite; a grounder to Michael Young on Opening Day takes a bad hop and he explodes in a cloud of dust and blows away in the wind; Ben Revere wears his body out throwing himself toward increasingly unreachable fly balls; the surprise success of Darin Ruf is erased when the Phillies try to bang his square 1B talent through a round LF hole; Delmon Young sees significant playing time with any team ever again; Jimmy Rollins’ public statements get him laughed out of the room; the back of the rotation routinely surrenders double digit grand slams; Chooch returns from suspension a sullen, broken man; a Mayberry/Nix platoon in left is seen as a “long term solution.”
Davey Johnson wakes up with a smug sense of satisfaction every morning before adjusting the loose skin hanging off his gullet to make himself look like a person.
Most Likely to Happen
A full year of Utley and Howard gives the Phillies a .500+ record; Ben Revere’s youth and agility counteract a portion of the opposite of those things elsewhere on the roster but his arm costs them some runs; Darin Ruf doesn’t quite make the adjustment to left field successfully and comes up later as a bat off the bench; Delmon Young plays too much because Ruben Amaro refuses to admit a mistake; Dom Brown has a breakout season; Jimmy Rollins is once again not the leadoff hitter he needs to be and pops out all the time but continues to be placed in that #1 spot; Roy Halladay is never a #1 pitcher again; the rest of the rotation ranges from elite to serviceable; the bullpen benefits from the addition of Mike Adams but loses him in July to injury; Michael Young’s resurgent year at the plate is nullified by the runs he allows at third; Freddy Galvis doesn’t see enough playing time to make complete use of his talent; Chooch returns to much fanfare but does not live up to the year he had in 2012; the advanced age of the squad saps their energy quicker for the stretch run; the Nationals win the division and the Phillies make a push for the second Wild Card spot due to the reversal of fortunes in some key areas from last season.
Davey Johnson makes smarmy comments at the Phillies’ expense and makes a point to not walk around the clubhouse bare foot.
There are plenty of questions facing the Phillies this season and the NL East hasn’t become any easier with the improvements both the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves have made to their rosters. The Phillies have gotten older, not necessarily worse and could feel challenged this season. If this team can remain healthy and some of their aging veterans can manage one last big season then maybe a playoff run could be in store. It won’t be easy, but it’s not out of the question.
Justin, like much of the Phillies Phaithful, is passionate about the team and not particularly fond of their new division rivals in Washington, as you can plainly see. For more on the Phillies, with some of that Philadelphia swagger, be sure to check out That Ball’s Outta Here.