Having a girlfriend thats a lifelong Phillies fan made me cautious of saying anything too offensive about the beasts from the NL East. When i told her that i would be writing this preview our exchange went something like this.
Me: "So im going to be writing the preview for the Phillies this season."
Girlfriend: *death stare*
Me: *nervous laughter*
Girlfriend: *DEATH STARE*
So yeah, im going to try to pull this off without losing any reproductive organs.
After winning the World Series in 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies have become the clear cut preseason favorite to capture the National League every season since. The Phils made it to the World Series in 2009, only to fall short in the NLCS in both 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Entering the 2012 campaign for the fighting Phils, Philadelphia looks to once again be the favorite to win their 7th consecutive Eastern Division title, however the gap between the Phillies and the rest of the pack seems to be alot closer than before.
The only thing manager Charlie Manuel loves more than winning Division Championships is an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Gone is the offensive juggernaut of a lineup that secured Philadelphia's first World Series title since 1980 that was lead by the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. In their place is the walking MASH unit lead by the likes of... Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Injuries have decimated the careers of these great offensive players and relegated Utley and Howard to the DL to start the season. The team did sign Jim Thome and trade for Ty Wigginton to try to fill the huge gap left by Ryan Howard over the first few months of the season.Philadelphia's offense, until Howard and Utley can return, will fall on the shoulders of Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence, and the prayers of Phillies fans everywhere. No matter how good of a pitching staff the Phillies throw out there, it's going to be hard to win consistently unless Philadelphia gets healthy in a hurry and doesn't incur any other injury setbacks.
It would be ridiculous to count the Phillies out when they can toe the rubber three out of every five days with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels respectively. Philadelphia has without a doubt the best starting pitching staff in the league. Halladay and Lee have proven themselves as elite starting pitchers over the past few years and should continue to dominate as long as they can stay healthy. Hamels is entering a contract year and is playing for a new contract either in Philly or somewhere else that can back up a dump truck of cash.
The big offseason acquisition made by Philadelphia was by signing former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon after letting Ryan Madsen walk and sign with the Reds as a glorified 8 million
n dollar cheerleader. The rest of the bullpen is solid lead by spot starter/long reliever Kyle Kendrick and setup man Jose Contrares coming off an injury plagued 2011 which resulted in offseason surgery.
After the 2010 Phillies/Reds playoff series, what Cincinnati fan can't enjoy seeing Jimmy Rollins hit in the face?
Most of the experts predict the Phillies to claim the National League East for the fifth consecutive season. The race for the division should be alot tighter than previous seasons as both the Nationals and the Marlins have made significant improvements in the offseason. I still see the Phillies winning the division although it should be alot closer than it was last season. Good pitching ultimately stops good hitting and the Phillies have a ton of that, if Philadelphia's big three starters can stay healthy throughout the season, i see no reason why Philly can't represent the National League in the World Series once again.