An Early Preview of the NL East: Phillies


The Philadelphia Phillies to me, are really the team that will go through one of two extremes, either they will regain the form that made them the perennial powerhouse of the NL East or they will plummet and you will see the core that Braves fans have painfully known for quite some time dissembled. The Phillies, who went 73-89 last season will look to scratch and climb their way back to the top of the division this season. The only problem with that is that this is a team with a very much aging core, past its prime and it doesn’t appear that new young talent will emerge very often.

The Lineup

We know the names. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz are all names that Braves fans have dread to hear over the course of the past 5 to 10 seasons. They have all taken their turn sticking a knife in the heart of Braves country. However, at least by the results we saw last season, those days appear to be over for the most part. Ryan Howard hasn’t played a full season since tearing his achilles in the 2011 playoffs, and Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have both lost a step at 35 year of age apiece. Although the emergence of Dominic Brown last season eased the burden on these three somewhat it doesn’t appear that this team has the same offensive fire power they once did.

As far as new additions goes for the Phillies this season, it was relatively quiet on that front. The biggest addition of the offseason for the Phillies was Marlon Byrd, who although he is coming off one of his best statistical seasons as a pro in which he hit .291 and 24 bombs, is 36 years old as well. It doesn’t appear to be getting any younger for the Phillies from an offensive prospective and it remains to be seen if the farm system will produce anything of help to the team in the 2014 season.

Projected Lineup:

  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  3. Chase Utley, 2B
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Dominic Brown, RF
  6. Marlon Byrd, LF
  7. Carlos Ruiz, C
  8. Cody Asche, 3B
  9. Pitcher Spot

The Pitching Staff

The lineup, although aging is pretty straightforward when it comes to the Phillies. However, the same cannot be said about the pitching staff which will have some questions to answer this season. With really only two rotation spots solidified, there will be a lot of open competition in spring training for innings and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will obviously head the rotation from the left handed side of things, however Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone will highlight the second level of rotation hopefuls who will be competing in camp for jobs on the big league club.

The back end of the bull pen is still pretty solid for the Phillies as Jonathan Papelbon will once again anchor the bullpen. However, it seems a seasonly occurrence that Pap will once again find himself on the trading block to a team looking for bullpen help. He will be protected once again by  the sometimes nasty Antonio Bastardo from the left side and the very solid Mike Adams from the right side of the rubber. With that being said if the Phillies starters can get them to through six, their is a good chance that you could see the Phillies bullpen lock down a lot of games this season.

Projected Rotation:

  1. Cliff Lee
  2. Cole Hamels
  3. Jonathan Pettibone
  4. Kyle Kendrick
  5. Open Competition

Stats of Note

  • Ryan Howard went just 2 for 16 against Braves pitching last season, with only 1 home run and 2 RBI’s
  • Freddie Freeman continued his dominance over NL East pitching against the Phillies going 22 for 76 (.289) and knocking in 14 runs.
  • Craig Kimbrel posted 7 saves in 7 tries against the Phillies last season and posted a 0.00 ERA against the team in  8 innings.
  • The Braves were 11-8 against the Phillies last season.