Saturday, March 19, 2011

Breaking News

I'm not sanguine.

Wow, that must come as a surprise to those of you who follow this space.

The Phils made it to the NLCS last season with unexpectedly good overall pitching and an erratic, inconsistent offense that, in the end, let them down.

Now, they are expected to parade down Broad Street with superb starting pitching, a seriously questionable bullpen, and an offense that not only will be missing two key ingredients from last year's, but has injury and hoped-for-recovery issues at far too many spots.

I don't see a parade.

Good pitching overcame a lot last year so great pitching is expected to overcome even more this season. Not going to happen. This installment of the Phillies has less margin of error than last year's. They are older and more prone to injury than in 2010.

Last year they broke camp in good health. This year they won't even do that!! Rumors have them scouring the waiver wire and list of cast-offs looking for fill-ins in the infield. When a team is thought to be considering Luis Castillo, things are not good. He is so washed up the Mets cut Castillo while owing him $6 million. I'd take Wilson Valdez in a heartbeat. Terrific fielder. Real battler. Decent bat.

When rumors have Ross Gload getting several starts in right field we are witnessing a surrender. Do the Phils really need a good-hit-no-field rightfielder who, incidentally, bats left-handed when they have Ben Francisco and John Mayberry? Francisco deserves to be handed the starting job right now and told it's his to lose. Enough jerking him around.

What pains me most on the eve of this new season is how unsettled the Phils appear publicly at this juncture of Spring Training. I say "publicly" because, per usual, they are far less than candid about the real extent of injuries to several players. Right Field. Second Base. The Closer. Third base. Yes, fans, third base. When a player is in his mid to last thirties, have off-season surgery on an elbow and hyper-extends that elbow in March one cannot be blase.

The Phils are no juggernaut.

1 comment:

Matty said...

I don't disagree with your points Tom. However, I don't foresee the injuries being long term, and if Utley and Polanco play most of the season, then those voids for the most part are filled. Of course, it's all a big "if".