Capsules of National League teams, listed in order of finish last year:
2010: 97-65, first place, lost in NLCS.
Manager: Charlie Manuel (7th season).
He’s Here: LHP Cliff Lee, 2B Luis Castillo, OF-INF Delwyn Young, INF Michael Martinez.
He’s Outta There: OF Jayson Werth, RHP Chad Durbin, LHP Jamie Moyer.
Projected Lineup: CF Shane Victorino (.259, 18 HRs, 69 RBIs, 34 SBs), 3B Placido Polanco (.298, 6, 52), SS Jimmy Rollins (.243, 8, 41 in 88 games), 1B Ryan Howard (.276, 31, 108), LF Raul Ibanez (.275, 16, 83), RF Ben Francisco (.268, 6, 28), C Carlos Ruiz (.302, 8, 53), 2B Wilson Valdez (.258, 4, 35) or Luis Castillo (.235, 0, 17 in 86 games with Mets).
Rotation: RH Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 Ks, unanimous NL Cy Young winner), LH Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 with Seattle and Texas), RH Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76 with Houston and Phillies), LH Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06, 211 Ks), RH Joe Blanton (9-6, 4.82).
Key Relievers: RH Brad Lidge (1-1, 2.96, 27 saves in 32 chances), RH Ryan Madson (6-2, 2.55), RH Jose Contreras (6-4, 3.3), LH J.C. Romero (1-0, 3.68).
Hot Spots: RF, 2B. The Phillies are hoping Francisco can replace the departed Werth in right field and give the offense comparable production. John Mayberry Jr. and rookie Domonic Brown, who will start the season in the minors after having hand surgery, could also end up playing right. A knee injury that has sidelined five-time All-Star second baseman Chase Utley leaves a big void in Philadelphia’s lineup. Utley’s return is uncertain, so the Phillies are counting on super-sub Valdez or possibly Castillo, a former All-Star who was released by the Mets. Neither could replace Utley’s bat. Rollins, a former MVP, may move down from the leadoff spot to hit third during Utley’s absence.
Outlook: The Phillies entered spring training as the consensus favorites to win the World Series after adding Lee to an already formidable starting rotation. However, injuries to Utley, Brown and Polanco have depleted an offense that is coming off a down year and must overcome losing Werth in the middle of the lineup. Lidge also has been bothered by an injury, and that raises concerns about the bullpen. With the four aces and Blanton, the Phillies should be in every game. But if the hitters don’t pick up the slack, they’ll have to rely on that pitching to win 1-0, 2-1 many nights. Expectations in the city are high. The Phillies won the World Series in 2008 and fans expect a few more championships. Anything less than a parade down Broad Street won’t be considered a successful season for the four-time NL East champs.
2010: 91-71, second place, wild card.