|2009 Philadelphia Phillies Preview||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on April 05, 2009
The defending World Series champions are an offensive powerhouse, something which is only aided by their bandbox of a park.Â They come into the season as one of the strongest contenders in the NL but they are not without questions as the season opens.
Photo by Insert Photographer, used under creative commons license.
Rank: First in the NL East, World Series Champions
Home Park: Citizens Bank Ballpark
Feeling the Brotherly Love:
OF - Raul Ibanez (Free Agent from Mariners)
RHP - Chan Ho Park (Free Agent from Dodgers)
RHP - Mike Koplove* (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Gone but not forgotten:
OF - So Taguchi* (Free Agent signed with Cubs)
OF - Pat Burrell (Free Agent signed with Angels)
RHP - Tom Gordon (Free Agent signed with Diamondbacks)
*Signed minor league contract.
The Phillies offense last season was second in the NL in terms of runs scored behind only the Cubs and tied with the Mets.Â They scored 799 runs during the regular season and hit a league leading 214 home runs including more than 24 apiece form Ryan Howard (48), Chase Utley (33), Par Burrell (33) and Jason Werth (24).Â Â However, this isnâ€™t last years Phillies team and changes which may not be for the better have occurred.
Pat Burrell departed via free agency to be replaced by Raul Ibanez.Â Chase Utley is coming off a major hip surgery which could effect both his defense and his ability to get around on the ball, although he seemed solid enough in Spring Training.
The Phillies have only one ace type pitcher and there is reason to be concerned for him as the season opens.Â Â Hamels suffered elbow soreness this spring and has consulted with doctors who donâ€™t seem to think anything serious is going on at this time.Â That being said, if the Phillies were to lose him for any serious amount of time it would be a major blow.
After Hamels comes the inconsistent Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, 46 year old soft tosser Jamie Moyer and retread Chan Ho Park who has struggled over the past decaded.Â Only Myers really has the ability to overachieve, while Moyer is likely to regress after a 16 win season last years.
The bullpen should still be fairly solid, but it did take a big hit during the offseason when reliever J.C. Romaro was handed a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
SS - Jimmy Rollins
CF - Shane Victorino
2B - Chase Utley
1B - Ryan Howard
LF - Raul Ibanez
RF - Jason Werth
3b - Pedro Feliz
C- Carlos Ruiz
SP1 â€“ Cole Hamels
SP2 â€“ Brett Myers
SP3 â€“ Jamie Moyer
SP4 â€“ Joe Blanton
SP5 â€“ Chan Ho Park
CL â€“ Mariano Rivera
One question that need answering:
Can the Phillies pitching staff hold up again this season?Â Between age, inconsistency and injury the Phillies have a lot of questions with the staff.
The Phillies have to be considered one of the two favorites to win the NL east, but over the last two seasons, theyâ€™ve been helped as much by the collapse of the Mets as they have by their own prowess.Â Â The Mets have taken big steps to correct their problems - while the Phillies have stood essentially idle during this offseason.Â Â That should give the Mets enough of a leg up to gain the edge.Â Because of that Iâ€™ll pick the Phillies to finish second and win the Wild Card.