Philadelphia Phillies: Ready to Make History?
The Phillies stand poised on the edge of greatness. Having won the NL penant for the past two seasons, they are in a position to be the first team to win an NL penant for three consecutive season since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals, which could put them up in a serious discussion for one of the best NL teams of all time. But is there team equipped for the challenge?
Certainly the addition of Roy Halladay to the pitching staff is a huge bonus, even with the departure of Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels has been very impressive in spring training. The offense still has many of its key hitters in Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Werth, and Placido Polanco is an upgrade at third base. The big question seems to be the bullpen.
Brad Lidge and JC Romero are both returning from offseason surgeries and will likely not be on the Opening Day roster. Whether or not they can return to the team with full strength and play at the level fans are accustomed to seeing is still a question mark. Starting at the closer spot in place of Lidge would be Ryan Madison who is not as strong a pitcher.
On paper the Phillies look better than they did last year. However, they may have to watch their backs for the Cult of Cox who will likely be playing harder than ever to try and win a World Series Ring for their manager/deity before he “retires” after his season.