2012 MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

03/06/12

2012 MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

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-Digger's Daily-

2011 Philadelphia Phillies were picked by many to go all the way. They seemed on the right track until getting stymied in NLDS by eventual World Series winners St. Louis. More bad news. Slugging 1B Ryan Howard was injured on the series final play (ruptured Achilles). Howard will miss at least the first month of 2012.

2012 offense has many question marks. Predicted again to win the NL East by many. Health is already a nagging concern. In addition to Howard double play combination Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins haven't posted solid numbers in years. Blossoming LF John Mayberry is getting a chance to win the everyday job. Ty Wigginton opens up the season filling in for Howard at first. All in all, Phils lineup should be able to generate runs.

The heart and soul of this club has been a stellar starting rotation. 1-2-3 is Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Vance Worley put together a solid rookie campaign going 11-3. Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick battle it out this spring for the last rotation slot. Phils pitching domination will make it difficult for any team to take 2 of 3 from these guys. New closer is ex-Red Sox fireman Jonathan Papelbon.

Prediction: NL East is Philadelphia's to win or lose. They shouldn't get too confident with Atlanta and suddenly competitive Washington aiming to knock off the top seed. 92+ wins well within reach.

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