The lineup is initiated by the offensive catalyst of the Philadelphia Phillies, who, until now, has been Jimmy Rollins. Is there a changing of the guard on the immediate horizon?
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I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated offseason, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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The Next Chapter:
Since Rollins has been a Phillie, he has never put his seal of approval on a successor for the leadoff spot, which incudes Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre. Victorino was roughly less effective and Pierre started only against right-handers.
There is a unique situation this season with Ben Revere and Michael Young on the squad. Revere has put-the-ball-in-play ability with the speed to swipe bags and accumulate infield squeakers. The 3rd sacker is a potential .300 stick and an excellent opposite-field hitter, which are qualities that favor the 2 hole. However, the second spot sees a lot of fastballs, which is Rollins’ favorite pitch, and even more with a stolen-base threat on first.
Last year half of the core four were recuperating, and only 1 leader was there from beginning to end. The other 3 had demons to battle. Ryan Howard basically was a one-legged warrior, and Chase Utley fixed one knee only to be hindered by the other. Doc Halladay compensated for his balky back which led to shoulder problems.
The numbers in the below table are a reminder of the characters on this club. Granted, they will not win 100 decisions but they are not a .500 organization either. There are a lot of fans who think they will only finish 3rd in the division with 85 victories. However, these stars don’t seem willing to accept a 85-77 mark (.525) or anything less than 90 triumphs.
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Not only will Utley, Howard and Halladay reenergize the Bank, but Mike Adams will plug the 8th-inning leak. There were a dozen losses that developed about 3 outs short of Jonathan Papelbon. If Adams and Papelbon turn that into 9 wins, it would boost the Phils to a 90-72 record. And that one change among the calamity of 2012 would have captured the second wild card.
In other words, this franchise will have more than 90 victories but not 100, because they have proven they are a cohesive unit. That number from 1 to 9 will also be predicated on the contributions of Revere, Rollins, Michael and Delmon Young. However, until the 2 sidelined players join the party, the center fielder, the shortstop and the 3rd baseman will bat 1st, 2nd or 5th. It was recently reported that Rollins was willing to move from the leadoff slot, which would be a first and the telltale verification of a special chemistry.
Revere will swing first or 2nd, while Michael could protect Howard in the 5 spot. Of course, he would fit nicely between Revere or Rollins and Utley. Rollins hits from both sides. and has the power to produce behind Howard, while first or second in the order is plausible as well. This lineup has possibilities: Revere (L), Rollins (S), Utley (L), Howard (L) and 3B Young (R).
The Nationals will be tested, because our game-hardened champions want to recapture the NL East pennant.
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This is the 17th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Questions, Answers and Madness) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs. The last one was Select One of Each.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)