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Rosenthal Ranks Phillies 8th in MLB
- Updated: March 28, 2012
When we learned several months ago that Phillies’ clean-up hitter Ryan Howard would start the 2012 season on the Disabled List with a torn Achilles, it put a little doubt into the minds of Phillies fans.
Then, Chase Utley happened.
Utley hasn’t played a single Spring Training game in Florida as he’s been busy working on getting himself and his knees healthy. The 33-year-old second baseman said he won’t be ready for Opening Day, but downplayed any talk that his career was in jeopardy.
That hasn’t stopped Phillies fans from worrying, however, and doomsday talk can be heard on the airwaves and seen on the internet.
Ken Rosenthal is somewhere in between the overconfident fans and the sky-is-falling Debbie downers. He ranks the Phillies as the 8th best team in baseball coming into the 2012 season.
Here’s what Rosenthal had to say:
8. Phillies. They’re going to do this on muscle memory, once first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley are healthy enough to use their muscles again. The start of the season will be a struggle without those two offensive pillars, but manager Charlie Manuel will patch together first. Utley’s replacement, Freddy Galvis, looks like a better player than even the Phillies thought. I’m not ready to pick against Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels just yet.
He certainly makes a fair point about Utley and Howard. The two have been cemented at the 3 and 4 spots in this lineup for years now, and missing both of them to start the season isn’t exactly a dream scenario for this team.
However, as skipper Charlie Manuel pointed out a few days ago, the Phillies are becoming accustomed to not having a full lineup.
“We haven’t had a full lineup for four years. Go back and check. We haven’t had our lineup in four years,” Manuel said. “I don’t make a big deal about it. We expect our other guys to step up on the field.”
In fact, the Phillies “regular” lineup played together only 18 times last season, according to CBSsports.com.
Manuel will likely roll out rookie Freddy Galvis at second base on Opening Day. Galvis is a very sound defensive player with great range who has shown flashes of his ability at the plate, but has lacked consistency. Galvis has 18 hits in 66 at-bats this spring (.273 average), including 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs. He leads the team in RBIs (12), and only has 6 strikeouts compared to 2 walks.
If Galvis can play like he has so far this spring and contribute at the plate, the Phillies infield situation suddenly doesn’t look as grim. Add Jim Thome, who has played 11 innings at first base this spring, Ty Wigginton, and John Mayberry Jr. to the mix, and it seems like the Phillies have enough guys to patch up the infield until the big guns get healthy.
With the pitching that the Phillies have, and the number of guys already in town that can fill-in while Howard and Utley are banged up, I believe the team is still in prime position to win the National League Pennant in 2012.