2013 PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES SEASON PREVIEW
Fresh off the heels of their fifth National League East championship in a row, Father Time caught up with the Philadelphia Phillies during their 2012 campaign. With major injuries to stalwarts like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay, the Phillies hovered near the bottom of the divisional standings for most of the year, but still found a way to rebound and finish with a .500 record. Heading into 2013, the Phillies have restocked their farm system and have a healthy lineup that should be as dangerous as any in the National League. The Phillies open up the season against the Atlanta Braves and will have to contend with a very strong division to return to the playoffs in 2013.
After years of being the bullies of the National League East, the Phillies fell on hard times during the 2012 season when a significant core of the team's roster, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay, who spent significant time on the disabled list. As a result, the first half of the year was a poor showing by the Phillies, but as their team began to get healthier, they recaptured their winning ways and returned to .500 by the end of the season. Over the winter, the Phillies succeeded in getting younger players at a series of vital positions and now look poised to retake their NL East crown back and make a serious run at another World Series title.
The Phillies became sellers at the trading deadline during 2012, dealing away Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Hunter Pence, which helped restock the team's farm system. During the offseason, the Phillies added some key pieces but managed not to overspend. In addition to a trade of prospects for outfielder Michael Young, the Phillies traded for centerfielder Ben Revere. Finally, the team used free agency to fill the rest of the holes on the roster, adding pitchers like Mike Adams and John Lannan, as well as quality role players like Delmon Young, Chad Durbin and Ender Inciarte.
The Phillies still have one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball, and their infield ranks among the top in the Major Leagues. First baseman Ryan Howard is one of the sport's premier hitters, while second baseman Chase Utley also provides plenty of pop from his spot. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins will continue to be a threat on the bases, while the addition of Michael Young should solidify the third base position. In the outfield, the Phillies will rely on a trio of talented but inexperienced players like Ben Revere, Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix.
The team's starting rotation should give opposing batters fits all year long, as Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick are arguably the best starting four in baseball. Additionally, the steady play of closer Jonathan Papelbon should provide the Phillies with the lockdown pitching he has built his career on. If the Phillies can avoid the injury bug, they have more than enough talent to recapture the NL East crown and are surely one of the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES INFORMATION:
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Citizens Bank Park
Conference: National League
Division: East Division
Rivals: Oakland Athletics
Notable Players: Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, John Kruk
Philadelphia Phillies World Series Title: 2, last World Series title: 2008
Philadelphia Phillies NL Championships: 7, last League Championship title: 2009
The Philadelphia Phillies' history dates all the way back to 1883, when they were known as the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League. As the new franchise found its footing, the team changed its name to the Phillies in 1890 and would compete with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American League for the top draw in the area. The early years weren't kind to the Phillies, but they would push out a number of Hall of Famers, such as Grover C. Alexander, Ed Delahanty and Elmer Flick. After the team's appearance in the World Series in 1915 ended in a loss to the Boston Red Sox, Phillies fans would have to wait decades before their team returned to the top of the baseball world.
While the Phillies certainly had their share of successful seasons over the years, the franchise's golden age took place in the late '70s and early '80s. With perennial Cy Young winner Steve Carlton and the steady bats of Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose, the Phillies captured division titles six times between 1977 and 1983 and won their first World Series in 1980. That year, the Phillies got hot at just the right time and captured the division title on the second to last day of the season. After winning a tough series against the Houston Astros in the National League Championship Series, the Phillies were pitted against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. After the series returned to Philadelphia tied two games apiece, the Phillies enjoyed a clutch performance from reliever Tug McGraw to seal the win in Game 5, and cruised to their first championship in 97 years after a heroic day of pitching by Steve Carlton.
The Phillies enjoyed a resurgence in the late 2000s after the front office compiled a roster of All Stars including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. The team won the World Series in 2008 and fell just short of repeating the following year, but the core of the championship roster remains largely intact. Over the following years, the Phillies have built one of the most fearsome pitching staffs in all of the Major Leagues and continue to bring up talented youngsters from the minors. The team is one of the biggest contenders in the National League, and they have enough youth and speed to stay relevant for years to come.
Philadelphia Phillies Playoff Tickets
Philadelphia Phillies Preview History