2012 Philadelphia Phillies Season Preview
The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News preview the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies season with a look at key issues across the team's lineup.
In six months, we will be able to speak more definitively about the personnel that the Phillies decided to carry into the season. Right now, the Phillies arrive at Opening Day as one of the top contenders to finish the year with a parade.
The Phillies have endured a greater quantity of injuries leaving spring training before. But they've never lost as much quality before Opening Day as they have in Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
It will be be hard for the Phillies' pitchers to top their 2011 performance. Without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard able to boost the offense, the rotation may have to reach that level again this year.
Jimmy Rollins still believes he can duplicate his magical 2007 season, when he first declared the Phillies the team to beat in the NL East, then backed up his words by winning the league MVP award.
All signs throughout spring training pointed to Placido Polanco being back on track. Not even a week off because of a sprained left ring finger was able to dampen his enthusiasm.
Two years ago, batting in the middle of the Phillies' order would have enticed Shane Victorino to defy his baseball existence. Now there's reason to believe he's better suited for the job than ever.
Jim Thome's body is too worn down for him to bat cleanup on a regular basis. So Charlie Manuel and the Phillies have a major problem: Who should hit fourth in the long-term absence of Ryan Howard?
John Mayberry Jr. was a man a lot of people were counting out last year in spring training. Now, he's a man a lot of people are counting on. But Charlie Manuel made it clear that nothing is guaranteed.
Who knows where anyone is batting in manager Charlie Manuel's lineup this season? One certainty is that there should be opportunities for newcomers such as Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre.
For as integral a role as he fills, Carlos Ruiz has averaged just 118 games per season since 2007. Ruiz worked hard during the offseason to prepare for another year behind the plate.
The vast majority of National League teams find ways to survive with a field player who struggles at the plate in their lineups. That does not mean the Phillies can spend the entire season with Freddy Galvis in the eight hole. For now, though, he's getting a chance.
Bob Brookover: Look at Freddy Galvis once, and you might see only an undersize kid who barely appears old enough to drive. But keep watching, and you'll see the things that made Phillies scouts fall in love with Galvis when the infielder was 14 years old.