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After putting up MLB's best record for the second year in a row, it comes as no surprise that the Philadelphia Phillies are the odds-on favorite in the gambling world to take it all once again.
Taking this bet might not be in your best interest when you consider just how the last two years have panned out for The City of Brotherly Love's best. The Phillies' starting rotation remains formidable despite the loss of Roy Oswalt, but the Three Horsemen just doesn't have the same ring to it.
The lineup continues to be strong, but like all good things, it must come to an end. The increased median age of the projected starting lineup has begun to sap some of the life out of it.
With the news that Ryan Howard would be missing the beginning of the season, things start to look a little darker for Philadelphia. Sure, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and a lot of team's would be gladly accepting of the Phillies' bad in order to also claim their good. The problem, however, with the Phillies' lineup is the age. And the big question is: will age hold up?
With the majority of their players edging past their prime, there are likely to be no breakout years or huge surprises. The Phillies know what they're getting, and they have probably already been the recipient of it.
Will it be enough this year when it hasn't been for the last three years? Only time will tell and the Phightin' Phils may not have a whole lot of that left.