I've said it time and time again, so I'll make it quick: baseball is back. Well, almost. The Seattle-Oakland opener in Japan concluded yesterday with the two teams splitting even. But does that mean that Phillies baseball is back? Not just yet. And for once, it's probably better that way.
Considering that you have injuries to Ryan Howard—who's set to miss all of April, most (if not all) of May, and potentially even some of June—and Chase Utley, who will likely miss similar time to Howard, you've got some big shoes to fill. Although those shoes can't be filled completely, there's always hope. Or so I'd like to think.
You've also got an injury to Placido Polanco, who jammed his thumb sliding back into third base early last week. Lastly, you have Michael Martinez, and while he was only considered a utility infielder, losing his versatility (even with the lack of defense he brings onto the diamond) to a foot fracture hurts just a little bit.
But what could hurt this team most is that they shipped off utilityman Wilson Valdez early in the offseason, and now with the injuries to four or five infielders (oh yeah, Freddy Galvis is day-to-day, too), giving him up was a costly mistake.
With injuries, platoons or just simply changing of hands at a position, we'll investigate and predict how many games each key Phillie will start. This means that much the starting nine, plus some of the team's injured players, will have predictions by the slideshow's end. Please note that this only applies to offensive players—no pitchers will be a part of the slideshow itself, although I'd love to discuss that matter in the comments with you.
So with that, I bid thee well...from this slide, of course. Go on, read the rest of the slideshow. You know you want to.