The Philadelphia Phillies have been dominating the National League East for the past several MLB seasons thanks to names like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay leading the way. With all of those All-Stars far from returning from their various injuries, the Philadelphia faithful shouldn't expect a postseason run this year.
Cole Hamels put together a string of gems before facing the rival New York Mets this past Monday, and Cliff Lee is back from the disabled list, but this injury mountain is just too high for these Phillies to climb.
Halladay is gone for six to eight weeks, and that's if everything goes right during his rehabilitation. While that may have some fans hoping for an early July return for Doc, guys like Brett Gardner and Carl Crawford can attest that things don't always go as planned during rehab.
Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock echoed this sentiment during an interview with Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, stating, "There’s a lot of things that can happen one way or another in that time frame.”
With Halladay joining the already endless list of Phillies starters and backups on the disabled list, the team finds itself with little depth and starting less-than-stellar options.
Despite a solid year with the Baltimore Orioles back in 2010, Ty Wigginton isn't someone a team can rely on to get a hit all too often. His current batting average of .256 is actually higher than what he posted in the past two seasons. Wiggy and current second baseman Freddy Galvis just don't offer the same type of production that Howard and Utley do.
While Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel is trying to rally the healthy players he has, that's easier said than done in a tough division like the NL East.
Behind young sensations Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals are currently atop the division and appear to be primed for a playoff push, while the Mets continue to defy the odds and find themselves tied for second place in the NL East with the Miami Marlins.
“Our division’s going to be very tight,” Manuel told Kepner before Tuesday's game against the Mets. “That’s why it’s very important for us to kind of keep our head above water...we've got to stay alive."
Delaware County Daily Times writer Ryan Lawrence believes that starting pitcher Vance Worley could make his return to the Phillies rotation next Monday, which allows the team to easily replace Doc's spot in the rotation. That being said, the rotation is still a shell of itself with arguably the best pitcher of the last decade unavailable.
The issue the Phillies face is that there's no real timetable for the return of Utley or Howard, and it's six to eight weeks at best before Doc takes the mound again.
This means their offense will continue to struggle to consistently score more than three runs or so, while their opposition no longer have to prepare for their dominant ace until July at the earliest.
Philadelphia is a resilient unit headed by one of the best managers in the game in Manuel, but this time around, there just seems to be too many hurdles for it to jump in order to make the playoffs.