After opening the 2012 season with superstars and offensive leaders Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the disabled list, expectations were that the Philadelphia Phillies might be in a bit of trouble this year.
Multiple free agent acquisitions by the Miami Marlins, the return of Stephen Strasburg to the Washington Nationals and a solid Atlanta Braves team all in the same division were also reasons for great concern.
Winners of five consecutive National League titles, the Phillies were still expected to compete for yet another first-place finish. But with practically half the season in the rear view mirror, the Phillies find themselves barely out of the cellar and hanging on for dear life.
Despite everything that has gone against them, there is still plenty of reason to believe that this club can win the NL East again, and have a chance to compete in yet another World Series this fall.