Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Training Debut Suggests Past Ills Not Behind Phils

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Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Training Debut Suggests Past Ills Not Behind Phils
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"Think about something other than sliders low-and-away, think about something other than sliders low-and-away..."

Straight up front, please save your "it's only one game!" remonstrations. Of course it's only one game, and of course it's only the preseason.

Know how you know that preseason results are meaningless? The Philadelphia Eagles went 4-0 in the preseason in 2012. And you know how that turned out.

So, yeah, right, it's ridiculous to take anything away from a preseason game in February (even one against the terrible Houston Astros) where Jimmy Rollins sat and Cole Hamels left after two strong innings. You're right.

Yeah, but still.

If you wanted to look for concerns following the ugly 8-3 loss to the Astros, the box score is rife with them.

Consider:

—Golden boy prospect Darin Ruf went 0-for-3, but his error on a routine single that put runners on second and third (rather than first and second) was more troubling than his inability to get a hit.

The double play was no longer in order, two runners were in scoring position, and perhaps predictably the chorus of concerned citizens who think Ruf might not be able to play left field in the major leagues now have an early warning sign to point to.

—The Phillies had eight hits, and only two were for extra bases. Pete Orr's home run was nice, but like so many Phillie home runs in 2012, it was a solo shot. Ruf, Michael Young and Ryan Howard went 0-for-9. Howard, in midseason form, struck out twice.

So, um, about that power surge in 2013...

—The Phillies had four errors. Michael Martinez's gaffe is a non-concern since he has little-to-no shot to make the team. But Ruf's error is not an encouraging development.

And the other two errors were made by Ben Revere, a supposed defensive upgrade in center field, and Erik Kratz, who is supposed to be the starter at catcher for most of April while Carlos Ruiz serves out his 25-game suspension.

—The Phillies' middle relievers got slapped around again. B.J. Rosenberg, Jeremy Horst and Justin De Fratus surrendered five earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in five innings against a pretty lousy offensive team.

Mike Adams had better be really good.

Again, right, it's just one game. The Phillies have over a month in Florida to sort it all out.

From the looks of things, though, they'll need to use all of it.

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