The times are changing in Philadelphia, though whether or not that is a good thing for the Phillies remains to be seen.
It is no secret that this team is getting old, fragile and is betting a lot on some players who have never been very good or haven't been good in a long time.
Adding Michael Young and Delmon Young as the starting third baseman and right fielder, respectively, has disaster written all over it. Acquiring Ben Revere from Minnesota will help the outfield defense, but he will have so much ground to cover on his own with Young and either Domonic Brown or Darin Ruf in the corner spots.
The Phillies do still have a quality rotation, especially at the top with Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Getting Roy Halladay back and pitching close to the level he was at pre-2012 will be crucial.
Spring training is huge for this team, because it has to keep all of its core players healthy if it wants to compete in the National League East. Chase Utley is as close to full strength as he is ever going to get, which is a huge boost to the middle of that lineup.
But other than Utley, the batting order looks suspect. Ryan Howard can't hit left-handed pitching; Carlos Ruiz is coming off the best year of his career at age 34 but is suspended for the first 25 games of the season for a failed drug test; and Jimmy Rollins had a .316 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot last year.
There is also no significant help coming from the minors. The Legend of Darin Ruf will get a wake-up call in the big leagues this season, as his tear through Double-A last season came at the age of 26, and he is miscast in the outfield.
This is a fascinating team to watch, though not for a lot of reasons Philadelphia fans would like. Here is a closer look at what we expect the 25-man roster to look like, the projected starting lineup and daily results and news from spring training games.
|Darin Ruf, OF||Bench|
|Sebastian Valle, C||Bench|
|Freddy Galvis, IF||Bench|
|John Mayberry, Jr., OF||Bench|
|Kevin Frandsen, IF||Bench|
C Carlos Ruiz will be eligible to return on April 28
|Cole Hamels, LHP||SP|
|Cliff Lee, LHP||SP|
|Roy Halladay, RHP||SP|
|Kyle Kendrick, RHP||SP|
|John Lannan, RHP||SP|
|Jeremy Horst, LHP||RP|
|Raul Valdes, LHP||RP|
|Chad Durbin, RHP||RP|
|Phillippe Aumont, RHP||RP|
|Antonio Bastardo, LHP||RP|
|Mike Adams, RHP||RP|
|Jonathan Papelbon, RHP||CP|
|1. Ben Revere, CF|
|2. Jimmy Rollins, SS|
|3. Chase Utley, 2B|
|4. Ryan Howard, 1B|
|5. Michael Young, 3B|
|6. Domonic Brown, LF|
|7. Delmon Young, RF|
|8. Erik Kratz, C|
|No.1: Cole Hamels, LHP|
|No. 2: Cliff Lee, LHP|
|No. 3: Roy Halladay, RHP|
|No. 4: Kyle Kendrick, RHP|
|No. 5: John Lannan, RHP|
Philadelphia Phillies defeat Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1
WP: Jake Diekman
LP: Mike Zagurski
S: Cesar Jimenez
Phillies Player of the Game: 3B Pete Orr
1-for-1, HR, RBI, Run
Following Wednesday's poor pitching effort, things were decidedly different against Pittsburgh. The pitching was much better, with Phillippe Aumont having the lone blemish when he gave up a run on a wild pitch.
Orr provided the fireworks late in the game, hitting what would turn out to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Phillies. He came into the game as a replacement for Michael Young--you can insert your own joke about that here.
Chase Utley also looked good at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double. He is hitting just .206 this spring but as long as he makes it through the spring healthy, that has to be considered a win for the Phillies.
What's on deck?
The Phillies will go to Charlotte Sports Park for another matinee game at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Tampa Bay Rays. John Lannan will get the start opposite Matt Moore.
New York Yankees defeat Philadelphia Phillies 6-2
WP: Andy Pettitte
LP: Cliff Lee
Phillies Player of the Game: LF Darin Ruf
1-for-3, HR, RBI, Run Scored, K
The Phillies had a terrible day in what was supposed to be the marquee matchup on Wednesday. They made four errors and Cliff Lee went just 2.2 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks.
Despite the team's problems, left fielder Darin Ruf provided what little offense the Phillies could muster in this game. He hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning off David Aardsma. He is hitting just .200 this spring but could get a job coming off the bench in the regular season.
What's on deck?
The Phillies will go back home on Thursday afternoon for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyle McPherson starts for the Pirates against Aaron Cook.
Detroit Tigers defeat Philadelphia Phillies 10-6
WP: Drew Smyly
LP: Roy Halladay
Phillies Player of the Game: CF Ben Revere
3-for-3, 2 2B, 3 Runs Scored
The Phillies have undergone a bit of a roster reconstruction this offseason, with Ben Revere being one of the key moves the team made to improve on last season's 81-81 campaign.
Revere has looked so far this spring, taking to the leadoff role and providing his usual strong defense in center field. He had a perfect day at the plate today, showing off his speed and line-drive stroke in hitting two doubles.
The Phillies aren't going to have nearly as much power in the lineup as they have in the past, so having a young player like Revere, who can get on base better than Jimmy Rollins, will help the offense stay in the upper echelon of the National League.
What's on deck?
The Phillies travel to George Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET to take on the New York Yankees in a Grapefruit League game with a marquee pitching matchup featuring Cliff Lee against Andy Pettitte.