Five Questions for the Philadelphia Phillies 2010 Season
With Spring upon us, there are a few areas of concern when it comes to the 2009 National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
There are new faces on the team, payers returning from injuries, and others vying for their places.
The team enters the season as favorites in the NL East, but will issues from 2009 haunt the Phillies?
Will Cole Hamels rebound in 2010?
From 2006-2008, Hamels ERA was steadily improving. However, his ERA jumped from a 3.09 in 2008 to 4.32 in 2009.
On the first official day of Spring Training, pitching coach Rich Dubee said Hamels must regain his "attitude" and "focus," even mentioning Hamels can learn from watching film of his demeanor on the mound last season.
One of the keys to the 2008 Phillies' success was having an effective Hamels. Philadelphia needs their 2008 World Series MVP to return to form to bring home another World Series Championship.
Will Brad Lidge return to form?
The 2008 season was magical for the Philadelphia Phillies and their flawless (by record) closer.
2009 was a nightmare for Brad Lidge. Plagued by injuries and yet determined to play, Lidge's performance was far from flawless. He went from a 1.81 ERA in 2008 to a stomach-dropping 7.21 ERA in 2009.
Lidge had a couple of surgeries during the offseason—the most recent in January—which has put him two weeks behind schedule.
During Spring Training interviews, the closer opened with, "I'm going to burn my '09 shirts and we'll get this over with and move forward from there."
Will the 2010 version of Brad Lidge erase the nightmare of 2009?
Will Placido Polanco successfully transition to third base?
Not every player can move from one fielding position to another with ease. The Phillies are looking to have Placido Polanco to fill the third base shoes of Pedro Feliz.
Feliz was great defensively, but his moody bat won't be missed. Polanco, a career .303 hitter, is a two-time Gold Glove winner at second base.
The Phillies need Polanco's defense to make the move to third. Along with his offense, if successful, Polanco at third is a definite upgrade.
Who will be the fifth starter?
With the first four spots in the starting rotation being filled by Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and J.A. Happ, who is the fifth starter.
The battle will most likely be fought between veteran Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick.
Will it be experience or youth in 2010?
Will injuries play a big part in 2010?
The term "injury" was around so often last season that it seems as if it were a member of the 2009 Phillies.
A prime example of its effect is Raul Ibanez.
Two sides of Raul Ibanez were revealed last season due to injury.
Before the All-Star Break, the outfielder was posting dominating numbers at the plate—.302 BA, 60 RBI, 22 HR, and 1.016 OPS. After the break, his injury took over. It was then his numbers dropped to .232 BA, 33 RBI, 12 HR, and .774 OPS.
Sure, the team had success with so much going against them, but to acquire another World Series ring, the team must be able to stay healthy.