Philadelphia Phillies: Possible Chinks in the Perceived Armor

Deborah HortonContributor IMarch 21, 2011

Cliff Lee
Cliff LeeJ. Meric/Getty Images

Much like the Miami Heat when they signed the triplets, many in the sports world had them winning it all, including 70 games.  Now, they will be lucky to get to 60 games on the season and winning it all doesn't seem so likely anymore.  

When the Phillies signed their stellar rotation, most in the sports world had them winning the World Series.  People thought that they had it all sewn up—ready to hand them the trophy.  Not so fast my friends, not so fast.

Apparently, there are a few more chinks in the Phillies' armor than one might have expected at first glance.

Starting with Chase Utley and his knee injury.  Utley and the team keep saying that he is progressing and on the right track, but taking ground balls while sitting in a chair is not progressing unless they mean he isn't lying down to take them, so that's progress.  

Utley will likely be out for months, not weeks.  The Phillies just signed veteran Luis Castillo to a minor league deal.  They also have several candidates who can play second on their own roster.  

But replacing Utley and his defense isn't going to be that easy and also working into a new around-the-horn chemistry.  It is not as easy as people might think.

Next, the Phillies are going to miss Jayson Werth's bat.  A lot of people like to dog on Werth and his attitude, but he provided the Phillies hits in key situations.  That will be gone this season and they do not have a solid replacement in the lineup for what he contributed.  

It's all well and good if your pitchers can hold down the other team's runs, but your team has to put some on the board to win.

On to the pitching, it is a great rotation, no doubt about it, but it is not invincible.  Over spring training, almost all the pitchers in the rotation have had bad outings and some of them have had more than one.

Hamels has not been particularly stellar.  Blanton has given up a lot of runs.  Even Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee have given up more runs than one would have thought.  

In total, the Phillies starting five have given up 41 runs over 73 innings of work.  They have given up 11 homers and 74 hits.  They have had 57 strikeouts.  The starting five have a win/loss record of 5-4.  Their average ERA is 3.89.  

Do I think the Phillies will make the playoffs?  They should.  Do I think they win their division?  Perhaps. Will they win the World Series? We will find out in about eight months.  

For now, it might be wise not to put all the World Series eggs in one basket.