2010 MLB Season Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

>> Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Philadelphia Phillies seem poised to do something that has not been done by a National League team since the 1940’s, and that is, make three consecutive trips to the World Series. This team probably has the best lineup in all baseball, and adding Roy Halladay to the starting rotation certainly makes them a whole lot better. They should easily win their division, and threaten the 100 win plateau, as for the World Series; well the smart money isn’t betting against them.

The only real concern here is how will the bullpen do? In 2009 the Phillies bullpen had an ERA of 3.91 which was 9th among the 16 National League teams. The simple fact here is closer Brad Lidge must perform better. Lidge was virtually unhitable in 2008, but struggled through the 2009 regular season. He did convert all 2009 post season saves, so maybe he is back on the right track. He has new guys to help him close out games in Danys Baez, and Jose Contreras.

While this is a solid club from top to bottom, we have to wonder which Cole Hammels will show up in 2010. Cole had some arm soreness heading in to the 2009 campaign, and hitters took advantage. Cole should be ok, and having Halladay will take some pressure off him.

The only other concern here is how recently resigned Placido Polanco will fare in his switch to third base. Having him in the lineup behind Jimmy Rollins will surely be beneficial, but moving from second to third is hardly an easy move to make. Polanco has not played more than 25 games at the hot corner since 2002. If Polanco inherits the second position in the lineup it could hurt Shane Victorino somewhat. Having Polanco at second takes some of Shane’s speed away, but may give Polanco a look at a lot more high quality pitches.

Here's what I think the lineup may look like:

1. SS Jimmy Rollins
2. 3B Placido Polanco
3. 2B Chase Utley
4. 1B Ryan Howard
5. RF Jayson Werth
6. LF Raul Ibanez
7. CF Shane Victorino
8. C Carlos Ruiz

SP: Roy Halladay
SP: Cole Hamels
SP: Joe Blanton
SP: J.A. Happ
SP: Jamie Moyer

CP: Brad Lidge

On Deck:  New York Mets