Game 1 of 162 was somehow worse than most expected. The offense was non-existent, Cole was a HR waiting to happen and the bullpen (our expected bright spot) was a disaster. That said, the Phillies writers here at Pattison Avenue put their prognostication skills to the test to try and figure out just how we see the season unfolding. Spoiler alert: It’s not good.
Mike Elser: 66-96
Outlook: Now we all know it’s going to be a long season, but will this team lose 100 games this year? While it’s certainly possible, I’m going to bet against that happening…barely. I think that they may enter August south of 50 wins, but with a late season push to see some of the young talent in action, they avoid going over the century mark in losses.
Ali Van Norden: 70-92
Outlook: Remember in 2013 when the Red Sox were predicted to come in last place by many and they ended up winning the World Series? Well, history will not repeat itself with the Phillies this season. It is going to be bad. Very, very bad. We will finish tomorrow in first place, lose Wednesday, and unfortunately continue down the path of “Last Place”.
For my semi bold predication: Chase Utley will be the last man standing from the 2008 World Series team by the time this season ends. Yes, even Ryan Howard will finally be traded this season. While I am excited to start to see the youth movement finally happen, it’s going to be a long time until we’re competitive again.
Eric Goldstein: 65-97
Outlook: Cole Hamels, as expected, shines. So does the bullpen, especially the back end. Ken Giles becomes the full-time closer in late July, when the teams finally finds a taker for Jonathan Papelbon. Ben Revere’s move to left ends up as a blessing in disguise and he hits over .300 again and swipes 50-plus bases. Given more time off, Chase Utley remains fresher throughout the year and produces another fine – and more consistent – season. Cody Asche continues to develop into a good – not great – major league player. Chad Billingsley is one of the few bright spots of the season with the starting staff as he rebounds from a couple of injury-plagued years to have a solid season and is a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. That’s the good.
The rest of the roster is not so good as we continue to see the decline of Ryan Howard and Dominic Brown falls out of favor with the club in regards to the future. The outfield is one of worst in the league, the starting staff outside of Hamels and Billingsley is awful. Cameron Rupp starts more games behind the plate than Carlos Ruiz, who spends the year battling injuries, and the team is a total afterthought once Eagles preseason begins. The Phillies play to crowds of less than 20,000 at the Bank in September and finish with the worst record in the National League but avoid the century mark in losses.
Seamus Killeen: 61-101
Outlook: No one wants to say it, especially people who are going to spend the next 6 months writing about the team but there is not a lot based on last year and the off season to think that they Phils can even match last year’s results. Even if Lee comes back and has a career year along with Hamels, the offense just won’t produce enough to avoid the century mark in losses. Utley may have a solid season. Howard may even show signs. The youth will be the big issue. Herrera, Galvis…bench players at best who are playing stop gaps and pretending to be Major League starters who have to learn on the fly. If there is one bright spot, expect it to be the back end of the bullpen. If the Phils can get a lead once in a while, I expect them to hold it much more often than not.
It’s going to be a long time between now and September. There will be a lot of ugly baseball and maybe, just maybe some bright spots. That should not prevent us form watching but when games unfold like #1 today, it may at least let some of us go to be early.
We’ll watch, we’ll hope, we’ll look to the future.