Your favorite sports pundit is back with his predictions for the Phils.
I’m usually filled with optimism when writing my Phillies season preview, but this year there is still a lingering bitterness that hasn’t shaken. I’m usually fine with losing; it’s not my fucking life, I’m not playing. But something about last season’s seemingly premature end has penetrated my generally stoic take on grown-ass men playing with balls. Even vaguely recalling last year’s exit in the NLDS makes me recoil and shrivel. The memory of Ryan Howard clutching his freshly torn Achilles after grounding a ball as imposing as a kitten frolicking in the grass right into the hands of a Cardinal still makes me want to burn down a hospital. It was another year with a better roster, but a step backward in post-season embarrassment as far as series advancement.
I know it sounds like the whining of a spoiled panty-waist, and I’ll cop to that. Welcome to a new era in Phillies baseball: little pricks like me bitching about not winning the World Series every year. Let’s get started …
The Phils have a potentially nightmarish start to the season with Ryan Howard out until early June and Chase Utley being absent from all spring training activities thus far. We don’t know exactly what’s wrong with Utley, other than his knee is shot. This means certain players are going to have to step-it-the-fuck-up for the first two months. I’m looking at J-Roll, Victorino and Carlos Ruiz to bring a little patience to the game for a while before going back to swinging at the first pitch or popping-up on the infield. The best we can hope for is that the offense can coast on fumes, and that the rotation continue to make hitters looks like total assholes until everyone is healthy, or at least alive.
There weren’t many big moves made in the off-season, but the largest and most notable would have to be the signing of Jonathan Papelbon. Many have scoffed at this acquisition based on the free agent’s contract size (five years and $50 milion), with claims that it’s a lateral move in lieu of Ryan Madson, our former 8th-inning man forced closer. This is pure horseshit. Madson, while effective for the most part, always looked like a virgin about to shit himself when on the mound. Papelbon wants you to die. He has the confidence and killer instinct that I always felt lacking in the closer role (yes, even Brad Lidge). Coupled with the fact that he’s kind of an asshole, he’s a great fit for this city. Although I’m sure I’ll want him set on fire after his second blown save.
The bench was also upgraded immensely with the additions of Ty Wiggington and the beloved former Phil, Jim Thome. These guys can barely walk but offer a skill that has been missing for some time: They can put a ball on Mars. This will be a welcomed change from watching Ross Gload or Ben Francisco fart in their own faces with runners in scoring position. I’ll still never forget NLDS Game 3 last year, Benny.
Oh, yeah, and our No. 1 prospect, outfielder Dominic Brown, still blows. He’s dropping fly balls that my sperm could catch and playing down to the level of his farm system opponents this spring. He’s still all right in my book because he’s the reason we have Hunter Pence, who is sports hernia-free and surely will have some big numbers with a full year in the Phillies Yard. I guess we can also thank the Bearded Lady, Jayson Werth, for this gift, too.
One thing that is still a mystery to me is how our faux-hawked young stunner Vance Worley will fair. Last year, he over-achieved in a spot that most pencil-neck rookies would’ve crumble. He was tossed into THIS rotation and excelled after Fat Joe Bland Ton wasted our money again with another injury. He’s looked bang-on this spring but something is still telling me that he could have a shite sophomore year.
With this mercurial offense, he’s probably going to have something like a 9-8 or even a losing record, but a lower ERA than most pitchers would have with that tally. He can give you a solid six innings, which lends itself to someone like new bullpen loiterer RHP Chad Qualls coming in and giving up 60 runs. Vance is a Phil that I am rooting for more than most this year. Now if he’d only learn where the treadmills were at CBP.
Overall, my prediction for this team is that they will either win the World Series or they won’t even win the division. There will be no middle ground. They are teetering on geriatric but still have more talent than any team in the division, even the new-look-but-who-gives-a-fuck-Marlins and the adorable Washington Nationals. It’s just whether or not they decide to dig in and not expect a ring to just be handed to them. They have everything necessary to win and we all know that it doesn’t take much to win a championship these days. Just look at the last two bullshit winners.
Death to those in ILL T-shirts. GO, PHILLIES!
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