It probably would not come as a shocking statement to say that the offense of the Philadelphia Phillies relies heavily on Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Likewise I’m sure most would agree that Roy Halladay is a crucial peg in the pitching staff. While there are newly signed players and younger stars on the Phillies team, these three guys will need to do better in 2013.
After a long string of either winning or coming close to winning the Cy-Young award several years in a row, Halladay suddenly posted an ERA over four and had fewer than twelve wins for the first time since 2004. His standard fifteen to twenty wins and ERA under three will be a big deal if he plans to play to win another World Series as he claimed recently in a press conference.
Howard and Utley are two different sides of the same coin for importance on offense. Howard missed part of last season and figures to probably show up at least for most of his usual thirty homeruns and hundred or so runs batted in. If he cannot, it certainly will be bad for the Phillies. Chase Utley is a very important part however and he has now two straight subpar seasons. I think Utley has plenty left in the tank but he still has to come out and prove it.
The main job for each of these three will be to use their experience and remaining talent to bring all that they have to the field. The National League East is stacked this year with an improved Atlanta Braves team and the Washington Nationals still being one of the best teams in all of baseball. If the Phillies plan to regain a spot on top of the division, it will take all three of these guys’ best.