Philadelphia Phillies' Divisional Foes Aren't Assured of Greatness

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies National League Pennant
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies have a lot to prove this season. In the meantime, everyone needs to ease off the unearned worship of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves and consider reality before the 2013 regular season begins.

There will be no deep digital analysis of either the “Nats”, or the “Bravos”, because neither team is a dynasty. The Phillies hold the last banner of the bunch, if you look at that 2009 National League pennant that’s flying high above this feature.

Of course Charlie Manuel and his team fell hard last year. The five-time (2007-2011) National League East Division Champions didn’t relinquish their crown. It was ripped from them by a strong in-season Nationals’ squad that appears to be on the rise. Of course the often solid, but rarely trophy-worthy, Braves walked over the Phillies last year as well and finished in second place.

The keys to 2013 momentum don’t solely involve a variety of Phillies’ pieces falling into place. The way Philadelphia will regain its place in the postseason picture is if the Nationals and the Braves fall backwards a bit as the regular season schedule plays out.

Those teams need to face injury issues that aren’t properly responded to. Those teams need to have their players under-perform. Those teams need to have some bad luck.

A hopeful Phillies’ resurgence needs to be linked to Washington and Atlanta skinning their roster’s knees and faltering by approximately five games apiece. With that, the Phillies’ divisional road and more realistic Wild Card hopes will brighten.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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