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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Season Preview: Philadelphia Phillies’ Staff is Questionable

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Is this what the new “Big 3" will look like?

Is this what the new “Big 3" will look like?
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the Philadelphia Phillies' current “Big 3” without seeing Roy Halladay is surreal. While “Doc” remains in town, his future remains unclear.

Halladay is pitching in the final year of his contract, so next season's team photo might not include him. As for this year, no one knows what he'll look like on the mound.

Every season produces a variety of storylines for fans to follow. The Phillies' starting pitching staff has already produced some reasonable question marks.

Cole Hamels is the team's reigning ace. Of course, health is a prerequisite for any professional athlete. With a clean seasonal bill, there's every reason to believe that another Cy Young effort will be offered by this No. 1 starter.

Halladay had another disturbing spring, but will still start the second game of the season. That designation was mostly based upon his career resume and the fact that his right arm fits between two sharp left hooks.

Cliff Lee was fabulous last season, but the Phillies' offense was often dysfunctional when he was on the hill. One person can't keep a group together if his other family members are weak. With some new silverware seen at this season's dinner plate, Lee might eat 15+ winning meals again.

Kyle Kendrick is a major league pitcher, but he won't be a Hall of Famer and he's likely to never see the Phillies' Wall of Fame. But, “KK” is consistent and his 30 starts will help his team.

John Lannan is slightly taller and heavier than Joe Blanton is — we'll see if this veteran left-hander can fit into his predecessor’s fifth starters' slot.

Just to review: Hamels and Lee are solid. Kendrick is decent and Lannan might be okay.

Halladay's ongoing attempt to “reinvent” himself is the lynch pin that will secure the season, or cause this staff to be stuck in the middle of the National League pack.

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

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Hamels should be number 1 again

Hamels should be number 1 again
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

As good as Cole Hamels was last season, numerous statistical marks indicate that 2011 was a better year. Repeated excellence often sparks positive debates.

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Halladay continues to pitch with a different right arm

Halladay continues to pitch with a different right arm
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Roy Halladay suggested that mushy mounds and improperly prepared baseballs caused two ineffective starts this spring.

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With run support, Lee will win again

With run support, Lee will win again
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Lee led the majors with the lowest walks per nine innings pitched ratio (1.1943) last season. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo finished second (1.5594), while Joe Blanton was third (1.6021).

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Kendrick is expected to make 30 good starts

Kendrick is expected to make 30 good starts
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Kendrick has won 10 or more games four times in his six-year Philadelphia Phillies' career.

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Lannan needs to pitch like it's 2008

Lannan needs to pitch like it's 2008
Derick Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

John Lannan has started 134 major league games during the past six seasons and has a career WHIP of 1.424. He posted his best seasonal WHIP mark (1.341) in 2008, when he started 31 games.