MLB Season Preview: Hungry Philadelphia Phillies' Squad Ready To Feast

By Sean O'Brien
 Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves were simply better than the Philadelphia Phillies last year. That old song still sounds the same as the 2013 season begins.

If two divisional opponents and approximately four other National League teams continue to have deeper rosters, how will Charlie Manuel’s dugout crew be able to make a postseason push this year? Past performance and available talent have often been overcome when desire translates into consistent production.

Philadelphia didn’t fall in the tank last year and they still have plenty of winners on their team. Despite all of the injuries, trades and disappointing performances, the Phillies did finish at 81-81 in 2012. Most encouragingly, they retained their second-half seasonal pattern of driving hard down the stretch.

As Manuel prepares to lead his team, during what could be the final year of his tenure, he has a 25-man roster that’s far healthier than the one he had at the beginning of last season. His diamond boys also have a collective spring glint in their eyes that reflect fall visions.

Hunger to win enables a single game to be won, a series to be taken or a playoff berth to be gained. Preseason predictions can be dashed when the spirit of renewal is in the air.

Cliff Lee is likely to see normal run support this season, while Cole Hamels continues to win regardless of the score.

Jonathan Papelbon has already bonded with Mike Adams. That connection isn’t one that will make any opponent grin.

Jimmy Rollins won’t always hit in the top spot this season. But, this mature veteran won’t care as long as his team wins.

Ryan Howard’s healthy Achilles’ tendon will help to generate many more home runs this time around, while Chase Utley’s contained knee condition might enable one more solid summer.

As for Roy Halladay, miracles can’t be expected. But, possibly “Doc’s” medical diagnosis doesn’t signal certain doom.

There are other players’ stories that could be included at this moment. However, there will be time for all of them throughout the year.

The Phillies seem like they’re ready to eat again. They’ll need to save space for at least 10 additional meals within their scheduled diets this season. If that happens, they’ll regain access to the fall feast.

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

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