The Philadelphia Phillies are playing against the Pittsburgh Pirates as Spring Training is winding down and the regular season is essentially hours away. Both franchises have been in the league for years and both have two vastly different futures ahead of them.
The Phillies were a hot team a few years ago, winning the World Series in 2008 and then returning the next year. They had great pitching and a powerful lineup. They were considered a force to be reckoned with. Now six years later, it is a different story. Their regulars are all getting older and seem to always be hurt. They often look overmatched.
Roy Halladay is retired. Ryan Howard hasn’t looked the same in years. Jonathan Papelbon’s act is wearing thin with a lot of people in Philadelphia and his performance has dropped a few notches. Then there is Jimmy Rollins. He could be considered the face of the franchise and should be the leader of the team. Yet, manager Ryne Sandberg benched Rollins recently and wants to see more leadership out of his veteran shortstop. Philadelphia looks like a team heading to the cellar and quickly.
On the other hand, there are the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you follow the MLB at all, you know their story — years and years of not just futility, but not even a winning season until 2013 when they became one of the Wild Card teams and advanced to the Division Series. Pittsburgh has a lot of their players returning, they have a dynamic reigning MVP in Andrew McCutchen and a very promising young player in Starling Marte. Marte was just signed to a very team-friendly contract extension.The Jolly Roger could be raised a lot in Pittsburgh.
Kyle Kendrick did pitch well for the majority of his appearance and Chase Utley had a couple of hits. However, it is going to take a lot more than that for Philadelphia to be competing in October. Six years ago, you never would have seen these scenarios happen, but here they are. It is hard to believe that both of these teams have such vastly different futures.