By Justin Adkins:
With the hoopla of the Super Bowl out of the way and the hockey and basketball seasons in a holding pattern waiting for their playoffs to start, we can finally say what so many of us have been pulling our hair out waiting for…
It’s baseball season.
In less than a week, the Phillies will start Spring Training workouts, setting the stage for a 2011 season that could be the most anticipated in Philadelphia baseball history.
The Four Horsemen — Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and returning hero Cliff Lee — have Phillies fans expecting 162-0, and that’s just the reasonable ones. Anything less than a World Series victory will be seen as bitter disappointment.
Outside of the Horsemen, there are other intriguing storylines to follow once players start reporting for duty on February 13th and working out on the 14th:
* How can the Phillies fill the offensive void let by the free agent departure of Jayson Werth?
* Will Domonic Brown live up to his super-prospect status?
* Can Ben Francisco step up in an increased role?
* Will Jimmy Rollins continue to lead off or will he be asked to hit in Werth’s former spot in the five hole?
* Will the running game suffer with the departure of Davey Lopes?
* Will presumptive fifth starter Joe Blanton be traded before the season?
* If Blanton is indeed traded, will Kyle Kendrick step in as the fifth guy, or will it be Vance Worley? Does it even matter?
* Will the bullpen hold up with Jose “Gramps” Contreras and the volatile JC Romero in primary roles?
* Will Ryan Madson stop kicking chairs and show he can actually be considered a future closer?
* Will Brad Lidge have an off year in an odd year?
Those are just a handful of things to keep in mind and watch for as we gear up for the most excitement-filled Phillies spring training possibly ever.
Can’t come soon enough…
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