By Sam Bush
It’s now been nine years since the Phillies won 102 games and crapped out in the playoffs.
That’s a long time to go for their loyal fans who packed Citizens Bank Park to the gills every day and night when they were the toast of baseball from 2007 to 2011.
Is this the year they break through?
Back-to-back seasons of 80 wins and 81 wins isn’t good enough for a Phillies team that has invested heavily in veterans the last two offseasons, including replacing the over-his-head Gabe Kapler with the no-nonsense Joe Girardi this past winter.
The universal DH gives them an extra bat and at some point top pitching prospect Spencer Howard should join the rotation this year.
Even with the caveat that weird things can — and will — happen during a 60-game season, it’s time for the Phillies to return to serious contention.
Sitting around .500 again won’t cut it.