The Philadelphia Phillies are entering the 2015 season in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to surprise people and make some noise in the always-competitive NL East division. They’ll be especially hungry after posting back-to-back 89-loss seasons in each of the past two years, their highest losing total since 2000.
Philly opens up their 2015 home slate on April 6 against the Boston Red Sox, with Phillies tickets surprisingly inexpensive, according to Razorgator. Relative to other home openers for their fellow National League teams, Philadelphia’s average ticket price is pretty low at $161, with the get-in for the home opener being just $35, which is amongst the lowest out of any organization.
While the Phillies have seen their veteran roster endure more subtraction than addition, this is still a group that has potential to contend for a .500 record, if not more. For instance, the starting pitching staff they’ll be entering 2015 with looks like it can go head-to-head with just about all other rotations, still led by talented ace Cole Hamels. As long as he remains healthy, there’s no reason for the veteran left-hander not to have one of his usual outstanding campaigns. Health is certainly the key for Cliff Lee, who endured an array of injuries a year ago, but looks like he’ll be entering the upcoming campaign with no limitations. If he can avoid any further injuries, the Phillies have themselves a very good 1-2 punch within their starting pitching.
Beyond them, there’s hope that lies within the rest of the rotation, especially if free agent signee Chad Billingsley returns to old form after missing most of the past two years thanks to Tommy John surgery. David Buchanan is a youngster who exhibited potential in his rookie showing last season, while Aaron Harang is a veteran who proved he can still pitch during his tenure in Atlanta.
Philadelphia’s lineup definitely underwent some considerable renovations, no longer boasting the presence of Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd. However, there are still some significant pieces here capable of leading an offense, such as longtime Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. Slugger Ryan Howard has registered some of the best power seasons in the history of the franchise, and while he’s fallen off in recent years, a renaissance year is always possible. Also having speedy Ben Revere, power-hitting Domonic Brown, and veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies’ offense still has potential to strike on any given day, although overall consistency may be an issue if these guys don’t perform at their normal pace.