When your team has a pitching staff that is considered by some to be the best ever - at least on paper and if you think really, really hard about Cole Hamels upside - you definitely want your offense to be able to produce.
The Phillies don't have much and those people who can swing definitely aren't the most solid and reliable types in the world. Jayson Werth left, so that means that Jimmy Rollins has to step up and produce. Since his MVP in 2007, he's definitely gone downhill. Last year, he ended up injured and didn't even step to the plate 400 times. His batting average has fallen from .296 to .277 to .250 to .244. In 2005, when he had 36 of his 38 games in a row that he hit in during that momentous hit streak (we'll add the first 2 from 2006 for good measure, but not to this), his batting average went up from a rather pedestrian .262 to .290, which is nice, but it's not a mark of consistency. Rather, it's a late season surge. If we think about 20 triples and 30 home runs in 2007, these are potentials for a player to emulate, but the reality is that it's more of a career year masked in the midst of an above average player that was and is counted on WAY TOO MUCH.
Chase Utley is also a solid player - if he's healthy, but let's look at his numbers. This is a guy who the Phillies can't count on for 700 plate appearances. Last year, he only had 511 and since 2007's break out .332 batting average, he's spent the last 2 years at sub .300, which isn't exactly a place for optimism seeing as the Phillies are counting on him to produce. And while he's capable of 30 home runs (just over), he's going to whiff 100 times if he gets this mark. In that, he's not Ryan Howard, but alas... who would want to be when we talk about aging players and overhype and lack of production?
So who's left? Raul Ibanez had 1 last year in 2009, and now we can stick a fork in him. There's hope for Shane Victorino who is still young enough to make us believe, but Placido Polanco isn't a bopper, and while Carlos Ruiz is loved, he's not getting 400 at bats a year either.
So when Dominic Brown goes out for 4-6 weeks of spring training with a wrist injury, the prognosis just isn't good for the Phillies.
That said, we're Red Sox fans, so it doesn't matter who we beat in the World Series - just that we win!