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Phillies Athletics Preview - Baseball Is Back

At last, it's that time. Phillies baseball is back. In 2021, the Phil's were battle tested. Through an injury filled season and a ton of late game disappointments that most would love to forget about, the Phillies were never able to go on that run that needed to happen to earn a postseason berth. After a disappointing 82-80 record, the Phillies look to turn the page to the 2022 season and look to break the 10 year playoff drought that's looming around the organization.

During the off-season, the NL East grew even stronger. The defending world series champion Atlanta Braves traded for Matt Olson and signed Kenley Jansen. The Mets signed Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, along with what felt like half of the MLB. The Marlins signed Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler. Even the Nationals signed Nelson Cruz

What about the Phillies, what did they do to get better? First they added Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, and Corey Knebel to hopefully give this team some quality innings and some sense of reliability to a bullpen that was lackluster to say the least. Then, Dave Dombrowski had some fun. He signed Kyle Schwarber to hit at the top of the lineup. Something that was desperately needed and someone that fans will enjoy. Following Schwarber, the Phillies did something that they have never done in franchise history. They went above the CBT and signed Nick Castellanos to protect reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper. Instead of adding defense to the lineup, Dombrowski doubled down on this team's strength and built one of the most dangerous offenses in baseball.

The key to this roster competing in 2022 won't mainly be from the big names in the lineup. The young guys such as Bryson Stott, Matt Vierling, Alec Bohm, and Mickey Moniak when he returns from his fractured wrist will have to produce both offensively and defensively for this team to be able to contend. This team is also going to have to pitch the baseball at an elite level. Can Zack Wheeler have another Cy Young caliber year? Will Aaron Nola bounce back from a rough 2021, Will Ranger Suarez build off a breakout year? Will Zach Eflin and Kyle Gibson be able to give this team quality innings at the back of the rotation? And most importantly, can the bullpen be able to hold up and close out ball games? If most of these things happen, look for the Phillies to be extremely competitive.

Opening up the year the Oakland Athletics come to the bank. This is a team who this off-season traded away Matt Olson, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt, and are in full rebuild mode. Series like this are not one to take lightly, overlooking teams of the A's caliber will get you into trouble. Have to take care of business. On the mound tomorrow for opening day are Frankie Montas for the A's and Aaron Nola for the Phillies. The organization has pushed all the chips to the middle of the table, now let's see how the clubhouse responds. Happy opening weekend everybody and let's go Phils!

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