For once, the Phillies could bask in their health this weekend while their opponents from the south were not so lucky. The nationals, coming off a 93-win pace, walked into Citizens Bank Park lacking its third baseman, leftfielder, catcher, and fourth starter.
On Friday night before the starting game of the series, Jayson Werth reunited with his former teammates behind the batting cage. This was the first time he had seen all of them healthy and he unfortunately wasn’t a Philly anymore.
“You have to start with depth,” Werth said, “and you need depth right behind that.”
For over two years, team officials lamented the roster’s deteriorating health. Still, this winter general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continued the trend of the team’s veteran core by adding 36-year-old Marlon Byrd and 37-year-old A.J. Burnett. He took a chance on the older player’s health and ability to stay on the field. That leap of faith formed a .500 record in April, most in the absence of $144 million ace Cole Hamels. A very familiar record in May with a full roster at Ryne Sandberg’s disposal could be an indictment of that talent.
The Phillies took off last week on a 30-game stretch in which 22 will be played at Citizens Bank Park. Besides the five-day stretch in July 2012, the Phillies have played their last two seasons with a member of their everyday lineup on the disabled list.
A lack of depth is what condemned the Phillies in the last two seasons; Washington endured its shortcomings in 2013. The Nationals finished the season at 34-20. That was not enough to atone for a 48-47 first half. That is why a quality start in 2014 with a depleted roster provided hope for the team.
Players are going to get hurt and are going to get injured. However with luck on their side, the Phillies may be able to have quite the May if they are able to remain healthy.
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