Although the Philadelphia Phillies pitching rotation is intact, they still have issues standing in their way of a potential World Series Championship season.
Opening day of the 2011 MLB season is Mar. 31, and the Phillies open up their season on the fool's day (April 1st) in a three-game series against the Houston Astros.
Unfortunately, the Phillies will be without second baseman Chase Utley who is bothered by pateller tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation in his right knee, according to the MLB.com website. His injury makes it very hard for him to run, but he is optimistic that he will be back soon.
"I am optimistic at this point," Utley said. "I think being able to take ground balls fairly lightly, not a whole lot of intensity, just to be able to do that pain-free was important."
Along with Utley, the Phillies's closer, Brad Lidge will also be out for the start of the season with a rotator cuff strain and is likely to return in May, according to the MLB.com website.
In his absence, Jose Contreras most likely be the Phillies closer while Lidge nurses his shoulder back to health.
Not to mention, the Phillies also lost Jayson Werth to a Division rival in the Washington Nationals during the off-season. The outfielder was a key component to Philadelphia's back-to-back World Series runs in 2008 (beat the Tampa Bay Rays) and 2009 (lost to the New York Yankees).
Their four aces will need to be better than ever this season with all the losses that the Phillies' lineup has endured at the beginning of their season.
Although they have taken major blows to the lineup, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are more than capable of handling the workload to keep Philadelphia's championship hopes in sight.