Phillies reveal their 2013 blueprint

Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee allowed five earned runs in 24 innings in their last starts. Hamels and Halladay pitched brilliantly, and Lee allowed four runs in seven innings in a loss to the Cardinals today. Chase Utley hit a two-run home run in one game, Ryan Howard in another.

And there’s the blueprint for 2013.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has some work to do this winter, especially in the bullpen. But the bottom line is that if he can get productive seasons from his five most important players, the Phillies will be back in contention.

This season has reminded us that there are few perfect teams. The Nationals are close to a complete ball club. The Braves are awfully good, too. But we’re also reminded that teams that can pitch and play defense can go to the playoffs. The Rays and A’s are the best examples of this.

The Phillies have plenty of primetime players, and they’re all under contract for 2013. If they can stay healthy and be productive, there’s no reason the Phillies can get back to the postseason with this core group. There obviously are questions about health and productivity. Utley may no longer be the great player he once was, but if he’s capable of being productive, it’s still attention-getting for opposing managers to have him and Howard back-to-back.

The 2013 Phillies will look different, but if they can just keep their main guys on the field, there’s a real good chance, they’re going to be heard from again.

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