It's not easy being on top. It's great while it lasts. Last year the Phillies won the World Series. This year they came close but to no avail. They definitely showed some holes in the armor during most of the season.
There offense seems fine going forward. The only question mark is whether Raul Ibanez can repeat such a great season. The Phillies now have an all-star caliber catcher in Carlos Ruiz.
Their starting pitching is pretty strong. Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton will be back. If they can acquire another solid starter they will be improved.
The bullpen is another story. What will become of Brad Lidge. He will never repeat his 2008 soul selling season. Can he recover from this terrible season? If not, can Ryan Madson close? They need to add a 8th inning set up guy who could get a shot to close. How about JJ Putz?
NL East prediction for next year.