Here we are, folks: the End of Season Post-Mortem series. If you're new here (which about 50% of our reader base is in comparison to last year), here's a brief explanation: after a team is eliminated from playoff contention, we're going to put their season under a microscope and look at just what the hell went wrong, what went right, and so on and so forth. The goal is to post these the day after a team is eliminated. Also, for the first ten teams eliminated, we're going to post a series called "Hope for the Hopeless", which is going to be an expanded version of the "What Went Right" portion of the Post-Mortem series pieces.
After a 2012 season that saw them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Phillies pushed ahead for 2013, electing to reload instead of rebuild. It didn't work, as the team performed much worse than they did last year. As of this writing, they have the worst run differential in the National League, and second-worst in baseball to just the Astros (who started the year with a payroll less than 20% that of Philadelphia's.
Preseason prediction: The Phillies are probably going to battle for a playoff spot. That doesn't necessarily mean that they'll grab one. The addition of that wild card spot does help their chances, but you have to figure at least one of those spots is already reserved for the Braves or Nats, whichever doesn't win the division. Which will leave the Phils to likely battle it out with someone from the NL West as the other wild card. They should be in the thick of things, if they can maintain their health throughout the lineup, but they're not the surefire World Series pick that they were just a couple of years ago.