The Philadelphia Phillies had a tough go of it in 2014, finishing 73-89 and in last place in the NL East. In fact, the Phillies finished 23 games out of first place. They went 37-44 at home and 36-45 on the road.
Wherever they played, they were bad.
This year, however, is a new year, and Philadelphia center-fielder Ben Revere believes the Phillies could surprise some people.
“Everybody definitely has been down on us,” Revere said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You see what the Marlins did in the offseason, the Mets – all those guys. Of course the Nationals. It’s going to be a tough division. We’re going to face some great pitching, great hitters. In the game of baseball, it’s all about coming in as a team and always competing. The main thing is we’re going to go out there and compete. Every single guy in our locker room, they know what they want: They want a championship. They’re going to go out there and compete. Every team is going to give us our best shot. We’re going to give them our A game. You never know in the game of baseball.”
Injuries happen. Slumps happen. Bad luck happens.
“It’s all about competing,” Revere said. “No matter what, 162 games, just competing.”
Revere, 26, was a bright spot for the Phillies last year, hitting .306 with 49 steals and 71 runs scored. This year, though, manager Ryne Sandberg would like Revere to showcase his power a bit more – not over the wall, but rather, into the gaps. Revere had 13 doubles last year, tying a career high.
Sandberg wants more.
“I’ll tell you what,” Revere said. “When I was in the minor leagues – I know minor league pitching is way different than big league pitching – but even then, I had quite a bit of doubles. I was driving balls in the gaps. This offseason, I (told our hitting coach that) I wanted my old swing again. Me and Sandberg talked, and he goes, ‘I could see you hitting 30 doubles, 20 doubles this season.’ I’d say the second half of the season last year, I was definitely driving the ball a lot more.”
Revere, who enters his third season in Philadelphia, was also asked about Phillies fans. Jimmy Rollins, who played 15 years in Philly before getting traded to the Dodgers in December, said that it’s difficult to be a superstar in the City of Brotherly Love.
“It’s definitely tough,” Revere said. “My first year was 2013. I was struggling big time. I couldn’t find a hit to save my life, and I was hearing it from the fans. They were upset with me, and they wanted me to hit well because that’s why I got traded over here (from Minnesota). But eventually, I kind of found my groove again, started hitting well and I was kind of loved by the fans again.
“But it’s a tough town,” Revere continued. “I can see why it’s kind of tough for the team to call up some prospects. If they struggle for a little bit, they know the fans are going to be all over them. Something like that could psyche them out, especially a young guy. But it’s all about just having a strong mental game in baseball, especially there – because they come after you.
“Don’t get me wrong. They’re the best fans in Major League Baseball. But some of them will let you know when you’re struggling. But all of them will let you know when you’re doing well. When we get back on the winning stage, it’s going to be a fun time. It’ll be a packed house every night – or every day – and I know everybody’s going to be rocking.”