Maybe Doc begins to look like Doc again, maybe even Wednesday night. Say Hamels remains an ace, wins 20 for the first time. And Cliff Lee follows his career form, following a low-win season with a high-win season. Kyle Kendrick continues his growth, John Lannan is a serviceable fifth starter.
Delmon Young will be ready to play by the end of the month. Carlos Ruiz will not be affected either physically or psychologically by his 25-game suspension. Chase Utley will look as healthy 100 games in as he did Monday night. Ryan Howard will hit 30 or more home runs again and knock in over 100 runs again. Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon will remain healthy. Michael Young will settle down at third and at the plate. Domonic Brown will be the real deal, finally. Ben Revere will be the offensive threat Charlie Manuel thinks he can be. Jimmy Rollins will hustle, be productive and not brood. Phillipe Aumont will find the strike zone consistently. Chad Durbin will find his curveball.
Who am I missing? Oh, right, Manuel. His lame-duck contract status will not affect him or his team.
That's a lot, a lot more than they have in Washington or Atlanta. There's no great formula on how much right and how much wrong a team needs to sustain a drive to a playoff spot, but I believe the competition between the Phillies and the second-place teams of the other divisions is a fairer one.
Take the Central Division this season. I am already elated that Houston is no longer there for the Cardinals and Reds to pad their win totals. Kyle Lohse moving his 16 wins and 211 innings from the Cardinals to the Brewers has to be seen as a plus, especially after the horrendous spring Milwaukee's young staff had, and the injuries the Cardinals' staff has experienced, including the season-long loss of Chris Carpenter. St. Louis is also depending on some older guys with injury histories like Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.
The National League West is bigger trouble, I think, because the Giants' lineup may be better than the one they began last season with, and because, of course, Magic Johnson and his deep-pocketed co-owners have improved the Dodgers significantly, at least on paper. With the acquisitions of Josh Beckett and Zack Greinke in the offseason added to their Clayton Kershaw-anchored mix, Los Angeles has so many starters that Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang are, for now, in their bullpen. So is Chris Capuano. Nice problem, Magic.
Washington and Atlanta make winning a division title tough. But the rebuilding rosters of the Mets and Florida should give the Phillies an advantage in the race for that final wild-card spot. We all know about Jeffrey Loria gutting the Fish during and after last season. But how's this: The two highest-paid outfielders the Mets are paying this season are Jason Bay and Bobby Bonilla.
And no, this is not a belated April Fool's joke.
Now a Mariner, Bay is still owed $21 million by the Mets. Bonilla, now 50, signed a deal back in 2000 that, starting last year, pays him $1 million annually through 2035. Google it. It's truly an Amazin' story.
That's 38 games against competitors that are full teams away from contending. Did I mention Johan Santana is likely out for the year? If the Phillies aren't at least 14 games over .500 against those guys (26-12), it probably means that their negative answers overwhelmed any of the positive ones. And then it doesn't matter what the other teams are doing.
If they can win at least 14 games more than they lose against those minor league lineups, it means they need only to play .500 baseball to reach 88 victories. That's exactly the total the Cardinals had as the second wild-card team last season.
The Phillies play the American League Central in interleague play, another plus. Beyond the Tigers, it's a division filled with rebuilding teams, and low-budget ones. For what it's worth, the Dodgers would seem to have a tougher interleague schedule, playing against the American League East as well as their natural rival, the Angels. The Cardinals also get the Angels, as well as the Rangers and A's, but they also get the Royals and Astros. Still overall, the Phillies would seem to have a schedule advantage there as well.
That's the way it shapes up on paper, anyway. But you never know, on April 3, what team will be besieged by injury, what surprises will emerge, who will have a career year and who will have a nightmare one. Last year at this time most of us still considered the Phillies to be the beasts of the East.
Now we'll settle for best of TheRest.
On Twitter: @samdonnellon