Philly Sports Live

Manuel: Phils still team to beat in NL East

The Phillies are missing two big offensive pieces, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Their nucleus is a year older. But after five straight National League East titles, manager Charlie Manuel believes one thing hasn’t changed.

“I think until somebody beats us, we’re the team to beat. That’s what I think,” Manuel said before the Phillies and Braves tied, 7-7, in Philadelphia’s Grapefruit League finale at Champion Stadium on Sunday. “We ain’t going to lay down for anybody. We’ve got a bunch of guys that like to play. You can smack us. We’re not going to turn the other cheek. We’re going to fight you back. We ain’t going to lay down and die. We’ve got some guys on our team that are going to make sure of that.”

He’s aware that some have begun to wonder if the Phillies are vulnerable because of injuries or if success has made them complacent.