The Phillies open spring training Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla. In advance of the first workout and the countdown to opening day, we take a daily look at the top storylines facing this club in camp.

Part 1 – Health

Part 2 – New faces

Part 3 – Charlie Manuel’s future

Part 4 – Young prospects

Today – Defense

We know about all the things that have to go right for the Phillies to contend in 2013.

Their big guns – in the lineup and on the mound – have to outrun Father Time, be healthy and productive. They can’t bury themselves with another slow start.

Here’s something else that has to go right for this team to be successful.

Defense.

It’s a big one.

With Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee fronting the rotation (and Roy Halladay looking for a rebound season), and Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon closing things out, this is still a team built around pitching. A pitching-based team needs to be supported by solid defense. Last year, the Phillies were not a stellar defensive club. They need to improve in that area in 2013. Spring training will offer some clues as to whether they can improve.

In 2011, the year they won a franchise-record 102 games, the Phillies had the best fielding percentage in the majors. Last year, the Phils ranked 15th in the majors in fielding percentage while winning just 81 games and failing to make the playoffs. The Phils made 74 errors in 2011. Last year, the number rose to 101. The slip in defense can be seen in the percentage of unearned runs allowed by the Phils. Last season, nine percent of the runs allowed by Phillies pitchers were unearned, up from six percent the year before.