11 September 2012
Can the Phillies pull the unthinkable and make the postseason?
The Phillies have 21 games left this season, so for them to make up five games on the team in the second Wild Card slot, currently St. Louis, will be quite a feat. So naturally, I am a bit skeptical that they could pull it off. While they have 12 games remaining against the Marlins, Astros and Mets combined, they also have nine remaining against the Nationals and the Braves.
But here is where there is hope. The offense has been disappointing all season and not even the return of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have helped, as the offense has actually scored less runs per game after the All-Star break than before. But it has been the pitching that has carried the Phillies to the brink of playoff contention and their main source of hope for any chance at the postseason. The return of Roy Halladay has been crucial as he has gone 5-2 over his last eight starts with an ERA over 3 after struggling when he initially came back in July. Cole Hamels has had a really strong 2012 while much of the rotation struggled, going 14-6 with a 3.03 ERA. Cliff Lee still has that odd win-loss record of 4-7 but he has been on a roll of late, going 4-2 and pitching at least six innings in every start after a miserable June. And Kyle Kendrick has been on a roll since Joe Blanton was traded to Los Angeles, which opened a hole in the rotation and save for a couple of shaky starts against Arizona and Atlanta, the Texans has pitched great.
Now while I would be pretty surprised if the Phils were able to actually to reach the postseason, if they can continue to pitch well and if the Cardinals, Pirates and Dodgers all continue to be inconsistent on the diamond, we could set ourselves up for a wild last few weeks of the baseball season.
H/T Hit and Run