Monday, September 10, 2012

Could the Phillies still make the playoffs?

With Kyle Kendrick continuing a run from nowhere and the Cardinals and (heh heh) Braves not exactly showing exceptional strength at the close, I'm left with this small little moment of madness: the Phillies are a game under .500 at 70-71, and 5.5 games out of the wild card. Despite being 17 games back in the division. They have won five in a row, 8 of their last 10, and they are 24-14 since August 1.

Want some more encouragement? It's not out of the realm of possibility that they could win 15 or more of the remaining 21 games and actually have a shot at this thing. Here are the remaining games on the schedule.

2 more home games with the Marlins, who are 16-23 since August 1, and have traded away assets while more or less playing out the string

4 road games in Houston, who are 44-96 (!) for the year and as DOA as you can get

3 road games with the Mets, who are 3-6 in September on a four game losing streak, and have spent much of the season on a long streak for good or ill

3 home games with the Braves, who could be playing September baseball with their arms around their throats for the second straight year

3 home games with the Nationals, who could be really taking a lot of heat for the Strasburg Shutdown, or, even better, on full coast mode if the Braves have fallen apart

3 road games with the Marlins.

Now, the reality is that this is 100% fool's gold; even if the Braves and Cards do collapse, there's still the Dodgers and Pirates to pass, and even the Brewers are still even with them. It's enough, really, that the club never stopped trying and fought all the way back to .500; had they started the year with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, this could have been a very different year. It also hasn't hurt at all that they cut the dead weight of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, in that neither of those guys were helping that much.

But still. After five-plus months of frustration and acceptance that there were going to be a lot of meaningless games at the end of the year, isn't it nice to dream?

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