Now look, calm yourself now. The Phillies are 69-71. The team they just swept, Colorado, is awful. Like, one game from eliminated (so in the next 48 hours), last place, 83 loss awful. The Phillies are still a very busted up, injury-prone group, and they don't have a starting pitcher on the roster right now to go on Thursday. That six game deficit is with 22 games to go, and that's not much time. If the Phillies go 16-6, which is tough, the Cardinals can't go better than 10-12. In fact, 16 wins only gets them to 85.
But go ahead and dream, seriously. Three with Miami, four with Houston, three with the Mets, before they see another team with a winning record. The last twelve games, against Atlanta, Washington, Miami, and Washington, may be against three teams who's fates are decided by then. Despite all the talk of needing 88 wins to get a Wild Card, it's looking more and more to me like 85 might do it. There are just more teams alive in the race, playing hard against each other, than normal. If there's any justice in the world, the miracle Cardinals ruining our 102 win 2011 would be answered by an 85 win Phillies team ruining them in a collapse in 2012. The Dodgers have a brutal schedule, the Pirates are falling off, and they've passed or tied everyone else. Why not?
Frankly I think it's too hard, but I'm glad the games are worth watching. I was worried for a bit that they wouldn't play a meaningful enough game to be interesting in September, and that they may be headed to a bad losing season. I do think they should finish over .500 now, if they keep playing hard. In fact, that remains one of the two main, real goals- finish with a winning record, develop the young guys. While making a run at the playoffs is fun to talk about, it's not terribly realistic, nor is it the first goal. One should be very interested in the fact that the young bullpen arms are throwing great right now in helping this team win.
The Phillies do need to figure out who throws Thursday- they could use Rosenberg, who was starting in AAA- but I think they should look at Pettibone and Martin. Let's see where those kids are going into next year. Why not use these games constructively? If we're going to throw away the start, why not pick up Jamie Moyer for a start (haha, just kidding).
I'm glad there's a little excitement around this team again. I'm just not going to get sucked totally in at six games out with 22 to go. There's other, important reasons to watch.