Phillies Need to Step Up

The Phillies have lost four of their last five games and their 8 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the National League East with 13 games to play has fallen to five with eight to play. They’re still in a great spot to clinch the division, but they’re making things way more interesting than they need to be.

“I’m not taking it for granted that we’ve got the division won,” Charlie Manuel said after last night’s 7-5 loss to the Brewers. “Noooo, not at all.”

That is a good thing because the Phillies need to turn things around in their final eight games. I have written this before, but it is worth repeating: seven of the nine National League champions this decade were playing great baseball entering the postseason:

  • 2008: The Phillies finished a MLB-best 13-3 and won the World Series.
  • 2007: Colorado finished a Major League-best 14-1.
  • 2005: Houston finished an NL-best 13-5.
  • 2003: Florida finished a league-best 15-6 and won the World Series.
  • 2002: San Francisco finished an MLB-best 10-1.
  • 2001: Arizona finished a league-best 8-3 and won the World Series.
  • 2000: The Mets finished an MLB-best 9-2 in 2000.

Only the 2004 and ’06 Cardinals have bucked the trend. (Tony La Russa‘s genius?) The ’04 Cardinals lost five of their final seven games and went just 12-12 down the stretch. The ’06 Cardinals finished 3-9 before winning the World Series.

“You never want to lose,” Jayson Werth said. “It’s always frustrating to lose, no matter how you lose. But the good news is we are still who we are. We’re a really good ballclub and we’re in the driver’s seat. We just need to get the job done here. … As far as I’m concerned, it’s over when we’ve got it.”

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10 Comments

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over when we’ve got it.” – Jayson Werth

What the hell does that mean?

In the words of Larry The Cable Guy…..”Get ‘er done!”

This team is just too good not to. Not sure how long they’ll last in the playoffs, but they need to get there first.

Big Joe B has been stellar all year. Let’s hope it continues to today. GO PHILS!!

Means: “They’ve got nothing now- they must clinch the division.”

The Phillies don’t own the division till they’ve mathematically eliminated everyone else in their division. They don’t even have a playoff berth.

In defense of Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals, in 2004 the Cardinals finished 105-57, 13 games ahead of Houston. They clinched the NL Central on September 18 with 15 games remaining on the schedule. Beginning September 19 they went 6-2 before coasting home at 2-5 the final week of the season. They were still able to beat the Dodgers in 4 and Houston in 7 before being caught up in the Boston buzz saw in the World Series.
In 2006 the Cardinals began the year 31-16 before injuries began taking their toll. Mark Mulder was lost for the season, Jim Edmunds and David Eckstein both missed significant time due to injuries, Rolen played hurt most of the year, even Pujols played in fewer games than in any year of his career, and Jason Isringhausen was mostly ineffective all year before being put out of his misery in September. The Cardinals finished just 83-78 but it was LaRussa’s decision to put then youngster Adam Wainwright into the closer role along with the rest of the team getting healthy that got them a World Series title.

Three straight innings leaving the bases loaded, and now the Brewers make it a game. This team is really not getting it done.

The bullpen finally came through. But the offense really needs to get their act together.

phan: I still think Chase is struggling with some injury. He’ll never say it, so we’ll never know. How else to explain an almost 100 point dropoff in average from July/August to September?

Madson had our hearts in our throats again. He faced the toughest part of the Brewers lineup and came out of it.

Hopefully coming home to rally towel waving fans will get our Fightins to win 3 in a row and let us all breath a sigh of relief that they at last have clinched the division.

Glad to see Chase get a couple of hits tonight! And that leaping grab he made, was awesome!

The *magic* # of 3, also includes Braves loses. If they would ever lose!!!! But I wouldn’t mind the Phils winning 3 straight, to clinch. That’s means I’ll be at the clinching game, since I’ll be at both Tues. and Wed. games! Can’t wait to start waving my rally towel! I was at the game, when they clinched in ’07. It was amazing!!!!

karen: So, I’m getting a rally towel on Monday? Woo hoo!

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