Five Back, 21 to Play

So the Phillies beat the Marlins last night to move within five games of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race with 21 games to play.

The Phillies are 16-6 (.727) since Aug. 17, which is the best record in the National League. The Brewers, who also have moved within five games, are 16-7 in that stretch, while the Cardinals are 11-11. St. Louis has 21 games to play. If they finish 11-10 they will be 86-76.

The Phillies would need to finish 16-5 (.762) to tie.

So they’re in it, but they’re still pretty far on the outside. They still need to continue to play really well, and they really need the Cardinals to continue their stumble. The Cardinals have lost 9 of their last 15 games. It would be a huge help (obviously) if that continued. If the Cardinals finish 9-12 for an 84-78 record, the Phillies could then go 14-7 to tie.

Check out yesterday’s post for a look at the contenders’ remaining schedules.

The Phillies have the right attitude right now. Don’t worry about the Wild Card standings. Just worry about tonight’s game. Again, like I wrote yesterday, for the Phillies to finish 16-5 they essentially need to win every three-game series the rest of the way and sweep the Astros in their four-game series this weekend. Lose just one series and the Phillies are forced to sweep another three-games series (or two).

It’s going to be tough, but at least baseball is relevant again.


And it’s wildly entertaining.

Just when I made my peace with the Phillies that they weren’t going to make the playoffs, they have to do this to me. They’ll be the death of me yet.

Its still a long shot, very long shot. The Cards have a favorable schedule (6 games against Houston, 3 against the Cubs, and 2 more against the Pads). Plus their last 6 games will be against the Nats and the Reds. I’m guessing the Reds want no part of the Phillies in the playoffs and will play their AAA team. I’m sure the Nats don’t want to face the surging Phillies either.

Its kind of ironic that last year Manuel and the Phillies played the last series against the Braves to win which ultimately let the Cards in… this year, it may be the exact opposite with the Phillies on the outside looking in!

Looking ahead to 2013, I tried to put a hypothetical lineup together. I put Utley at third, Galvis at second, and D. Brown in left (all of which are a bit of a stretch.) But as for center and right, I’m stumped.

If I had to guess, Ruf will get an opportunity to play LF with Brown in RF. Our CF will have to come from free agency (Bourne?) or via trade (Upton?). The good thing is if our young bullpen shows it can do the job for the next 21 games that it has done for the last month, Ruben might have a few dollars to spend in CF. Mayberry and Schierholz would be my 4th/5th OFs, but I certainly wouldn’t pencil either of them in as an everyday starter.

Check out the Wild Card standings on this link, and look at the standings for GBsum (games behind sum). It is a more realistic number associated to how far behind they really are (11.5). It is the sum of the games they are behind the teams ahead of them for the last spot (5 to the Cards, 4 to the Dodgers, and 2.5 to the Pirates; hence, 11.5). But just know that this number was 20 as recently as Sunday morning.

I truly believe that the Phills not only have a chance ,but will make the playoffs. They need to support their pitchers.

I am supporting them 100% and I will not give up on them making the playoffs. As Tug used to say “You Gotta Believe”. Hey in the crazy world of baseball anything is possible. If nothing else it is fun watching them play ball right now. Love this team whether they are playing good and/or bad baseball. You have to support the home team in the good times as well as the bad times. If 2012 is not our year I think 2013 will be ours with the right corrections being made in the offseason.

Hopefully you don’t read into my comments that I am not supporting this team. In fact, I just bought tickets to tonight’s game even though tonight is the only night for the next 3 months we won’t have an activity of some sort for my daughter. I have watched just about every game I could the this season, and if I couldn’t watch it on TV I certainly was following the game on my smartphone or internet. I’m just trying to keep level expectations that the Phillies’ chances to make the playoffs are slim. Stark was on ESPN Mike & Mike this morning and said has their playoff chances at 1.5% (up from less than a 1/2% a week ago).

Its a shame Utley or Howard missed 1/2 the year, even a few extra weeks with those guys in the lineup would have made a huge difference.

For now, I will try to refrain from bemoaning things that went awry this season until it is offically a postscript. Go Phillies!!

I see what you’re saying, but it’s not just the Cardinals. They also need the Dodgers and Pirates to falter. The Brewers are tied with the Phillies, so need them to falter too. I haven’t lost hope, but the Cardinals are not the only concern here.

If the Phils lose no more than 3 games, they then have a good chance for that 2nd wildcard spot. Can they go 18-3??? With the way KK is pitching – yes they could with Hamels, Haliday, Lee being on top of thier game. The spot occupied by Cloyd which can be skipped over twice may be the weakest spot.

@Jim – I know the Phillies would need to jump the Dodgers and Pirates, but the Cards are 5 games ahead of us, the Dodgers are 4 and the Pirates are 1.5. There is certainly more wiggle room in catching those teams. THe Phillies are even with the Brewers, so we kind of control our destiny there.

The Dodgers have the toughest schedule, so I hope they take the 4 game series against the Cards 3-1. I think the Cards have the easiest schedule because their 6 toughest games (outside of the Dodgers series) will be there last 6 games against teams that will be resting/gearing up for the playoffs.

@Bob D – going 18-3 would be an amazing feat… its certainly possible but not probable or even realistic. Teams don’t win 85+% of their games over a 3 week period. Even during this great run, the Phillies are 16-6.

I remember a week ago the goal of some here was to just finish the season at .500. Wanna shake your etch-a-sketch on that today?
That GBsum number is shrinking exponentially. 20 on Sunday, 11.5 on Tuesday and 8.5 today. Gotta keep beating the dregs of MLB.

Still gotta bump the Dodgers, Pirates and Brewers. But who would’ve thought just a very short time ago that they would even get to .500?! Awesome. Almost every game practically needs to be a win. GO PHILS!

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