Game 108 - Philllies
Phillies 8, Nats 4
Record: 59 wins, 49 losses - 1st place 1 game ahead of NYM 1.5 ahead of FLA
I wrote 8 days ago that it was highly likely my boys would be back in first thanks entirely to the Braves and Nats. Collectively the Phillies are 16 - 5 against these two squads and if you are adroitly doing the math - there's your difference between giddy optimism and that sort of sinking feeling those jerks in the Township had just before Willie was jettisoned.
I am no fool. You can slice this a hundred ways but the most obvious method of determining how things might turn out now that the Dog Days are here is to look at the schedule. The Phils have 1/3 of the season remaining and here is what's left:
Home (28 games) - 6 vs. FLA, 3 vs. PGH, 4 vs. LA, 6 vs. WAS, 2 vs, NY, 4 vs. MIL, 3 vs. ATL
Away (26 games) - 3 vs. STL, 4 vs. LA, 3 vs. SD, 4 vs. CHI, 3 vs. WAS, 3 vs. NY, 3 vs. ATL, 3 vs. FLA
Is it unreasonable to suggest the Phils will go 16 - 12 at home and 14 - 12 on the road? That would give them 89 wins which one would suspect is just about what will be needed towin their rather ordinary division. The club has an almost identical home and road record thus far (29 -24 @ home, 30 - 25 away.) That bolsters my argument I think.
Of course, I am much too lazy to examine the Fish and Mess schedule beyond the fact that they are not much different than the Phillies both in terms of performance at home vs away and the makeup of the schedule. Needless to say, no one will be going away any time soon so all this examination is probably for naught.
What it just might come down to is whether the Phils will return to their characteristic form of turning it on in August and September. Going back 3 years, the Phils were 32 -22 in 2005, 38 -24 in 2006 and 34 and 23 in 2007. Can this club notch 32 victories in the final 54 games? If so, I'd feel pretty confident that the resultant 91 wins ought to do it.
In order for this to happen. Brett Myers needs to pitch well. It begins and ends there. He's gotta get it going. 10 starts. Keep us in all of them. Let us win 7 of them. The next big factors are Rollins and Victorino. The Flyin' Hawaiian was marvelous in July. He needs only to keep on running. I have a feeling Jimmy is seeing the red light come on. The rest of the lineup will be fine.
Whit - what about your club?
By the away, Mr. Cub - resilient old bastard that he is - has rebounded nicely from his surgery. He has no longer a voice but Mom says he demands the sports page every morning to check on the Cubbies. Glad to see they are doing their part to lift his spirits. Thanks to MLC for keeping him in your prayers.