Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pat Hits A Bomb or Start the Clock

Pat the Bat! Goes Deep! Phils win- and get this mini-trip off to a good start.

Tonight’s game has an important feel to it- a prototypical swing game. Although narrow, the Phillies are a rare road favorite tonight. They got their best pitcher going: Meyers. The Dodgers are a pretty bad baseball team. The Phils won one of the three very losable games on this trip last night- and a win tonight turns almost any result, short of a sweep, in San Diego into a good trip out west. This game has real upside- and is totally there for them tonight.

I think this trip is key- as it kicks off an intriguing pair of hard stretches for the Phils. Counting last night, the Phils had fifty games left, that sort of neatly dovetail into two 25-game stretches. These games to close out the season are tricky- two big road trips, a lot of Atlanta, Washington, Houston and Florida. Pedro probably at some point- maybe even twice.

This stretch of 25 games, eighteen on the road, is a pitiless one- particularly for a semi-capable team like the Phillies. Starting this stretch 3-3 would be huge- cycling competently through the rotation again- and knock this first stretch down to 19 games with 12 road affairs. A nice plus, they would probably pick a game up on both the Astros and Nats.

True, they probably can’t fall out of it altogether with their starting pitching going darn good right now. But if the Phils can hang around- two or so games back- through this stretch of 25 or so games- and then bring Houston into Citizen’s for the return set… well, that seems a lot more manageable than the slogging, travel-filled climb they face now.

I sort think this stretch of 25 is going to ultimately be harder than the final 25- if just because the Braves will have checked out at that point, and the Nats will have ceased playing for this year. Normally, you’d take .500 ball through this first stretch- but the Phils trail two clubs, are being chased strongly by two others and have that rough finish. I still think 88-90 wins is still the standard- which means the Phils need 29-30 more victories- or about fifteen in both sets of 25 games. Very aggressive facing this schedule and travel. Doing it twice seems hard frankly.

But the Phils would take a huge step in that direction by winning tonight and getting two in San Diego. Near .500 ball (11-8) would then get them there in the first segment.