Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Fighting Phils Dig In

Has anyone seen "Anonymous Sportaholic"? It was a quality blog. It should come back.

That aside, after America and many Washington National fans left the Phils for dead late last week, the Phillies have rebounded oh so smartly. Rebounding from being swept by the Astros, they have won now five of six from the mendacious Marlins and Braves. This morning, they again lead the Wild Card chase- which in turn allows me to post the Magic Number: 17

Following last night humilation of the Braves behind the "close your eyes pitching stylizations" of Corey Lidle, the recent stretch puts them at 5-4, up from the 0-3 start, on this homestand. I felt the Phils needed 15-10 over the last 25 game segment to get them over the top- which leaves the club with 10-6 to go. I looked over the schedule- they ought to be the Vegas favorite in eight of their remaining games. It is going to be close- and probably agonizing too. Thank heavens Brito gets three more starts.

Bill Conlin in the Daily News waxes optimistic. I am not sure about all this “the Phillies don’t quit” stuff. Clearly, they do try under Charlie- but some of it is also due to the fact the Marlins, Astros and Nats are flawed clubs that lack the capacity to run away from each other- let alone go out and win eleven of their final fifteen and put this to bed.

The Phillies have shown though that when they hit- and let’s not discount the recent contributions of Bell and Leiberthal, who I still long to see disappear- and get semi-decent starting pitching, they can hang in there against the terrific starting pitching and languid offenses featured by their three closest pursuers. And the Phils' bullpen helps a lot of course.

The next week is critical: @ Marlins, @ Braves. But then the schedule, which has worked so long against them for the past two months, turns a little. The Reds, Mets (at home) and Nats- well, you could do much worse to finish out. The Reds and Mets figure to be a nice mixture of bad plus done plus can we go home yet. The Nats are pretty good at home- but I cannot believe the Phillies can’t win two-of-three must have games there.

Still lots of work to be done. But get four of the next seven, for the first time the Phils might begin to apply the pressure, rather than live under it.