Thursday, July 31, 2008

Topping Out

Today in Manhattan, from my 25th floor perch, I am witnessing a “topping out party" across the street- complete with tree. Another urban success story.

Speaking of urban success stories, we must now turn our attention to the Phillies- who regained first place in National League last night. Beats me if they can hold on to it. Watching the Marlins outfit up close this week versus New York, I can assure you that outfit is potential trouble. If they’ve "added" the previously disabled Josh Johnson- who sure looked like a quality arm last night stifling the Mets- and add a bat here at the trading deadline, a blanket finish is in order.

But, via four straight wins, the Phillies seem back to relevance too. I never believed for a minute the Phillies swoon nonsense (an idiocy exposed here and here). Their “poor” play was largely a function of an unreal schedule and a healthy dose of real quality American League teams.

Post all-star break, the schedule has gone back to featuring all National League, all the time. The Phillies have spent the last 200 or so games playing a shade under .600 ball versus the National League- and, now that the schedule has lightened up the last two weeks, they’re right back to their normal level.

Will it be enough? Well, they’ve weaved a story compatible with 89 wins for a long, long time now. It is up to the Mets and Marlins to prove themselves at that level too. We know the Phillies can do it- notsomuch the other two- so, like last month, I figure the Phillies rate an edge.

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