Have You Noticed? Phillies Playing Better (But Still Very Bad)
Seen through the eyes of a New York Mets fan (yep, I’m one of those), the Phillies owe the Mets some wins, wins they stole so brazenly at the end of the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Now, stuck in last place in the National League East, the Phillies are doing their part to help the Mets’ postseason odds by defeating other teams in the hunt for October, namely the upstart Chicago Cubs.
In the nine games since MLB’s annual All-Star break, the Phillies have accumulated an 8-1 record, and have compiled a couple of decent winning streaks including a current four-game span of Ws. It was just shortly before the All-Star break that the Phillies were playing to a pathetic .333 winning percentage.
After sweeping the Cubs this past weekend — helping the Mets move within one game of Chicago for a chance at the second Wild Card spot — the Phillies increased their winning percentage to .370. Not by any means good, but still better.
They’ve also gained two and a half games on the N.L. East-leading Nationals in recent games.
On Friday, the Phillies came back to tie and eventually defeat the Cubbies at Wrigley Field, winning 5-3. The next day, Cole Hamels made history and either significantly increased his trade value or gave GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. reason to believe he’s worth keeping. And on Sunday, recent call-up Aaron Nola won his first major league start with plenty of backup from the offense, namely Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard, who both blasted two-run homers.
Nola was very strong going into the eighth inning, throwing a crazily efficient 74 pitches through seven frames, but he ended up with four runs on his line after the Cubs’ Addison Russell put one in the bleachers in the eighth. Nevertheless, he led the Phillies to an 11-5 rout — even accounting for one run with his own bat on an RBI single — and their first road sweep since July 2014 in Milwaukee.
Next, the Phillies play two at Toronto and will face former Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Wednesday. Then they’ll come back to Philly to face Atlanta, with another chance to help the Mets by putting the third-place Braves a few more games in the hole. Hamels is scheduled to start on Friday, but that could very well change.
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