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Phillies Gearing Up For An Optimistic Finish

Aaron NolaIt is a little too early to make a call with regards to the way the Philadelphia Phillies will finish in the NL East. There are still quite a few games to consider. Certainly, the Phillies have a lot to be optimistic about. The betting odds for next Phillies game should be interesting.

But with so many months of baseball to go, there is no telling what could happen to Philadelphia down the line. Of course, the best way to predict the future of sports is to look at past events. And May was a little bleak for Philadelphia. June saw the Phillies play near .500 but what will that mean in the long run?

While the Phillies have definitely shown potential, the question everyone wants to know is whether or not they have what it takes to turn the season around. For most pundits, this is pretty unlikely. However, the Phillies can rest easy knowing that so many big name players are coming back from the DL, and some of them have the capacity to make a real difference.

There was some anxiety regarding Aaron Nola. But he has proven that those worries were misplaced. Each of the righty’s games against the Cardinals, Mariners, Pirates, and Padres saw him deliver 7+ innings with 8+ strikeouts; that isn’t the sort of thing one scoffs at.  Nola definitely had a couple of stumbles following his return but his ability to leave batters fooled is difficult to ignore. The athlete’s record for the last six starts is impressive (2.6 ERA, 4-2). There is no doubt that Nola is back to peak physical health and that is good for the Phillies. They have a better chance of leaving their mark on the season if they have an impact player upon whom they can rely. Nola is going to be watched closely this season.

And he is in good company. Nobody expected Andrew Knapp to make such effective use of his first season in the Majors. But, having hit the ball harder off the bat by two miles per hour than the average baseball player in the major league, it is difficult to understand why Andrew Knapp isn’t garnering more interest. Boasting a batting average of .261 (.363 on-base percentage), Knapp has made over a hundred appearances this season and, despite his performance, he keeps flying under the radar. If the Phillies can recognize his talent, this should afford them the opportunity to trade Cameron Rupp. Along with the prospect they would receive for Rupp, the Phillies can also look to Jorge Alfaro who could soon be called up in Triple-A.

The Phillies haven’t had the greatest year. The number of injuries they suffered definitely shrunk their options, what with the likes of Vince Velasquez, Cesar Hernandez and Howie Kendrick being sidelined. Philadelphia is so fortunate that so many of its players on DL are gearing up for a return. Nola cannot carry the team alone. But with Hernandez and Eickhoff, the team stands a decent chance of delivering many an upset. Even Kendrick, who is unlikely to contribute physically this season, can still use his veteran status to support the team. Just because this is a lost season doesn’t mean that the Phillies can’t make the rest of their games an interesting watch.

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