Eight. That’s how many times a Wild Card team has made it to the World Series in the past decade, including both participants in 2002 with Anaheim and San Francisco getting in. As long as you make it to the postseason, anything can happen.
Teams don’t necessarily want to make it in as a runner-up in their own division, but proceeding to the second season in any way possible works just fine. The Phillies may find this out relatively soon.
With the division slipping away with each passing loss, perhaps it’s time to focus on becoming the best runner up in the National League. The Wild Card may be where it’s at.
The Phillies currently sit 5.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East, with a 1/2 game separating the Phils and the Mets. In the very early WC standings, a slew of teams are within striking distance. Two games separate six teams, with Colorado leading the way at 50-41. The Phils sit at 48-43.
For as seemingly awful as this season has progressed, there is room for optimism. They really can’t play much worse, can they? This Phils club is far too explosive and talented to waste this season from start to finish. The ingredients are still there and with the trade deadline close, a change could be made to kick start the engine once again.
If you’ll recall, the 2007 Phillies went on a late tear which put them into the postseason, coming back from seven games down over the final 17 games. That same year, Colorado stole the wild card on the final day of the year after ripping off 13 wins in the final 14 games. There is an opportunity to again become the comeback kids of the NL. Is it looking likely with the way this team is playing? No, not really. But at any point, a baseball team can create a positive swing of momentum.
And if it means settling for the Wild Card, then so be it.