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Cherish This Weekend

9 games out of the playoffs with 3 games to play before the trade deadline. A sweep this weekend pulls the Phillies within 6 and in legitimate playoff contention. 2-1 puts them at 8 out, 1-2 at 10 out, and getting swept puts them 11 games out at the trade deadline and firmly in sell mode.

Cherish this weekend – it may be the last time you see the Phillies as you know them.

A sweep of the Braves is the only way to reasonably expect to see the team, as it is constructed today, and as we have known them for the last few years end the season in tact. A sweep all but guarantees Cliff Lee, linked to the Rangers and Dodgers, and Jimmy Rollins, linked to the Dodgers and A’s, stay, and increases the likelihood Phillies fans see at least two more months of Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton. Anything but a sweep of Atlanta begins to collapse the last vestiges of the 2008 World Series championship team.

Whether right or wrong, retool or not retool, 2008 is increasingly disappearing from the rear-view mirror. As a journalist and an analyst, my mind is telling them to move on, to trade anything that isn’t nailed down and retool for 2013. The fan in me? I don’t want to leave 2008. The four straight walk of victories have the mark of the 2007 and 2008 Phillies. My hopes are high and I’m thinking of 7 back with 17 to play in 2007 or the Cardinals being 9.5 out late last year. But I know that bubble, and pipe dream, could be popped with as little as two, or possibly even one, loss this weekend.

This may be the closest the Phillies get to playoff baseball this year and as for tonight? I can’t wait to see Chase Utley go one-on-one with Ben Sheets, Ryan Howard take him deep to right, Rollins steal some bases, Victorino rob hits on defense, Chooch defend the plate, and Cole Hamels pitch the game of his life. They’re 9 out and it’s 2012, but I’m feeling nostalgic for 2008. With a roll of the dice the weekend, 2008 could be all but a memory. Then again, an improbable sweep could make it last two months longer. Phillies fans – make sure to cherish this weekend.

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