Phillies Nation

Raising Questions

Can the Phillies play .500 the rest of the way?

Don’t look now, but the Phillies have won 10 of their last 17 games, and currently are winners of five of their last six in large part to a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. No one is looking at the standings (you’ll still faint), but as we enter the final two months of the season with 58 games left, can the Phillies win more than half of those games?

Well, if they played the Braves in every game, then absolutely, the Phils would have a shot at running the table.

Obviously, that’s not the case, but over the next 58 games, the Phils will be playing teams that are much worse than the Braves – several in fact.

Only four of the teams the Phils are playing over the final 58 sport a record over .500: Colorado, Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles. The remaining games are mostly divisional foes, including 18 against Atlanta and Miami combined, teams the Phillies have handled well recently, in addition to dates with San Francisco, San Diego and Oakland. The Phillies finish up the Angles series tomorrow, who are under .500.

All phases of the Phils have finally clicked simultaneously. The club is slashing .281/.363/.477 since the all-star break, a drastic difference from a .242/.303/.394 showing in the first half. Odubel Herrera has found his stride, hitting .339 with 29 extra-base hits since the beginning of June, but he’s also had some help. Nick Williams has 19 RBI in 26 games, Aaron Altherr has an OPS of 1.021 since returning from the DL, and all Cesar Hernandez has done is get on base at a .420 clip to set up guys like Herrera and Tommy Joseph.

The Phillies now have their outfield set for the rest of the year, with Herrera, Altherr and Williams, and the middle infield tandem of Freddy Galvis and Hernandez is back, with Galvis making a number of run-saving plays the last handful of games.

Aaron Nola has been lights out over the last five weeks, and rotation mates Vince Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Nick Pivetta each tossed two runs or fewer in their last starts.

With a lead after seven, the Phillies now have a back-end bullpen of Luis Garcia, who has a 2.15 ERA this season, and Hector Neris. It will be interesting to see if Pete Mackanin reverses their roles, but nevertheless, the skipper has two (for the most part) dependable pitchers with the lead.

For the first time all year, the Phillies are in sync. They’re 8-3 in their last 11 at home, and 16 of the final 19 games in September are at their friendly confines. With how the remaining schedule is laid out, it’s possible they could play .500 ball the rest of the year. Better late than never.

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