Over the past few months, the Phillies have been hit hard by injuries, reminiscent of what happened to the Mets during the 2009 season. Amazingly, the team has responded much better than that Mets team.
After being 7 games behind the NL East leading Atlanta Braves a few weeks ago, the Phillies have now won 14 of 17 games to pul within 2 games of the Braves. While a 4th straight NL East title is within their reach, the Phillies can also feel better knowing that they are only a 1/2 game behind San Francisco for the Wild Card. Not bad for fielding a lineup that would be better suited for Lehigh Valley at times.
Even though the Mets are far back in the playoff race this year, a 3 game series against them is always a big event. Taking 2 of 3 from New York has put the Phillies a season-high 13 games above .500. As has been the case the past few years, the Phillies are hitting their stride in the late summer.
Over the next few weeks, this team will be even more formidable. Chase Utley has gotten his cast off and will hopefully be back before the end of the month. Shane Victorino should be back shortly, which will also have the side effect of a roster squeeze. Victorino was sent to Lehigh Valley to begin his rehab yesterday. John Mayberry, Jr. took the trip up the Northeast Extension as well, but he was sent back to LV to get some at-bats. Domonic Brown was brought up last week to take Vic’s spot, and with what he’s done so far, I don’t see Cholly and Ruben being able to send him back. That means that one of the bench players (My vote is for Dobbs) will most likely be sent down.
The biggest piece missing from the Phillies’ lineup, Ryan Howard, is eligible to come off of the DL in 7 days. If he is actually able to come back that day, he’ll add his potent bat back to what could be considered the top lineup in the majors.
For the Phillies to be in the position they are in while fielding their regular lineup for less than 10 games over the season is a testament to the talent that the organization has assembled.
With the lineup at full strength, the Phillies will finally be able to resume their run at a 3rd straight National League championship with the lineup that started off the season so hot. It will be fun to see this team down the stretch.