(With the Phillies on an off day, I figured it’d be a perfect time to jump back into the Phillies blogging. I’ve been a bit busy with work and dealing with a golf ball trying to replace my eyeball. I’m getting back on track. -KK)
As of today, the Phillies are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the NL Wild Card and are only 2 games back of the Braves. With the schedule backloaded with games against the rest of the NL East, the fight for the division crown is going to be a slugfest. With 6 more games against Atlanta and 3 more against San Francisco, the Phillies’ chances for a 4th straight NL East crown lie firmly in their own hands.
At 66-51, the Phillies are at a season high 15 games over .500. In 2009, the Phils were 68-49 through 117 games. It’s simply amazing that this team is only 2 games off the pace of last year.
Injuries have decimated this team, but you would never know it just by looking at the record. The scary part for the rest of the Senior Circuit is that it appears as if the Phillies will be back to full strength in a short amount of time.
Ryan Howard has started to take grounders in the field and will probably be back within the week. He’ll most likely play a rehab a few games down in the minor and then rejoin the big club for the stretch run.
Chase Utley has already started his rehab with Clearwater and has already hit a couple of triples, but has also made an error. We’ll chalk that up to him just being rusty. Uts doesn’t make errors.
With a few exceptions, the pitching staff has been phenomenal. Roy Halladay has been the Roy Halladay that everyone expected. Cole Hamels, while getting no run support, has been pitching very well. Roy Oswalt has finally gotten comfortable and has been pitching much better than his 7-13 record would suggest. Joe Blanton has been up and down, but has the experience to be able to contribute down the stretch. Kyle Kendrick has even put together some solid outings as of late.
The run to the playoffs has started and it seems as if the Phillies will be right in the thick of things, just as they have for the past 5 years. With a healthy team, the Fightins should have no problem returning to the postseason.