It takes a lot to put together a run.
First, you need to have dug yourself a hole so deep that even those who swore they’d always believed in you have turned their backs in utter disgust. Next, you need to somehow acquire enough new players that the team begins interacting with itself differently enough that the stale air in the clubhouse begins to hum with a small electric charge. Finally, you need the irritating, bullshit luck that falls on one team every year and allows for several of their awful players to become temporary superstars on their way to destroying the hopes of teams who have been diligently competent all season long.
Put all that together in September and you’ve got the magic of baseball!
Yes, the Phillies seem to believe they have found a path to the playoffs’ sleazy back door, and judging by the players’ quotes, the reporters’ questions, and media’s “analysis,” they are on their way, as long as they keep winning almost all of their games.
It’s a tall order, because the players on this team aren’t exactly astounding, but they have found a method to success that has yet to fail them in the second half: Only play the shittiest teams in the league.
MLB’s schedule, as we know, is composed years in advance, and maintained in an enormous ledger covered in dust. The bookkeeper is a 1,000-year-old tree–the same one the carve all the bats out of–whose branches form the times and dates each club will play, accounting for prime time broadcasts, ESPN Games of the Week, and commercials, of course.
So it’s not as if playing bad teams is a part of the Phillies’ plan. I mean, it is now, because they’re doing it, but at this point, with them needing to win, and apparently able to win, it is an immense stroke of luck that they are lined up to play a series of teams who make it easier to win.
Coming off a series sweep of the Rockies (Did you know that the Phillies are like 22-7 against the Rockies since 2008? That is absurd, but I can’t find the data to back it up, I just heard Jim Jackson say it on the radio yesterday), the Phils move onto face the Marlins, then the Mets, then finish up the Least Coast Swing with a four-gamer against the Astros. The Astros.
So, suddenly, the time is now. I would like to point out that during this post-ASG stretch, the Phillies have won series against the Nationals and Reds and illustrated some consistency while doing it, so it’s not as if we’ve been punching our foes while they sleep and then running away.
If nothing else, this six-games back from the second Wild Card spot jazz has to have the PR department in a tizzy, as for the last few weeks of the season, they have an actual reason to try and get people to the ballpark, and not just “Come on down to Citizens Bank Park! Most of the security staff has quit for the season, so you can get away with some of those god awful things you love to do in public.”