Jul 11, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder John Mayberry (15) watches from the dugout during the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Enter Double Header Primed for Whatever Opposite of Hopelessness Is

The Phillies’ hope hinges on whether we point it out or not.

We can have hope, but we need to do it quietly; otherwise, the Phillies will hear us having it, and promptly implode, wherever they are standing: On the infield, in the dugout, in line at the farmers’ market, wherever.

Their implosion techniques are on a hair trigger, sensitive to any sort of optimism.  So we have to be very careful as we enter today’s double header, hoping that

God damn it, me.

Yes, it’s true; last night the stars seemed to align in a way that gave the Phillies their opening.  Which they’ve had for a few weeks now, as the Braves watered themselves down with losses and the Nationals continued not impressing anyone.  But now the opening was WIDE open, braced by a neon sign with an arrow reading ‘WIN DIVISION HERE.’

It’s a tad early for such delusions, but it has become woefully apparent that nobody wants to win the NL East.  Nobody.  These are all pretty lukewarm teams, separated merely by the Braves’ hot 12-1 start.  And the Braves are playing the Reds, so if the Phillies keep winning, they gain ground, whether it’s in the division or Wild Card.

That’s all it’s going to take at the moment:  hotness.  And the Phillies have won their last three series, crawling slowly, under the radar, back toward .500.  They’re close now.  And the way they’ve been doing it – by winning series by 4-2, 3-1 scores, rather than banging out 10-12 wins in a row – has kept them from being the lead story on Baseball Tonight, and thusly not covering everyone else at the farmers’ market in Phillies’ hope goo.

The Braves are weaker than ever, the Nationals should be demoralized, and the Phillies should be able to smell John Danks’ blood in the water.  It’s hard to keep quiet when all you want to do is squeal.

Of course, four hours from now, I’ll be saying the same thing with “scream a hole in the TV” instead of “squeal.”

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