Only one team in baseball has a better record since the All-Star Game than your Fightin’ Phillies. They are by far the hottest team in the division. They are raking extra base hits like crazy. They got a no-hitter from their (soon to be departed??) ace. And yet, they are still 4.5 games out of 4th place, 16.5 out of first.
||Still on top
||Still on their tail
||Still ahead of the Phils
||Hottest team and STILL buried
In 9 games since the break, the Phils are averaging 5.3 runs per game, a far cry more than the first half. In the series with the Cubs, they managed 21 extra base hits. Ryan Howard homered in back to back games and everyone is contributing, including Aaron Nola who has a hit in both of his games and got an RBI on Sunday. No one has been more key than Jeff Francoeur, who has found a knack in multiple games to come up with big hits, especially late in games, during their current post-break stretch. If the offense can keep this up, win or lose, the 2nd half may not be as hard to watch.
Things have been pretty good in the pitching department too. Cole Hamels had a rough outing earlier in the week but certainly found Wrigley to be the “Friendly Confines” on Saturday throwing his first career no-hitter. Coupled with Aaron Nola having a pretty good first two starts (opposing pitcher HR not withstanding), the rotation has looked good. The stars have been the bullpen though. 4 runs in 28 innings is pretty good work. They were the keys to a few of the games keeping the Phils in the game and leading to back to back 10 inning wins.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals- The Nats took 2 of 3 from the Mets to get a little more breathing room early in the week before losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates. They will have another chance this week to open up some breathing room as they go to Florida for three and then into New York to take on the Mets again.
Mets- The week started slow but ended on a high note with 2 wins, including one over Zach Greinke whose scoreless inning streak was halted at 45.2 innings by, of all people, Jacob deGrom, the opposing pitcher. The Mets missed one opportunity to gain ground on the Nationals. They’ll get another this week as they take on San Diego and then the Nats at home.
Braves- The Braves may be selling their pieces but it doesn’t mean they are running to hide. After trading away Juan Uribe to the Mets, the Braves pulled out a win against the Cardinals after losing 3 straight. Still sitting just 6.5 back, they aren’t gone yet but if they keep selling, that may be a matter of time. They will go on the road this week to play 3 in Baltimore and then into Citizens Bank Park for 4 with the Phils.
Marlins- The Fish have been streaky since the end of the break. After being swept by the Phils and one more in Arizona, they went on to win 3 straight then lose 3 more. After all that, they are still 4.5 ahead of the Phils. They will host Washington and San Diego this week trying not to let a streaking Phillies team jump them in the standings.
It’s been a fun week but most of us know that the Phils will likely come crashing back to Earth at some point. Will this be the week as they head into Toronto for a 2 game set then 4 at home with the Braves? Let’s all watch and find out.