For the first three months of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies were constantly atop the NL East Division, looking great and getting hits from everywhere in their lineup. That all changed in the month of July, as the Phils went 9-18, seeing new pitcher Jake Peavy struggle in his new uniform, posting a 5.93 E.R.A. They brought in Jason Vargas in a deadline move, but in his first start yesterday he was knocked out after two innings, allowing six his and five runs. The team thought they had ace pitcher David Price locked up in a deal with Tampa Bay, but the Rays pulled out at the last second and suddenly dealt Price to the Phil’s NL East rival Nationals. Now the Phillies have two more games with the Nats, where they could potentially climb into the Wild Card lead and, with two Miami losses, be back within two games of the division lead. But the Phillies’ magical season looks over at this point, it looks as if there is no way of salvaging what was once the cinderella story of the MMB, a team who nobody thought could win but managed to prevail night after night.
There is a way the team could save themselves. It starts by winning the rest series with Washington, but to continue to win, they’ll need rookie 3B Zack Cox to find his stroke again, and little-known 34-year old SP Chien-Ming Wang to continue to pitch as great as he has all season, first with AAA Lehigh Valley and now in the big leagues with Philadelphia.
So is the season over? GM Noah Oppenheimer says no. “This team will fight till the end. We’ve found ourselves in situations like this before, and we’ve found our way back to the top time and time again. We don’t give a s— if the Nats have Price now or not, he’s just a normal pitcher, no better than what we have with Hamels and Eovaldi. You have to remember, this is a team of castoffs and veterans looking to save their career. Half the team was traded to Philly because their team couldn’t find a use for them in the major leagues. We have lots of depth, so these guys know if they can’t get their job done, they’ll lose it. They always have a chip on their shoulders no matter what, now this is just extra motivation….”
The road to October starts right now, so watch the Phillies take on the Nationals tonight on MMB.tv or CSN Philly.