Winners of 11 of their last 13, the Phillies are having trouble finding someone their own size with whom they can pick. Will these August bullies save some for September and beyond?
Before we get to the Phils, a few site notes. It's times like these when I wish I had a utility blogger to call off the bench, like a blogging Bruntlett. I've been snowed under with other duties, so posting will run light for the next few days. It's a good time to recharge actually. At 72-50, another postseason berth appears likely. Baseball Prospectus sets the Phillies' odds of making the playoffs at about 91 percent, which guarantees one of two scenarios: Either the Phils extend the season deep into October like they did in 2008 or they suffer a historically wretched collapse. Either way, I'm bound to my keyboard. So rather than burn myself on also-rans like the Mets and Pirates (a colleague called this Bucs series your quintessential trap situation and I understand why), Beerleaguer will run light this week in order to regroup, with "light" meaning "light on insights, heavy on mailed-in entries."
What more can be said anyway? When the major pieces, like Ryan Howard and newly-anointed ace Cliff Lee, are in sync, it doesn't take much manpower to achieve victory, as we saw Monday. Howard, Lee, and National League Player of the Week Jayson Werth have been most impressive lately, but credit can be spread across the board. They're winning big, like in their games with the Cubs and Diamondbacks. They're taking the close ones, like their back-and-forth series with Atlanta. And this Mets series showed they can win ugly.
On a different note, I wanted to point out this quote from Pedro Martinez about the character of the club: "This team really surprised me,” Martinez said upon his arrival. “This team, as intense as they are on the field, doesn’t reflect the kind of calm that they are in the clubhouse. When they come out there it seems like they know they’re going to win. It’s a great feeling.”
Which brings us to the totally unrelated poll question: Do you believe the Phillies are peaking too soon?
Reading readying for playoffs: (From an R-Phils news release) The R-Phils return home today for their final and most critical homestand of the regular season. The Double-A club will tackle diivision rivals Erie and Bowie as all three clubs vie for the postseason. Erie resides a half game behind the R-Phils and Bowie trails Reading by 2.5 games in the battle for the second playoff spot available in the Southern Division. In player news, yesterday the R-Phils added slick-fielding shortstop prospect Freddy Galvis from Clearwater. Galvis, 19, was hitting .247 with the Threshers. His glove is considered one of the best in all of the minor leagues.