These last two months were supposed to be a soft landing for the Phillies to ease prospects into the show. Not anymore.
Beerleaguer: It’s like this: “Nice to meet you, Tyler. Ryne says you had a great season. That’s terrific. Tell you what: We’d like to see what you’re made of. We’d like to turn you loose on big league hitters for the next few weeks, get your feet wet, see if there’s a spot for you on our team next season. How’s that sound? Good. One last thing. You can’t lose. Good luck, son!”
What a difference three days make. Picture this scenario. The Phillies still trail the Cardinals by six games and the odds of making the postseason are essentially nil. Cloyd throws a stinkbomb at the Astros tonight and the hunky-dory headline reads like this: “Cloyd considers loss a learning experience.” But that won’t be the case anymore, in any of Cloyd’s remaining starts. Each outing is critical. Any loss would be devastating, no matter how much wiggle room one believes the Phillies have secured. "Cloyd can't deliever in critical loss." That's how the headline would read today.
But in many ways, what better way to learn on the job and test a player's pluck. That’s really the nicest, unintended side effect of the Phillies’ surge. They’re winning with youth while raising the stakes.
Win them all in Houston: There’s been a lot of back and forth over what it will take – in terms of wins and losses – for the Phillies to control their own destiny. I’m of the mind they need to sweep Houston. They’re the weakest team left on the schedule by a longshot. Why leave anything to chance with a harder schedule ahead?