There’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the Phillies this summer, and understandably so. After all, this team was supposed to be one of the favorites to come out of the National League and compete for the World Series.

But injuries, inconsistencies in all aspects of the game – offense, pitching, and defense – and key guys playing a lot worse than what was expected of them, have seen the Phillies looking up at the Atlanta Braves for the better part of the last two months.


But there is reason for hope. As of August 6th, the Phillies have a hold on one of the two NL Wild Card spots. The Phillies will make the playoffs this year. Here’s why.


1)

Besides the Los Angeles Dodgers, the National League is pretty weak. Well, maybe not weak. But no one but the Dodgers stands out as a serious threat, unlike the real beasts in the American League.

The Braves, while holding a six-game lead over the Phillies as of August 6th, haven’t pulled away from the rest of the NL East. Since the All-Star break, the Braves are only 12-11, while the Phillies are 12-10. This has kept the Phils in it despite a horrendous month of June.

The Nationals, who share a Wild Card spot with the Phillies, have been just as mediocre as Atlanta, posting a 12-11 record since the break.

Then there’s the rest of the National League. Eight teams are within 7.5 games of the Phillies and Nationals. But let’s be honest, five of those teams – the Diamondbacks, Giants, Reds, Rockies, and Padres – aren’t going to be serious contenders this year and will most likely fizzle out down the stretch. The real threats are the Cardinals, Brewers, and (shockingly) Mets. Plus the Cubs, should they lose the NL Central.

Again, none of those teams are really standing out though, leading to this logjam. The same inconsistencies that have plagued the Phillies all season have also tormented these teams. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, aren’t all Phillies fans waiting for the inevitable collapse of the Mets?

It’s tough to see any of these teams catching fire and running off with one of the Wild Card spots. So even with the Phillies’ back-and-forth play, they will be in contention until the very end.

2)

The Phillies were in control of the NL East until a disastrous June that saw them go 11-16. Meanwhile, the Braves went 20-8, allowing them to jump into first place.

But what if we take that month out of the equation? Without June, the Phillies would have a record of 48-37. The Braves would be 46-40. The Nationals? 41-45. That looks like a first-place ballclub.

Now, life isn’t as simple as that. We’re stuck with June and so are the Phillies. But it makes a good point to show that the Phillies have only had one really bad month, yet they are still in the race. The Phillies are not as bad as their June record, and they have the talent to get back to how they were playing in the beginning of the season.

Which brings us to our next point.

3)

There is way too much talent on this team to play poorly all season long. Bryce Harper hasn’t gotten on one of his hot streaks that can carry a team. Maybe with his new stance one is right around the corner.

Rhys Hoskins has been brutal since the All-Star break, posting a .213 average with four home runs and 10 RBI.

J.T. Realmuto struggled mightily in the beginning of the season, but has been on fire his past 30 games, hitting .304/.336/.522 with five homers and 20 RBI.

Jean Segura has been having his worst season since 2015, but like Realmuto, he’s been getting hot as of late. In his last 15 games, Segura has a whopping .364 average. That kind of production at the top of the lineup is what the Phillies have been missing. If he can keep it up, the guys behind him will have a lot of opportunities to drive him in.

Cesar Hernandez has been hot of late too, hitting .297/.317/.356 in his last 30.

Scott Kingery was a stud when he came off the disabled list earlier this year. But since then he’s seen his average drop to .276 after hitting .215 over the past month. If he can stop trying to hit the ball out of the park, and instead focus on making good contact, he’ll be a more valuable player wherever the Phillies play and hit him.


The point is, there are six guys here who are not playing the way they historically have. They’ve all been relatively hot at one point or another this season, but they all haven’t been hot at the same time.
If they can do that, the Phillies can make a run and be the team that no one wants to play. And if they’re the hot team, they could make a magical run come October.

Photo: @mattrappasports
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