Amongst all the things the Phillies bestowed on us fans this weekend – further securing of the third wild card spot, strong starting pitching, an explosion of offense – their 4-game sweep of the lowly Pirates gave us the greatest gift of all: perspective. Now, delve any further, I want to dispel any accusations of potentially jinxing this team’s future chances at the postseason – I’m not saying that the Phillies are a remarkably good team, or even are going to secure that 3ed, merciful wildcard berth by season’s end. All I am declaring is that they are on a different level than Pittsburgh.
Their record going into Thursday night’s contest, 51-47, compared to the Bucs status at 20 games under .500, dictated that. All the Phillies did was what they were supposed to do: beat up on a bad team.
The sweep doesn’t answer many questions – can this offensive output sustain itself against Atlanta? Will the injured starting rotation be able to survive (bolstered after the trade deadline or not) for the remainder of the season?
However, it does maintain that the Phillies are at least good enough to be relevant. Competent enough to securely call themselves “buyers” and not “sellers” at the deadline.
The Pirates, unfortunately, cannot say the same thing. They have not been “buyers” at the trade deadline and likely won’t be for quite some time. They are an uncompetitive team with a pretty uniform in a pretty stadium without a hope in the world of contending. I say this not to pile onto the Pirates – my father’s from Pittsburgh and if I were to have the slightest affiliation for any other MLB team besides the Phillies, then it would be for them.
I say this only because, not all that long ago, the Phillies were the Pirates. They had nothing to contend for, no higher objective to excite the fanbase aside from the chance development of young prospects. Nothing to break up the long slog of a losing season except for the glimmer of hope that the close games would eventually turn to wins, and wins into a better, more competitive future.
Now, as frustrating as the last few years of mediocrity have been, the Phillies at least have something to play for. They have a shot, a real one, at the postseason – which is more than what many teams have.
Featured Image: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press