Can the Phillies go Above 500?

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

After a sweep to the Marlins, Dan Uggla’s grandslam ninth inning grandslam spoiled a Phillies comeback.  In Cole Hamels return from bicep tendinitis, the Dodger beat the Fightins despite a solid return for Hamels.  Fresh off a 3-1 series win against the Dodgers,the Phills lost their first game to Arizona.

What do these three losses have in common?  All were failed attempts to get above 500 that came in the past two weeks.  Now 11-12, the Phillies haven’t been a game up in the win column since starting 3-2.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that a 500 winning percentage was a realistic expectation for the team.  Believe me, I wanted/want to be wrong, but anyone who follows MLB trends would validate that hypothesis.  To start the season, the expectation was the Phillies are on their way down.

However, each time the Phills had a chance to go above 500 this year (5 instances to date) the Phillies gave me hope, maybe a fools hope, that my goals for them would be surpassed.  With Utley, Howard, Rollins, Lee, Hamels, and Chooch (to paraphrase- the old guys) all playing well, its hard not to fantasize about them proving the naysayers wrong.

My hopes for the Phillies were they would embrace an underdog status and distance themselves from that old-hound-waiting-to-be-put-down status.

The Phillies demonstrated signs of life this April, providing hope that it wasn’t a fool’s fantasy to think they could be a relative success.  On the road, in the middle of a ten game trip, the Phills took command of the Dodgers series, winning three hard fought games.  They also beat Marlins ace and Cy Young hopeful Jose Fernandez, and not just beat him, but chased him from the game early.  Beating the games best pitchers and the leagues top teams provided enough encouragement to not abandon all hope.

There is something about rooting for an underdog is irresistible.

Sports underdogs are a timeless fad. They exhume old fans from the graves of mediocrity’s past, harvesting new, fresh followers, galvanizing the indifferent. They personify the American Dream, mimicking the struggle of defeat against heavy odds, tugging at the heart strings of those caught up in their dramatic wake.

Wouldn’t it be nice for the Phillies to skip the pathetic rebuilding years, providing at least one more year fr of marginal succes?  With this team, it isn’t outlandish to think they could go 81-81. So why can’t they go 85-77?

To many, that may seem lofty goal, but one thing’s for sure.  By the end of the season, if the Phillies are still in ESPN’s Wild Card graphic, they will exceed almost everyone’s expectations.  Wouldn’t that be worth watching?  September relevance is exciting.  The fans would be ecstatic, especially after the two year playoff drought.

So, back to step one- get above 500.

The Phillies have two more games against the worst team in baseball.  With two wins they can come back for a their homestand with a winning record.  Cliff Lee starts tonight, Burnett goes tomorrow, and Hamels will open up a 2-game, home series against the Mets Tuesday night.  If the top three guys continue to pitch like they have recently, not just now, but for the rest of the season, the Phillies have a great shot at 500, and maybe even better.

Game starts  tonight at 8:10 ET.

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