Quite remarkably, the Phillies have gotten their act together recently, and are making a late push toward respectability in the standings. They Fightins are 16-10 since the trade deadline, an even better 7-3 over their last 10. August is on the verge of becoming the club's best month this season -- this with relative unknowns like Kevin Frandsen and Erik Kratz playing huge roles.
The real good news here however is the pace they are on, which is very close to what we set out for them way back at the All-Star break. The Phils have posted a 24-17 record since July 13, which is a strong .585 winning percentage, and has them on track to finish the season at least .500.
A .500 record won't cause much excitement in this town, where we've become accustomed to the Phillies being a perennial World Series favorite. It's more of a bigger picture goal we had in mind for the team. The second-half winning percentage required to reach that mark when projected over a 162-game season equates to around 95 wins, and a trip to the playoffs.
If you believe there is something to be said for carrying momentum into next season, there would be your reason to hope this club is looking at a quick turnaround.
Of course, their winning ways have also inspired some Wild Card talk despite the fact that the Phillies are still 10 games out. I honestly thought we were done with all that stuff over a month ago, but at the time there were a lot more teams out in front. The pack has thinned significantly, with Milwaukee, New York, and Miami all falling behind.
On Monday's edition of Daily News Live, DN's Rich Hofmann outlined one potential miracle scenario for the Phils. If they were to go 28-6 the rest of the way, and the Cardinals went 17-18 over that span, it would force a one-game playoff for the second Wild Card spot. Of course, that presumes a team such as L.A. or Pittsburgh don't hang on to their leads, either.
Personally, that sounds a little ridiculous to me, and I find it hard to entertain it with any seriousness. That doesn't mean I don't think the Phillies have anything to play for though. That .500 mark is well within reach, and if on their way they happen to make a run at the postseason, I think we're all ready for a little excitement.