Posted by Kevin Durso
At the beginning of the season, Phillies’ fans were looking for a number. How many wins could the team capture in a 162-game season, with a pitching staff one could only dream of and several offensive weapons returning? The Major-League record was certainly staring down this Phillies’ team, but 116 wins, that certainly seemed like a pipe dream. Reaching 100 wins would be anaccomplishment.
The Phillies have 50 games left and are 73-39. 27 wins would get the Phillies to 100. 29 wins would set a franchise record at 102. That certainly sounds like something that should happen for the Phillies. If it hadn’t been for early injuries and struggles, the Phillies could even have the Major League record in their sights. But, odds are the Phillies won’t lose just seven games between now and the end of the season. Still, with an estimate like 104 wins, that makes quite a bit of history.
The Phillies magic number sits at 42. And it’s only August 6th. Teams are not supposed to be close to counting down the clinching game in August, but the Phillies are at that point. The number could conceivable be in the teens by the end of August, and a number no more by early September. Theregular season ends on September 28th. The Phillies’ last home game is on September 22nd. They have a seven-game homestand from September 16th to the 22nd. You might want to circle someof those dates. It seems that’s a good place to assume a clincher at the moment; somewhere between eight and twelve games left in the season. That would be the earliest clinching date of the Phillies’ four division titles and counting. The amazing thing about this team is that things are starting to simply become assumed. The Phillies are on a tear. They are miles in front of the National League competition. They have the safest division lead in baseball. And they have baseball’s best record. All signs point to an amazing finish.
The Postseason will be another thing, and no one can speculate what will happen there. But, the Phillies current success is unlike anything in the team’s 128-year franchise history. Imagine, a team 128 years old, and just now, they are turning in their best season.
Look at some of the individual marks that are worth noting as well. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels all have at least ten starts left this season. Halladay has 14 wins, Hamels has 12, and Lee has 11. Could there be three 20-game winners? Halladay has the easiest route, needing just 6wins. Hamels needs 8 which could pose more of a challenge. Lee might have missed his chance with a couple tough losses, which have his record at 11-7. Hamels’ record of 12-6 also features a few blemishes that could have been different. Halladay, meanwhile, is 14-4, and is well on his way to another Cy Young season. Remember this too, Halladay managed 21 wins with 10 losses lastseason. No Phillies’ starter is even close to 10 losses, with Lee being the most at 7. Here’s a look at the starters’ records: Halladay (14-4), Hamels (12-6), Lee (11-7), Worley (8-1), Kendrick (6-5), Oswalt (4-6). If Oswalt can pick up a few wins upon return, he too could have a winning record. ThePhillies’ pitching this season has been this phenomenal.
The pitching was what got the Phillies to where they are. It still is keeping the hot stretch going as well. But, the offense has really picked up lately, and even in games like their 3-0 win over the Giants, sometimes just enough is good enough. It doesn’t seem to matter if the total for the Phillies is 1 or 11 if the opponent’s score is 0. That’s the beauty of it all. The Phillies are winning games of all sorts. They’ve pulled out late-game comebacks. They’ve won games in blow outs. They’ve shut outopponents. They’ve survived slugfests, and outlasted pitcher’s duels. They’ve won games in the first inning, and they’ve won games in the 19th inning. They’ve won with Cliff Lee at the plate and Wilson Valdez on the mound. What more could you ask for from this team? They all have contributed in some way. And they are all getting healthy and hot at the same time.
Look out National League, here they come. With every month – April to September – looking like a memorable one, you can only imagine what the Postseason could bring. And with just 50 games left, we all can’t wait to find out.