NLCS: Mike Clevinger and Padres Are Overwhelmed in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Phillies have been down this road before, and the result is exactly what you would expect: they’ve become the second team after the New York Yankees to win the World Series in their own city since they lost it to the Baltimore Orioles in 1977 (after they won four in a row from 1976-’78). So far, this season has been much more of a struggle for the Phillies’ offense than the other time they’ve won the World Series in the city (in 2012), but the Phillies are just 2 1/2 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the league by virtue of their record at this point in the season.
The Phillies are one of the three remaining teams to have the potential to overtake the Red Sox for the best record in the league, and this could be their chance to do so without losing ground in the NL East. They’re over.500 with a game in hand over the second-place Braves and an ugly stretch featuring two losses in their last three games, but they’re only 6 1/2 games out of the Wild Card race. However, it’s the second place Braves who are also 7 1/2 games back in the running for the division title, and for right now, Philly has the edge. Their offense, led by Chase Utley, has been the team’s strength throughout the season, but this team doesn’t have the pitching to keep up with the Braves as well as the team has done in recent decades.
As for the Phillies, they have the worst record in the league, are only five games up on the second-place Braves, and now with a series win against the Atlanta Braves on the line, their playoff hopes are now on life support. The Phillies don’t have a lot of depth in their roster, and their pitching has been a disappointment, but the team’s starting pitching is a strength this season, and it’s their offense that’s been the issue. For the time being, this team isn’t going to win the title, but I’m not sure there would be a playoff spot available for this team if their pitching wasn’t as good as it is.