The old axiom, that a win is a win, didn’t seem to apply to the Phillies 8-7 victory over the Mets this past Saturday. It felt like a loss since the team blew a 7-1 lead in the seventh inning against the team with the worst batting average in the National League.
Even though the Mets — who were hitting just .229 — can’t hit, they managed to rough up the Phillies’ soft underbelly, their unreliable bullpen.
Sure, the Phillies celebrated a walk-off win courtesy of Kevin Frandsen’s homer in the bottom of the ninth. But can a team that has so much trouble beating the worst teams in baseball (the Mets, Brewers, Marlins Twins) have a chance at making the postseason?
“Judging by what we’ve seen so far, the odds of the Phillies being a contender aren’t very good,” a NL scout said.
Baseball Prospectus gives the Phillies a 6.4-percent chance at making the playoffs.
“You have to beat the bad teams,” the NL scout said.
During the Phillies’ championship run, they routinely clobbered the cellar dwellers. During their five-year, NL East-winning run, they absolutely owned the Washington Nationals.
“I remember what that was like,” Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said.
“You can’t make it as difficult as the Phillies make it on themselves,” the scout said. “The odds (of making the playoffs) are against them.”
Still, many in the Phillies clubhouse believe.
“There’s still more than half of the season left and it’s not like we’re out of anything,” Ben Revere said. “We’re getting guys back. If we can put a winning streak together and just build on that, who knows? I think we control our own destiny.”
The Phillies can argue that, since they have 16 more games with the division-leading Braves.
“We only played three games against them so far,” Revere said. “If we play well against them, who knows?”
It would also help if the Phillies won more games against some truly bad teams.
“The Phillies have their work cut out for them,” the NL scout said. “Stranger things have happened. 2007 was certainly unusual, but they had a bunch of young, emerging players, who were hungry and healthy then. The core of their team is older and injury prone. Can they pull it together for one more run?”
Baseball Prospectus only has four teams (Mets, Marlins, Brewers and Cubs) with a worse chance of making the playoffs than the Phillies
What will the Phillies do next? The club is at a crossroads. Will they sell or buy next month? What’s Charlie Manuel’s status? What will become of Ruben Amaro?
“The Phillies have a lot of decisions to make,” a NL executive said. “It’s going to be a very interesting rest of the season for them.”