Tuesday, September 29, 2009

History in the making?

I haven't blogged much about the Phillies this year. Perhaps its because as the World Series Champions, I was cutting them some slack.

But through an up-and-down season, I'm finally fed up. Sure they're in first place, 4 games ahead with 6 games to play, but I feel incredibly uncomfortable over their prospects.

Just last week, the Phils were ahead by 8 1/2 games with just 13 to play, and 7 up with 10 to play. Do you see a pattern? They should be wrapping up the division and preparing for the playoffs; instead, the lead keeps dwindling.

There have been few positives for this team down the stretch. Brad Lidge's struggles have been season long. The rest of the bullpen, save for Ryan Madson, has been overcome with injuries. The offense has turned mediocre veterans and rookie starters into Cy Young winners.

The Phils only need to win 3 of the 6 games to clinch the division title. But since they are 0-5 this season against the awful Houston Astros, who the Phils host the next 3 nights, and then a visit from the always tough Florida Marlins ends the season, winning those 3 games will be tough.

The Atlanta Braves, who trail the Phillies by 4 games, have 2 more at home with the Marlins, then host the NL-worst Washington Nationals for 4 games to end the season. So it's unlikely the Braves will lose 3 times.

So if the Phillies end up losing the division title, they will make history by blowing the largest lead (7 games) in the shortest amount of time (10 games). Until now, that mark has been held by the infamous 1964 Phillies, who had a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 games to play, but lost 10 games and lost the National League pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals.

I think the baseball Gods are getting back at Phillies fans for last year. We had the ecstasy of a World Series title; now, will we get the agony of a blown division title?

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