Here we go again? Everything is in place for the Phillies to once more leave fans in despair or, finally, end what’s seemingly felt like an eternal playoff drought. Winning their last three series’ heading into the all-star break leaves the door open for a buyers mentality at the deadline. Not only that, though, the clubhouse potentially began to realize their potency when they fit all of the puzzle pieces together.
However, this team goes through stretches similar to Rhys Hoskins’ plate appearances; Either red hot or ice cold. Like Zack Wheeler uttered in his all-star week interview when the tide turns south for this club, it’s a complete 180 tailspin. Despite performances eerily similar to years past, this year’s rendition of Phillies embodies a grit to circumvent lackluster performances to now find themselves right in the mix of a division race.
The only question now is, do they have the right mentality to forge through the home stretch into the playoffs? The talent is there; most media and fans who follow this closely know significant heights are within grasp. That’s why it’s incredibly frustrating watching the consistent one-step forward two steps back approach they’ve employed.
Despite the overwhelming negatives on multiple occasions, watching their latest performances springs hope because the schedule in the second half provides myriads of opportunity to rack up wins. The Phillies already defeated the remaining opponents in July earlier this season. Those teams continue to exude the same struggle they did when the Phillies won prior, providing more opportunity for success.
There’s division competition right of the bat with the Marlins. This will tell a lot about whether the run heading into the all-star break meant anything or not.
Miami specializes in playing spoiler to the Phillies playoff dreams for whatever reason, whether it’s mental or one of those things where Marlins players feed off past success enabling elevated performances. Either way, fresh off taking two of three from one of the best teams in baseball, the Boston Red Sox; there’s no question this should be another series victory, if not a sweep.
Next, a short two-game road trip against the Yankees, a team the Phillies already handled at CBP and should again even on the road because the Bronx Bombers continue to step on their own foot.
The Braves and Nats follow to wrap up the month’s divisional play. Both teams are compromised offensively without Acuña and Schwarber, filtering winnable matchups. Capping off July with the Pirates theoretically should be a sweep. Whether they’re still playing well or not, the Pirates stink and should be disposed of accordingly. Then into August, where they have seven games against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks.
The bottom line is, the Phillies are endeavoring upon familiar territory. This year, though, the caveat is a light strength of schedule, a clear ace in Wheeler to ride until the screws pop off, and a base of momentum to build upon entering the most critical span of baseball.
Time will tell, but signs are availing themselves that maybe just maybe, the long line of hair-pulling heartbreaks comes to an end this summer.
The post Will the Phillies Actually Break Long Playoff Drought? appeared first on Philadelphia Sports Nation.
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