Philadelphia Phillies: Are They Capable of Making a Playoff Run This Year?
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Since the All-Star break, the Phillies are 5-4 (and could easily be 7-2), and their latest win, which was of a walk-off variety compliments of Jimmy Rollins, might have convinced management to allow the team to try and make a playoff run as opposed to being sellers in the trade market.
If the Phillies sign Cole Hamels to a long-term deal before the trade deadline, it will be the biggest affirmation that the Phightins are ready to make another World Series run.The big question is, would the Phillies be making the right decision by not being sellers in the trade market?
If you look into the Phillies' future, the youth on this team doesn’t look promising. John Mayberry is the youngest Phillies position player at 28 (and he turns 29 this year). The Phillies farm system is completely depleted, and the team still has issues in their bullpen ( ofpitchers who have appeared in 10 or more games, only Papelbon has an ERA under 3.5), Trading key pieces like Hamels and Victorino (and possibly Rollins and Cliff Lee) could bring some quality youth to our farm system and to the big league ball club.
However, there are several reasons to believe the Phillies could make a run at the playoffs. Although the Phillies are 11 games back in the standings for a wild card berth, stranger things have happened. If you just look at one year ago, the Rays and Cardinals were 8.5 games behind a playoff spot going into September and both made it (and every Phillies fan knows how the Cardinals story ended).
In 2007, the Mets had a seven-game lead with 17 left to play against the Phils, and the Phils won the division. So being back 11 in the loss column on July 22 and making the playoffs is not an impossible task. There also is the fact the projected starting lineup has only played in a handful of games this year. With Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay all healthy, the Phils have been playing a lot better.
The other thing to look at is the Phils' schedule. They play the Braves another 11 times, the Nationals another nine times and have series left against the Reds, Brewers, Cardinals Diamondbacks, Astros and two series against the Mets and Marlins. Basically, the Phillies control their own destiny. If they continue to compete and win series, making up 11 games doesn’t seem out of the question.
Which way will the Phillies decide to go? The coming week should be a huge indication if they are sellers in this trading market. One thing is certain: The RBI single Jimmy Rollings had in the 12th inning made the decision a lot more difficult and could have possibly saved the season, even if it is just for a day.
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