Fans like to think that professional athletes never even think about "mailing it in" early, but the reality is that it happens all the time.
Sometimes we forget that professional athletes are human at their core. There's a human element involved in any competition, even at a professional level, and the Philadelphia Phillies are involved in a unique situation.
They were supposed to win this season.
Of course, they haven't done much winning at all. The Phillies have been plagued with injuries and inconsistency and haven't gotten on much of a roll. They're all but mathematically eliminated from the postseason, and the question has changed.
The Phillies haven't played a meaningless September in a long time. This is a roster full of veteran players accustomed to winning ball games. What are they going to do when there is nothing on the line?
It would be very uncharacteristic for some players on this team to essentially "cave in," but others have shown a willingness to do so in the past. Some have their hands tied. They're going to have to mail it in early to rest or let other guys play.
We'll rate the roster on a three-level scale for this slide show: low, moderate and high.
I think those ratings are pretty self explanatory, with "low" being a player most likely to give it everything he has in the final month and "high" being a player who has already conceded.