To take off my unbiased reporter hat for one second, I am entirely thrilled that the Philadelphia Phillies are finally getting their act together and are only four games out of the National League Wild Card position held by the St. Louis Cardinals right now.
However, four games back isn't the ultimate target, and so, putting my objective hat back on, I have to wonder what the Phillies' odds are of completing the comeback in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, the Phillies will not face off with any of the teams ahead of them in the Wild-Card race, so they will need to win their games but also rely on other teams to knock off the Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. That definitely is less than ideal because the easiest way to make a comeback is to directly defeat the team you are chasing.
Most of their opponents for the rest of the year will come from the National League East, with the lone exception being the Houston Astros. This will definitely make their run more challenging, but it really will not be that much different than anybody else in the race.
Each of these four teams play roughly an equal number of games against opponents above and below .500, so there won't necessarily be an advantage for any team in that respect.
The Phillies are incredibly hot right now, so that momentum is going to help them down the stretch, but when the strength of schedule seems to be approximately similar for every team, it is difficult to be in the back of the pack. It is still an uphill battle, but it isn't impossible.
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