Philadelphia Phillies: June Slate of Underperforming Opponents Gives Phils Hope

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Philadelphia Phillies: June Slate of Underperforming Opponents Gives Phils Hope
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Domonic Brown is turning cynics around like he turns baseballs around.

The Phillies have 21 games left to play in June, having won five in a row to climb over .500. As it stands, only one of the teams they will play (the Colorado Rockies) is over .500 itself.

The Phillies have three more games against the Milwaukee Brewers, presently in last place in the National League Central.

From Milwaukee, they travel to Minnesota to play the Twins, who are currently four games under .500 and thus will be under .500 when the Phillies arrive.

The current 10-game road trip ends in Denver, where the Phillies will play the Rockies, who right now are a scant four games over .500.

The schedule for the rest of the month appeared to be pretty daunting before the season started, but for various reasons the last four series of June just do not seem all that scary right now.

The Phillies will come home to play the Washington Nationals for the first time in Philadelphia this season. You may recall that the Nationals were the consensus preseason favorite (on ESPN.com anyway) to win the National League East and perhaps the World Series.

As with the Phillies, though, the Nationals' best-laid plans have been undercut by injuries and poor production from key members of their division-winning team of 2012.

Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg were supposed to become household names this season. Instead, they're both hurt. Danny Espinosa is hitting .158. Ryan Zimmerman seems to have a case of throwing yips. Dan Haren is 4-7 with an earned run average of almost 5.50.

Suddenly, the faceoff with the Nationals is not nearly as terrifying as it might have been.

The Nationals series will be followed by three games against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets are currently 10 games under .500 and going nowhere fast. They are currently 29th (out of 30 MLB teams) in batting average, 27th in on-base percentage and 26th in slugging percentage.

June ends with the Phillies playing seven games on the West Coast, three against the underwhelming San Diego Padres (second-to-last in National League West right now) and then four against the stunningly bad Los Angeles Dodgers.

Look...down is up and white is black for this 2013 Phillies team. Their best hitter, Domonic Brown, was hitting .206 with two home runs on April 23. Roy Halladay just had shoulder surgery. Cole Hamels is 2-9. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz are injured.

And yet, there are the Phillies, hanging around, not doing too much to get noticed but not doing too much to get buried, either.

If the Phillies are a good team, beating up on some of the bad teams they are slated to play would be an excellent way to prove it.

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