Photo taken by myself at the 8/27/08 Phillies/Mets game in Philadelphia. Chase Utley is the batter and Johan Santana is the pitcher.
I'm a very superstitious fan, yet I feel confident that I will not jinx my Phillies when I say that it is a sure thing they will make the playoffs.
They're a game and a half ahead of the New York Mets in the National League East and three games ahead of the wild card-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
The Phillies' magic number to make the playoffs in four and their magic number to win the division is six.
They have a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves starting on Monday. They then have an off day on Thursday before beginning their three-game series with the Washington Nationals to close the season. Both of these series are in Philadelphia.
The Mets have a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs starting on Monday. They then finish the season with a three-game series against the Florida Marlins to close the season. Both of these series are in New York.
The Brewers have a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning on Tuesday. They then finish the season against the Chicago Cubs for three games. Both of these series are in Milwaukee.
So, looking at these schedules, it is obvious that the Phillies have the easiest schedule. They play two bad teams, while the Mets and Brewers both have to play Chicago.
Also, the Phillies are playing the best ball of the three. All signs point to a Phillies playoff berth and, hopefully, a National League East title.
If they do pull it off, I think they can go farther in the playoffs than last year. The only tough part is that they will play the Dodgers (if they win the East), or the Cubs (if they win the wild card). I don't know if I'm confident they will get past the first round, but I hope they do.
So there you have it. I have thrown my superstition out the window and have stated that I am fully confident that the Phillies will make the playoffs. I hope they win the East, but I will be fine with a wild card victory.