Philadelphia Phillies: 7 Players Who Must Maintain or Elevate Play Down Stretch

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Philadelphia Phillies: 7 Players Who Must Maintain or Elevate Play Down Stretch
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Vance Worley's not the only one the Phils are counting on for pre-October pick-me-up.

In case you haven't noticed, I've taken a pretty hard line on how acquiring Hunter Pence changes expectations:

It pushed the Phillies out of the nest.

It's fly or die time now.

The team just doesn't have passes left. Anything short of a championship damns this season as a catastrophe and dooms the immediate future.

They have to win, and now, because the team has been so now-loaded to do so.

While tacking on Pence, and clinging to Vance Worley and Domonic Brown, the team has more than enough pieces. Pence gives them right-handed balance. Worley stretches out the rotation. Brown provides and option and rest and promise, ready the moment rosters expand come August.

Still, it's not that easy. As much an on-paper game as baseball is, myriad factors must mix in the postseason blender to make a winner's puree. That was the difference last October. The Giants blended well. The Phillies didn't.

So looking forward to that late-season juncture, we're going to identify which contributors matter most. Which players have to keep it up. Which players need to step it up.

In other words: Who's gotta give what to get Philly the World Series.

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