Phillies Limp Home for Important NL East Series with Mets

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst IJuly 3, 2009

It certainly is a long way from Oct. 29, 2008.

That is the day when the Philadelphia Phillies celebrated their second World Championship of baseball, having defeated the Tampa Bay Rays four games to one.

Oh yes, the Phillies are still in first place, although tied with the Marlins for first. The Phillies, losers of 12 of their last 15, are 39-37, while the Marlins are 41-39.

What lies ahead? Either a chance to squash a division opponent, or as my picture displays, sit in a pile of dog poo.

'Cause while the Phillies and the Mets beat each other up at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for a three-game series, the Marlins are at home to face the Pirates and Atlanta plays at Washington.

Um, excuse me? Are the baseball gods laughing at Philadelphia and New York? 'Cause you can't expect the Pirates or the Nationals to take more than one game in their series, although the Pirates, losers of their last two, are more likely to play spoiler.

Stranger things have happened. The Mets, who are one game off the pace, are without Carlos Delgado and J.J. Putz, and Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have both spent time on the disabled list.

Mets fans cry, "Wait 'til everyone gets off the disabled list."

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Phils fans howl, "Hey, we are still the World Champions."

My feeling? Atlanta, two games out of first, is ready to take the throne. Their pitching is getting better, the bats are hot, and the Nationals are God-awful.

The Braves, who just swept the Phillies at home, are a better team then the Marlins.

The Mets and Phillies, the preseason favorites, are in good company with each other, both playing dog ball.

Go figure. Jimmy Rollins was 2-for-4 last night. Maybe that's a good sign.

Livan Hernandez (5-3) faces 33-year-old Triple-A call-up Rodrigo Lopez. Hernandez has been very good lately, and it could favor the Mets.

On the positive side, Phils fans know that at any time, against any pitcher, they can post a 10-spot on the scoreboard.

They better, or the Marlins and the Braves will be ready to pounce.

My prediction?

Atlanta sweeps, Marlins take two of three, and the Mets take two of three.

That's not good news for the Phillies.

But as a Phillies fan, I am in a very, very dark place.

Owwuuuuuu, woof, woof, woof.