The National League East division was the talk of the town at the beginning of the season but now seems like a crapshoot for who will win it and get the playoff berth. However, there is one team that is better than the rest in that division and should be able to make their claim here for it: the Philadelphia Phillies.
Why the Phillies?
The Philadelphia Phillies have a lot of talent offensively but that’s not where I want to start this. Let’s look at their schedule but as of this writing, they are sitting two games behind the Atlanta Braves with 27 games remaining. However, their schedule is one of the easiest in baseball.
They have six games remaining against teams with a winning record (three in Milwaukee 9/6-8 and three in Atlanta 9/28-30) and that should let this Phillies squad fatten up. Not only that but they have 14 home games, and that should help them as Philadelphia is currently 39-28 in Citizens Bank Park this season.
Pitching Wins Games
One big thing that I love about this Philadelphia Phillies team is their top three starting pitchers in their rotation. They currently have Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Kyle Gibson to start if this team does make the postseason and that is one of the best pitching rotations a team can put together. Wheeler is pitching to a 3.01 ERA, Gibson has a 3.30 ERA, and Nola has a 4.54 ERA.
This lineup is littered with some of the best hitters that Major League Baseball currently possesses so I don’t want to harp on them for too long. Philadelphia went from one of the worst bullpens in MLB history to a respectable one as they are currently 21st in baseball with a 4.51 bullpen ERA this season.
Controlling Your Own Destiny
Philadelphia currently has three games remaining with the Atlanta Braves in the last week of the regular season and they have a three-game set against the New York Mets beginning on September 17. That means that the Phillies control their destiny as long as they continue to win games. The front office has bought into this team as they acquired starting pitcher Kyle Gibson at the Trade Deadline and they have a great schedule to take advantage of.
Atlanta looks like they can falter as they have an upcoming West Coast Trip where they take on the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres and those 11 games can be the difference in Atlanta’s season. In that stretch, Philly plays at home against the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. Schedule makers are banking on the Phillies to make the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Phillies have underperformed the past few seasons but this is their season to win the National League East division and have some NLDS games in the City of Brotherly Love. The team is loaded and anything less than a playoff berth is going to be disappointing.