... so sadly, we might need to get ready to come up with a new moniker for this year's possible disaster. This would technically be worse, since we were up 7 games with 10 to go instead of 6.5.
5 games up with 8 to go is a good position to be in, technically speaking. But when you consider that the Braves have won 5 in a row, are 8-2 in their last 10 games, AND play the worst team in the league 5 times in their next 8, our position is far from secure.
Right now the Phils are 5-5 in their last 10. Quite frankly I'm not as concerned with our .500 play as I am with how we got there: Lousy pitching out of the bullpen, dormant offense against mediocre pitching, sloppy play, and bad luck. This is nothing like the past two years, when we ratcheted up our overall play considerably down the stretch and had the little things go right when we needed them the most.
If that weren't bad enough, consider the rest of our schedule:
9/27/09 @ Brewers - Joe Blanton vs. Dave Bush. Back in April, Bush almost no-hit the Phillies, as Rollins, Utley and Howard went 0-11 against him. Blanton is 0-1 with an ERA over 4 against the Brew Crew.
9/28/09 - 10/1/09 vs. Astros - Too lazy to look up the pitching matchups. The Astros are 24-11 against the Phillies since 2004. Great.
10/2/09 - 10/4/09 vs. Marlins - During last Wednesday's loss to the Fish, Larry Andersen said something to the effect of "The Phillies had better hope that their last series against the Marlins does not have any implications for their getting into the playoffs." It's looking like there will be implications-a-plenty in that series.
Given our play down the stretch, it's not bloody likely that we'll be WFC this year - assuming we get to the playoffs.
This brings me to my last item for the rant: Jumping the Gun. After we beat Milwaukee on Thursday, someone on one of the local news channels said something to the effect that we had a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs. And that talk has been going on for a while now - playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.
Last year was great for many reasons (duh). As one friend of mine put it, "You can't screw up winning the World Series." And while last year's championship exorcised the demons of many past failures, it did not change the fact that the team is still the Phillies, losers of more than 10,000 games. It did not change the fact that there have been many dismal, disappointing failures by all of the Philadelphia teams. And it will not change the fact that we will likely experience more heartbreak sooner or later.
I just hope that the heartbreak doesn't happen so soon after the promise of 2007 and the fulfillment of 2008.