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Away Records

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Quick quiz - without looking at any other sources, how many teams in baseball have winning road records right now? It's got to be at least a third, right? Isn't it gospel that winning records on the road are what lead to championship teams?

Well, while that may have been true last year, this year, there are only five teams in the majors with winning records on the road. What's more amazing is that only one of those teams is in the NL: the runaway St. Louis Cardinals at 33-18.

The main NL playoff contenders, other than St. Louis, are just not solid teams on the road. NL East leading Atlanta has a 27-31 record; NL West "leading" San Diego is terrible with a 23-32 record; and the Wild Card leading Astros are even worse at 23-33.

So what's this have to do with the Phillies? Well, we are certainly attuned to their problems on the road this year. Their offense has been atrocious even though the pitching has been better. Unfortunately, their away record reflects the terrible offensive performance, not the improved pitching performance. They are a paltry 22-29 (which is still better than the Wild Card leading Astros).

As a result, you've heard the claims:  the team can't make the playoffs because they can't win on the road.  Or, good teams win on the road, so the Phils are not a good team.

But, contrary to those trite contentions, the Phils can still make the postseason with a sub-.500 away record. Of course a winning record away from the friendly dimensions of CBP would help matters, but if the Phils continue their dominance at home (where they are currently 34-23) and play just .500 ball away for the remainder of the season, they'll finish with about 86 wins on the season, which may be enough for a wild card spot.

A winning record in the remaining 30 road games would certainly make reaching the playoffs easier, but the team as a whole does not need to get to a winning overall road record in order to contend.  Just look at what the other NL teams are doing, and it's easy to see that.

Getting into the post-season can happen in a multitude of ways. No one formula is required for success . . . other than winning more games overall than your competitor. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.